Sunday, 24 August 2008

Making a stand for the Monarchy

A democratic competition of thoughts and ideas is a wonderful thing, Monarchists and republicans can easily agree on that. However, when it comes to the practical competition, they differ.

After 22 British MPs (out of 649) challenged the Oath of Allegiance and asked the Commons and the Lords to be allowed to swear allegiance to their constituents and the nation rather than to the Monarch, British republicans were in a jubilant mood:

I get urgent response e-mails from the anti-monarchist group Republic on a regular basis. The latest concerns the move to challenge the oath of allegiance which is being widely reported in the British media today:

"Today's Daily Mail carries a front page story on Republic supporter Norman Baker MP's Early Day Motion to give MPs the option of swearing allegiance to their constituents rather than the Queen.

"This is potentially a very big story so please take a few moments to comment on the article … Let's get the republican point of view out there!”

There was a Monarchist response to the republican frency, and I don't mean heaps of letters to the editors defending the Oath of Allegiance and the Monarchy: The UK-based Constitutional Monarchy Association put advertisements in political magazines and informed readers about the Association’s point of view.

In the eyes of the republicans that was a mistake. They called the ad campaign “a rallying cry to royalists to save Britain’s most ludicrous institution” and "a reaction against the insidious influence within the media of organisations such as ‘Republic’, and the growing number of treasonous hacks who would send our dear Betty Windsor into exile or worse". They give the impression, PR ought to be a republican privilege.

"Republic spokesperson Graham Smith told reporters:

"Republic's campaign against the oath of allegiance has clearly rattled these royalist-ultras. It is extraordinary to see the monarchy advertised in this way."

"The royalists clearly fear for their beloved institution, but I would be surprised if Buckingham Palace would approve of this sort of publicity."

Among the supporters of The Constitutional Monarchy Association the republicans spotted London Lord Mayor Boris Johnson. He was disliked because he “is descended from Württembergische Royalty”.

True, one of Boris Johnson's forefathers was King Frederick I of Württemberg (1754-1816), but Boris' ancestor connecting him with Württemberg's Royal Family was born out of wedlock and there’s no chance for Boris to claim the Crown of Württemberg for himself or his descendants. The King’s son, Duke Paul (1785-1847), had fathered a child with an actress called Friederike Margrethe Porth (1776-1860). Does this disqualify Boris Johnson (*1964) from being a Monarchist? On the other hand, the republicans never refused the assistance of the 2nd Vicount Stansgate, also know as Anthony Wedgwood Benn (*1925). I never heard this would disqualify him as a republican.

22 MP’s out of 649 – a 3.38% minority in the House of Commons consisting of the usual suspects. Only one Tory had signed the motion. Peter Bottomley, the former Conservative Transport Minister, said he would support a proposal for the oath to be made voluntary. The media hype was reversely proportional to the chances of the mood to find a majority in the Houses of Parliament.

However, I do not find it appalling to discuss the Oath of Allegiance. On the other hand republicans have to accept that Royalists will not give way without a fight. The advertisement of The Constitutional Monarchy Association is a good start to put arguments of both sides to the public.

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