By Cory Doctorow at 6:27 pm Tue, Apr 2, 2013
We figured out how to fire her line 237 years ago… slacker.
Technically, the Brits figured out how to get rid of monarchs 364 years ago, but they’ve rather lost the appetite for it since then.
You have a problem with that, peasant?
Take it up with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Divine Right of Kings (and Queens) is an inexorable, historical, unquestionable FACT.
Lest the lower classes get too uppity: The Empires’ gaols can be easily cleared of foetid rabble for new, fresher residents…
The Brits got rid of the Divine Right of Kings in 1688/1689, when Parliament brought in William and Mary from Orange. And the doctrine of Divine Right of Kings really only dates to the 1500s, while if you look at the kings and queens of England after Henry VIII, most of them were appointed by acts of Parliament or other treaties (for instance, Philip became co-ruler with Mary by a treaty made by Parliament, and the two of them got to rule Ireland by a papal bull.)
But as the first Duke of Grand Fenwick said, he’d never seen a king put on a throne directly by God, but he’d seen plenty of them get there over a pile of severed heads, and if it was good enough for a king it ought to be good enough for a duke.
God Save Whoever’s Dudes Chopped Off The Most Heads.
Well, Queen is one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
considering the article says her family property has given the public purse over 240 million pounds, giving her a mere 36 million of that is a bargain!
Ah yes, the income of the Duchy of Lancaster. People tend to go a bit quiet when you explain how the Civil List, et al, is in exchange for the massive income HMG recieves from that.
A fraction of the £240M the UK treasury gets from income on the Queen’s property. But CGP Grey explains it better than I can.
So she deserves to be perpetually wealthy because she inherited property from a long-dead monarch who acquired it back in the days before most subjects were even allowed to own property? Still doesn’t seem to me like the taxpayers are getting a fair shake, but if that’s the way they wanna run their country then I guess it’s none of my business.
She has less inherited wealth than the oligarchs who run the country. And the US. And virtually every other country.
Absolutely true, which is why I support meaningful estate taxes. But at least we don’t have to see the Walton family on all our money.
Half the point of having a monarch is to distract people from who’s really taking all the money. I imagine that the Waltons miss their anonymity and have no desire to make targets of themselves.
Well, there’s some interesting ways of folding the money to make it more amusing ;)
Inheritance tax is evil though. Full stop.
“Inheritance tax is evil though.”
A necessary evil.
If you have a better way to prevent the establishment of a permanent ruling class I’m all ears.
Disallow all campaign contributions whatsoever. Mischief managed.
@Antinous_Moderator:disqus : The only thing that would change would be to ensure that the only people elected to office would be the ones rich enough to pay their own campaign costs. Plus you’d still have the permanent upper class supported by self-perpetuating wealth.
Plus you’d still have the permanent upper class supported by self-perpetuating wealth.
Not if they could no longer purchase favorable legislation.
@Antinous_Moderator:disqus You mean “tax structures that favor the already-wealthy?” I think we’re pretty much discussing the same thing.
“A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fullness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural.”
Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith seem not to agree – though of course they are wrong about a number of things, I think they got this one exactly right.
And in comparison to the Duke of Westminster, she’s positively poverty stricken.
I no longer have a stake in that issue, as 2 years ago I renounced every foreign prince and potentate, meaning Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, when I became American. If the British people care, they can do something about it. As I understand it, royal estates aren’t nearly the injustice that created the vassal estates in Henry VIII’s time anyway.
Also this money she gets covers the following: “It also covers the maintenance of the royal palaces in England and the cost of royal travel for official engagements in the UK and overseas tours.”
You’d think an author would have some reading comprehension skills, but I guess Cory doesn’t as he seems to think this is her personal salary.
Her head on a pike would be 36 million cheaper, whichever way you slice it, as it were.
But as a tourist attraction, relatively short-term.
That’s what taxidermy’s for. Or heirs to the throne, for that matter.
So, that makes it right? Getthefuckouttahere.
It doesn’t make it right that there’s a queen and she gets all sorts of money and authority just because she was born, but it doesn’t need to be blown out of proportion. This kind of ridiculous rhetoric from Cory is the same kind of thing Fox News does when reporting on Obama. If you were to include the full budget for the President of the US, or the Prime Minister of the UK for that matter, as in their staff, security, housing, office space, etc., and try and pass that off as a salary, that would be wrong too. But you could certainly manufacture some outrage doing that.
The queens private estates bring in over £200M per year for the government so i fail to see how this is some great violation of public trust when the large majority of Britains wish to keep a monarch as head of state.
