Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England

    Monarchy - what does everyone think?

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Lemex, Nov 16, 2014.

    Ok, so as everyone knows the UK has a monarch the queen as the head of state. It is a rule divided between herself and parliament, thanks to the Restoration, which followed a slight disagreement between two halves of the country, cheerily described by one historian as the most blood-thirsty conflict ever to take place on British soil.

    The question I want to ask is this: what does everyone think about the British monarchy? Are the British monarchy actually important, or are they an archaism that should have gone a long time ago?

    I'm going to be honest here, I'm what in Britain is called a Republican. A Republican here is someone who wants to see the UK as a republic, and get rid of the monarchy all together - it has nothing to do with the American Republicans. Being completely honest I find the monarchy is the most embarrassing fetish my country clings to in the name of 'tradition'; and while I like tradition in a cute, antiquarian sort of way, I have no interest in a tradition running a country in the modern world.
     
    Christopher Snape. likes this.
  2. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,014
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Are you asking everyone, or just those who are subjects of the crown? As a non-subject, you know I have my fascination for what seems, from my vantage point, which may not take all things into account, and I cannot think what other caveats to add, a quaint vestige of an old system. The rest of the governing system of which the royals once represented the apex, the other nobles and on down to the landed gentry, that would have made up the rest of the ruling and governing system, appear to be gone, or left with titles and nothing else much. I understand that even the now-much-reduced House of Lords may see its final hour if Labour wins.

    I do get the idea that the royal family also serves as a representation to the people of an idealized family unit. In a way, they are (were) supposed to represent a standard of English life, perhaps not economically, but morally and ethically, which in a strange way makes them the embodiment of a very grand social lie.

    As a yank who doesn't revile the idea of monarchy or any other governmental system that isn't "USA Approved", despite the extremely earnest training I had as a child to be repelled by actual royals (fantasy Disney ones are ok) or socialism or any other -ism that isn't capitalism and democracy, I think the royals are a pretty thing to have as part of your cultural landscape. But the whole thing seems more like a Disney theme park to me than anything actually attached to your government, and like the aforementioned Disney theme park, there is all the tourist revenue to consider. The queen is cute and quaint, but over here we don't actually think about what she has to say. The rest of the royal family are either young celebutantes or so obscure (the older ones) that they don't figure in the landscape. We do stop to listen to David Cameron (Head Boy at Eton become Head Boy at Britain). We can digest and process him in a way we are accustomed to. We know he is your Prime Minister, but, right, wrong or indifferent, every American brain translates that word to President when we think about him or whomever else is in the post at the time.
     
  3. Aled James Taylor
    Offline

    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    462
    Location:
    UK
    I think many people treat the royal family as celebrities, much like any other celebrity. If a royal visits a place, people turn out to see them in much the same way as they might do for a visiting movie star.

    As far as I'm aware, the royals don't have any involvement at all in the passing of new legislation, government policies or the decisions made by the British government. Even the queen's speech at the opening of Parliament is written by the minister.

    It's difficult to see how you could get rid of the royal family. I doubt anyone has the appetite to go down the route the french or the Russians took. It's not like we've adopted the royals of a foreign country that we could simply un-adopt by passing a vote.

    The queen doesn't speak out on any issue and keeps out of politics on purpose.

    At least when there's a parade, we get to see a golden coach and people in fancy costumes uniforms. If it wasn't for the royals, we'd probably have tanks.

    They say that every young girl dreams of being a princess. In Britain, very occasionally, this dream comes true.
     
  4. Ulramar
    Offline

    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 6, 2014
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    My own fantasy world, living the good life
    Apparently Britain pulls in millions in tourist revenue thanks to the Monarchy. And you still come out with a profit after the Royal Family's expenses are covered. So it's a neat little tourist attraction to follow Britain's history.

    As an American it pisses me off because they are, in fact, celebrities (holy shit when the prince or whoever was born my female friends exploded over it) and it reaches over here.

    But they're no worse or better than Kim Kardashian. Actually, let me take that back. At least the British Monarchy got to be famous in a respectable way, and are actually helping people (or trying to).

    Plus, they make no laws. So they are just government celebrities.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  5. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,014
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    But at this point would it really be so bloody an affair as all that? Lots of other European countries still technically have royal families that have just been phased down into curiosities, given a piece of land or two and left to fend for themselves with whatever was left of the royal coffers. Not a drop of blood was spilled.
     
  6. NigeTheHat
    Offline

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    575
    Location:
    London
    Nah. It'd be a referendum or election pledge. There's probably some kind of complicated land ownership stuff that'd need to be worked out - what belongs to the Crown, what belongs to the State - but that's about it.

    The royals don't really hit my radar much. They bring in a bit of tourist money, they don't have any power beyond that of a business leader, and I don't really see any benefit from not having them around.

    @Lemex, what's so embarrassing about them?
     
  7. gwrolls
    Offline

    gwrolls Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    England
    I'm a royalist, so have the opposite opinion to you so this is bound to be different :p

    The idea of monarchy is so quintessentially British in this day and age, as it is the only (debatabley) monarchy popular enough to remain so. The tourism that it brings to the country outweighs how much it costs to maintain and for history geeks, like me, it is just wonderful to see a lineage that stretches back to the time when monarchy really did have ultimate power
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  8. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Open to anyone, I'm interested in all kinds of opinions on this subject.

    Before I say it, understand it's pure opinion - I am not saying it is embarrassing, I'm just saying that I do find it embarrassing.

