Monday, 11 February 2013

Women, catholics, and the crown

Given a choice between changing the laws of succession and abolishing the hereditary monarchy completely, I’d choose the latter, obviously.  For the time being that seems to put me in a minority; although that's not a position with which I’m entirely unfamiliar.  Change it is then at this stage – but surely we can do a better job of changing it than seems to be being proposed by Nick Clegg at present?

Abolishing the prohibition on women is one thing, but what about the prohibition on Catholics, atheists, Muslims, and lunatics?  (Actually I made part of that up: there is no ban on lunatics acceding to the throne.  They are however banned from the House of Commons as I recall – along with peers and prisoners.  Whether the ban is effectively enforced is a matter of opinion.)
The current proposals only do part of the job.  Catholics will still be banned, for instance, although I suppose that Catholic women will only be banned once under the new rules, as opposed to being doubly banned at present.  That's progress, of a sort, I suppose.
More important - and more directly relevant to we mere mortals - than the theoretical possiblity that some future Windsor will convert to Rome is the financial question. Because he’s only changing the rules for the monarchy itself, the rules for inheritance of other titles and the lands and properties that go with them will remain unchanged.   Specifically, that means that a female heir apparent will not be allowed to inherit the Duchy of Cornwall.  That will go to her oldest younger brother, – which means that he’ll cop the income and we, the taxpayers, will have to pay the heir the £18,000,000+ each year which the current incumbent of that title spends on – well whatever he manages to spend it on.
If Clegg wanted to do a proper job, he’d also have to deal with thorny questions like the relationship between church and state, and the inheritance of titles and land.  About time too, and better to do a proper job than a half baked one which will end up costing us in financial terms, just so that the current government can give an appearance of being reformers.
Failure to change the rules on religion also makes a very clear statement that discrimination against those who are in the wrong sect of the same religion - never mind those who adhere to a different religion completely or no religion at all - will continue, with the full approval of the current government.


BoiCymraeg said...

As a republican, I actually dislike any moves that modernise the monarchy as an institution. The more backward and mediaeval the institution behaves / appears, the less likely people are to continue to support it. Any moves to increase equality within the institution will only delay the day when people realise that the biggest inequality is the continued existence of the institution itself.

G Horton-Jones said...


It is an English problem not ours here in Wales.

No rule was ever set in stone
try Lady Jane Grey (9 days as Queen)
Mary 1st, Elizabeth 1st,
Anne, Victoria, Elisabeth 2nd or should it be 1st if it is spelt with an s and not z. not forgetting Edward the 8th who happened to fancy the wrong woman had she been a man then with the help of Cameron and Cleggy
All would perhaps have been well

Long live our Republic

John Dixon said...

"It's an English problem" Not entirely, no. There is no mechanism for excluding Welsh taxpayers from making a contribution to the £18million - and no Barnett consequential, since expenditure on the monarchy is UK expenditure which 'benefits' the whole of the UK.