Thursday, 25 April 2013

Privatise the Windsors?

Much of the coverage a couple of weeks ago about the privatisation of the Search and Rescue service seemed to take more interest in the link with a certain William of Windsor than with the impact on either those gainfully employed in the service or what I suppose we should, in today’s terminology, call “service users” or even “customers”.  As a general rule, those whose employment is privatised get to keep their jobs; they just get transferred to another employer who will, over time and despite TUPE provisions, find ways of reducing their employees’ pay and benefits whilst maximising their own rewards.
In this case, it appears that William and his co-workers will be spared such a fate.  It set me thinking though – is the government approach to privatisation radical enough?  Why not for instance privatise the entire monarchy?
Much of the argument for retention of the monarchy is around the alleged tourist value – but might a private company be better at exploiting that potential?  I’m sure that there’s a company somewhere willing to take this enterprise on and run it at a profit.
Instead of us paying the Royals through the civil list, we can run it like the railways; the successful bidder will have to pay an agreed annual charge for the rights to the brand.  They’d have to charge for opening roads, bridges, and buildings of course in order to generate an income stream.  Some sort of sliding scale, perhaps, based on degree of royalness.
They’d also want to rationalise the estate.  There are far too many castles (and rooms inside them) for so few people; those which could not be made to turn a profit could be sold, or even demolished to make way for more profitable developments. 
Such residual roles as the monarchy possesses in the constitution wouldn’t be missed that much; it’s more pretence than real power anyway.  And if they want the brand leader to come and declare parliament open every now and then, I’m sure that they could make the figures show that it’s cheaper to pay a private company to send her than it is to employ her directly.  That’d be in line with normal government approach to the economics of privatisation.
This proposal could also solve all the problems and issues related to future succession as well.  I can’t see any way that any profit-oriented organisation would leave the future of the brand image to the vagaries of human genetics.  No, a privatised monarchy would soon rationalise that little issue.
The government claims that there are no sacred cows; so why should the monarchy be an exception?  Not so much "off with their heads" as simply taking the headcount off the public payroll...

1 comment:

maen_tramgwydd said...

William Wales, please!

We need this, privatised or otherwise, reminder of our conquered, subjugated, and variously exploited colonial status, until we finally rid ourselves of it, together with him and his ilk.