THE BLOG

Royalty By Ballot, Not By Birth

01/08/2013 12:45 BST | Updated 30/09/2013 10:12 BST

Dieu et mon droit or 'God and my right', meaning the divine right to govern, will one day be the strapline of our newly born baby King. But is it right?

Imagine I told you that the promotion you've had your eyes on for years is never going to be yours because the CEO has marked it down for her children. Ok, this already happens. Let's go further. Imagine you found out that a baby who can't even walk has been appointed to be your doctor when he grows up. Worried? I would be. Imagine Team GB's line-up for the next two decades has already been allotted to the sperm and egg of people you've never met. You might be peeved your young Harry might never get a look in.

It's not right is it? That's why, in almost every walk of life, we've done away with the hereditary principle. We want the best because they are the best; not because someone's ancestor bonked some other ancestor over the head to death a long time ago. Hereditary succession is backward, out-dated, and it's inefficient. But what do we want instead? Another politician? Judging by the popularity of the proposed MPs' pay-rise, I don't think many republicans quite get the appeal of a ceremonial monarchy: they exist without all that horrible political stuff which does us harm.

Except they do. By having a Head of State picked for no other reason than which womb they came from, we undermine every call for talent, entrepreneurship, and aspiration in this country. By denying any member of this nation the right to go for the top job, we create second-class citizens by default. How can we say that we are a bastion of democracy when we have a similar approach to our Head of State's succession as North Korea?

What's needed is a British solution that solves the fusty problem of hereditary. So I suggest we open the post, of King or Queen, to the ballot box on a life term. At a stroke, we solve the democratic deficit equation and bring our constitution into accord with our values. We avoid all the pitfalls and hassles of switching to a full republic, such as the confusion of who runs the country: President or PM. Further, we can trim off all the hangers-on whose sum contribution seems to be little more than lucrative self-promotion (no names mentioned).

Above all, we can recognise and celebrate heroes from our nation who have done great things and fancy this unique ceremonial challenge. Also, by choosing successful people we're far more likely to have older and senior people putting themselves forward. It's time we valued their contribution rather than seeing them as a drain on the public purse.

Doubtless, I reckon Elizabeth Windsor would win a ballot if it was held today. Stephen Hawking would get my vote. The point is that we should have a say.