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The Monarchy and the future -- yes or no?

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The Monarchy and the future -- yes or no?

Old 10th Mar 2021, 18:04
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The Monarchy and the future -- yes or no?

A comment on the "It's All About Me" thread got me thinking about the larger question of the relevance, need, benefits, etc. of the monarchy today. I'm thinking specifically about the UK and the Commonwealth (because that includes me and my heritage) but I suppose the question relates to any constitutional monarchy.

The quote: (from VP959): "I could live with a much-reformed constitutional monarchy, one that was far less stuffed up its own arse and more in touch with the real world, if there was some overwhelming need to retain all the pomp and ceremony that so many people from outwith the UK seem to love, but I'd prefer it if we disbanded the whole lot of them once the Queen has passed."

I'm using that comment to start the thread because it summarizes where my own beliefs have been heading recently.

Discuss

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Old 10th Mar 2021, 18:43
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Perhaps we need to ask quite why we seem to need the monarchy now.

To be clear, I believe that the Queen has done an absolutely remarkable job, and shown a level of personal dedication to an often difficult role, that has been almost beyond belief. I cannot think of any other head of state that has dedicated nearly 70 years to a role that, when she first took it on, was much needed, in terms of helping to guide the country, and the Commonwealth, out of the dark years of WWII.

However, what does the monarchy do now, in terms of being a value for money benefit to the people of the UK? If looking at hard, cold, facts, then I strongly suspect that the majority of the benefit from them is a bit of revenue from tourism, plus a lot of media money generated from the incessant demand for the latest bit of royal gossip, or the latest royal scandal. These latter aspects are threatening to turn the UK into the same sort of laughing stock as Trump managed to achieve for America during his presidency. I'm sure that tourists would still flock to see Buckingham Palace if it was run as an open stately home by the National Trust, or English Heritage. Same goes for the other royal homes and estates.

The class divide that is so very clearly kept alive by the very existence of the royal family is an anachronism in a society that is trying to become fair and equable to all, and remove all barriers and stigma, whether they be a consequence of race, income, perceived class or whatever. For the past 35 years I've lived in the midst of the British class divide, my wife's family have lived in the same castle since ~1088, the most senior still has the same seat in the HoL, and the Great Council before that, that they've held for centuries. On the other hand, I lived in a council house for years, never had any family money, with most of my family digging turf for a living.

Some of my wife's family are so detached from reality as to be almost beyond belief. I strongly suspect that the Royal Family will be similar, most probably worse. For example, before we were married the then lord rang me to ask about a wedding gift. We'd circulated a list, which he had a copy of, and, knowing they weren't short of a bob or two I'd slipped a few expensive things on to that list. He asked me, in all seriousness, what a washing machine was. When I explained to him, his reply was an absolute corker: "Don't you have a woman to do that?". This wasn't in the dark ages, it was 1985. I have absolutely no doubt that some within the Royal Family will have a similar mindset, and as such they should play absolutely no part in influencing modern society.

The bigger question is who we choose to have as head of state if we get rid of the monarchy? My personal preference would be to elect one by a non-political selection process followed by a national referendum. I would also wish to see anyone that has ever expressed a party political view, or been a member of any political party, disbarred from being eligible. The idea would be to have a head of state that was apolitical, much as the Queen has been, and ideally someone with a broad range of life experience, who understands intimately all aspects of life in this country.

Coming back down to earth, I can't see this ever happening in the remaining years I have left on earth. . .
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 19:11
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If you don’t need a king or queen, why do you need a head of state?

People moan about costs, but those costs would still be there and besides, anyone running for ‘president’ would be in it for themselves. Serving the country would come second.

On the other hand, there would be no more knighthoods, which would upset lots of Whitehall mandarins, pop stars and sportsmen, so perhaps no bad thing.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 19:38
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VP959
I am sure your wedding had the potential to be interesting in the class respect, and obviously all went well. I agree with you as to the way forward but I think there maybe some others who will mightily disagree unfortunately.

