A YouGov poll released earlier this month states that a vast majority, (81%), of the British public are still in favour our much adored monarchy. Yet only one in three actually attended an event in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
This is not unpromising news. I suppose for that third of enthusiasts, known hereafter as, ‘Mr and Mrs Maudlin’ the monarchy is that still essential cynosure for the patriotic emotions of its citizens. The decorative mugs and postcards with a smiling Elizabeth slapped on the front, hold some special and revered place in hearts of the Maudlin’s. To them the monarchy is the special symbol of statehood and an emblem of historical continuity. In a worrying way it’s what constitutes British for such people.
The other two thirds, it seems, are happy to regard the Royal Family as the wallpaper of constitutional government, or something to keep American tourists occupied when it rains. The monarchy has no real power, so why go buggering about with the additional bank holidays and the patriotic feelings of your fellow citizens? This is an appeal to indolence, and to a large degree the reason for the continued existence of the Windsors and of our evolutionary and gradual approach to political reform.
The most important group, hidden somewhere in those statistics are the surprisingly few supporters of republican governance. Those persons who would like to see the government actively pursue its abolition and I count myself among such a group. It is an exhausting and unrewarding task.
There are many reasons why this will not happen. Firstly the Windsor’s have successfully tapped into the world of celebrity culture and this has worked in their favour to an astonishingly annoying extent. Secondly, due to a repressive parliamentary convention, a politician standing up in support of such an arrangement would be about as politically viable as standing up in support of widening the expenses remit of Westminster’s MP’s.
Given the hysteria that surrounds events such as the Diamond Jubilee weekend being a republican has become synonymous with being a party pooper. Yet this need not be the case. To remove the Windsors with one fell swop of the legislative pen would be immensely satisfying in one way, but too complicated in another. So, I am proposing a compromise; the Windsor’s can keep the exorbitant amount of public funding they receive and their respective titles, but in return certain requirements must be met. Cameras are to be installed throughout the various residencies that they inhabit. Let’s face it; this is what the public really want to see anyway. I am firmly of the opinion that the congenital characteristics of the Windsor family are far better suited to reality television than our heads of state anyway. In such a situation everybody is a winner and in keeping with our ostensible pretensions to democracy they will undergo a vote each week, chaired by Russell Brand, in which their continued existence can be put to the test of a popular vote.