Table of Contents
Backgrounds and histories of the monarch system in UK
In Britain, the term “Monarch” refers to the queen or the king (Mcanulla, p. 296). The British Monarchy system is also defined as the Constitutional Monarchy System. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II rose to power on the 6Th February, 1952. The members of the Monarch take various leadership roles in spheres like the social, economic as well as representative responsibilities.
The Monarchy system of the UK has a history that stretches over centuries (Lawrence, p.87). For instance, in the 17th century, the Monarch had the right to execute i.e. make and pass legislation. Due to the execution role they played then, they were named as the executive monarchs. However, in the past five decades, the monarch has become more executive and lawful to include powers like to appoint ministers as well as confer honors.
Just like the presidents and other heads of state elsewhere, the monarch’s major role is in the armed forces where he/she serves as the monarch in command of the armed forces (Rose and Kavanagh, p. 587). The rights and the authority to rule the country is still through the monarch up to date although such powers are only exercised within the laws passed and approved by the parliament (Rowan, p.98). The parliament has the greater role of setting standards as well as maintaining unity in the country.
Arguments against the monarchy system
Despite the many years Britain has been under the monarchy system of leadership, the system has not gone well with some critics who have faulted the system on several occasions. This study is an argument against the monarch in the UK. It will seek to point out the reasons why it is time for UK to have a change in the leadership style to leave what they have known for the last over a hundred years.
According to Rowan, (p. 97) in the counter-arguments to the monarchy system of leadership has been the push by a section of reformists to have a head of state elected by the people. Election represents the exercise of democratic rights by the citizens. Through an election, the people give their views on who they want to have as their leader unlike in a monarchy where such opportunities are never given (Rose and Kavanaghp. 587). Monarchs as such deprive the citizens the opportunity to determine who they want to have as their leader. Legal experts describe that as denied justice on the side of the country. Rose and Kavanagh, (p. 587) argues that push to have a people elected government is aimed at increasing the independence of the leadership in terms of deciding matters related to national affairs unlike now when the interest of the royal family have to be considered first.
However, in the context of the UK, the situation is a bit different due to lack of a codified constitution like most of her first world countries (Thompson, p. 1881). Instead, the country relies on an unwritten constitution which is a collection of Acts of parliament, conventions and court judgments. The lack of a supreme law in the country then implies that such issues like elections lack legal back up since it is the constitution which spells out such acts making them legally enforceable in a court of law. The critics have argued that the country may be should start by devising a working constitution through which the necessary activates would then occur (Mcanulla, p. 296). The lack of a constitution and a voting chance deprives the citizens the chance to make a change in the society as they deem fit. Any change that by any chance is to occur is at the mercies of the ruler or a group of individuals who are personally attached to the leader (Rowan, p. 98). An additional reason as to why the people of UK should be allowed to vote is in order to avert the chances that they may get oppressed. In a monarchy everything is at the discretion of the king/queen which gives them extra powers to manipulate the people. Manipulation and oppression are possible since the citizens do not have anything to refer to since on the other hand, they lack a constitution.
Monarchy system of administration has also been criticized for reinforcing conservative values (Mcanulla, p. 296). Monarchy government leadership likes to maintain the status quo with reference to the lifestyles of its citizens. Just like the classical conservatism theory, a monarchy government never struggles to turn around and challenge the norms (Thompson, p. 1881). Instead, monarchy government and classical conservatism theory recognizes that there are social orders in the societies we live in and as such people should never try to disrupt those orders. Many a times, these social orders result to poor leadership. As such, monarchy development may result to dictatorship leading to such factors like being unapologetic and hostile since they have no one to fear (Mcanulla, p. 297). Whoever tries to shake the set politically and social classes risks wrath from those in power. Two common traits through which the monarchy perpetrates democracy include hostility and little concern with reference to taking care of the least fortunate in the society. Psychologists have blamed classical conservatism values for division of people within the same country which later may degenerate to bigger social problems like civil wars (Mcanulla, p. 299). Such divisions also makes people not comfortable as they live in their own country since they don’t have the feeling of belonging yet they are supposed to enjoy their residence and the resources to the maximum.
There are high expenses related to the maintenance of a monarchy which have equally been noted as another disadvantage of a monarchy (Thompson, p. 1887). It is not only the Monarch who the country takes care of but rather the entire family and close relatives to them. That represents huge expenditures to the government of the UK which is drawn directly from the revenues contributed by the citizens. Such expenditures represents a disguised form of dictatorship as far as the citizens are concerned. For instance, in 2014 as the Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating her birthday, the UK government spend $ 35.7 million to organize a birthday party for her (Mcanulla, p. 296). This figure translated to 56 percent per head after it is spread across the entire population. Other events like weddings and burials are also catered for by the government yet they represents huge budgets hence the criticism that the UK needs to do away with the monarchy system of leadership (Thompson, p. 1886). Other factors that the state provides include travel expenses for the queen and the royal family, hospitality and house peeking and the wages paid to staff who take care of the royal family.
Further reason as to why the country should abolish monarchy system of leadership is due to the absurdity of the honors systems (Thompson, p. 1884). The honors are rewards to people who have shown braveness, have served the United Kingdom or even for personal achievements including British overseas territories. There are three kinds of awards given out in these honors including honors representing recognition for service and achievement, decorations which are mainly for decorating specific deeds and then the medals which are recognition for excellent performance in a particular thing. These honors are quite expensive and critics have decried the use of public funds by selfish leaders to be given out in events that do not add any national value.
We can do it today.
From the foregoing information, monarchy system of leadership is not a favorable one. The problems associated with the leadership design are enormous and besides they touch on national matters meaning they affect the entire country. If they were to affect individuals especially the monarchs and their families, the system could be tolerated but going by the rule of lesser evil, it is unfair to implement a system that brings joy on the faces of few at the expense of infringing on the rights of an entire nation (Lawrence, p.88). Although monarchies have been closely associated with stability and less political show offs, the notion of operating without a constitution might plunge the country in trouble going forward. It leaves many sectors of the country undecided since the constitution provides the legal voice that is followed by all. That leaves the mandate with reference to such decisions in the hands of a single person which is dangerous since human beings are prone to make mistakes. Such mistakes would have nationwide implications and on the other hand add to the problems of the people. Lawrence, (p.87) notes that the evidence is overwhelming and all signs points to a time when the monarchy system of leadership in the United Kingdom should be done away with and the sovereignty of the people given a chance like in Britain’s fellow developed countries.
- Lawrence, J. 2000, “Review article: The British sense of class”, Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 307-318.
- Mcanulla, S. 2007, “British Politics, Exploring British Politics”, British Politics, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 290-293.
- Rose, R. and Kavanagh, D., 2016. The monarchy in contemporary political culture. Comparative Politics, 8(4), pp.548-576.
- Rowan, J. 2010, “The Monarchy and the British Nation, 1780 to the Present”, History, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 97-98.
- Thompson, A.S., 2014. Imperial Britain: the empire in British politics, c. 1880-1932. Routledge.