Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Truth Must Out

It was a bad day for the monarchy when the Independent broke the story of palace attempts to gain access to money from the state poverty fund to pay their fuel bills. And for those in denial over this one - I have had a response from a monarchist just saying it’s not true - just remember the palace confirmed the story, it’s never been in any doubt whatsoever. This had been discovered through Freedom of Information requests which the palace has now been made exempt from, meaning that if this happened again we could not find out. A Republic spokesman was quoted on that day: “These documents are clear evidence of the contempt the Palace has for ordinary people in this country. We have our head of state demanding cash that has been set aside for low-income families, for the most vulnerable in our society.
This sense of entitlement speaks volumes about the attitudes of the Windsors and their household. For them it’s all about take, take, take.” That was what most people felt. My partner when fuelling up at a garage that day was met by an enraged mechanic absolutely furious and outraged at the story and delighted to be shown a Republic membership card - the first he’d heard of it. The fact that the palace could even consider making such a request is astounding. While let’s remember when they were previously asked to by the government committee looking into their requests for more money they refused to open up the palace to the public for more days per year in order to be more self-sufficient, and they failed to deliver documents asked for by the same government committee. So they clearly feel they can do whatever they like, not what they’re asked to or for. A very similar response when Elizabeth decided to honour Andrew with one of the highest honours in her personal gift, after his associations with criminals, dictators, and a convicted paedophile came out, when the people, even government ministers were calling for him to be dropped from his position as Trade Ambassador - this was her considered response. And now despite having ‘stepped down’ from the position, there he is still flying off to Saudi Arabia on public money. Next year they’ll be trying hard to promote the monarchy as being all about a benign 85 year old woman. Do not be fooled. The monarchy is a vast, unaccountable institution comprised of many vested interests, the core family both complicit and sacrificial, and nothing about it is benign. This country is full of 85 year old women and they all deserve at least as much respect as Elizabeth Windsor, many of them rather more. Toadying, sycophancy, obsequious crawling behaviour to this institution and those who populate it is nothing short of a sickness.
We have to remember though, that the all-pervasive insidious nature of the institution means that many people are unconscious of its reality. The poverty fund story was a truth that got out and they’ve plugged that gap. We should publicise that truth loud and far and reiterate it, amongst others. We should concentrate on criticising the actions of the monarchy but to make it too much about the personalities involved is a counter-productive mistake - the perception could be that we’re criticising people when the truth is if we had a ‘royal’ family who were philanthropic, altruistic angels, well for one thing they would abolish themselves at that point, but we still wouldn’t want a monarchy because it’s not about them personally at all, they are to a greater or lesser extent puppets of the establishment and it’s the establishment which has to fall because it’s fundamentally wrong and damaging. There’s no point if we just get a new bunch - we don't want any, of any stripe, sex or religion. The most dignified and momentous thing that they could do now is to wait not upon the order of their going but to just bow to the advance of democracy in 2011, take up their sycophants, and go.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

"You can't have Disneyland without Mickey Mouse."

