Republic or Monarchy? A choice and a voice for the British people

  • by: Roger Smith
  • recipient: Decision makers and opinion leaders who value freedom and equality

Is it time for a referendum on whether Britain should remain a monarchy or whether it should modernise and reform? Will you sign this petition to ask opinion leaders, journalists, and decision makers to work towards an inclusive and progressive future for all the people of the UK?

Every so often the spotlight that is routinely on the Windsors shows the public something controversial. The stage management appears to falter. The media engages in damage limitation exercises before directing attention to an unrelated issue. The Crown is rescued from prolonged criticism and in due course resumes its customary stature.

However, recent reports show a degree of uncertainty about the royal family and constitutional monarchy as a form of government. One reason for this is Megxit. If those born to privilege can "walk away" from their circumstances others realise they'd like to be free to do that too. In a society where life chances are based mainly on the family you are born to, it isn't easy for the majority to simply walk away from their lot in life. People in the 10 percent of the population who own 90 percent of the wealth will have more options than the 90 percent of people who own 10 percent of the wealth.

Although this pattern of wealth distribution is common to many countries the extent to which it is based on inheritance may be unique to the UK. One reason for this is that an example of strict inheritance of advantage and power exists at the highest level of British society. If it's possible to inherit the position of head of state by succession to the throne, why would anyone complain if people inherit, for example, a guaranteed place at a prominent school or university, and then a professional career as a doctor or lawyer? This is at the core of a reward for failure culture. Is it time to reward measurable and proven accomplishment instead?

Almost everyone born in the United Kingdom is groomed from infancy to accept monarchy and aristocracy and therefore the concept of predictably inherited opportunity. If we continue to respect artificial divisions that border on segregation we enable the few to inherit advantage, celebrity, and influence without considering whether they will use it in the interests of a wider community. We also allow many to inherit disadvantage without reference to their gifts or effort. Is this, as a nation, what we want to do? Is it fair?

More importantly, is it productive? What the talented and gifted people of this country could contribute to solving global problems will likely remain a mystery. Voices of people not approved by or connected to the establishment will be drowned out by the voices of those who are favoured. As the problems facing humanity increase in complexity we need to hear from people who can think five steps ahead, not merely the one step required to protect personal interests at the expense of the majority.

We tolerate a mind-numbing array of double standards and contradictions in Britain. Monarchy and democracy, convention and written law, enforced deference and recognition for accomplishment, nepotism and competition: These things are treated as being compatible when it makes more sense to insist they are mutually exclusive. Perhaps the most obvious double standard is that in a society that makes genuine efforts to be multicultural, our head of state is at present, and potentially always will be, from one hereditarily privileged white family. Is that consistent with a policy of diversity? Is that fair?

The adult British population obviously values the electoral process, and we think of ourselves as a democracy. But we have an unelected head of state - the monarch - who has important reserve powers, and an unelected upper chamber in Westminster - the House of Lords - that has a role in the law making process. Should we elect our head of state and enjoy a fully elected national legislature?

Our elected parliamentarians must take an oath to the Crown if they wish to sit in Parliament. Should they take an oath to the British people instead?

Is Britain going to be a museum of imperialism or a dynamic modern republic? It could be a democracy that protects equality of opportunity while working cooperatively on global solutions to environmental threats, poverty, and disease. It is a matter of ensuring the best intellects are working on these issues, not just people with a sense of entitlement. Intelligence isn't predictably inherited, although title and position clearly can be.

Doesn't everyone deserve a choice about how they are governed, and about how they want their country to be seen by the rest of the world? Should we have a written constitution and become a democratic republic?

Please support a referendum on the future of Britain. We can move forward to becoming a republic of laws that protect all people or remain a monarchy of traditions that favour an over-privileged minority. Comments about either outcome would be welcome from everyone. What is important is that British people have a choice, and that their voices are listened to.

Update #1about a year ago
Dear Signatories. Thank you for supporting the petition about the constitutional future of Britain. At the suggestion of Care2 the title has been changed to Republic or Monarchy? A choice and a voice for the British people. If you know of anyone who might like to sign it please consider sharing the petition (if you haven't already done so). Once again, sincere appreciation.
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