Crown of Bolesław I the Brave, Duke of Poland, photo by Gryffindor (Creative Commons)

Crown of Bolesław I the Brave, Duke of Poland, photo by Gryffindor (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Paul Callanan

Many people will have watched with extreme indifference Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday celebrations.

Some may even have felt slightly nauseous as they watched left-wing politicians, such as Jeremy Corbyn and ‘Red Ken’ Livingstone, send their most insincere best wishes.

The reason for the apathy is because many see the monarchy as, at best, a huge waste of money. We are told she has no real power and is just a figurehead. And on the face of it, this is right.

But in truth, the continuation of the monarchy is a danger to the workers’ movement in the future. The queen still holds powers such as the right to dissolve governments, call elections – and declare martial law.

The capitalist class – the real power behind the throne – has resorted to some of these powers within living memory.

In 1975, the bosses used them to dismiss Gough Whitlam’s democratically elected ‘radical’ Labour government in Australia. This was in spite of its relatively modest programme.

The anti-democratic reserve powers of the monarchy, alongside the police and the army, are among the last lines of defence against movements that threaten capitalist rule.

That is why socialists say the monarchy, along with the House of Lords, must be abolished.

We congratulate Mrs Windsor on reaching 90 – after travelling the world, and being waited on hand and foot, at the expense of Britain’s workers. There will be no place for the feudal institution of the monarchy in a socialist society.