There can be no true republic without socialism

April 11, 2012 4:36 pm

Not one of France’s five republics has truly fulfilled the ideals of the 1789 Revolution.  The First and Second Republics led to Napoléon Bonaparte and his nephew ruling as emperors.  The Fifth Republic saw a former president, Jacques Chirac, prosecuted for corruption as well as the Clearstream and Bokassa diamonds scandals.  However, the most shocking betrayal was provided by the Third Republic.  The Sacré-Coeur, one of the most famous landmarks in Paris, was built to ‘expiate the crimes’ of the socialistic Paris Commune.  The basilica stands almost on the very spot in Montmartre where the 1871 uprising started.  It was not a King who brutally suppressed the Commune, but Adolph Thiers, the first President of the Third Republic.

British monarchists often point to republican countries like France and argue that for all the public expenditure our Royal Family is the least of all the evils.  There are many British ‘subjects’ who support this argument, including some French ‘citizens’ looking at their own government with scepticism.  However, ‘pragmatic’ monarchists miss the point.  What French history tells us is that revolutions can be manipulated by opportunists and, more importantly, the republic itself was used to benefit the emerging French bourgeoisie and not the working class.  The industrial classes could tolerate some democracy but they did not believe in the radical formulation of liberté, égalité et fraternité - freedom, equality and brotherhood – which the Commune represented.

Tom King and Mark Ferguson make excellent points.  However, the monarchy must also be seen as part of the legacy of an entire social system: feudalism.  To create genuine democracy Labour should support gradual and cumulative constitutional reform as part of a general policy of transforming British society.  Abolishing the monarchy should simply be a matter of blowing out a candle at the end of the process.

The feudal legacy is not economic but rather cultural and constitutional.  Nobility has been transformed into a system which embraces a post-feudal, capitalist ‘meritocracy’ in the form of the Life Peerages Act 1958 which expanded appointments to the House of Lords.  Along with other feudal-type honours such as knighthoods, the entire honours system merely rewards ‘achievement’ on an arbitrary basis. It creates a culture of sycophancy and corruption.  If we must have an upper house then its members should all be accountable to the electorate: for short periods of office, unlike the Coalition proposals for 15 year terms.  The campaigning group Republic says “it [the monarchy] robs us of aspiration, telling us that even the wisest and most talented commoner is no match for even the most unpleasant and immoral royal”.  Republic’s aims are liberal and well-intentioned, but the basis of these reforms could simply satisfy the egos of individuals who believe that they are more worthy of validation than anyone else.  Socialists must not replace deference to birth-right with deference to an arbitrary concept of merit.

Beyond feudalism, retaining a monarchy for constitutional reasons is an expensive and often unworkable means of controlling the executive.  In Italy, the concept of constitutional monarchy became a farce. King Victor Emmanuel III was ostensibly head of state while ‘Prime Minister’ Benito Mussolini and the Fascist Grand Council exercised real power.  In Britain, controls on the power of the executive could be achieved by abolishing the Royal Prerogative – in law a personal power of the monarch but de facto exercised by the Prime Minister and cabinet.  Allowing Parliament better powers of scrutiny over executive powers such as the right to declare war and deploy troops would enable better legislative scrutiny of controversial decisions.  Other measures such as a written constitution, a legally-binding code of conduct for MPs and smaller parliamentary constituencies might make the legislature itself more corruption-proof.

Above all, for all its vestigial power and for all the pomp and ceremony, the monarchy is very weak.  The monarchy did not cause the concentration of wealth in fewer hands and the global financial meltdown.  Abolishing it will not eradicate economic class divisions.  Democratic socialists must not only face down kings and queens but also the successors of Adolphe Thiers and Mussolini.  Labour must fight for true democracy and should not stop halfway.  We must stand for collective as well as individual aspiration so that all human potential can be fulfilled: “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”.  Abolishing the symbols of inequality is not enough: it must be impossible for inequality to arise in the first place.

Kevin Hind was Labour’s 2010 Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Bury St Edmunds

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Socialism is completely dead.  It has as much intellectual credibility as Donald Duck.  It is a dream of dreamers, insulated in the coffee shops of student debate from the real world.  Exposure to the multiple motivations and characters of human reality causes it to collapse, like the pastry on my ale and beef pie that I spent nearly 2 hours cooking last night that was magnificent to look at in the oven, but by the time I got it to the table was very sad looking, and the gravy too thin.

