This week the monarchy has been in the news. Charles Windsor has put himself in the media spotlight, discussing what he would do if he were monarch, and specifically what would happen to Buckingham Palace. We've also had the call to modernise the monarchy by removing sexism from the succession. Well, if we're talking about modernisation I've got an idea that'll bring them right into the 21st Century.
Now before I go on I need to state that I am a republican. On principle I reject the notion that any human is better than any other human, more so when it comes to people being 'born better' than others. However, this is not an anti-monarchy column, merely it's a pragmatist's view on how we can best be inclusive of a monarchy in a way that is of most benefit to, and best represents, our society.
Rather than rail against the arguments that monarchists put forward, I'm proposing a compromise that both meets the principles of those who are pro-monarchy with those who don't believe in it as a concept.
I also make this case in a climate of economic distress, at a time when we must, for the good of the nation, think the unthinkable. We now live in a society where the profit motive exists in schools, where the true jewel in the British Crown, something the entire world looks to as a shining star, the NHS, is being treated to the unthinkable thinking of privatisation, and a climate where we have to make sure every aspect of society delivers financially.
It is time to privatise the monarchy.
There are many arguments for its privatisation, so firstly let's look at some of the arguments for keeping a monarchy at all, and how they dovetail into the case for privatisation.
Tradition; the monarchy is a British tradition. However, in the current climate we can't be sentimental. The welfare state is a British tradition, as is the NHS. However, isn't it also a British tradition that we're enterprising? Come on, there's nothing more British than being a bit industrious and turning a few quid, sometimes just for being British. Hugh Grant manages it, and he's as British as jam tarts and visiting prostitute. So come on Queenie, get with the industrial revolution and make some dough in that age old British tradition.
One of the arguments always put forward for the monarchy is that 'the tourists come here for them' and that they 'make money'. Good. That should set them up perfectly to run HRH as a brand. All those people stood gormlessly outside Buckingham Palace, they'd pay a tonne to see Prince Philip's crapper. On a serious note, as someone working on opening a London-based visitor attraction, I have seen the kind of visitor numbers and turnover that these sites can generate. They should be able to generate revenue from their property portfolio without the need for a state handout.
Instead of sitting in a helicopter whilst someone else flies it and other people rescue people, Willie would be more useful if he got himself out there as a brand. If Beckham can still make fortunes in the States for not being that great at football anymore, then how much could William make? Just think of the endorsements. Though, like Beckham, Willie's earning potential would be based on looks so he'd better get at it quick before the facial transformation into his father is complete.
Speaking of people looking like their father, I can see a fantastic Head and Shoulders ad featuring Harry. He could also be Gavin Henson's replacement on The Bachelor, they strike me as having quite similar personalities, so it'll be a great fit.
Zara Philips is an international sports personality. I mean, duh, what is her manager doing? She should be endorsing horseboxes and Landies by now.
Seriously though, and my 'humour' (or attempts at it) aside, the HRH brand, and their likenesses should be a billion-dollar brand. They should be getting an, 'ahem', royalty on a whole range of officially licensed products as well as seriously considering some high class endorsements. This, combined with their property portfolio, should mean that not only are they not taking money from the state, but that they're actually putting money back in.
Think of the tax revenue for starters. However, I'd set up the deal so that the HRH brand and properties associated with it were leased to them and that the state take an override on every penny earned. This lease agreement would also include a set number of state jobs that each of them had in order to continue utilising the brand.
It's modern, a PFI for the 21st century. If the profit motive can be applied to state-owned (or formerly state-owned) energy, rail, healthcare etc., then why can't it apply to the monarchy? Indeed, how can it not? If they can't turn it into a money-making concern they'd have to be some kind of inbreeds or something.
Actually, so convinced am I that they can generate revenue that this blog is in fact an offer to manage their transition into a global, monetised brand for no pay - just a 10% stake and an MBE for me to turn down.
So, come on Liz, give me a tinkle, I've got the brains, Will's just about still got the looks, let's make lots of money!