King Charles III’s Sacred Task: dissolve the institution of Monarchy

Bring the powerful to heel, don’t glorify monarchs and privilege

by Philip Hall

The idea that Charles III is divinely appointed to rule over us is ridiculous! Yet, ultimately, it is the metaphysical idea of the divine right of kings that gives King Charles III his legitimacy as the head of state. Ordinary British people are not citizens, but the subjects of a king whose soul was chosen by God to rule over them.

Pull the other one! The only sacred task that Charles has in front of him is to phase out the British system of monarchy; to dissolve the monarchy and return all crown properties and privileges to our democratically accountable state – to the people.

Charles III is not King Arthur; he is not a sacred king. He is not divinely appointed. He is not a unifier. Royalism is a smokescreen for the neo-Thatcherites, and the warring corporations. It is a kind of opiate, an important distraction that we don’t need at a crucial time when the cost-of-living crisis is upon us – while US capitalism wars with Russian capitalism, fighting over lebensraum in Ukraine at the cost of half a million dead, and at the risk of setting off a world destroying conflagration.

What would really unite us now is not a jug-eared new king, but a fairer society. What would give satisfaction is to see our elected government call to hell the wealthy and the corporations that puppeteer our corrupt political system in Great Britain.

Royalism is a smokescreen for the neo-Thatcherites, and for the warring corporations.

. . .

Kings and Queens brought people together into greater communities using brute power and oppression. Monarchical systems concentrated the wealth produced by the labour of ordinary people. Instead of sharing wealth with the people, the aristocrats generated luxury for themselves and wasted people’s work and the resources of the land on vanity projects.

From the beginning, monarchies had great pointless monuments like the Pyramids built. They enslaved millions and made civilisation more uncivilised, preferring to have huge luxurious tombs and religious buildings built instead of, for example, preventing the deaths of children from starvation and avoidable disease. The aristocrats had, and have, all the morality of lizard-eating snakes.

The ancient institution of monarchy is not as old or respectable as our dream of a happy communalism. When we were more monocultural society, monarchism grounded our beings in the land across a narrow racial and cultural spectrum. But let’s get our bearings, for God’s sake, we no longer live in a mono-racial, monoculture, we live in the multicultural Great Britain of 2023.

Poundberry, King Charles’ infamous architectural kitsch, photo Zonda Grattus

The Monty Python team put the question well: is a mystical connection to God and the land the basis for a good modern system of government? A king is not subject to the will of the people. The monarch embodies a divine appointment to rule and the right of the Monarch contradicts, by definition, the rights of the subjects of that monarch.

The monarch heads an aristocracy. The monarchical system contradicts, in principle, the ideas of liberté, égalité, fraternité. It is an insult to the ideals of social and economic justice. For modern humans living in democracies, the values of liberty, equality, fraternity and social and economic justice supersede any mystical connection one person might or might not have to the land. Respect for basic human dignity precludes us from agreeing to subject ourselves to another human. As Mark Twain said in private notes:

The institution of royalty in any form is an insult to the human race.

Tony Benn, who was himself from an aristocratic family, while he was respectful towards the Queen, was correct in his assessment of the foundations of a monarchical system.

I don’t think people realise how the establishment became established. It simply stole the land and property off the poor, surrounded themselves with weak-minded sycophants for protection, gave themselves titles and it has been wielding power ever since.

Tony Benn, in conversation

Of course, the monarchy in the UK is not absolute as it is in places like Saudi Arabia. In Britain, the power of the monarch was circumscribed long ago by the Magna Carta (1215) and we eventually ended up with a constitutional monarchy, by way of the abortive English Revolution.

In the United Kingdom, the monarch’s power is limited by a constitution. The new King Charles III is relegated to the role of being a symbol of state continuity and the union. But the British monarchy underwrites the unfairness of our British class system. It is no coincidence that the link between the monarchy and the military is very strong and always has been. It is not just that the British people have acquiesced to becoming subjects of the monarchy, force of arms maintains the monarch in power.