    • AlanGiles

      Jaime I’d never waste two hours on a pie – Birds Eye and a packet of Smash will do the job in half an hour. Add Bisto or Oxo to taste….

      Anyway, be that as it may, Socialism isn’t dead, it is just that -if we are talking about social democracy – a lot of the people who play it lip service in the Labour party do so in such a moribund negative way, they end up making it appear like a slightly lighter blue shade of the Conservatives. One or two of our number on LL who write frequent articles are horrified by the very idea of anything even slightly left of centre. They kid themselves they are in the centre, but in truth their feet are really moving rightwards. They like to imagine they are helping the poor and the underprivileged, but in truth, their overwhelming desire is to help themselves, hence, if they want to keep in good books, they come out with their asinine articles going on about the “hard left”, which has in all truth not been very active in Labour politics for years. They seek to blame their own shortcomings on figures long in the past, whilst at the same time, as happened today, conveniently forgetting the good men of the past (one of our very important contributors either didn’t know, or didn’t feel it politic to mention the fact, that Harold Wilson won three elections). Labour lost the last election because it lost contact with its core supporters.

      The truth is New Labour didn’t work properly, and it don’t look as if the coalition will work – the policies and practices of the past thirty years are looking tired and failing. I wish we could find some genuine Labour voices within the party, the current shadow cabinet (and it has to be said many younger back-benchers) are lifeless and stale – in fact, you would find more life in a chapel of rest. One day – if it hasn’t arrived already another way will need to be found because ordinary people are beginning to see that the three main parties (two main parties I expect after the next election) really don’t have all the answers, which they “borrow” from each other.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        @ Alan Giles

        I appreciate your  honest perspective, and will give you mine.  I was raised in a Christian Socialist household, and my father is by personal nature a bit of a firebrand (and has suffered by reputation, both in Glasgow where he was not allowed to set up a free eye clinic in the shipyards by the bosses, and later under Pinochet, with one dreadful weekend of arrest and gross ill-treatment).  In my early days, I understood socialism too much literally, and while from duty and love  for my parents I never really argued with it, there was always something questioning at the back of my mind.  What I learned did not seem to fit the world I saw.

        With maturity, I recognise that the doctrine in my household was not really socialism as preached in the 30s-60s by proper socialists, but more a sort of modern distillation that was probably first written  in Paradise Lost by Milton.  Very much a social leaning, and communal only in the sense of shared responsibilities rather than of ownership.  Difficult to put into a paragraph, but it started my mental journey.  Today, I am a very odd mixture of Orange Book liberal for the economics, and totally supportive of a generous welfare state if there are also individual responsibilities built in – it is the effective lack of the latter that I have great difficulty with.

        Anyway, I do see a huge distinction between socialism and social democracy, with democratic socialism being a ridiculous attempt to have a foot in both camps.

        In practical terms, I do not recognise the Labour Party as being socialist, nor since the 1960s by my reading.  It is social democratic.  That is why I am able to clearly distinguish in my own mind an affection for the principles the Labour Party stands for (even if implementation is Wallace and Gromit), and the lunacy that is socialism that some would like to pursue.

        I hope that makes sense.

        • http://twitter.com/DelroyBooth Delroy Booth

           ” the lunacy that is socialism”

          Who says Labour has moved to the right.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Socialism was always mad.  Did anything ever change, or are the acknowledged global 90 million non-war deaths discounted?

            Must have been nice, to watch your children starve in Soviet Russia, or have them hacked to pieces with agricultural hoes in Cambodia in front of you.  Both happened under socialism, many millions of times.

            It must have been very nice for socialist luminaries such as the disgraceful unionist Jack Jones to have taken the Soviet money, or the General Secretary of the Labour Party Ron Hayward to tell the Soviets in the 1970s that he wanted to establish a communist society, with himself at the top.  This is both documented and tape-recorded.

            Nice people, socialists.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            Is seems that you use reason to justify your own prejudices. Surely, if properly handled, your analysis should include all ideologies, and eventually reach an anti-ideology position, perhaps founded on the intimacies of everyday life?

          • GuyM

            Anti-ideology?

            Excellent idea, no more “isms”, fewer politicians and “activists”.

            Basically a bit of tax for a safety net of services and then bug out of people’s lives.

