Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Saturday, 24 May 2008

“The Minimalist Monarchy”
- Probably the Way to Go

By David Byers (Convenor of ACM in Country, New South Wales)

When you think about it there is a weakness to Constitutional Monarchy and that is by simply having a monarch there will always be the question “should we be a republic?” We see this in The UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Holland any country that has a monarchy. It is as if a monarch is always vulnerable or under threat somehow. One never hears of opinion polls once a year in the USA asking “Should the United States become a constitutional monarchy?”

I believe as long as Australia is a Constitutional Monarchy the debate will go on. However if Australia became a republic, everyone knows full well there would be no chance EVER of the Crown being restored. So in effect a republic would end the debate.

Here is another thought; if monarchy had never existed and someone came up with the idea today would anyone accept the idea of having a family inherit the sovereignty of a nation?

The only way forward is to explain that constitutional monarchies are basically a republic in disguise, yes monarchy is antiquated (you simply must accept that as common sense) however using the accident of birth to keep the Head of State above politics is a benefit, though in Australia the Governor – General is Head of State but inherits this benefit from representing the Sovereign.

On a personal note my views have developed from regularly visiting this blog. Reading the views of Mr Neil Welton has opened my eyes as to just how different we in Australia are the people in the UK with all the Lords Dukes and overdone tradition. From reading Mr Welton I started to understand my fellow Australians who are republican. I had only ever seen the monarchy as the Queen and our constitution but had never understood the inherent seedy class system that it allows to flourish in the minds of many in the UK. Now that is not Australia but it highlights a basic principle about the rights of man etc.

The Crown might survive in Australia but only if it is played down and not noticed on an everyday level, if the Governor-General does more to show that he/she is Head of State. It would also help if royal visits are kept to a minimum, if at all, as they always spark debate about the monarchy.

Mr Tony Abbott even wrote a book called “The Minimalist Monarchy” probably the way to go.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a British person I'm slightly confused by this article. One of the things that keeps the monarchy going is the dream of the people of meeting the Soverign. The more we see them in ublic, doing good and being "cost-effective" the more respect they gain and more likely they are to survive.

Surely, if Her Majesty's subjects in Australia were to see HM more often, and see what she really does for the country it would be a positive thing? In my opinion it would be an excellent move if more junior members of the Royal Family were all seconded to live in the 16 Realms, with the Soverign, their wife and the next two heirs to the throne residing in the UK. The rest would premanatly live out in the other realms so that those populations can enjoy the wonders and good of monarchy first hand, just as we are so fortubnate to be able to do here in the United Kingdom.

Lord Strathcona's Horse said...

This is a cowering position - oh, whatever you do, please don't notice me - that dare not speak its name for fear of republicans views. I reject it on the grounds that it is a cowardly stance for the Crown is something to defend, not diminish because some malcontent is embarrassed by his history and traditions.

That being said, I do agree with Mr. Byers that it is probable that we would keep the Crown and dispense with the royals. The minimalist model is essentially a crowned republic, and I believe we are already 90% of the way there.

Tweedsmuir said...

There is no difference between a minimalist republic and a minimalist monarchy, since a Crowned Republic is both monarchist and republican.

Both commit regicide against the Sovereign in that both have the Crown represented by the Governor-General, instead of the Queen or King.

Theodore said...

I don't understand this "we're Australian and this is how Australians are" mentality. If there is any country even more firmly associated with opposition to formal hereditary class distinctions than Australia, it is my own country, the United States, and yet somehow I, who have lived in the US all my life, reject that opposition. Totally. I believe not only in constitutional monarchy but in the virtues of aristocratic tradition and in the legitimacy of inequality and discrimination, which are in fact essential aspects of civilization. If I can come to these unfashionable conclusions, so can Australians. There is nothing "seedy" about Lords, Dukes, and "overdone tradition" (whatever that is), and if "Australians" believe that there is, than "Australians" are wrong. I am frankly mystified as to what has been objectionable in articles by Mr. Welton. And as an American who is certainly not represented by statements implying that "Americans" have no use for kings or lords or hierarchy or tradition, on behalf of any Australians, however outnumbered, who feel as I do, I take offense at the suggestion that those who happen to be born in a particular country necessarily share any egalitarian attitudes that have regrettably come to be associated with it.