If the Queen wasn’t there (you know, like she normally isn’t) does that money stop being made?
Some of it stops being made. Last April, I took my family on a vacation to England and we toured Windsor Castle primarily because the Queen lives there. We stopped at the Windsor Farm Shop for tea. In London, we walked around Buckingham, and made sure to see the crown jewels at the Tower. If the royalty didn’t exist, I would have been much less likely to visit those places. I spent a lot of money while I was there. The Queen is a draw.
But why? You don’t see her. She still would have lived in those places, the historical significance won’t have changed.
I live in a very historic place, that gets a ton of money from tourism (I can see history right now, from my desk), but I’ve never heard anyone suggest that we give Nelson a pay cheque; and the fact that he isn’t here now has never been questioned.
I have a feeling that London and the Royal estates would be pretty popular tourist spots even if there wasn’t a Queen. In fact, if we get a nice controversy surrounding her outing maybe they’ll make even more money!
(For what it’s worth I don’t have any strong opinions about the Queen – she costs me very little, there are bigger fish to fry – but I’m also not a fan)
Indeed. I live in a city with walls thousands of years old. People come to look at them. People would come and look at the ex-queen’s palace.
Why? Celebrity, I guess. The White House in Washington DC is a pretty small
and unimpressive building compared to other mansions. But the President
lives there. So it’s a big deal.
I know US history is very short, but it’s not so short that things lose all significance the moment they become unoccupied.
A lot of people hope for a glimpse of a royal as part of their tourist experience. People don’t stare at Buckingham Palace because of its execrable architecture.
That’s so cute.
It used to be a proper Georgian building. The facade was only made to look like an extremely large bank building in 1913.
I didn’t know that actually! Never been interested in Buckingham palace, but will have to look it up now.
Monarchy is not a system I’d advocate creating from scratch if we lacked it, but the Queen herself does a good job of being a hereditary diplomat and arguably serves the country in her own way. There’s no pressing need to remove her; the £36.1M headline figure contributes to the salary of 1200 people working in the palace; presumably if we became a republic a fair number of those roles would still exist if we wanted to maintain the historic buildings now owned by the monarchy.
The Queen occupies a realm of idiosyncrasy; we could make money by demolishing Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, St Pauls and converting the land into a high-rise car-parks; but that’s not an argument for actually doing it.
I think removing the monarch for ideological reasons is not likely to generate a better system of government – we would then have a president which opens the door to the likes of George W Bush – nor save significant sums of money on the scale of things that matter; Trident, PFI, each waste more money than the Civil list, I think reforming those could save money without representing cultural vandalism.
we would then have a president which opens the door to the likes of George W Bush
Surely you’d have a virtuous republican leader like Oliver Cromwell, who…. What? His son got the office when he died and they just called themselves Lord Protectors instead of Kings? Never mind.
Well, he did ban football, so there’s that…
(I hate football)
Just becoming a republic doesn’t automatically mean that you get a Bush as a President. That takes practice.
And possibly a sort of anti-Bene Gesserit breeding program.
Holy crap, why can I only like this once?
(in Dubya drawl: “I’m the Kwizaaaaaaaahhhhhh….. Hell, forgot what I was going to say there!”)
It’s the Kwiza-deciderach!
Sadly, we’ve been practicing hard since the Major era. I thought it could never happen here… twenty years ago. Blair and Cameron prove otherwise.
(Most of the Conservative actions of the last two years are straight out of the Republican playbook.)
Blair kind of blind-sided us though, not that I was a supporter, but up until he got all smootchy with Bush and War he wasn’t all that bad.
No leader should have two terms, it drives them power mad.
Well, after nearly two decades of Thatcher & Major, ANYONE looks good…
The same system that gave you a well mannered diplomat in the Queen, also gave you Prince Phillip.
The royals are anything but a harmless peccadillo. For one thing, they administer a secret system of legislative vetoes they use to enhance their titanic fortunes:
From the Guardian article:
A spokesman for the Prince of Wales would not comment on whether the prince has ever withheld consent or demanded changes to legislation under the consent system.
So you have no idea whatsoever if the Prince of Wales has used the veto (as opposed to having it offered), or whether it has had any effect on his fortune, on the income of which he voluntarily pays the highest tax rate.
Charles intervened in 11+ pieces of major legislation, including the Olympic Act. His interventions are off-limits to FOI requests.
He was offered the opportunity to intervene. There is no evidence that he did so. The fact that those offers are not available under FOI does not imply that he did, although it’s certainly unfortunate.