          • Dave Postles

             Equally, it must be nice for the Koch brothers that the foundations of their neo-liberal capitalist empire, were established through engineering contracts from Stalin.  It would have seemed to be a company that HUAC should have investigated.  The extreme capitalists don’t seem to care too much about the harm inflicted by their corporate enterprises (Trafigura, anyone?).  Nice people, neo-liberal capitalists.  At least the ‘discredited’ socialists believed that there was a good.

          • Dave Postles

            ‘At least the ‘discredited’ socialists believed that there was a good.’  I’m referring here, of course, to Jones et al.

          • Redshift

            Are you opposed to worker’s cooperatives Jaime?

            I mean they follow market principles of competition, but simultaneously they are collective ownership of the means of production by the workforce – and are therefore socialist. Socialism has many forms, not just state ownership (although I really don’t think talking about state owenership of the railways, etc is particularly radical). To say it is ‘dead’ is simply ignorance. 

            To try and insist on it being inherently linked to the USSR is as ridiculous as me insisting that Pinochet’s Chile is something that every person who believes in capitalism supports. 

            A drop of nuance would do you a world of good.

          • GuyM

            What happens to workers who dont want to be part of a co-operative? Or do they only start up from scratch?

            Say a part of the NHS becomes a co-operative with certain staff taking ownership of the service, what happens if someone in the original staff wanted things to stay as they were?

            Personally I’d rather not ever work in aco-operative, I’d prefer a standard corporate structure. Are we saying anyone disagreeing with the formation of a co-operative should be paid redundancy and compensation?

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Alan,

        it is impossible to waste time on the cooking.  In fact, I spend most of it on trimming the steak , then rolling each cube in flour and seasoning individually with those spices that do not boil down, to ensure each cube is adequately flavoured and not those at the bottom over-spiced and those at the top too bland.  I am a bit obsessive about how the meat should taste.

        I do not believe that your Smash powder will taste nicer than home grown potatoes.  I have one row each of Estima and Saxon varieties.  The Estima are good for cooking and oiling, the Saxon for serving cold in salads.

        I am doing a new recipe tonight.  Iranian spiced tomato and lamb, which is half a curry and half a ragoût.  I hope it works out!  My wife will not be back until 9 pm so it has some slow cooking time.  It already smells good.

        • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

          Another fascinating post!

          I’d like to report that my new frying pan is performing admirably. In fact, I should really call it a roasting pan as I prefer ‘oiless frying’ – I’ll add a splash of liquid aminos, beer or wine if things get too dry.

          And now I’m wondering: why on earth do people use oil/fat? Is there a conspiracy perpetrated by the food industry and heart surgeons?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You really don’t need to reply.  Alan either will or won’t, it is up to him.  I’m not aware of any prohibition on LL for some slightly off-conversation discussions.

            Are you the LL policeman? Are there some new Dave Stone approved rules, or are they written only in the little black book that every socialist carries in his top pocket, like the stereotypical authoritarian thug that socialists normally are? You seem to fit the type – I can easily imagine you in a uniform pulling passers-by to one side and asking for “papers”, whether your cap badge is a red star or a death’s head.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            Just adding another flavour to the pot. Why so touchy? 

          • Peter Barnard

            @ Jaime,

            I can’t speak for Dave Stone, but I do know that the Comments Policy on LL leads me to believe that comments shall be “on topic” (the button is at the bottom of the page).

            What you had in your oven yesterday, and have today,  is quite definitely, not “on topic.” Dave Stone’s comments about his new frying pan were apposite ; in fact, the first time that he mentioned the utensil, I nearly fell off my chair with laughter.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            Thanks for that, Peter. It’s nice to know my attempts at humour don’t always fail!

            I nearly fell off my chair when Jaime side-swiped me with Godwin’s Law!

          • treborc1

            Some people find laughter to be socialist.

          • Hamish

            C’mon guys, don’t be mean to Jaime.  He was using a homely analogy to make a valid point about socialism.
            Not as pithy as Bertrand Russell’s: Cast your bread upon the waters, and you will get back a soggy mess.  But in the same vein.

            The aspect of socialism that we have thrown out with the bath-water is public ownership.  There are certain  areas where it does not make sense to have multiple provideres. Where monopoly is unavoidable, public monopoly is preferable to private monopoly.
            What we have failed to crack in the UK is how to make most public bodies work as efficiently as the best private institutions. Partly that is because we focussed on nationalisation as the only form of public ownership.