On a pragmatic note, while conceding most of the enemy's premises might succeed in the short term, it will never succeed in the long term. Ultimately a majority of Australians have to be convinced that the monarchy is a GOOD thing, hereditary succession is GOOD thing, the ties with Britain are a GOOD thing. If monarchists cannot do that, we may buy time, but eventually we will lose.

Stauffenberg said...

Hear, hear!

Can I say that I agree with Theodore and that I also find the overall discussion quite interesting, as well.

From my Continental perspective I have actually never bought the alleged classlessness of supposedly "more egalitarian" countries, whether Australia or the U.S. It is being referred to too often. But that is just an aside.

With reference to the original post and with all respect to Mr Byers I found it difficult to discover much defence of the monarchy as such in it. In fact it sounds rather timid about the monarchical principle as such and about the fact of sharing the head of state with the Poms. Why?

If a republican Indian Prime Minister can acknowledge positively the British dimension of his country's heritage, so surely might Australians of all backgrounds, might they not? That inheritance, after all, is not just about Dukes, double-barrelled names or plumed hats - no offence, though, to gentlemen scribes on this panel using gubernatorial dress ;-)

Anonymous said...

The notion of a 'minimalist monarchy' advanced by Mr Bryers is indeed no different from the 'crowned republic'.
Personally, I think having a head of state who doesn't have a hand in daily partisan politics is a blessing! Isn't this really what a Minimalist monarchy should be?
Antiquated the monarchy may be, but then things tend to endure because they work!
The allusions to a rebulic are telling. The US President is probably more "king-like" in terms of their ability to rule by decree than any British sovereign since George III.
The issue about the aristocracy is a red herring. None of the commonwealth realms apart from the UK has one any more. The 'class' issue is peculiar to the culture of the UK (and perhaps in increasingly smaller parts).

Scott said...

I think you are reading "seedy class" stuff into Neil and everyone else here. With all due respect, that is, in many ways, a typically Australian mistake. We are much less the nightmares you believe us.

David Byers said...

Australians are more nationalist than most of the other realms, after all why did the Australian Republican Movement get so strong here in the 1990's Yes I know they had the media behind them but they did start here on their own accord).

Scott, Australia must be a good place to live as millions of poms come here to live, how many Australians go to the UK, other than to work or holiday?

As for Lord Strathcona, God why can't you be brave enough to use you own name, I LIVE in this country and have always lived in this country and I know what works with people here!

Beaverbrook said...

Canada is more nationalist than Australia, but much less republican. Australia just doesn't shy away from its British heritage as much, as symbolized by the national flag. In any event, the National Party in John Howard's coalition was pretty tolerant of all things monarchy for being a nationalist party.

I guess what I'm saying is that it is about as wrong to equate nationalism with republicanism, as it is to equate liberty with democracy. They may be overlapping, but they are not the same thing.

David Byers said...

Many would argue, "how can you be truly nationalist whilst having a monarch that does not even live in your nation???"

As to the anonymous writer that talked about having junior members of the royal family living in some of the realms like Australia, I can tell you now that would have people here saying "why should our taxes go towards keeping them here?" bet my life on it!

Scott said...

In many ways it is everyday proved that one cannot reason a man out of a position he was not reasoned into... nor a nation.

Anonymous said...

to Beaverbrook.
the nationals are not a nationalist party but a conservative country party using "National" to show they represent all Australian farmers. they are also well known for their monarchist views.

to anomynous
i also agree that giving each realm a royal would be a great idea, beacuse they would undoubtly marry and start families with somebody from that realm. this could also be used to slightly modify the role of the Governor General as the Royal could become the GG or an equivelent title.

to David
not al Australians think the way that you say they do. in fact some (me and others i know) think that the aristocracy and "seedy" class sytem is a good thing. you said that if Australia was to have a royal living herethat people would complain about their taxes paying for the royal, well people say Australia should become a republic and that we should become a socialist society ( or that Big Brother be taken off TV) but none of those things have happened yet so why should we meet the demands of a small group who would be against supporting a royal. by the way that group already complain about supporting the GG so nothing will really change.


I think it would be better for Australia if the royals got more involved in the country so that we could value them more. im sure that the UK can share some of the royals.

Lord Best said...

