Even a cat can look at a queen, but this one doesn’t like all the brouhaha she sees, and of course hates that fricking thimble on her head!
After all, cats are royalty too. Gi-Gi, an unpleased Canadian cat, comes courtesy of pinch-blogger Greg Mayer, who spotted the photo on the BBC’s gallery of Diamond Jubilee images.
Just for my own interest, how many Commonwealth readers think the royalty should be abolished? I’ve been surprised at how many liberal Brits, for instance, argue for the retention of their monarchy.
161 thoughts on “We are not amused”
As an American I think the royalty should completely be abolished and am amazed how anyone could support their very existence. I am beginning to think some people want to be ruled.
I think if we *were* ruled in any real sense, then there would be a problem. However, the Queen’s role is almost entirely symbolic, and all royal authority is delegated to the House of Commons and House of Lords.
I’d much rather have the Queen and the history and tradition she represents than an elected head of state: we’d just end up with another boring politician in a suit, pandering to the electorate.
Though I am a little concerned about the lack of critical thinking sometimes displayed by The Prince of Wales (Charles), and some of the extended Royal Family can get annoying when they try and take personal advantage of their celebrity.
Benjamin (from the United Kingdom)
I agree with Benjamin. A lot of Americans seem to be under the impression that the British monarchy “rules” Britain. It does not. The Queen is a figurehead only and the monarchy is more about heritage and tradition than politics. Britain is no less democratic than the USA and in some ways it is more so. The British people overwhelmingly support the retention of the monarchy so what people from other countries, even Commonwealth ones, think about it is completely irrelevant. I enjoy watching all the ‘pomp and circumstance’ and seeing how the crowds get behind it.
Gayle (from New Zealand – a “Commonwealth” country)
And it gives a relatively uncontroversial figure for the crowds to celebrate. We see just as big crowds in the US, of course, worshipping the President of the moment, but I always wonder whether the half of them that voted against him are hoping for a fortuitous bolt of lightning, or whether the Pres suddenly gets sanctified when he wins the election…
There’s ignorance on both sides of course. Raise the spectre of a President as Head of State for the UK and you will be assailed with deeply unpleasant images of George W Bush and Sarkozy. Whereas, in reality, the President will be more like Ireland’s recently elected one.
Now, who was that again???
Can’t find the quote, but somewhere Gore Vidal said it best: America would be far better off if it had Royalty so they could do the ceremonial things that we require of our presidents- cutting ribbons, saying the pledge of allegiance and eating hotdogs (or whatever the special food is in whatever town or state. So the President can do the actual work.
Agree. Better to have an apolitical head of state, with nothing more than a ceremonial role in the legislature, the judiciary and the military.
Note that the monarch stands as the personification of the people of the UK; e.g., murder cases are Regina (or Rex) vs. so-and-so.
But it is still more than a little annoying that Charles is so full of woo, but people pay attention because of who he is. With any luck the crown might skip a generation… That would also avoid the constitutional embarrassment of a king’s consort who isn’t a queen.
Not strictly correct. Serious crime in Scotland is prosecuted in the name of the Lord Advocate. The indictment runs HMA v –.
Utimately, it’s the same thing but thought I would point this out for the sake of accuracy.
Not sure about your second point. If HM The Queen were run over by the proverbial bus tomorrow Charles would automatically be King and his wife, Queen. This is something Parliament would need to legislate for before the death of the Queen.
Ask them how they’d feel if that woo-meister Charles becomes king.
Concerned. See above. But he’d likely have less freedom to pontificate about his nonsense.
What surprises me is how many Americans go absolutely ga-ga over British royalty.
Me, too. My mom couldn’t stop talking about the respect the Queen showed for her subjects by standing up through the ceremony rather than have a seat in her gilded jewel-encrusted throne.
Yeah, I couldn’t believe the amount of people gushing over the Queen’s jubilee, or when Prince What’s-his-name married Who’s-her-face. It’s really quite bizarre.
I believe you are thinking of Lord Faversham.
We beed to end the monarchy in Canada. It us 2012 there are no room for people who are by birth given title over other people.
+1 from a Brit
I’m an ex-pat Brit – 55 years in Canada – who values the monarchy for its political value.
When one witnesses the nonsense that goes with Presidential Elections in other countries, including yours, we in the Commonwealth should delighted that we are fortunate enough to have a Constitutional Monarchy.
Really? are you trying to say that the same “nonsense” does not go in British parliamentary elections?
It really doesn’t. But that’s not because we have a monarch as head of state. It’s because we have fewer religious extremists as politicians. Oh – and a strict limit on electoral campaign spending.
That was my point. I couldn’t see how having a monarch would suddenly reduce any electoral “nonsense”.
Well, we avoid the additional nonsense of a presidential election. See: France.
Having read the few comments since I submitted mine, I think the main reason why people really hate the idea of Monarchy is a combination of envy and jealousy. As for the comment by Mordacious about Charles – everyone knows he’s a woo-meister and a prick, but the value of a constitutional monarch is that as such their power to screw things up are virtually nil – unlike the powers of a president.
Excuse me, but envy and jealousy of what? Of not having even a hope of being able to remove someone like Charles from the “head of state” position at the next election even if he piles on embarrassment after embarrassment?
But your Prime Minister certainly has power to screw things up. So it’s not like the monarchy somehow immunizes you against bad government.