One of the most common 'argument's 'for' the monarchy that we hear is this myth of the great tourism revenue the 'royal' family are purported to draw into the country. Even fairly intelligent people will trot out this commonly held belief as though it were some kind of unanswerable trump card. Embarrassing though this is as an argument for the basis of who a country's head of state should be, let's deal with it first as if it were a valid reason.
There is no actual basis in factual proof for this claim. Indeed quite the opposite would be the case, as the fact is that publicly owned palaces, castles and houses are being used as private residences by one family and they or their officials are blocking them being opened up to the public as a source of revenue. If this were not the case perhaps Buckingham Palace could be our Louvres displaying the 'royal' art collection, which is also owned by the public but which the public can currently see only 10% of (100,000+ items). But the situation now is that, although asked to by the previous government, the current custodians refuse to open up the palace more to even be self-sufficient, but come cap in hand to government asking for yet more money for its upkeep and fuel bills. source 
Also the 'royal' family are not themselves on display anywhere, so if any tourists did come here to view same, they're likely to be disappointed. Would you go to Norway, Denmark or Sweden to see their 'royal' families? Why do you think people would come here to see the Windsors? Despite the enormous hype surrounding 'royal' weddings Visit Britain's own data has shown tourists actually avoided this country in the periods surrounding them. link
But the crux of the matter is in fact "So what?" People are apparently wedded to this belief and the title of this blog was an 'argument' used on the radio by a monarchist who rang during a phone-in with Republic's Graham Smith. This crystallises the nonsense that this argument is. The land of Mickey Mouse does not have Mickey Mouse as head of state, it currently has Barack Obama and its head of state is accountable, removable and answerable to the people who elected him. We have a head of state chosen by accident of birth, who is none of these things, who is trundled about and whose speeches are scripted by others. We have the Mickey Mouse head of state, and it's embarrassing. Especially in 2011 when we go to war to 'bring democracy' to other countries, it looks extremely hypocritical when we ourselves can vote for less than half our government i.e. not for the House of Lords and not at all for our head of state.
With every new generation of 'royals' a claim of monarchic 'modernisation' is made - but nothing ever really changes. It's not in the interests of the people who take advantage of its unaccountability and secrecy, the anonymous officials who hide behind buildings "Buckingham Palace says" this and "Clarence House denies" that, who have access to millions in public money every year with opaque accountability - a system screaming out to be abused, where else would villains want to be? Neither is it in the interests of the politicians to change it as the dodgy deal done with monarchy centuries ago, before women could vote, before working men could vote, before any man who didn't own a certain amount of land could vote, hands the prime minister and privy council great powers - too much of the wrong kind of power. Not the accountable powers of elected representatives but the tyrannical powers of a monarch. This intolerable institution is suffocating for democracy, for the country and for the sacrificed human beings at its centre. "I'd rather have stayed in the navy, frankly." "Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingammy." and what was Elizabeth's reaction when she saw that symbol of the great white hope for the monarchy and supposed tourist attraction, Kate's wedding dress display? "Horrid. Horrible. Creepy." Yes. It really is.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Paul Flynn MP's speech on 8th June 2011 on Philip's 90th birthday address in the Commons, in its entirety, from Hansard.

12.53 pm
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): The supreme achievement of the Duke of Edinburgh is that he is working at the age of 90. This is a magnificent example and one that has been followed by a constituent of mine, Mr Harry Polloway, who is working as a toastmaster at the age of 97. I last saw him in the Jewish cemetery in my constituency, where we were commemorating the death of May Mendleson, who died last year at the age of 108. Continuing work into that period of life is a wonderful example to set, and one that we can look at with some embarrassment and shame in the House, where I believe the oldest Member—a distinguished Member—is just 80 years of age, and we have only five Members over the age of 76.
This group of people are disgracefully under-represented in the House. If we are to have a proper reflection of senior citizens, we must look to have all-80-year-old shortlists at the next general election. In the light of the heroic examples set by Prince Philip, Harry Polloway and May Mendleson, that fault needs to be corrected.
However, my purpose in speaking today is to make another point. As someone who is not a royalist and is happy to say that I am a republican and always have been, I want to ask why on earth, in this age, the address is to be “humble”. Are members of the royal family superior beings to the rest of us? Are we inferior beings to them? Is Prince Philip superior to Harry Polloway and May Mendleson? That was the feeling of the House seven centuries ago, when we accepted the rules under which we speak now.
We live in an egalitarian time when we recognise the universality of the human condition, in which royals and commoners share the same strengths and frailty. In the House, when we speak of the royals—not just the monarch, but all the family, without any limit—we are denied the chance of making any derogatory comment. That might extend to first cousins who are a long way distant from the monarch. There is no question but that the monarch—the Head of State—should remain above the political fray. We have been well served by this, particularly recently.
However, if these occasions are to be greatly valued, it should be possible for Members to utter the odd syllable that might be critical. I do not have anything to say in this case, but the sycophancy described by the Prime Minister when he referred to someone asking Prince Philip a fairly obvious question when he came off a plane must sicken the royal family. When they have an excess of praise of this kind, it is devalued.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Paul Flynn MP's full comment in Parliament today on the Prime Minister (I mean, sinister)'s 'humble address' to 'prince' Philip.

"Why on earth is this a humble address in this age? Are the royal family superior beings to the rest of us? Are we inferior beings to them? This was the feeling of the House seven centuries ago when we accepted rule under which we speak now. We live in an egalitarian time where we recognise the universality of the human condition, in which royals and commoners share the same strengths and frailties."

Also please sign the petition to

Change the National Assembly for Wales' oath of allegiance to one to the People, not the Queen!