There are many things wrong with the 'psyche' of the Australian nation, which I will not list here. One of them is assuming that Australians are inherently egalitarian and will not stand for non egalitarian institutions.
The simple fact is distaste for the Monarchy is rooted in a strong baby boomer anti-British mentality (very non PC, ironically. But it is OK to hate the British apparentl) as well as basic ignorance of the role the Monarchy plays in this country. Our best bet, in my opinion, is to educate people as best we can and continue to point out the lack of specifics in the republican plans.
As it happens, I do not feel the Monarchy in Australia to be in imminent danger. The republicans are content to sit back and wait for a republic to fall into their laps, which will never work. So long as we keep campaigning and educating we will emerge victorious. To paraphrase a certain chap, the price of Monarchy is eternal vigilance. Mr Byers is right in that so long as we are a Monarchy there will always be republicans, but the key is not to make the Monarchy more agreeable to the republican mindset, but to make as many Australians as possible realise that the our current system is superior to any theoretical republican model.

David Byers said...

The thing to explain is that the Crown (try not to use the word monarchy) operates differently in Australia than the UK. That the Royal Family play NO constitutional role in the nation, that our link is only with the monarch.

As for Scott, I would say you do not understand this nation. Many Australians have always had an uneasy relationship with the Crown and that goes back to 1788.

anonymous, when you say: "(me and others i know) think that the aristocracy and "seedy" class sytem is a good thing." I bet we could count such people on one hand, imagine a political party trying to sell such a stupid idea during an election.

Lord Best said...

Well, I have to agree we should emphasise the constitutional elements of constiutional monarchy, but we should try and hide the rest. As you say we onl have a Monarch, not a Royal family, and there is no nee to change that.
I have to disagree that Australians have had an uneasy relationship with the Crown since 1788. From what I have read the only real murmerings of republicanism arrived with the Irish to the goldfields in the 1850s. The republican movement as a whole only seemed to gained popular support in the 1960s.

David Byers said...

Scott, when you say "In many ways it is everyday proved that one cannot reason a man out of a position he was not reasoned into... nor a nation."

This is not a logical statment, if someone has a position that is not rational than surly one uses reason to explain things to them. Otherwise you are just using irrational views to overcome their irrational views (sounds like getting a person from one religion to another - two irrational views)

Scott said...

I hardly think watering down the Monarchy will make it any more tasteful for the Australians. Nay, rather enrich it, rather engorge it, rather strengthen, purify and vitalise it; then it shall be a draught readily consumed.

The boomers will pass. The monarchy will outlast them. And I think you will find that the rising generations, for all their faults, and perhaps because of their faults, are desperate for order, for something numinous, for something secure.

Religious and constitutional traditionalists are presented with fields white already for the harvest, I do believe...

Stauffenberg said...

Scott is absolutely right. Splendid verbs! And this is true, as well, "the boomers will pass".

Whatever they are called in various corners of the Western world (over here, they'd be loosely referred to as 1968ers) they are in a slow but steady decline as opinion-shapers and their grip is loosening. I aym watching it with delight. I have few illusions about my own generation but those among us who are concerned about the fabric of society in the widest sense are certainly more open-minded about the need for tadition than their parents.

That said, I am also seeing the importance of emphasising the constitutional over the publicised image and terminology - "crown" as opposed to "royal family", so to speak. Yet, I think with the line and laws of succesion which I understand to be the same in all realms, the distinction between the two will always be slightly blurry.

Stauffenberg said...

PS: Lord Best cites the "anti-British mentality" prevalent among boomers in Australia which was affecting the Monarchy debate. Would that still be related to certain perceptions over Gallipoli and Singapore or what is it that keeps it going?

David Byers said...

The youth of the '60's with all its faults was a good thing. I would hate to live in a pre 1960's world.

Scott said...

That, you see, is the genius of the boomer generation's self-image. You have merely uttered a tired truism of any contemporary history of the past fifty years. Personally I'd quite like to live in a time without binge-drinking, squillions of abortions, deviant sexualised culture, amoral politicians, trivialised art, debased state education, and all the other permissive, destructive nonsenses of that decade and later.

Truly, it has been proved, as the scriptures say, they will call freedom slavery, and slavery freedom; and truth falsehood, and falsehood truth. I am a devout apostle of liberty. And you cannot have true liberty from the tyrants of appetite, malign human nature, societal disarray, selfishness - without strict order, public morality, and true religion undefiled. All were actively done away with by the 60s losers.

Look upon the streets of England today. Stabbing chavs and graceless tarts; thuggish Muslims and PC Police; stinking burgers and torrents of chewing gum... The collapse of all standards is the collapse of much good.

