Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/669/11959

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 May 2011

Review: The monarchy - reserve weapon of the ruling class?

Tony Mulhearn, photo Harry Smith

Tony Mulhearn, photo Harry Smith   (Click to enlarge)

BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze programme recently dealt with the monarchy against a background of the circus surrounding the wedding of Wills and Kate. The question posed was: Is the monarchy compatible with a truly meritocratic society?
The panel included former Tory minister Michael Portillo and right-wing columnist Clifford Longley. Socialist Party member Tony Mulhearn, one of the Liverpool 47 councillors who fought Thatcher's cuts in the 1980s and former president of the Liverpool district Labour Party, appeared as a 'witness'. Here is Tony's account of the debate:
Anti-Monarchy Protesters against the Royal Wedding, photo Paul Mattsson

Anti-Monarchy Protesters against the Royal Wedding, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The main thrust was that the monarchy was a force for good. Portillo maintained that the monarchy brought 'colour and interest' to people's lives. Longley argued that my 'roundhead' values would provide for a colourless, miserable existence for the masses, as well as maintaining that the monarchy was above class, and above the squalid manoeuvring of politics.

I said that to describe the monarchy as 'above class' was frankly ludicrous; explaining that the queen herself possesses enormous wealth and is the biggest landowner on the planet.

I added that there is no place in a democratic society for an unelected institution which possesses inherited powers.

The UK does not have a written constitution which sets out the rights and duties of the Sovereign, they are established by conventions. These are non-statutory rules which can be just as binding as formal constitutional rules. As a constitutional monarch, theoretically the Sovereign must remain politically neutral.

However, the Sovereign retains an important political role as head of state, formally appointing prime ministers, and approving certain legislation. She has other official roles to play, such as head of the armed forces and head of the police, and can be seen as having two roles: Head of State, and 'Head of the Nation'.

Anti-Monarchy Protesters against the Royal Wedding, photo Paul Mattsson

Anti-Monarchy Protesters against the Royal Wedding, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

In circumstances of a fundamental conflict of interests between capital and labour it is not inconceivable that, under pressure from capitalism, the monarch could refuse to sign an Act which, for instance, nationalised the commanding heights of the economy under workers' control and management.

In November 1975 the Queen's representative Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, dismissed Labour's Gough Whitlam as prime minister and appointed right-wing Malcolm Fraser as a caretaker prime minister. Thus an unelected vice-regal representative had removed from office a government which commanded a majority in the House of Representatives.

It would be impossible to believe that this action was taken without the approval of the British monarchy. Portillo dismissed this example of Royal political action by first saying it was a civil servant's mistake, then later in the programme saying he didn't believe it. He maintained that societies were fairer in countries where monarchies existed.

Anti-Monarchy Protesters against the Royal Wedding, photo Paul Mattsson

Anti-Monarchy Protesters against the Royal Wedding, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

If time allowed I could have given many other examples of the reactionary role of monarchies.

The Moral Maze did provide a limited platform to explain the class nature of the monarchy, but against the universal sycophancy of the media and the unrivalled ability of the British state to stage an extravagant event at considerable expense to the long-suffering tax payer, it was a peashooter opposing a hostile tank formation.

Great play was made of poll after poll indicating mass support among the population for the continuation of the monarchy. If the wording on such a poll was: 'Do you support an unelected institution having the power to frustrate the will of a democratically elected government' I think we would see a different outcome.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 4 May 2011:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS Cuts: Stop the Con-Dem wreckers

NHS: Stop the Connaught closure


Youth fight for jobs

Join the Jarrow march!


Socialist Party editorial

Cracks grow in Con-Dem coalition


Socialist Party feature

Cuts hit disabled people hard


Socialist Party news and analysis

Review: The monarchy - reserve weapon of the ruling class?

May Day in Kazakhstan marked by attacks on socialists

Coventry residents' victory over Academy land snatch

Fast news


Socialist Party workplace news

More teachers vote for pensions strike ballot

Rotherham teachers strike again to defend their union rep

National Shop Stewards Network


Socialist Party feature

Paris commune 1871: When workers "stormed heaven".


Already posted on the Socialist Party website

Osama Bin Laden - killed by US forces

Socialists elected to leading positions in Greenwich Unite

Solidarity action builds for BP/Vivergo Saltend workers


 

Home   |   The Socialist 4 May 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Royal Family:

triangleEd Balls: 'Speaking Out' for capitalism

triangleBook review: Spy drama gives insight into capitalist coup plot

triangleQueen celebrates longest reign - let's make it the last!

trianglePrivileged perks for Kate and Wills... Maternity cuts for us!

triangleMonarchy - not just a 'harmless relic'

Monarchy:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangle1917revolution.org website to launch

triangleThem & Us

Liverpool:

triangleStrikers rally in Liverpool

triangleLiverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

triangleNew ebook: Liverpool A City That Dared To Fight

Labour:

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

Tony Mulhearn:

triangleFilm - Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast

State:

triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

Queen:

triangle'Paradise' for billionaires - austerity for us

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

13/12/17

The Socialist

The Socialist's 2017 quiz

6/12/17

Fire

The Socialist Inbox

6/12/17

Surrey

Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane

6/12/17

Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

30/11/17

Theatre

Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

22/11/17

Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears

22/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

15/11/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

15/11/17

Abortion

TV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

15/11/17

Vietnam war

Comprehensive account of bloody conflict

8/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

8/11/17

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017

8/11/17

Theatre

Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

1/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

More ...

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2