          • Dave Postles

             So it’s ironically interesting that SNCF may be bidding for the west coast route against ‘Laughing Boy”s Virgin with the prospect of bidding for that white elephant HS2.

          • treborc1

             Not as pithy as Bertrand Russell’s: Cast your bread upon the waters, and you will get back a soggy mess.  But in the same vein.

            or of course very fat ducks

          • GuyM

            Now that’s an interesting admission:

            “failed to crack in the UK is how to make most public bodies work as efficiently as the best private institutions”.

            That’s obvious to most of us in business, but always seems to be a truth that can never be admitted by the left.

            I wonder if te left would have more success if they actually accepted public bodies are not as efficient as they ought to be, rather than just blind defence all the time no matter what.

        • Alexwilliamz

          If you stir it well starting the cooking before putting in the pie you should get evenly seasoned meat.

    • Peter Barnard

      @ Jaime,

      Although socialism as defined originally – “a political and economic theory or system of social organisation based on collective or state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange” – is indeed “dead,” a close cousin – the concept of social justice – is still very much alive for a few people, myself and Alan G included. Regrettably, I’m not sure that the concept of social justice is now dominant in the upper reaches of the Labour Party, as it tries to appeal to the “squeezed middle.”

      “Social justice” was Clem Attlee’s objective, no more and no less. Attlee, once he came close to – and achieved – the reins of power, acknowledged that the original definition of socialism was untenable and we had “gas and water” socialism. Attlee also believed in the ethics of Christianity – he “couldn’t stand the mumbo-jumbo.” Attlee saw at first hand, and tried to do something about, the poverty in the east end of London for thirteen years.

       It’s a shame that the Labour Party ‘s “rising stars” (no names, no pack drill) can’t do something similar … Carolyn Flint, Labour MP for a Doncaster constituency should be doing something for her Doncaster constituents instead of roaming around the south-east …

      One definition of socialism – “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” (George Bernard Shaw about one hundred years ago?) – is still alive and kicking in AD 2011 : the National Health Service.

      Socialism – as contemplated and defined a hundred years ago – was an attempt to stir the 20C conscience and to goad the state into action. From that perspective and in the United Kingdom, it has succeeded, magnificently. And, even a hundred years ago, the first mention of “socialism” had been about eighty years before then.

      The great 19C Liberal Lord Acton had inclinations towards socialism (in the “social justice” sense). Two of his writings :

      (i) “There is no liberty where is hunger … the theory of liberty demands strong efforts to help the poor. Not merely for safety, for humanity, for religion, but for liberty.”

      (ii) ” … the poorer class … their interests are the most sacred.”

      That’s where “socialism,” came from …

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Peter,

        I would agree with you, although not in the categorisation of “close”.  It is distinct, and separate.  Furthermore, social justice is capable of capable of existing in the real world we live in, whereas socialism collapses under the weight of it’s own contradictions, the tendency of socialist leaders to become authoritarian oligarchs employing armies of thugs, the will of the people to say “F*** You” to socialists (which gives them a dilemma – democracy or the gulag), and basic mathematics.

        Now, does Labour wish to be a social democratic party, or a socialist party.  Miserabilists (and there is one on this thread) are very certain in what they want.  As certain as a man falling off a cliff while planning his perfect society.  Until the ground rudely intervenes, and everyone else looks at the empirical results and says “so another fool is disabused”.

        Every Labour leader since Ramsay MacDonald has understood this.  Some of the votes come from the heavy-breathing thugs who like being controlled but allowed to enforce the rules on others, some from the deluded “thinkers” such as Marx or Trotsky, and some from psychopaths like Pol Pot.  But there are never more than a handful of votes in socialism.  So the task of the Labour Leader is to pretend to be a socialist, while ensuring that real socialists get nowhere near to real power or influence.

        That makes some on LL angry, because they have a single pet theory they can understand (clearly, it is mono-dimensional and expressed in simple terms, and not capable of dealing with real life or complexity, otherwise it would be too much for them).

        • Peter Barnard

          @ Jaime,

          Labour has never been a “socialist” party (in the classic definition). It used to be a party that had a strong sense of social justice but, as I remarked, I don’t think that’s the case nowadays.