I would dearly like to reverse that. Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned; our contemporaries fiddle with themselves, whilst thinking Rome is nothing more than a setting on their mobile phone.

Lord Best said...

The anti-British sentiment of the baby boomers was a reaction against their parents, in my opinion. Like much of the 1960s it was more about pissing off daddy than anything else.
As to the pre '60s world, I think order is better than anarchy, and we had order without oppression, something to be proud of. Now we have anarchy, pure and simple.
I will say in regards to abortions that I would rather see a safe, legal abortion than women and child both perish in an illegal backyard abortion. But I do not fancy getting into a debate over it.
On everything else, I agree with Scott. Not to claim the past was perfect, but we post-baby boomer generations are having to live with the consequences of our parents actions, and a lot of us are not impressed.

David Byers said...

“Truly, it has been proved, as the scriptures say” give me a brake! Religious views come down to faith not fact, look what religious certainty has done to Northern Island, the Middle East etc. to see how stupid those views are.

I do not like this idea of calling an entire generation of people “Boomers” and than attributing certain characteristics to them. That said as someone who has a great love of blues music (and indeed perform it) if it were not for white kids from the UK in the ‘60’s I would probably never heard of this beautiful expressive art. You take the good with the bad but you do not try and put the clock back to some supposed utopia, that is simply reactionary.

Scott said...

I wasn't exactly make a religious argument, merely by-the-by referring to how an opinion voiced in the Christian scriptures is clearly borne out by our reality. A bit of homely colour.

I would gladly ride into the lists for the Holy Bible and the goodness, edification and *truth* of all its words, regardless, but I do think in this instance you slightly mis-reacted.

I don't wish to put the clock back, incidentally. But I do believe that we are captains of our future; and that by no means is the progression of time necessarily allied with the progression of anyone's particular political agenda. That is one of the most enormous phallacies of the leftists. No future is inevitable; no future choice is any way more modern than any other; and refusing to recreate successes of the past, just because we are no longer actually in the past, commits one to a kind of mania, forever incapable of advancing soundly, prudentially or empirically in anything.

David Byers said...

There are good ideas of the past and present. One must weigh up and consider and than take them into the future. I do get a little tied of this whole left and right thing sometime.

As for this "I would gladly ride into the lists for the Holy Bible" I do not understand what the word list means in this context but it does sound a bit fanatical.

I know it is a little of the point but I do believe in a greater reality but due to Quantum Physics not religion.

Lord Best said...

Jousting lists, the arena where jousts took place. Great fun, mixing ritual combat with sport.

One of the most succint ways of summing up the legacy of the '60s: "We dropped the values, but kept the weed."
Yes it had its good aspects (I'm rather fond of the Beatles) but most of those were left behind.

David Byers said...

Funny thing is I can't stand the Beatles! Or infact many of the UK bands, only that people like the Rolling Stones did get people onto the blues.

Anonymous said...

quote David Byers I do not like this idea of calling an entire generation of people “Boomers” and than attributing certain characteristics to them.
____________________________________

its funny that you are against calling a generation a name and giving characteristics to them yet you seem more than happy to make sweeping generalizations about Australians and give them characteristics.

David Byers said...

To anonnymous (aka too gutless to use own name)

Nations are different from generations, and yes nations do have characteristics, this is shown up in their laws who they elect etc.

See not as smart as you thought you were.

What is your name gutless?

Lachlan said...

as good internet practice i choose not to use my own name. you seem to be fine with using yours. i will post this in my blogger account im just to lazy to post using my account as i dont like logging in.

so call me lazy if you want but i am not gutless as when ask i have shown my identity

David Byers said...

flushed you out! OK I'll remember that name.

Scott said...

Do not be put out, lachlan. Mr Byers has a highly amusing habit of pretending to be a cliched no-nonsense, earthy, foul-mouthed, impolite Australian from time to time; we are all in on the joke; it is highly postmodern; dripping in irony, and whatnot.

The real Mr Byers remains the tenacious, commonsensical, lively fellow seen in other posts and comments.

Lachlan said...

i hope what you say is true scott as i enjoy this blog and dont want to be on the wrong side of either its contributers or its readers. david would like you tom remember my name maybe we can become friends :P

though as i said i have not been flushed out but just made to log in

David Byers said...