    I find it embarrassing that people get so wound up about it, and crowds of people come out with union flags and God Save the Queens whenever there is a national event related to them. Now, I live in England, and it might be because I'm not fully English, and have a funny relationship with the idea of the Union (I was pro-Scottish independence) but that England is not my England.

    My England is something else, and considering the Scottish border is only 20 miles away, while London is about 400 miles away, that's hardly a surprise.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  9. Lancie
    Offline

    Lancie Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    146
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    They don't hold power anymore and that's as it should be. As heads of state, icons and all that they serve a purpose but they are more celebrities than anything else in my mind, no matter how much they pretend to be they aren't normal people.

    As a historical institution I find them fascinating, but it's incredibly strange when people camp out for 24 hours to watch them drive past or spend their days crying outside the palace.

    Deep down I just want to know what's in the Queen's handbag.
     
  10. Link the Writer
    Online

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,208
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I personally have no real opinion on the matter, to me they're just an icon of British culture; something to rally around to whenever the need is important. I just note the irony of how we Americans get obsessed with the very thing our forefathers fought against in 1776. When the marriage happened and the birth happened, it was plastered all over our TV and a big deal was made about it. I was all, "Really?"

    So all said and done, I think I side with Lemex. They're an important treasure of British culture, but over all? Eh, they're just one thing in the entire pot that makes up the UK.
     
  11. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,336
    Likes Received:
    3,084
    People get so offended by every little thing these days -racist, religious, homophobic, sexist- I am shocked that not everyone is offended by the concept of a monarchy in a civilized country. Essentially, the message is "this family is more important than you simply because they were born that way."
     
    Christopher Snape. and matwoolf like this.
  12. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,602
    Likes Received:
    5,875
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    The concept is no different than the Angelina Jolie on her ambassador-like missions, or the public's fascination with the Kardashians. But the fact tax dollars pay the Royals and that they personally own so much national treasure I find intolerable from an American POV.
     
  13. Link the Writer
    Online

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,208
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Disney has taught us that the monarchy is a magical place where magic happens, where little fairies and talking mice, singing birds and guffawing dwarves will make all your dreams come true. It's a benevolent thing, and if it's evil? Don't worry, it'll be overthrown by the benevolent monarchy who will rule over us lowly subjects because...because reasons! :p :D We love our benevolent monarchies, we do.

    @GingerCoffee - Wait, I thought she was British... *looks her up* Well I'll be damned, she's American! Guess you learn something new every day.
     
  14. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Please don't remind me of Lady Gaga, it took me months to get that song out my head. :p
     
    Christopher Snape. likes this.
  15. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,014
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    This is very, very true, and it dates well back to the 1960's, the Wonderful World of Walt Disney that most kids today would look askance at for being so old. Walt himself was clearly deeply enthralled with the idea of monarchy (The Magic Kingdom) and the innate glamour that the zeitgeist gives to an ancient, spectacular castle on the hilltop, be it maintained and in use, or even more intriguing, in ruin promising magic and spirits hidden in a single intact room that the adventurous lad or lass will discover and whisk! off they go to magic and adventure. In effect, Disney trained many of us of a certain age to view the English countryside as populated by elegant Tolkien elves and other charming folk of the heath and the hollow.
     
  16. Aled James Taylor
    Offline

    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    462
    Location:
    UK
    Don't forget the dragons! I'm from Wales and we have a dragon on our flag. It's much better than those English lions any day. And lions aren't even native to England.
     
    Lemex likes this.
  17. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,014
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Just to add, the royal family are not the only ones who receive tax money. I discovered very recently that here and there across the breadth of England, there are still a very few "Downton Abbeys" up and running, not turned over to the national trust. Holkham Hall being a spectacular (depending on your POV) example of this. The house is gobsmacking, the lands are extensive (25,000 acres, thank you very much), the Lord and Lady are in residence with their children, the staff (much reduced and modernized) is present too. I made comment on how much it must cost to maintain this super-mega-deluxe extravagance and it was explained to me that though the lord is rather thrifty and industrious in using his lands to generate revenue, part of the cost is offset by the fact that the Lord receives (not pays) taxes on his lordship's lands. As a yank, I found it scandalous that a citizen would directly receive taxes in this manner.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Aled James Taylor
    Offline

    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    462
    Location:
    UK
    I think the term 'tax' is actually a reference to 'rent' paid by farmers for the use of the land. The fact that the vast majority of these stately homes are in the hands of the national trust just shows how little money (comparatively) these people usually have these days.
     
  19. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    What I would give to spend a week in that library!
     
    Christopher Snape. likes this.
  20. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,702
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    I too see no difference between the Royal Family vs. any other kind of celebrity.
     
    Aled James Taylor likes this.
  21. NigeTheHat
    Offline

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    575
    Location:
    London
    It's not quite as simple as that. The monarchy is funded by the Crown Estate. The monarchy used to get a fixed allowance from the revenue, but recently that became 15%.

    What national treasure do the royals own? Seriously, I don't know. I thought their assets were almost entirely owned by the government, beyond Balmoral, Sandringham and the Duchy of Cornwall.
     
  22. Aled James Taylor
    Offline

    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    462
    Location:
    UK
    How about the crown jewels? They might actually belong to the state, I don't know.
     
  23. NigeTheHat
    Offline

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    575
    Location:
    London
    The Crown Jewels are state-owned, that much I do know.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,936
    Likes Received:
    5,473
    I see the British monarchy as a walking, talking, ribbon-cutting museum. Harmless, interesting, historical, but certainly not essential.
     
    Christopher Snape. likes this.
  25. Link the Writer
    Online

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,208
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    Same here. Why were we not born in that class so we could spend days in that library? :cry:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page