Cheers
Mr Mac
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 19:43
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Yes, keep them, but stop the sovereign grant and tax them exactly the same as everyone else, income taxes, death duties etc. Revoke any laws put in such as the clause for right to buy that exempted the Dutchy etc.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 19:44
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I'm all for a Head of State to oversee the Governments actions. So would be happy with a elected by the people, President or Speaker, but not one with the absolute power of the US style president. and certainly no extended Family...

If you need a ceremonial person to open Hospitals or Roads then that should be the elected Mayor of that area or Council.

If you need host for a 'State Visit' it should be the First Minister of the 4 UK Nations.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 20:37
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Exactly my thoughts, Kiltrash , I can't help but feel we need apolitical oversight of government, as the Queen does now. I think it's essential that the head of state be separate from the political shenanigans that elects governments, as I think we've all see just how dysfunctional having a politically motivated head of state can be in recent years.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 20:39
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Originally Posted by Saintsman View Post
If you donít need a king or queen, why do you need a head of state?

People moan about costs, but those costs would still be there and besides, anyone running for Ďpresidentí would be in it for themselves. Serving the country would come second.

On the other hand, there would be no more knighthoods, which would upset lots of Whitehall mandarins, pop stars and sportsmen, so perhaps no bad thing.
If you elect a head of state you don't need to feed and house his extended family because it would be undignified for them to perform real work rather than attending to charities. Our head of state is known to travel on the subway occasionally and certainly does not need a household staffed with 400 people or a variety of gilded coaches for various occasions.

VP959, loved your washing machine story.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 20:46
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Originally Posted by Alpine Flyer View Post
VP959, loved your washing machine story.
It's not something I'll ever forget! My wife to be was working a late shift (she was a nurse) when he phoned. I thought that he was joking, and pretending not to know what a washing machine was, but the call ended with him asking how much one cost and would we mind if he gave us a cheque instead. It wasn't until I told her when she got home that she confirmed that he almost certainly would never have heard about washing machines, let alone actually seen one. She didn't seem to think this was anything unusual . . .
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 21:34
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A circuitous reply - but bear with me.
Many years ago when still quite young, I read a strange but rather fabulous series of books - Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake.
For those who may not have read the books - they are the tale of a massive, run down walled castle, so huge its inhabitants don't know the full extent of the building.
All of them are stuck in pursuing ancient and meaningless rituals, the origins of which have been forgotten... there's nothing else to do.
It was only when I re-read the book in London in the late 90s that I realised with a shock "Oh my God - it's an analogy. Gormenghast is British society."
And so it is with the monarchy.
Centuries of tradition, obscure positions, customs, etiquette and rituals... the Queen still has a Warden and Marker of the Swans!
The whole institution is really largely meaningless and powerless in a practical sense.
But it's an inextricable part of what the United Kingdom is, of the entire British social structure, and the nation is at heart extraordinarily conservative and slow to change.
I'd be willing to bet that long after we're all gone, there'll still be a British Monarch, in one sense or another.
And maybe there'll still be a Swan Upping...
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 21:48
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Personally I would like to see us keep a Monarch. Otherwise it's just another part of our heritage gone, and let's face it we have little enough left.

But I hope Charles will carry out his apparent aim to cut the Monarchy down to size. Hopefully by a very great deal, so that only the direct line of accession carries titles.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 22:00
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Put these in order of honesty:
- Used car salesman
- Politician
- Real estate agent
Now which would you like to have as Head of State ?
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 22:23
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I'm not anti-monarchy, but I do wish that the wealth of the monarchy / Crown Estate could be put to better use - what's the point of accumulating more and more wealth, even "in trust for the nation" if the nation doesn't benefit? For example, why not put some of the Royal money back into the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, who have had to cut staff and reduce research due to lack of funds, while charging eye-watering admission for a stroll around the grounds? I'm sure that there are many other such possibilities to put the nation's wealth to work for maintaining the nation's heritage.