Benjamin, a resident Brit, said it very well. The comments haven’t improved very much. I should point out, especially to the gentleman from India that I am a monarchist NOT a royalist. There is quite a difference – I’m sure an OED will help.
I am sorry Mr Perkins, but when I am asked to check a dictionary I usually do. Here is how the online version of OED defines the term royalist:
a person who supports the principle of monarchy or a particular monarchy.
To be fair, it offers two other definitions too, but they seem to relate rather specifically to political scenarios in the US and Britain a few centuries ago.
Let’s turn to your self-applied appellation of “monarchist”. The word “monarchist” is not found in the online version at least, though we do find
Now I am thoroughly confused as to what the sophisticated difference between a “monarchist” and a “royalist” is supposed to be. The OED, which you suggested, I am inclined to say, does not appear to be of much help in resolving this subtlety.
Also, for the sake of completeness, I should point out that the online version of OED was set to “US English” in my citations above. In the interests of fairness, I changed the settings to “World English”. The results, I am afraid to announce, remained identical.
Hi: the definitions I used hark back to The Civil War in Britain, most defnitely NOT a happy time for the inhabitants of that unfortunate land, and, coincidentally, its one and only attempt at a republican form of government. The word ‘royalist’ meant support for the King, whereas ‘monarchist’ meant support for the concept of a constitutional monarchy. The difference is admittedly very subtle – I apologise if my Brit. arrogance was very obvious.
Not true she and charlie have to be consulted by government on anything that affects the business of the Duchy of Lancaster and Cornwall, respectively.
Since they claim exception from FOI we have no idea what they are discussing. Somewhat worrying when you see his views on pretty much every subject (even his views on architecture only really find favour since his own ideas don’t get out much).
As for the nonsense of the US presidential elections firstly you seem to be assuming we would only go for the US style as opposed to retaining PM and then a lesser powered president.
Also you do know the PM ends up with serious powers by virtue of the delegation of sovereign powers? Far more (relatively speaking) than a US president so its nonsense to try the argument that the power to screw things up doesn’t exist.
“you do know the PM ends up with serious powers by virtue of the delegation of sovereign powers?”
In practice, that’s just a formal formula.
I don’t think there’s any real possibility of a royal veto.
Indeed: look what happened when Harper asked the GG to proroque Parliament — she rubber-stamped it. Had she not, *that* would have been exercising Royal power (an outcome I personally would have preferred in that case, notwithstanding the principles at stake). Ironically, Harper as the authoritarian traditionalist he is, has re-emphasized the Monarchy, so he really couldn’t complain should Her Majesty’s representative choose to meddle in partisan politics.
No, the real reason people hate the monarchy is because it is utterly immoral for one person to be “better” than another on the basis of birth.
Absolutely! All we ask is for the right to be able to CHOOSE who our Head of State is. Many monarchists insist the monarchy is so popular that the entire nation would vote for Mrs. Windsor, and then when she eventually dies all miraculously switch allegiance to Charles. Well, maybe, but I don’t think even they believe it. But either way, let’s find the truth: put it to the vote!
How about the cost of maintaining the royals?
At least Lady Gaga sells tickets and works it out (not very hard, admittedly ..)
The queen costs each tax payer approximately £1.50 per year, but through her estate and tourism (a lot of Americans!) She brings in over £6.00 per tax payer per year, a damn sight more than lady Gaga (who is a talentless waste of space in my opinion).
I’m no royalist or monarchist more I am proud of my British heritage and our long history.
This small island, barely visible on the globe, used to control a massive expanse of the world, second only, I believe, to the romans! The queen and her ancestors/descendants may have devolved power to a parliament but they are still as important to the decision making process and are very important to this great nation.
I see no worth from abolishing the monarchy now or ever.
The royalists are getting their arguments confused.
Above, we saw one argue that it was fine to have a monarchy, because the monarch has no real power. Here, we see one argue that it is fine to have a monarchy, because the monarch is still as important to the decision making process as they ever were.
Which is it?
Its kind of both.
parliament put into action bills and legislature and generally decide the rules and laws, but its the monarch that signs them off. This process ensures that there is a certain lack of bias between political sects. Britain generally flits between 2 political parties labour and conservative at each general election. having a single unbiased point of contact ensures that laws are fair, proportional and not just brought in and out dependant on the current pm.
and I am no royalist, I just happen to have a deep respect for my countries history and heritage, and am proud to server in this woman’s military, in her honour.
You ascribe far to much to the act of royal assent. The Queen really has no power to moderate legislation. Essentially she would sign any bill that came from her parliament. It is the parliamentary process that ensures, as far as it can, that laws are fair, proportional and just.
As a person of Indian origin living in Canada, I am unequivocally against the monarchy.
If we need a figurehead to perform ceremonial duties, then one can have a President who is head of state performing ceremonial duties, and the Prime Minister and his/her cabinet that governs. This is what we have in India, and it seems to work quite well. In Canada, we have a Governor General performing ceremonial duties as head of state acting as the Queen’s representative. We should get rid of the Queen /King of England as Head of State, since they are not Canadians.
Royalty and democracy are incompatible, much like religion and science.
India still has royals though no? Like the Rajput Princes are still around, living in their palaces, etc.
Anyway the British state doesn’t keep their Sovreigns because of a need for ceremonial duties (remove the Monarch, and you remove the ceremonies for the most part anyway!). The British state exists /because of/ the monarch, it’s not just some add-on to an independent democracy. To get rid of the Monarch you’d effectively have to have a revolution, it’d be an overthrow of the entire state, although admittedly it’d be a fairly painless one, and what replaces it would more or less resemble the current government w/o the Royals.