          Lord Acton (again) : “If there is a free contract in open market, between capital and labour, it cannot be right that one of the two contracting parties should have the making of the laws, the management of the conditions, the keeping of the peace, the administration of justice, the distribution of taxes, the control of expenditure, in its own hand exclusively. It is unjust that all these securities, all these advantages, should be on the same side.”

          Labour was mesmerised by the apparent successes of “Thatcherism,” got into bed with capital and business and forgot whose interests it should have been representing. It lost its way, completely.

          • treborc1

             yes true.

      • GuyM

        3 points:

        Firstly, “social justice” is meaningless, the concept “justice” like “fair” is entirely subjective and dependent on the political viewpoint of the person using the phrase.

        As some sort of universal “truth” that any policy or ideology can be measured against it is non existent

        This is the arrogance of the left, to believe they and they alone have the ultimate truth of what is good for us all, whether we agree or not. Nanny knows best as always for you Peter.

        Secondly, the NHS is pretty far from “each according to his need .. etc.” Treatment is often rationed based upon clinical and sometimes political opinions and the private sector has always run rampant through the NHS, most notably via GPs and Dentists.

        I pay for private health care, sometimes that private provision buys me faster consultation with NHS services, sometimes simply private provision allowing me to do a run around NHS inferior services.

        Thirdly the phrase “the poorer class.. their interests are the most sacred”, again total and utter subjective ideology, spoken as if you and Acton have a monopoly on “truths”.

        Socialism is a deadhand of an ideology that seeks merely to take from one group to give to another. A socialist state would not benefit me or my family in any way at all. It would benefit some and penalise likely as many as it benefited.

        It is currently for all intents and purposed “dead” and we are better for it.

        • Alexwilliamz

          Surely if you believe you have a truth it is ultimate otherwise can it be classified as truth. I presume then that you are open to the possibility that socialism might still be true, or has your own ‘ultimate truth’ device allowed you to discover its invailidity. Honestly.

          • GuyM

            I don’t believe in “truths” when it comes to political ideology, apart from one very loose point.

            That point being “freedom”, which in itself can be subjective I acknowledge.

            My selective view of “freedom” being freedom to live without the hand of the state interfering in your day to day existence beyond basic service provision that is reactive not proactive. 

            i.e. the NHS is there, but when I need it; roads are there, but when I need them; schools are there but when I need them etc.

            Freedom to me is not the state proactively involving itself in my life, nanying me, “guiding” me, telling me it knows best.

            In other words not being a huge “do-gooder” and thinking my income is fair game for it to indulge in in its social engineering.

            That simple “truth”, of being left alone and not being seen as fodder or resource for some bloody set of politicians, rules out communism, facism, socialism and so on.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

             But can’t you also see that there are other forms of oppression than just the state?

            For many people economic oppression is a more pressing issue than state oppression.

          • DaveCitizen

             Well said Alex – for some reason there are a lot of people who have convinced themselves that economic opportunities are somehow completely separate and different from other opportunities that are created by ‘the State’ such as having access to various public services.

          • GuyM

            Economic oppression?

            Last I checked but any individual receives free education to 18 if they want it.

            Then has free access to a jobs market across the entire EU.

            If some people are unwilling to avail themselves of that system then I fail to see why the rest of us shold have our freedoms curtailed to the level you would support to bail them out over and over.

            But of course I forget, those people are Labour voters and hence are allowed to be useless all their lives… one chav one vote eh?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

            Actually I was talking about third world countries – putting food on the table is understandably a very pressing concern. Given this, I found it odd that your concept of freedom didn’t include the ability to live without fear of starving to death or dying of thirst.

            Of course such extreme examples aren’t an issue in Britain, but mass unemployment is turning out be a very large issue in modern Europe. You say we have free access to the jobs market across the EU – but what jobs? Are the unemployed lazy when there aren’t enough jobs to go around?

          • GuyM

            3rd world problems are not my problem Alex.

            Nor are those who don’t equip themselves for the jobs market of the 21st century.

            In both cases, I don’t work to subsidise them.

    • Daniel Speight

       Jaime it’s good to see that some of the bile you displayed in last week’s comments about socialism has gone. To be honest they would have been better said by a South American general in some banana republic than by your good self.

      Being I’m sure an intelligent man yourself, it’s interesting you talk about intellectual credibility. Now corrupting that well known saying, I will say that those who do not learn from history are not showing too much of their intelligence.