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Old 10th Mar 2021, 22:29
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
I'm sure that tourists would still flock to see Buckingham Palace if it was run as an open stately home by the National Trust, or English Heritage. Same goes for the other royal homes and estates.
The French beheaded their royal family, and now they are the number one tourist nation on earth.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 22:51
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This monarchy has served us quite well for at least, the last 100 years hundred years. Look around at some of the feeble alternatives in governance in this world.
Can't predict how future monarchs will deport themselves but right now, if it's not broken too badly, don't try to fix it. So very likely you will end up with something much worse.

I have yet to see the M&H Show do anything useful. And did Oprah give everyone a free car this time?

The French beheaded their royal family, and now they are the number one tourist nation on earth.
Damn, the Americans just missed a big opportunity there.
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Old 11th Mar 2021, 00:41
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The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain etc seem quite happy with their monarchies. This argument often seems to assume that the UK is the only country to have a monarchy. Obviously the monarchies of the aforementioned countries are far less high profile than ours, although their per capita cost to their citizens is often on a par with ours. There are of course many differences between the lifestyles of British and continental kings and queens, but any talk of "bicycling monarchies) is pretty well off the beam. The fact is they are all in principle the same hereditary setups as ours, and frankly I'd rather stick with the system we have, rather than have to go through the shenanigans they have in France (or, God save us, Italy) every few years
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Old 11th Mar 2021, 01:13
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I enjoyed a dram or two quite often with RAF aircrew. After a few drinks, I was left in no doubt that if it became a choice between Harold Wilson and the Queen, Harold would be history.

I've long though it strange that folk would talk about doing away with the royal family. There seems to be a stumbling block: a lot of stuff belongs to the Queen, and no, you can't have it!

I'm of the opinion that we should go after people with luxury yachts, if they don't do anything that is productive while sucking the lifeblood out of working people's endeavours. Two thousand quid to turn the effin' thing round? 'Attractive people only need apply for jobs.' which to me translates to, ugly people need not apply.

What's that saying? An indicator of God's sense of humour is who he gives money to. Something like that.
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Old 11th Mar 2021, 01:42
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While giving thought to wealth, I found myself looking at the Duke of Westminster's family, being only mindful of Gerald, the 6th Duke. So many years have gone by. An early 2:30AM and clicking on pictures in no particular order. Then I saw this:-

https://www.theguardian.com/society/...rison-reformer

She's giving her life doing something I couldn't do. I'd sooner fly through the ITZ on a bad night than enter a jail. It must take a certain kind of courage, along with strong belief and dedication. I am utterly humbled.
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Old 11th Mar 2021, 03:18
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain etc seem quite happy with their monarchies. This argument often seems to assume that the UK is the only country to have a monarchy. Obviously the monarchies of the aforementioned countries are far less high profile than ours, although their per capita cost to their citizens is often on a par with ours. There are of course many differences between the lifestyles of British and continental kings and queens, but any talk of "bicycling monarchies) is pretty well off the beam. The fact is they are all in principle the same hereditary setups as ours, and frankly I'd rather stick with the system we have, rather than have to go through the shenanigans they have in France (or, God save us, Italy) every few years
From 2016 onwards you could add the UK to nations with political instability too I guess. Very highly functioning nations like Switzerland, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Ireland are all Republics. Saudi Arabia and Brunei are monarchies too.

Whatís the difference between the UK and Netherlands/Denmark/Norway etc? Maybe the latter arenít ruling over a Commonwealth. Maybe the press in this nations are less tabloid. Maybe the nations themselves are a little more grown up and mature. Maybe they lead a more modest life. The Dutch King is a 737 FO for KLM, despite working for the company for over 20 years heís never upgraded or flown widebodies. A sign of humility perhaps?
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Old 11th Mar 2021, 05:05
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I was a big fan of the concept of royalty as "ultimate guardians of the unwritten constitution" right up to the prorogation debacle a couple of years ago. Suddenly I realised that the monarch has no constitutional value whatsoever. They do whatever the moronic government du jour tells them. So what's the point? Then The Crown opened my eyes as to what a sad bunch of sociopaths they are - Charles as number one, though Liz not far behind (and as for the rest of them...)

If they bring more in tourism to the country than they cost, keep them on - funded by the BTB. If not, off with their heads, the whole bunch of dysfunctional sociopaths.
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