But still, in principle the british government is based on the Monarchy, like the american government is based on things like the Dec. of Indep. If you remove the base, you’re effectively removing the whole structure. When the southern states seceded in the US, they didn’t just keep the same government, they tore up the Constitution and wrote a new one. The Crown is the british constitution.
No, we do not have royalty in India. Royal titles were abolished sometime in the 1960s, I think, if not earlier.
I think that no Indian can get a title like “Lord” or be knighted, no hereditary titles are allowed; it is simply undemocratic to have such titles.
Though yes, some of those erstwhile princes are still quote rich, and sort of appended those titles to their names when the titles were legally abolished. Nothing in Indian law prevents you from attaching “Prince” to your name if you want to.
Though of course, none of those are real “titles” with any official sanctions anymore.
Nice, I have that exact same jewelry box (aka the crown) in pink.
I have the same cat, though not the jewelry box. It’s very worrying . . .
Say what you will but the cat looks darn cute with the crown. Much better than with an American flag pin.
Technically I am a Commonwealth citizen (though India does not consider the British monarch the head of state), and I am all for abolition of royalty. I can’t imagine by what tortuous argument a democracy can justify enshrining special privileges for a family by law.
It doesn’t matter if they’re only figureheads. Sure, you can find exorbitantly wealthy families anywhere. But I certainly can’t imagine an amendment to the American constitution being passed that stipulates the Joneses down the street, and their descendants, will henceforth always have access to the finest everything and live lives of total ease.
An English friend remarked to me the other day that he was surprised at all the attention Americans paid to the Queen. (And in America, if there’s no further modifier, “the Queen” means the Queen of England). I replied that for Americans it’s great– we can get as much (or as little) of the pomp, circumstance, and soap opera as we want, but don’t have to pay for it!
Too true. My US wife has been glued to the Jubilee jollifications, just as she was to The Wedding of the Century. (Me, I can never get straight which prince it was that Kate Middleton married.)
I believe she married the one who is actually Charles’s son.
You mean the other one is that Harrod’s owner grandson?
I’m a liberal Brit living in the US (so you can imagine how far even you lot look to me!).
In my teens and 20s I used to think the royal family was an expensive luxury the country could do without, while the whole aristocratic thing was morally obnoxious. Later, though, I began to realize that there were two sides to the argument, and went from “absolutely anti” to “undecided”.
I still find the notion that an accident of birth puts some minor scion of the Windsor family higher up the social pecking order than, say, Stephen Hawking; my repugnance for this is the same as my repugnance for, say, racism — that accidents of birth should neither privilege some over other nor, perhaps even more important, be perceived as making some people better than others.
At the same time, though, I think there’s a good case to be made that what the UK spends on the royal family is a sensible investment. During these past few days, while absolutely appalled by the extravagant outlay on pomp and ostentation at a time when there are Britons subsisting on the streets and far, far too many UK kids living below the poverty line — at a time when the disgusting Tory Prime Minister David Cameron is enforcing spending cuts on the poorest members of society because “the country can’t afford welfare programmes” — I’ve seen that all over the world hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of people have been led to think positive things about the UK. It may be true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity; but it’s also true that huge bundles of good publicity can’t help but have major benefits.
Now, spending all the money lavished on the Jubilee crap on the BBC instead might have been a better plan: in terms of international benefit the BBC’s the best investment the Brits could ever hope for (how many Yanks do you know who use the Beeb as a primary TV news source rather than CNN, MSNBC, ABC, whoever?). But it’s certainly arguable that the UK is currently reaping, because of the Jubilee junketing, a benefit well worth its annual expenditure on the royalty.
An aside to AnonAtheist. You say: “I am beginning to think some people want to be ruled.”
I couldn’t agree with you more, but this is a misconceived comment in the current discussion; the US is far more ruled by its president than the UK is by its monarch. In terms of rulership, the royal family is purely symbolic. Remember, even back in the days when Edward VII thought Hitler was a jolly good chap and then George VI started tending that way, the UK parliamentary system was able to stomp such vile lunacy. (In more recent times, it’s thought the Queen played a small but non-negligible role in retarding Margaret Thatcher’s demolition of the country.)
@mordacious1: “Ask them how they’d feel if that woo-meister Charles becomes king.”
He’s not all bad! He’s a Goon Show fan!
Okay, let’s proofread. This Sierra Nevada Torpedo is just too damn’ fine:
I’m a liberal Brit living in the US (so you can imagine how far to the right even you lot look to me!).
In my teens and 20s I used to think the royal family was an expensive luxury the country could do without, while the whole aristocratic thing was morally obnoxious. Later, though, I began to realize that there were two sides to the argument, and went from “absolutely anti” to “undecided”.
I still find repugnant the notion that an accident of birth puts some minor scion of the Windsor family higher up the social pecking order than, say, Stephen Hawking; my repugnance for this is the same as my repugnance for, say, racism — that accidents of birth should neither privilege some people over others nor, perhaps even more important, be perceived as making some people better than others.
