May 31 2012
According to the result of a new survey a large swathe of the UK’s public opinion is largely indifferent to the royals.
The British republican movement, meanwhile, is seeking democratic reform in the country and a rejection of inherited power and privilege. The movement believes that the monarchy is wrong in principle, in practice and it is wrong politically.
The republican movement says, in a democratic society, there is no room for a head of state who is put there for life and by birth.
In practice the monarchy is an institution that is not fit for purpose, according to republicans, who believe that it is hugely costly with an estimated £202 million a year, which is enough to pay for thousands of teachers, nurses or police officers at a time of sweeping public spending cuts.
Politically, republicans say, the monarchy is wrong because — contrary to what is believed by many here and abroad — it is a central feature of the UK’s unwritten constitution.
They also say that the Crown in the UK has vast powers that cannot be challenged in a court of law and those powers are exercised by the queen on the instruction of the country’s prime minister.
Those powers include considerable patronage — the ability to appoint bishops, government ministers, heads of public bodies and so on — as well as the power to go to war, sign treaties and change the law through the little-understood Privy Council.
As a national figurehead and leading public figure the queen has utterly failed to do anything of note or worth. After 60 years who can quote a famous speech or point to a moment of crisis or celebration when the queen offered leadership and inspiration? Republicans ask.