I had an argument with a friend which marked the end of our friendship. He was a member of the SAS and, while he studied Arabic and French, he moonlighted as a bodyguard for Prince Charles and Diana on different occasions, when Diana was still alive. I asked him this:

I accept the monarchy and the current political state of Britain under Margaret Thatcher because that is the expression of the will of the people in a democracy. But what if a socialist republican government were to be elected into power? Would you swear loyalty to it?

He said: ‘No!’ That was when we parted company.

In fact, according to past revelations, one of the main alleged organisers of a possible coup against the Labour government of Harold Wilson in 1968 was Lord Mountbatten, Prince Philip’s uncle. The Queen’s uncle, King Edward VIII, was a notorious Nazi sympathizer before he was forced to resign. The sexual behaviour of Edward VII was a hundred times more scandalous than that of Prince Andrew. Remember that the democratically elected Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister of Australia, was removed from office by the governor of Australia, the Queen’s representative.

Underlyingly, the ideals and principles of a monarchical system and the very real material foundations of that system are antithetical to socialism and equality. Though we should remember that four of the most progressive northern democracies in Europe apart from the UK, have constitutional monarchs: Holland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

The British monarch has no legitimacy in India, Africa, Asia or the Americas

Fifteen Commonwealth realms are now supposed to have King Charles III as their monarch. In the past, under the system of the British monarchy, Queen Victoria had the chutzpah to call herself The Empress of India (at Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s suggestion). Victoria presided over the British Empire. Britain colonised a quarter of the world and governed almost a quarter of its people not by divine right, but by conquest. Then Great Britain robbed the colonies blind in order to extract wealth and advantage. To maintain British imperial power, the British state over the whole period of empire, killed thousands in the colonies and oppressed millions on every continent. Australia, Canada and New Zealand were settled by colonialists transplanted from the mother country and dedicated to the extermination of the indigenous peoples of those lands.

A British Army patrol in pursuit of Mau Mau independence fighters, MOD Official Collection, Mau 587

Look at it coldly! How can there possibly be a mystical connection of fealty between the monarch of the United Kingdom and the native populations of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, who Britain oppressed?

Though, perhaps those same indigenous peoples do have a deep, almost mystical feeling of hatred towards the British monarchy for the British theft of farmland and mineral resources and the British violation of sovereignty and the many acts of oppression by the British. The British Monarchy, for example, can certainly sling its hook when it comes to claiming any divine right to rule over Ireland.

The United Kingdom is the place where the scattering began, as Merle Collins explained in a poem, and the UK is where the people of the former empire now gather, attracted by the wealth which that empire extracted from their different countries. When you look around you in the UK, you see that a large proportion of the people who form part of our multicultural society are here because ‘we were over there‘.

Charles I, whose head was chopped off in The English Revolution in 1649

What would really unite us all now would be a fairer society

Bevan talking to a patient at Park Hospital Manchester the Day the NHS came into being, University of Liverpool Faculty of Health & Life Sciences

What unites us in a post-enlightenment, technologically unified, globalised society is not a monarchy. What unites us, to the extent that it still exists, is being British citizens of a functioning representative democracy. What unites us is a system of social protection and welfare. What unites us in 2022 is free education and free health care. It is also negative liberty that unites us; the right to be free from persecution and prejudice

What would really unite us all now would be a fairer society; the bringing to heel of the wealthy corporations that currently puppeteer and corrupt our British government. What would really unite us would be the control, taxation and regulation by the government of powerful people and corporations who, without that control, have a tendency to behave like the ruthless commercial barons of the early part of the industrial revolution.

Social justice will bring social solidarity, not the anachronistic, counterfactual mysticism of an incredibly expensive celebrity cult.

The unification of Europe, and togetherness and kindness further afield, global unity and the elimination of conflict, is something the more enlightened spirits among us long for. All of us who believe in reciprocity and historical justice and the equality and rights of all human beings want unity, not splintering and division. But that unity should come about as the result of a proper democracy, not something as silly and irrelevant as a monarch.

We need a different system of government in the UK. We need an elected upper house and an elected head of state.