At the same time, though, I think there’s a good case to be made that what the UK spends on the royal family is a sensible investment. During these past few days, while absolutely appalled by the extravagant outlay on pomp and ostentation at a time when there are Britons subsisting on the streets and far, far too many UK kids living below the poverty line — at a time when the disgusting Tory Prime Minister David Cameron is enforcing spending cuts on the poorest members of society because “the country can’t afford it” — I’ve seen that all over the world hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of people have been led to think positive things about the UK. It may be true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity; but it’s also true that huge bundles of good publicity can’t help but have major benefits.
Now, spending all the money lavished on the Jubilee crap might have been better spent on the BBC: in terms of international benefit the BBC’s the best investment the Brits could ever hope for (how many Yanks do *you* know who use the Beeb as a primary TV news source rather than CNN, MSNBC, ABC, whoever?). But it’s certainly arguable that the UK is currently reaping, because of the Jubilee junketing, a benefit well worth its annual expenditure on the royalty.
*An aside to AnonAtheist. You say: “I am beginning to think some people want to be ruled.”*
I couldn’t agree with you more, but this is a misconceived comment in the current discussion; the US is far more ruled by its president than the UK is by its monarch. In terms of rulership, the royal family is purely symbolic. Remember, even back in the days when Edward VII thought Hitler was a jolly good chap and then George VI started tending that way, the UK parliamentary system was able to stomp such vile lunacy. (That said, in more recent times, it’s thought the Queen played a small but non-negligible role in retarding Margaret Thatcher’s demolition of the country.)
@mordacious1: “Ask them how they’d feel if that woo-meister Charles becomes king.”
He’s not all bad! He’s a Goon Show fan!
Compared with the outlay on something as silly as Olympic Games, some royal pomp and circumstance makes a very good return on relatively low investment.
What your argument boils down to is, “the hereditary principle is morally obnoxious, but it has practical uses, so I’m fine with it”.
Forgive me if I’m less than entirely convinced.
Whatever hypothetical gains the hereditary monarchy has (that we couldn’t get some other way, say with an elected King) they cannot possibly outweigh the moral abomination of bringing up millions of children thinking that they are NOT the equal of anyone; that the value of a person SHOULD be determined by which vagina they were squeezed out of.
“What your argument boils down to is, “the hereditary principle is morally obnoxious, but it has practical uses, so I’m fine with it”.”
Actually, that isn’t what my argument boils down to at all.
Banksy the artist:-
“how many Commonwealth readers think the royalty should be abolished [in Canada]?”
I and Bob Hepburn do: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1203263–the-queen-three-steps-for-canada-to-replace-the-monarchy
As a Canadian, although I remember lining up to watch various members of the monarchy on their tours as a child, I am indifferent to that particular piece of history and wouldn’t mind if we declared independence. However, given that it is for the most part a figurehead role, it is not something that concern me half so much as say the fact that my home province of Ontario still funds Catholic schools.
I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. The funding of Catholic schools by the province of Ontario is incompatible with a secular constitution.
Ravi (from Brampton, Ontario, Canada)
I’m British, and I have roughly the same attitude. The presence of Church of England bishops in the House of Lords, and still some hereditary lords, is worse, and easier to persuade people that it needs fixing. Similarly the state-funded CofE, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim schools.
Get rid of all of that, and you’d have a state with far less hereditary/religious power. It rarely comes up whether Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden etc. need to get rid of their monarchy – perhaps because theirs have been downsized already. Cut away the big problems, and then you can decide whether the privileges for the figurehead family can go too.
Yes. Get the Bishops out. And remove the Queen as the head of the Church of England while we’re at it. Let’s have no official state religion.
I’m a Brit and don’t see the point of the monarchy, I think the problem in general that Brits have is that they probably relate a republic/president system with America, which is a bit silly, but that’s my suspicion.
As a Canadian, I think the monarchy like religion has had more than their moment in history. It’s time to turn both pages and look to a Humanist future.
I’m Canadian and I think it should be abolished. That said I think the royalty (or at least their representatives) still have some important responsibilities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008%E2%80%932009_Canadian_parliamentary_dispute look up “governor general”) but these responsibilities shouldn’t be linked to monarchy and definitely can’t justify its extravagance. The other argument for monarchy would be to have someone that spans different administrations in order to advise, but again monarchy isn’t the best choice for this, and it only really works for monarchs that have lasted as long as Elizabeth II.
I thought that the anglophone Canadians support the monarchy for the simple reason that the francophones don’t ! 😉
Speaking only w.r.t. the Canadian facet of the monarchy: I don’t much care either way (except that the current heir apparent is a fool and an embarrassment). As a political institution it seems to work, but I’m happy to discuss alternatives. I do think the pomp and circumstance should be taken down a notch or ten, though. The remaining Continental monarchies seem much lower key.
As an Australian, I am a member of the Commonwealth. I am happy for the British to retain their constitutional monarchy as it makes sense in the context of British History.
I support a Republic in Australia, as Monarchy does not make sense here. We are a republic in all but name. In our major constitutional crisis, when a Governor General sacked a Prime Minister, in 1975, the British Monarchy made it very clear that it was an Australian problem not a British one. This clearly showed that the Governor General was the effective Head of State, not the Queen.
Currently our Governor General is effectively appointed by the Prime Minister. The proposal in the 1998 referendum was that the Head of State be appointed by a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament. That seems to me to be a superior option.
A major theme in Australian history is the cutting of ties with Britain – our National Anthem is no longer “God Save the Queen”, the Union Jack is no longer used at official occasions, there are no appeals to the Privy Council to give just a few examples.