      The history of human society is one of change and to use an overused word, progress. We have moved over thousands of years from scavengers to hunter-gatherers to living in a feudal society and we are now in this latest stage of capitalism. There are some who think this is as good as it gets in social living. There are others who feel we should turn the clock back a hundred odd years to some imagined golden age of capitalism. But like our good king Charles the First, they are betting against the odds. Turning back the clock or even just standing still are not options that seem to work in a longer term.

      I suspect the next stage society will reach will be a more equal one as we seem to have been moving in that direction for quite a while. To my mind a more equal society is going to involve some sort of socialism. In fact we can see movement in that direction pretty well from the WW2 onwards. There are whole swathes of infrastructure that it would be hard not to argue would be, or are better, under public ownership rather than privately owned. Your own industry would be a case in point. Even as the government would like to bring in a more American style health system the Americans are looking at their own weaknesses and at a larger government participation.

      Of course if we were honest we would see the changes in this capitalist system are  sowing the seeds of its own eventual destruction. The large global corporations of today have very little to do with the early capitalist buccaneering company owners or the Quakers like Fry and Cadbury. Today we have corporate bureaucracies who represent mainly themselves rather than company owners. The entrepreneur is the exception rather than rule.

      So just maybe we deserve something a bit more than your trite Walt Disney comparisons. After all this is website supporting Britain’s social democratic party.

  • GuyM

    Nice to see LL has allowed people to post final year undergraduate pol sci thesis outlines.

    Honestly, if this is the intellectual capacity of Labour PPCs then I’m embarrassed for your party.

    What actually is “collective aspiration”?

    How do you validate “collective aspiration” across a socio-economic and demographically dispersed population?

    What happens if “collective aspiration” conflicts with “individual aspiration”

    Who decides which “collective aspirations” are valid and most important ( for instance a good third of the electorate collectively want a Tory government at every election)?

    I won’t go into the inane “a republic can only be socialist” claptrap. Better if you’d simply written “a Kevin Hind republic can only be socialist”, to save all the confusion.

    I can’t work out what this argument is really? It reads like a crappy first thesis precis at times, then like come sort of political ideology mao might have penned when in a happy mood after having shagged a few more young peasant girls (ahh the perks of socialist equality eh?)…… or more darkly the sort rhetorical nonsense that Lenin and Stalin used to justify the repression they foisted on millions of people for decades.

    Thank God you never were elected Mr Hind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Collins/100000033820132 Stephen Collins

    There can be no true republic without reforming the one institution that has done more damage than any other.
    The House of Commons.

    Funny, no one talks about abolishing that though do they?

    • treborc1

      The house of Lords a place used by political parties for favours of cash or political backing.   It should be fully democratic and voted on and the Lord/peerages  should become a thing of the past

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Collins/100000033820132 Stephen Collins

        Why should peerages become a thing of the past?

        Nothing wrong with them. 

  • ThePurpleBooker

    We must not be a republican party and the thought Labour should think about abolishing the monarchy is just as mad as taking lectures from George Osborne on the economy.

    • treborc1

      Why not you listened to Blair and Brown on the economy, and look at the mess now.

  • TomFairfax

    Just an observation, but all those who back a hereditary monarchy miss a very obvious point. The Successive Houses on Braunschwig and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, soon to be replaced by Battenberg, have no more hereditary right to the throne than Harry Redknap. They  rely on the fact we don’t dispense with the incumbents unless they really try the patience of the people.

    Lest it be forgot, the Tories came into being because they refused to accept the Hanovarian Elector’s, Jorg 1st’s,  right to the throne in favour of the 100 or so members of the House of Stuart with a better hereditary claim.

    Parliament retains the right to choose the monarch (though beheading is not officially still an option, probably never was) and has had this power for several centuries.

    Also, if Alec Salmond really wanted to cause trouble, he might propose to return the Stuarts to the Scottish throne when Brenda eventually joins her forefathers.

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  • Featured Scotland Anas Sarwar steps down as Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour

    Anas Sarwar steps down as Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour

    Anas Sarwar has announced he’ll be stepping down as Scottish Labour leader. Speaking at Scottish Labour’s Gala Dinner, Sarwar – who had previously refused to be drawn on whether he’d resign from his post – told attendees at tonight’s dinner that he was triggering a Deputy Leadership contest that will run alongside the leadership contest, but would stay on as interim leader until December 13th. Before tonight’s dinner, he told the Daily Record: “After thinking about it long and hard over […]

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