Monday, 6 June 2011

Facebook refusing another link to Walesonline - 'Republican AM to snub Queen’s Senedd opening

A REPUBLICAN Welsh AM is to snub a visit to the Welsh Government by the Queen this week.
South West Wales Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins will spend the day of the Queen’s opening of the fourth session of the government at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay tomorrow visiting businesses in Bridgend to find out if they are beginning to emerge from recession.
Ms Jenkins said: “This is the second time I’ve decided not to attend the royal opening of the Senedd.
“As a republican, I have no interest in meeting either the Queen or any member of the royal family.
“My wish is for Wales to become a modern, independent country, and I cannot see any place for an outdated concept like the monarchy within it.
“In order to progress towards becoming a modern and successful country, the most important thing we have to do is get the economy going again.
“The past decade has not been kind to Welsh business and the Welsh Government must do what it can to enable companies in towns like Bridgend to thrive and grow.
“It is my job as an Assembly Member to scrutinise the work of the Welsh Government and press it to provide opportunity for the economy.
“One of the best ways I can do that is by bringing views back from the business coal face.”
Ms Jenkins said she would like to hear from any member of the public in Bridgend who wants an issue to be aired in the Senedd.'

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Chris Bryant, you would make Keir Hardie sick

The following is an article published by South Wales Echo which I've been trying to link on Facebook - it won't let me as they say it's been flagged up as 'abusive'.  What do you think? #censorship

AM Leanne Wood snubs Queen

A WELSH Assembly Member has come under fire for “snubbing” the Queen.
Staunch republican Leanne Wood is boycotting Tuesday’s ceremonial opening of the fourth Assembly, choosing instead to pack emergency boxes for people who cannot afford food.
The Plaid Cymru AM insisted: “It is nothing short of a national scandal that there are people who cannot afford to feed themselves in modern day Wales.
“This is why I have decided to spend the day with the Rhondda Foodbank because, like the other projects in Wales, they provide a last resort for people who have nowhere else to turn when they cannot afford the essentials in life.”
But her stance has riled Rhondda’s Labour MP Chris Bryant. He said: “This is just childish attention-seeking.
“Most people in the Rhondda, whether they are republicans or monarchists, reckon the Queen does an exceptional job and would expect all members of the Assembly to show her a certain degree of respect.
“With all her experience, I suspect the Queen could teach Ms Wood a thing or two.”
The Plaid AM has absented herself three times because of the royal connection since her election in 2003.
She said: “In the modern Wales people should not be subjects, we should be citizens. The monarchy represents a hereditary class system which perpetuates inequality.
“The Royals are an unaccountable, privileged elite allowed and encouraged by government to expand its wealth through the patronage of the civil list, the honours system and the land assets their ancestors pillaged from common people. The income they can make from the Crown Estates land in Wales in future years is money that could be well used by the cash- strapped Welsh Government.
“It is worth remembering that while millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is spent every year on maintaining the Royal family and their hangers-on in the style they are accustomed to, adults and children are going hungry because they have no money to buy food.”

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Elizabeth the Last

It has begun. The palace PR machine has geared into action just as we drew breath from the onslaught of the wedding to "bring the whole nation together in celebration" which happened just before Scotland voted to "break the nation apart as soon as possible if you think we're swallowing this".

Undaunted, they now bring us a celebration of 60 years of an unelected, unaccountable head of state absorbing millions in public money every year for herself and wider family, sitting on and rendering paralysed and inaccessible the national assets of palaces, castles and art collection, a voiceless puppet facilitating monarchic power to the Prime Minister and Privy Council, the apogee of an undead class system draining the blood of justice, fairness, common sense, humanity and reason from our society at every level.

We say this should be celebrated as 'Elizabeth the Last' as even people who have worked in royal households have said Elizabeth should be the last monarch. Those who want to honour this woman should be appeased - as the Last she should be as immortal as Cleopatra. If you let Charles take the throne the monarchy will die with a whimper.

Elizabeth should be allowed to retire into the sunset, as any other woman in the country would be allowed to at the age of 85, with her dogs, her horses and her 90 year old husband whose apposite clarification of the 'royal' 'work' is crystal clear: - "Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingamy" "I'd much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly". We say it's time to let them both off the hook and facilitate the complete extrication of monarchy and 'royalty' from any role in government, any access to public money and any custodianship of national assets. Timed to be done by next year would be perfect.

In the meantime we would appreciate a balanced coverage in place of the "Everyone in Canada is absolutely thrilled at the honour the 'royal' couple are bestowing by their visit" school of hyperbolic propaganda. Thanks.