Eventually we will become a republic as the culmination of the process of becoming independent of Britain, and as a recognition of reality.
PS thanks Michael for the Banksy graphic.
Union Flag. <pedantry/>
Australia should be a republic. And we should ditch the Union Jack from our flag. The only reason we hang on to either is tradition, and that’s a terrible reason. The English Royal Family is just a curiosity for us. Since an Australian married the Danish Prince, she and her family have been in the news at least as much as the Queen.
Again, it’s not a jack.
But Canada got rid of its “red ensign”, so if Australia wants to get rid of its “blue ensign”, why not?
The competitions have come up with some very strong designs. Go for it.
I am a Canadian living in the US. I think the English monarchy is fine – in England. Having loonies (sorry) from a foreign country as head of state is an embarrassment. And so is having royalty period – time to grow the hell up.
Having them on our loonies is an embarrassment as well.
Most Australians would like to go to a republic, but when we had a referendum in 2000 it was knocked back due to the option for choosing a head of state offered. We were asked to vote for an appointed head of state rather than an elected one and it was rejected. If it had been an elected head of state the opinion polls suggested it would have won very convincingly.
A hereditary head of state is a medieval anachronism which is very bad for the health of a society which exists under the dominion of hereditary priveledge and which undermines the whole concept of democracy. IMO it is far more oppressive than people realise who have lived under it all their lives and know nothing better. I felt it quite strongly when I lived in England for 6 months many years ago. The country most in need of the abolishion of the British Monarchy is the Brits themselves, it really doesn’t affect Australia or Australians much, nonetheless it is only a matter of time before we get rid of it. Sentiment is vastly if favour of a republic around here.
Oops 1998 referendum, not 2000, that’s what happens when I use my memory. :-S
I am interested in what way you found it oppresive. As a Brit currently living in the States, I haven’t felt any sense of liberation now that I am not living under an hereditary monarch.
Don’t the Scandinavian countries, which all seem to have healthy standards of living, have hereditary monarchs?
I personally feel that massive bonuses for bankers or the huge discrepancy in pay between CEOs and the average worker are far more symbolic of problems in society than an unelected head of State
I’m surprised by how many Commonwealth readers of this blog support an anti-secular institution that privileges one particular religion over other religions and non-belief. By the way, I’m a British and Australian citizen.
Removing the monarch as the head of the Church of England needn’t go hand in hand with abolition of the monarchy.
Prince Charles’ views on, for example, alternative medicine are a bit whacky but no more so than the views of some of the candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination on issues such as evolution. And Charles is not running for head of government.
No, Charles in not running for government. He will be head of state without anyone having the chance to vote…
Given Charles Windsor’s record, anyone who imagines he will as king keep his nose out of government business is being quite naive.
And of course, the added bonus of the Royal Consort, Prince Philip.
Some of Pip’s finest:
To then Paraguay dictator General Stroessner: “It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people.”
To Scottish driving instructor, 1995: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”
“I’d like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.” 1967
After accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991: “Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species.”
7 At a project to protect turtle doves in Anguilla in 1965, he said: “Cats kill far more birds than men. Why don’t you have a slogan: ‘Kill a cat and save a bird?’”
8 To multi-ethnic Britain’s Got Talent 2009 winners Diversity: “Are you all one family?”
50At Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, 2006. [awards for enterprising young people] “Young people are the same as they always were. Just as ignorant.”
51 On how difficult it is in Britain to get rich: “What about Tom Jones? He’s made a million and he’s a bloody awful singer.”
52 To Elton John on his gold Aston Martin in 2001: “Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car, is it?”
55 At a Scottish fish farm: “Oh! You’re the people ruining the rivers.”
68On Princess Anne, 1970: “If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested.”
On being told by a 13-year-old boy that his ambition was to be an astronaut: “You’re much too fat to become an astronaut.”
Well, at least he doesn’t leave you wondering about what he really thinks…
A fine comedian ..
Reading those, I think maybe he has a fine sense of irony that you maybe don’t appreciate.
This looks like an excellent argument for royalty – far more entertaining than anything the First Lady could say. I see he got whisked off to hospital and managed to miss the ghastly ‘Jubilee Concert’ and today’s celebratory service: well played sir! We’ll miss him when he’s gone.
Comedy voice over of Prince Philip:
And of course that doesn’t include all the racist and sexist ones.
A fine stand-up comedian then ..
One of his “masterpieces” was delivered at the site of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala Bagh massacre:
on a visit to the site of the massacre.
Though it does look as if he can sometimes be genuinely funny:
As a Canadian I fully support the retention of Queen\King. It’s a big part of where we came from and what we are today in this country.
One reason liberal Brits may not be as hostile to the monarchy as you might expect can be summed up in one phrase: President Tony Blair.
Yes!!! I was going to remark just exactly that – that if Britain did away with the monarchy, there would be a vacuum (call it a power vacuum, a figurehead vacuum, whatever), and what would fill it? I was about to point to the horrors of that facile twat Tony Blair being celebrated as Head of State – can you imagine anything worse?
So as a left-wing English atheist living in NZ, I’m 100% in favour of keeping the monarchy. And even keeping the Queen as head of the Church of England. Both those are pretty innocuous and it seems to work better in practice than the US approach, after all. 😉
Ah yes just as being forcibly taught ‘Religious Knowledge’ in schools undoubtedly creates far more atheists than the U S fuss about keeping religion out of schools does.