Look I don't mean harm. I just have to re-evaluate why I support the Crown over a republic. I sincerely do not like the rigid class system that monarchy encourages or the fact that it has to be link to religion (I was religious untill a year ago or so). However I see the problems with many republics. We have to get the balance right. The Crown has gone through many changes and can do again.

Lachlan said...

welli must say that if you want one ulitmate reason to support the crown i would say that it is that it is a rock solid system that will makes it extemely difficult for any crazy extremist to take over. it also does not give too much power to any individual.

im am in favour with the class system as it is rooted in respect and honour (in the way that it recognises those people who do amazing things with titles, which pass to there family. yes and i know it has become something that land and power are tied up with but as is said in the novel 1984 every society needs an upper class.)


i can see your problem with the religious side of things if you are not religious but i have no problem with it as i am christian and would have the whole of society based on christian morales if possible. i know this isnt PC but i have enough belief to know im right ( this is my opinion and im sure people of other faith would have the some opinion if you were to change christianity with their faith). i dont know what has pushed you away from religion, but religion in the crown is a small price for our track solid constitution.

Scott said...

Lachlan, I am in agreement.

David Byers said...

Lachlan, It’s a long story as to why I moved away from religion. To put it simply, like many people I believed there was only two basic belief systems 1) Materialist Atheist and 2) Religion (of some sort). I had no idea that there were many scientist and researchers who believed in the afterlife but on a scientific level. It is as simple as that really. Like many people I am not going to accept such important issues on faith. Michael Roll and his team have a wonderful website explaining their research (The Campaign for Philosophical Freedom), see below, all they ask is that these views get as fair a hearing as the Religionist and Materialist Atheist
http://www.cfpf.org.uk/articles/background/scientificproof/scientificproof1.html

Parts 2, 3 and 4 follow below or one can Download the full pamphlet "THE SCIENTIFIC PROOF OF SURVIVAL AFTER DEATH" in PDF format. Not something everyone will accept but there you go. I must state that he is just one of many such people. Hope this clears up some of my view but is a different issue from the Monarchist.

Scott said...

Surely if there is scientific proof of life after death then a doctrine of the Christian religion is simply demonstrated - rather than the whole faith vitiated? How much quicker will sinful men rush in terror to be saved by the Lord's Grace if they cannot deny, however conveniently, the world to come!

Anyway, I have no wish to argue a man into faith, as it is impossible; but I would encourage you, if you have arrived at this new belief through restless thought and inquiry, not to throw that all in and retire upon it; but give continued equal thought and inquiry into whether or not you might be wrong, or anything else might be right. Seek, and you will find. Chances are you will come back. Nothing satisfies so much as orthodox Christianity.

David Byers said...

Scott, your right one must continue into intelligent enquiry. Religion is cultural and to a large extent depends on where one lives, for example had you been born in India you would probably be a devoted Hindu. It is sad that one can be a Materialist Atheist and that’s OK, one can believe in a book written by people with no scientific understanding of the world and that’s OK but if one dares to look into a scientific argument into a greater reality it is to be looked down upon. Very odd.

My view is that the two groups, Religionist and Materialist Atheist, have a vested interest in hoping that more people do not find out about so much research that has been going on since 1874, as both would be undone.

Anyway they are my views. Keep thinking for your self, that is the main thing. The issues is far, far too big for a forum such as on dedicated to the mundane issue of Monarchy vs. Republic!

Anonymous said...

"you simply must accept that as common sense"

I do not accept such a silly premise- it is hardly "common sense".

David Byers said...

Why on earth do people feel strongly enough to write in about something, yet do not have the confidence to put their own name to what they think?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is because some of us have professional work in the public arena and prefer anonymity...

Scott said...

I would say religion is more important than culture, incidentally; and that we should not accept a reductionist view of fate in contemplating various people's religiosity, but view it with God's providence and our evangelism in mind. That, at least, is the traditional view. I think it has a lot of merit.

We are more than atoms, floating randomly, determined by our surroundings.

David Byers said...

Scott, what you say is subjective and anything subjective is open to invalidation. Yes we are more than atoms, we are consciousness! When a telescope was first shown to one of the Popes, he pushed it away saying it was the instrument of the devil, but science and reason proved him wrong - it can never be otherwise. Christianity is simple a rehash of early religions that predate it, there has been much research into this by archaeologist the evidence is so overwhelming that the laws of averages tell us this cannot be a coincident.

Keep reading different views and come to your own conclusions but don't just listen to priestcraft.