Posted 20 hours ago

Abolish the Monarchy: Why we should and how we will

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But what is new is a public less tolerant and more critical of that behaviour and the family's loss of their trump card, the Queen. I used to volunteer in Graham Smith’s organisation, so a lot of these arguments and how he tells them is very familiar. Graham Smith shows what fools our rotten constitution makes of us, with a monarch as emblem of a country beset by nepotism, backhanders, chumocracy and inherited privilege. I am in favour of a republic, but I am not entirely convinced by his arguments for keeping the Westminster system of democracy.

I appreciated the author’s direct but informative attempts to speak about republics in a hopeful but practical way. The book also sets out a clear blueprint, not just of what kind of republic we should aspire to be – something that is often lacking in other republican texts – but also of the road to that republic. For those who think we should just leave them to be as they do no harm, read this book s it may just change your view.They say Britain should be proud to have the mother of parliaments, to be a shining beacon of democracy and an example to other nations. My only wish is that the author will produce a cheat sheet of all the stats and arguments summarised and ready to either draw on - when doing demonstrations or in discussions on the streets - or, better still, commit to memory.

Graham Smith makes very clear the type of British presidency he wants is one that is strictly defined in terms of powers and responsibilities, not a massive Executive/Imperial presidency like in France or the USA, never mind Russia. When the police clapped him in handcuffs, Graham Smith was preparing to perform that most fearful of treasons: shuffle around Trafalgar Square waving a placard bearing the words ‘Not my king’.But due to their protections from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, yet again the whole picture is not easy to obtain. Smith believes that monarchy’s failings are so self-evident that it is unnecessary to treat it seriously as a system of government. This only adds urgency to the need for wider political reform, beyond the limited tinkering proposed by proponents of electoral reform or an elected upper house. At just over 200-page the shortest polemic which effectively dismisses all the arguments for the monarchy. He offers up a familiar list of royal peccadilloes – King Charles’s petulance, Prince Andrew’s promiscuity, Prince William’s indolence – and slays sacred cows along the way: Queen Elizabeth II was a tax evader; her mother was a racist; their Tudor and Stuart precursors were slave traders.

Most worrying is the way in which we have created a ruling elite that can bypass the elected Parliament. A crucial, riveting polemic in support of one of the most precious things humanity has built - democracy itself. Smith is hazy on the itinerary, but that doesn’t stop him looking forward to a time when the ‘champions of our most cherished shared values’ appear in place of the king on stamps, and the likes of Carol Ann Duffy are put to work writing a republican constitution.

There are however, valuable discussions about the possibility of the UK one day having a singular codified (written constitution).

This is a labour of love that explains in accessible detail the constitutional and societal problems caused and influenced by having a monarchy. Smith’s sixteen hours in police custody has generated more publicity for his organisation than the eighteen years he’s toiled away campaigning to replace the monarch with an elected head of state.Smith diagnoses this extraordinary episode, which culminated in the Supreme Court resorting to a legal fiction to annul Boris Johnson’s six-week suspension of Parliament, as a failure of monarchy. This is Graham Smith’s experience of attending innumerable public and media debates with defenders of the institution.

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