I just want to be on the record as a Canadian who absolutely wants monarchy abolished, it’s ridiculous.
It won’t happen, however. The procedures needed to free ourselves from the queen are extremely long and tedious. Let’s not forget that we only gained full independence from England in 1982. The UK should modernize a bit at last and get rid of this laughable, antidemocratic institution.
The US is blessed with the closest thing to a perfect constitution devised by man. Look at the state of the place. Perhaps involve more women next time.
In contrast the UK way of doing things appears more evolutionary than many other countries. We muddle through. Perhaps institutions like the monarchy and the house of lords could be thought of as vestigial organs.
As for the jubilee. It’s been like a 72 hour Sunday.
I know the British monarchy do work, I know they bring tourism (or at least get people buying weird souvenirs) – but so do a lot of others people and things, so why should they have such status by birth right?
And in Spain we’re paying the king to go shoot game, he doesn’t even have the tourism excuse.
The problem is far too many Americans don’t understand that HM Queen Elizabeth II ain’t George III.
I disagree. Sadly, I doubt many Americans even know who George III is.
Also, the fact the entire country shuts down just for jubilee celebrations, in the middle of Uni students’ examination period, is more than inconvenient – has made me dislike the monarchy even more.
I have mixed feelings about the monarchy.
On the one hand it is an archaic system that has outlived it’s usefulness. There is no reason that the royal family would be better leaders than anyone else and the idea of leadership by birth contradicts ideals of freedom, free inquiry and all that.
On the other hand I think the royal family is important as a historical artefact. It represents the old British empire and is a family that has existed for hundreds of years and influenced the entire world. It might have lost it’s original purpose now but so have many many old castles and buildings which we still keep for their historical and cultural value.
I think the royal family is the same. It shouldn’t exist to lead but, as long as the family is willing, I think it should be maintained for historical and cultural reasons.
A similar question might be why so many pro-democracy people are so enamoured with stories about royalty, for example the vast majority of fantasy films and novels, when that is contrary to their own views. Maybe it reflects a desire for a more stable leadership? Or maybe they’re just good stories?
There’s a lot to be said for a head of state who didn’t want to become head of state.
If we don’t do it by birth, perhaps we could go for a randomly selected head of state for a fixed term (say 15 years) from the electoral rolls. Perhaps with an additional limit on age at time of selection.
Unfortunately, many Americans completely misunderstand how the monarchy works in the UK. The Crown has very little actual power and the limits are placed on it by the English Bill of Rights (yes we have one too so we’re not completely tyrannised by the freedom-hating blue bloods!) that was introduced with the coronation of William III and Mary II. These limits include:
*May not interfere with the law (delegated to elected Parliament).
* no taxation to be set by the Crown (also Parliament’s role)
* freedom to petition the monarch without fear of personal vendetta
* no standing army may be maintained during a time of peace without consent of Parliament
* no royal interference in Parliamentary elections
* Proceedings of Parliament can not to be challenged within the Royal Court
* no excessive bail or “cruel and unusual” punishments may be imposed by the Crown
The monarch has regularly audiences with the PM: a privilege no other citizen is afforded. What do they talk about? Well, we don’t know: those discussions are secret, another privilege. But lots of former PMs have gone on record saying they found Elizabeth Windsor’s advice very useful indeed. So clearly, she is giving advice and they are – at least sometimes – taking it.
What this means is that the monarch has far more political access/power – allotted solely by birth – than the average citizen. This is not an executive monarchy but neither is it a figurehead monarchy.
And all of the above is, of course, utterly incompatible with national respect for the principle of equality.
I have seen lots of people complaining about the idea of “President Tony Blair” or “President David Cameron”, and I sympathise, but you know what? At least they took the trouble to stand for election. They weren’t anointed by the finger of fate.
Are they obliged to take her advice?
I don’t recall any member of the Royal Family telling me who I should have voted for in the last General Election…?
And you can meet your MP any time you desire. All you have to do is call to make an appointment.
If you happen to live in David Cameron’s constituency then you too could meet him.
I think you are taking the wrong “slant” on this. The Monarch has access to many people that the Prime Minister does not, or at least to opinion of others. As such is probably a very valuable source of information. Given that whatever she says can be totally ignored, if wished, I think these meetings should be viewed as an “information” gathering exercise for the PM and a very valuable one.
I’m British and want to see the dismantling of the monarchy. It is atonishing how many liberal britons support it. In doing so they come out with all sorts of twaddle – reminiscent of a religion. For instance, relatively minor concerns like tourism are weighed against our country having a modern democratic constitution.
It is very sad the way so many people seem to have a need to bow down to so supreme being. The ludicrous love affair with royalty really distorts people’s values. For example, John Cook was not only a great English man, he was a great human being: the first person to hold a head of state legally accountable for, what we today call war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yet hardly any English people know anything about him, but can reel off the names of thieves and murderers, tyrants and oppressors, aka monarchs, at the drop of a hat.
I think this quote sums up what you’re talking about:
“The prejudice of Englishmen, in favour of their own government by king, lords and commons, arises as much or more from national pride than reason.”
– Thomas Paine, ‘Common Sense’
For me, as an Englishman living in England, it’s a simple point of principle. I should have a say in who is my head of state, whatever powers they may/may not have, whoever they may be, I should have a say.
