THE BLOG

Is It Time to Scrap the Monarchy?

28/01/2016 12:16 GMT | Updated 26/01/2017 10:12 GMT

The monarch may seem to make Britain appear different to other countries, but is it time to change this system and have a democratically elected head of state? Many people in Britain aspire to become the head of state and none of them will ever achieve their dream. If fellow developed countries like the USA can elect its head of state then why can't the UK?

The monarch is born into a position of power. People moan at politicians, but at the end of the day at least somebody voted them into Parliament. In theory, the monarch has no Parliamentary power as such, but they do have the power to sign international treaties, give honorary titles (including Lords) and deploy British troops abroad. Since the monarch can appoint Lords, they are likely to have similar views to the monarch themselves which can create a bias in Parliament. The monarch also has to, conventionally, sign every law that Parliament passes. If we had an elected head of state, they could veto any decision or law which may put the lives of British people at risk. Because the monarch is unelected it creates the idea that certain people are born superior to others. As a 16 year-old I aspire to live in a country where anyone from any background can become, or at least stand to be, our head of state. We could elect our new President similarly to how the USA elect theirs. They would have to win the popular vote, so the majority of the electorate would have supported them. People can vote for whoever they want to stand- say, every 4 years- and we could have a head of state that truly represents the whole of the nation, not just the privileged few. Let the people decide who they want to be our head of state and represent our country at home and abroad.

Secondly, the monarchy simply costs too much money. The total cost of keeping the monarch is thought to be around £334million (over 100 times more than the Irish President.) Some argue that those who pay this fee in their taxes will never receive their money back- that some people gained money but not the individual tax payer. We should not have to involuntary fund the system through our taxes. This kind of money should be spent on homeless people who desperately need it. People who are struggling to survive. Buckingham Palace is thought to be able to provide shelter for 1,000 refugees (or for most of the homeless people in London.) There are people who are struggling to survive and as a civilised country we should be helping them. Tourists would still visit London if we didn't have a monarch. For example, Paris gains more money than London from tourism, and France doesn't have a monarch. People may argue that the monarchy is what makes Britain unique from other countries. The truth is that Britain will always be unique for its wonderful history.

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Thirdly, the monarchy leads to religious discrimination. To become the Prime Minister of Britain, you must be the same religion as the monarch, Church of England. This rule is completely outdated, considering we now live in a much more multi-cultural nation. There are people who have changed their religion after becoming Prime Minister, such as Tony Blair who converted to Catholicism, but it shouldn't be a rule that people must change their religion.

Finally, the monarchy creates a system that certain people automatically deserve respect. I was speaking to my Politics tutor who told me that when a member of the Royal family held a Q&A where he used to work, someone had called out "the only person I would bow to is my mother." This statement made me realise that we shouldn't automatically have respect for someone because of the family that they have been born in to. It also made me realise that we should ultimately respect our families as the most important people in our lives.