The real sacred task of King Charles III is to ‘love’ his people enough in order to have the democratically elected state abolish all aristocratic titles and inheritances and return all that property and wealth acquired through the system of monarchy back to the British people; from the property of the Duke of Westminster downwards.

Cartoon Brexit Villains

By Rob Hyde

On the face of it, given how my country-hopping life in Europe turned out, I should have been made an EU pin-up boy. Though a 43-year-old British national, I have spent half of my life on mainland Europe. Last year I also acquired German citizenship, which in turn makes me a citizen of the European Union. So does all this leave me siding with most Germans in raving about the EU and chastising Brits for Brexit? Does it heck!

Popping the elitist bubble

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some little Englander living in some snooty British expat bubble. Two years in Saudi Arabia put me right off such elitist lifestyles. My stomach turned as I saw wealthy expatriates hiding from the natives behind the walls of their luxury compounds.

None of that for me. I live in social housing, I take public transport and, through my work as a freelance journalist and language trainer, I have contact with Germans of all ages and social classes on a daily basis.

Germans are my friends, my neighbours, my students and my clients. They are the people I have been living amongst and working with for almost twenty years. But, had I listened to my class mates back at school, none of this would have ever happened…

Fruity and flirtatious

It all started back in French class in Birmingham. Many of the boys just viewed the French language as something fruity and flirtatious. Most lessons took on the flavour of a ‘Carry On’ film, full of loud whispers of “ooooh là, là madame!” or even “voulez vous couchez avec moi?”

I saw French totally differently. My parents, both teachers, had a place in France where we spent each holiday. The local lads who often were not on school holiday, so would take me to with them to class and show me off.

And how wonderful it was! Unlike my British male classmates, I didn’t dismiss French people as titillating cartoon-characters, they were real people with their ways and charms and fears and foibles, and I wanted to find out about all of it.

I lapped up every opportunity to practice my French by answering their questions on British life and culture. At school I was a socially awkward non-entity. In France I was the self-appointed official British Ambassador for the City of Birmingham.

Achtung Brainwasch!

Behaviour in German lessons was equally puerile. You could count the minutes down before someone muttered “Jawohl, mein Führer!”, “Sieg Heil!“ or, on a particularly bad day – “Achtung Schweinhund!”

Years and years of Nazi-busting WW2 films, Nazi documentaries and hilarious British television series such as ‘Allo ‘Allo had taken their toll on my classmates.

It had installed in them a profound sense that Brits were chipper, joke-cracking war-heroes. Germans, however, were evil, goose-stepping fascists who munched salami and liked to shout.

I ignored them all, worked hard and topped the class. After a degree in German and French, and a couple of years flitting between England and Austria, I moved to Germany 2003.

I’m also unnerved about how the EU monopolises Europe as a concept. The EU is not Europe. Europe is made of over 50 territories. But only 27 of these choose to be in the EU.

The years flew by like a breeze. Until, of course, the Brexit referendum came, and Britain left the EU.

Now, as a holder of joint British and German citizenship, I completely accept that without my German citizenship, my life here would have remained precarious. I am completely grateful to Germany, the stimulating Wunderland that has become my new homeland.

What I don’t accept, however, is the idea that this morally obliges me to agree with everything the EU or Germany decide.

Can’t vote ‘em in or out!

This argument is extremely old hat now in the midst of widespread Brexit exhaustion, but I’m afraid I just can’t get past it. Sorry, but I still have a real problem with EU citizens only being able to vote for the European Parliament, and not the Commission.

How would you feel if, in Britain, the House of Lords – this unelected secondary chamber – were transformed into the fully-fledged British government, responsible for legislation?

Before you answer – first remove the opposition bench, where the official government’s opposition is tasked with holding the government to account. Finally, also do away with any electoral mechanism which would allow citizens to remove their legislators from power. You might be perfectly happy with the result. I find it rather sinister.