I should also be allowed to have the ambition to become head of state myself (okay, I may not be very good at it, I may never get elected, but I should be allowed to have that ambition), any offspring of mine should also be allowed to dream of one day becoming head of state.
This Canadian is in favour of ditching the monarchy. IMO, especially important here as it is pretty weird to have this special-cased connection to another country’s stuff. As for the UK itself, I have the same view for them, but they can decide on their own. That said, we could amend our constitution to get rid – how would they?
I do not think it has been made clear just how important the monarchy is to all public institutions here in Canada for the derivation of political authority and chain of command. Removing the ceremonial figurehead seems mature but it necessarily means changing everything and then finding agreement for a suitable replacement. In a place like Canada – a place built out of various competing cultures, languages, religions, and geographies – the task would be monumentally daunting… and completely unnecessary. The monarchy works relatively well for Canada as such a diverse country. And that’s no small casual achievement.
Abolish it immediately please
Like many of the comments above, I am a Canadian who is against the Monarchy. The Brits can do what they want but her representative in this country has been used to push poltical agendas. I speak specifically of the prorogueing of parliament a few years back. It was a total travesty.
The Monarchy does nothing for Canada, they don’t deserve respresentation here and should be taken out of our politics and off our money! Canada deserves better than them.
As yet another ex-pat Brit living in the US and with citizenship of both countries I’ll add my 2c. I grew up in the UK with basically anti-royalist sentiments (and surrounded by the opposite view point). Over the years (and perhaps influenced by exposure to the American political system) I have come to consider the British monarchy to be a cost effective and stable alternative to an elected president. Even a presidency like Ireland’s – which fulfills much the same role as would be expected from a British monarch – may not be expensive or controversial, but isn’t a net revenue generator. So, for the UK, I’ve ended up being marginally in favor of maintaining the institution. Were I Australian or Canadian (for example) I’m not sure I’d feel the same about having a foreign head of state. However, those countries have the option to change that arrangement, and as yet have not chosen to exercise it.
“God save the Queen,
‘Cos tourists are money!”
– The Sex Pistols
As a Brit, my views 20 years ago were that the Royalty were generally harmless and did some useful good things for the UK and former colonies (I refuse to call it “The Commonwealth”).
These days, though, my views have changed. The British Royalty are past their sell-by date. We don’t need them any longer. They are a relic of a by-gone era. A reminder of the country’s still entrenched class system.
Is anyone else with me in thinking that the cat should be crowned Queen?
God save Queen Gi-Gi! Long may she reign!
No, the head of state has to be donkey. The cat could be one of the minor royals. I’m sure it would prefer it as they get to do all the fun things.
Reblogged this on 5ecular4umanist.
I’m a Canadian. I don’t hate the monarchy because it’s completely irrelevant to me. And since it is completely irrelevant, I wouldn’t mind seeing it go away, but… meh.
I am another Canadian (currently in the US) who also has an “it really is not important” attitude to the issue. Unlike our brethren in the southern hemisphere when the time is right we will just change it, like we did with the flag. Until the time is right we will just keep moving on tackling the issues as best we can.
Apologists for the British monarchy tend to argue, directly or implicitly, that ending monarchy would create a political vacuum that could only be filled by an executive president (thus summoning the spectre of George W. Bush, the liberals’ bogeyman).
It would not. There is not law that a country requires a president. Parliaments could go on governing as they had before, without a head of state in addition to a head of government. And those countries that felt the need for a president could simply create a ceremonial office for that purpose.
The difference is that a presidential head of state would be elected, in accordance with the democratic ideal – the democratic ideal to which most liberally-inclined Subjects of Her Majesty so glibly pay lip-service until the matter of the monarchy is raised.
Oh, and I’m a “Subject” of Her Majesty’s by way of Australian citizenship.
Agreed, I have never seen the need for a head of state. But if people really think they need one for ceremonial purposes, surely a donkey would fulfill the rôle admirably.
I had this conversation the other day while arguing against the Monarchy (I am a Brit in the US) – I rather like the idea of no head of state apart from the Prime Minister. He/she is after all only meant to be ‘primus inter pares’. And his/her equals should be all citizens. Ho hum, a nice dream anyway.
Many of the anti-monarchy arguments seems to revolve around the sentiment of “why are these people so special that they should deserve special treatment by virtue of their birth”. Well, deference takes many forms, one just has to observe the mass fawning that accompanies a visit by anybody of wealth here in the US, that is, if anyone can get within half-a-mile of individual. I would suggest to anyone that doesn’t believe this exists that they spend time in a place like Aspen (CO).
I love the way that, having declared that I’m “undecided” on the pros and cons of the UK’s constitutional monarchy, I’m later described as a “royalist” or an “apologist for the monarchy”! I’m not sure if this is a matter of Chinese Whispers or a product of the inability of some commenters to distinguish shades of gray.
It’s worth remembering that the Brits are not the only people who find that there’s some value in having a constitutional monarchy (CM). According to Wikipedia:
“Contemporary constitutional monarchies include the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms, Belgium, Bhutan, Bahrain, Cambodia, Denmark, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, and Thailand.”
There are some pretty impressive social democracies in there, countries with far more equitable societies than we have here in the US. Real-world evidence — as opposed to _in vacuo_ pontification — would suggest there might be some value in having a CM, although I’d not like to hazard a guess as to what that value could be.
Note terms like “suggest” and “might be”. I’m still undecided about the merit’s of the UK’s CM, which is the only one I know anything much about.