Reminds me of many of those fancy new legal powers the Feds got after 9/11 in the name of fighting “terrorism.”
How often do they abuse those powers? It’s impossible to say, because they came with a built-in lack of transparency or accountability that prevents anyone from actually finding out. That’s not just “unfortunate,” it’s a major problem for any ostensibly free society.
I’m feeling uncomfortable here, but then, I never liked it when Mom and Dad argued.
You didn’t learn to exploit their schism for personal gain?
Yes, but mostly after the divorce.
Regardless of whether Charles has actually used it, the mere existence of a veto power corrupts the democratic process: legislation is usually drafted to work around likely vetoes, so it’s effectively pre-filtered to look out for his interests.
What Charles demands of Camilla in private is of no relevance to this discussion.
Touche? ;) I just wanted to point out that just because something might have happened does not mean it did happen. You start to get into all sorts of problems when you ascribe conscious or unconscious intentions. The writers of laws might equally be concerned about the possibility of being attacked by an angry mob but for the most part it is unlikely that that enters into their decision making. So to for the veto, the mob and the veto may be present, both may have an effect and neither. I don’t think the vestigial presence of a veto is the biggest worry for parliamentary democracy at the moment.
“A spokesman for the Prince of Wales would not comment…”
I shouldn’t have to translate that for you. Innocent people rarely withhold comment on their actions.
Please, God, keep Nathan Hornby from ever serving on a jury.
Ok – context dependent :)
If they asked if he ever clubbed a seal I bet they’d get more than a ‘no comment’.
Clearly there’s no need for privacy unless you have something to hide.
Fine, I’ll back down. But we all know what’s what.
But we all know what’s what.
Now I’m even more determined that you should never be on a jury.
Wink wink, nudge nudge.
That wouldn’t be anything like lobbying, would it?
Giving Elizabeth Windsor £36.1M is one thing (a pretty stupid thing, admittedly). Giving Charles Windsor £36.1M in a few years is something else.
God save the Queen, ’cause tourists are money.
God save the Queen, she aint no human bean.
Just because your governement wants to go on an austerity binge doesn’t mean that the Crown Estates need to join in on the fun. And since the Queen gets fifteen percent of the Estate’s profits, she reaps the benefits of the Estate’s wisdom. Throw out the Tories and you too might be able to enjoy the largesse.
1:04, for those who don’t speak fr… Hm, frog.
Wow, the level of snark from the OP is remarkably high in this one.
House of McLeod ?
That’s a rather misleading title. Staff payments (for staff who serve a lot of people, from various government officials to visiting foreign dignitaries) and building maintenance are among the included uses. It’s not like she’s blowing 36 million pounds on coke, hookers, fast cars, and gambling.
I’d like ’em more if they did.
The British royal family should be admired for gradually ceding their wealth and power over time, avoiding the death toll and property damage of revolution with grace. Compare them to the French monarchy, the Russian Tsars, or the Saudi Royal family. Allow them their dignity Cory.
Wow. I have this nice daydream where the Queen and I have some tea, throw the ball around for the Royal corgis, and generally gaze out over the kingdom (hey, in my daydream the palace is on top of Pride Rock, okay?). Now I can tack on me hitting up the Queen for a quick loan of $2 million pounds or so. It slots nicely in with me being gently escorted out under the withering gaze of the gorilla-ish butler squad.
The first time you referred to the Royal corgis as yorkies, you could say goodbye to your chances of a loan. And to the “gently escorted” part.
Oops! Yeah, my bad. Thank goodness for that “edit” option.
Come on, you heartless people. Look at how this poor old woman has to live, then tell me you begrudge her a little money to redecorate.
I’m a little disturbed by how much her sitting room resembles my mother’s taste in decorating. I was really expecting more, er, gold bars or bloody heads or a rack of scepters. Something!
I’m an ugly American, and god knows we love our plutocrats, but come on. What are her duties, exactly? This speaks to the soul of a nation. I raise you black president.
I’m American too, but I would contend that separating the head of state and head of government into two separate roles (Queen and Prime Minister) frees up a lot of the time the U.S. President is forced to spend on ceremonial duties rather than actual governing.
Jo Rowling said that constitutional monarch was handy because you could respect the Queen as head of state and feel absolutely free to say the most horrible things about the Prime Minister. There is this meme in the US about having to respect the President because he’s the President.
I’m happy to fulminate about all three of ’em.
Multitasking has been thoroughly deprecated.
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