Is it safe to come out now? These last couple of weeks have been very emotional, even if you are a republican.
I had a good chunk of respect for the queen but not for the monarchy as a whole. In this country we have what is called a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch exercises their authority in accordance with a constitution (not that we have a written one) and is not alone in decision making. The Queen and now the King are supposed to be politically impartial and approve the wishes of the parliament. The monarch is painted as a benign, ceremonial role though this is not true.
Irrespective of what influence they have over amending laws written by the democratically elected government, which institution has stopped the working of parliament and the political system, taken over the national broadcaster with wall to wall coverage of the funeral arrangements, had people arrested for showing dissent against the status quo, avoided paying death duty, closed food banks, handed ‘ownership’ of a country to one of its children, postponed medical operations, shut down the centre of the capital city and prevented you from working for a whole day?
You guessed it, the not so benign monarchy. You may say that the monarchy didn’t do all of these things though they have all been done in its name over the last fortnight.
The Head of State exerts enormous influence over our daily lives, whether we realise it or not. Its carefully scripted image is plastered all over the place to reinforce the message that they are in charge. Indeed, the monarchy is the ultimate manifestation of a ruling elite, self-aggrandizing, self-sustaining (at a cost to the public purse) and unencumbered by public choice. It was won by the sword or by marriage or by political manoevering and is a straight extension of feudalsim and slavery. Even when it is dysfunctional or breaks the law of the land nothing happens, everything carries on as usual
Whatever you think of the previous or current monarch, the idea that an individual can have so much power and privilege by dint of birth is wrong. The idea that an individual or group of individuals is somehow above the law and more important than you or me is wrong. The idea that the highest office in the land is not open to the best of our talent is wrong.
It is time to replace the monarchy with a system where the people of this land have a choice, even if they choose badly.
Is it over yet? Not by a long chalk.