Given the presence of Scandinavia, Benelux, the UK, Oz, Canada, NZ and Japan on that list, I suspect constitutional monarchies have a higher than average rejection of religion and acceptance of evolution too.
Speaking as a Brit, I’m opposed to the monarchy but sufficiently relaxed about it to accept the democratically expressed views of my compatriots, who are overwhelmingly in favour.
I think what you are seeing here is not an advantage of a constitutional monarchy but a disadvantage suffered by the USA of the having an overtly secular constitution which, in effect, protects religions from state interference while often deflecting opposition to religion to matters that are essentially trivial.
Speaking from a Spanish point of view, I’m happier with our present constitution than what we had previously. Not many Spanish people I know could give a flying fart about the royal family except when they embarrass us by going off to shot elephants, (who in their right mind would want to shot an elephant?). With or without the royals we would still have rich people with more privilege than the rest of us, MEPs for example.
Shot? shoot. Bloody English.
Yeah. Bloody English and their bloody stupid spelling, too. 🙂
That’s no thimble.
That’s a little stash box made in Afghanistan.
Parasites the lot of ’em. She isnt just the monarch , she is also the defender of the faith , or some such nonsense. We, as a nation, are supposed to be skint. The unemployed are made to sleep under a bridge
And Library, opened by Mark Twain , is stripped of its books
the sick and disabled are having there benefits cut, pensioners are being taxed
Yet the rich go on partying, distracting the workers with pomp and an extra day off
Grrr, dont get me started
thanks to Ophelia @ Butterflies and Wheels for the links
Replace her with a Royal Donkey, that’s what I say!
No, he’s more like a Royal Dumbo the Elephant.
People would still turn out in thier thousands, if it wore a crown.
As a Canadian with a background in Canadian History and Constitutional Law I support retaining the monarchy on purely pragmatic grounds. Our system works well as is, the monarchy doesn’t cost us anything, and changes to the system are likely to have unintended consequences.
The Queen has no effective power in Canada, but the institution of the Crown is fundamental to constitutional legal arrangements and provides continuity and lays out responsibilities that transcend particular governments, laws, policies and politicians.
“The Crown” is indeed an important legal entity in Canada. Prosecution of crime is conducted in the name of the Crown. Publicly owned property is formally owned by the Crown. The Governor General in Ottawa and the Lieutenant Governors in the provinces are formally representatives of the Crown. I’m sure endless other examples could be found.
But there’s little or nothing that requires that behind the legal concept there be an actual person. There are certainly examples of monarchies that lack a monarch: in real life, Hungary is such, the Crown of St. Stephen being the palladium of the country. And in Cordwainer Smith’s SF stories set in Norstrilia hundreds or thousands of years from now, the Norstrilians pay allegiance to the present Queen.
Or one could go over to a system like that in the old Kingdom of Poland and elect the king. (In the long run, this led to the partition of Poland and its extinction as an independent country from the late 1700s until after WW I.)
As a Canadian I would love to see our ties to the monarchy completely severed. The concept of authority and power being inherited is immoral, and belongs in the dark ages. And although the Queen is merely a figurehead today, acknowledging the monarchy in ANY official capacity is to pay respect to an institution that is worthy of none.
“Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!”
Brit here, fuck the monarchy, I’m sick of the sycophantic arse licking media. I’m sick of the sad sacs who say ‘you need someone to look up to’ well you do you authority driven serf. Tourism erm look at France’s tourism and get back to me. It’s about time we become a mature democracy and bring out the chopping block. Ho and wait till loony tunes becomes king and watch us roar! Glad I don’t own a TV and worked over the bank holiday weekend.
Well said, but the chopping blocks too good for ’em, confiscate everything and put ’em in a high rise council flat on benefits.
yeah, I didn’t vote for ’em!
I am British, and I long for the day that our draconian tradition is finally kicked to the curb. There are so many other causes and events worthy of celebration than another 60 years of public funded benefits to an elite. I don’t buy the ‘tradition’ argument for one second either. Who the hell celebrates a ‘tradition’ of unelected rule; with an extremely bloody history; inherited wealth and power; and expected (and often enforced) worship and reverence?
After suffering all weekend of those blasted parasites and listening to the bbc creep so much that I was literally close to vomiting it’s refreshing to hear some fuck the monarchy statements. You couldn’t make this up – they way the media presents the monarchy is behond belief. Take all the money off them and provide them with an average home. Then they can get a job like the rest of us – however in the current job climate they’ll find it impossible!
The media makes me cringe too, but you can’t blame the monarchy for the sycophantic inanity of the mediasluts. Any more than for the muckrakers constantly looking for some dirt to dish. In the US they do it to film stars – is that a reason for abolishing Hollywood? (There may be very good reasons for doing just that, but the parasitic celebrity press is not one).
I’m in to minds, I despise the very idea of monarchy but see the value in marketing potential. Sales of luxury British made car (no longer owned) brands are on the up, thanks to Chinese an Indian purchasers wanting to be more “brit-like” – (some orders from USanians too)
I think the history of the monarchy attracts tourists more than the monarchy itself. Versailles attracts millions of tourists to Paris even though France no longer has a monarchy. Tours of the royal palaces would attract a vast number of tourists.
I think the car sales are less to do with the monarchy and more to do with the fact that the chinese , indian and usanians, make shit cars, although the first two out of the three are getting better.