Autocratic group-think

I’m also unnerved about how the EU monopolises the concept of Europe. We should not, for example, refer to the ‘European Parliament’ rather the ‘EU Parliament’. Europe is made of over 50 territories. Yet only 27 of these choose to be in the EU! When the EU claims to represent the EU citizens who cannot vote for it, this is arrogant enough. But the idea that the EU speaks for Europe’s non-EU citizens too is arrogance at its most breath-taking.

This arrogance, however, sometimes takes on a wholly despicable nature, particularly when MEPs associate criticism of the EU with the darkest elements of nationalism imaginable.

Perhaps the most poignant example was in 2005 when MEP Margot Walström, then EU Commissioner responsible for communications, took school children round the former Nazi concentration camp in Terezin, in today’s Czech republic.

Here the original version of the press release for the event suggested that doing away with a supranational Europe could lead to the holocaust. So, the 27 odd European territories such who choose not to be in the EU will therefore be complicit in the vile persecution and mass-murder of Jews?

Repulsed by nationhood

I can understand Germans being wary of Brexit. It is, after all, an assertion of British sovereignty as an independent nation-state. And many here in Germany favour the EU mantra that the nation-state should be consigned to history’s dustbin.

It makes sense that many Germans see the nation-state this way. The ferocious, malicious ultra-nationalism under national socialism resulted in war, persecution, endless suffering, mass murder, death camps and much of Europe reduced to flames and rubble.

But this does not put me off the nation-state as a political model. Using German history as a model to measure the success of a nation-state is suggesting that a worst-case example is all people can aspire to. It is the logical equivalent of saying paedophiles are proof that adults cannot have children.

And I really think the nation state is working. It is not what the EU wants, but I rejoice in the fact that Europe is an exciting patchwork of diverse systems.

Striving for a friendly, co-operative demotic nation-states seems a healthier option to me than striving for a homogenous block of citizens who cannot vote for their legislators.

I believe the nation-state model is working especially well in non-EU countries. Just check the statistics and you will see that the four countries in the non-EU European Free Trade Association, EFTA, are far happier, literate, healthy, transparent, equal and democratic than their EU counterparts.

Instead of blindly embracing EU expansion, I think Germany should first foster a healthy sense of national pride, without automatically equating the concept of a nation-state with the horrors of the holocaust.

In the 2006 football world cup many Germans flew their flag with pride – albeit nervously. Here in Bremen and in other cities, however, you had people placing flyers on cars denouncing the flag-flying, and arguing that Germany should not be getting caught up in nationalist fervour.

I see it differently. I say reclaim the German flag from the far-right scum who are holding it hostage, and fly the German flag as a celebration of all the wonderful values which Germany stands for.

Pot, kettle, black!

Just like the simplistic, highly insensitive and even twisted Disneyfication of French and Germans I experienced back at school, comments of the same ilk about the UK and Brexit are now snaking their way into the mouths of German politicians.

German politician Martin Schirdewan, co-chair of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), recently declared UK was risking becoming a “rogue state” for supposedly breaking international law.

Bojo’s Internal Market bill does indeed break international law, which is wrong. Why do those highlighting this, however, not also accept that the EU itself is equally guilty of the same offence?

Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland which form the non-European Free Trade Association, EFTA, are far happier, literate, healthy, transparent, equal and democratic than their EU counterparts.

When it suits the EU, it simply does not follow its own treaties. Germany and France have broken EU laws on debts and deficits, yet did not face any consequences.

The EU has also for years not adhered to international law by ignoring World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on hormone-treated beef.

And in the Kadi-Barakaat case of 2008, the EU’s Court of Justice even ruled that the EU should ignore the most supreme example of international law – the UN Charter!

The Council of Europe also slammed the EU in 2019 for breaking international law with its treatment of refugees. And, more recently, the EU has also been under-fire by NGOs for breaking international law in 2015. This was when it allegedly funded unauthorised Palestinian buildings in areas placed under Israeli control by the Oslo Accords.

Beware the cartoon-speak!

Just as I hated the outlandish remarks about Germans I heard as a teenager, I feel there is a similar current Disneyfication of Brexit taking place.  One which is reducing those who have legitimate concerns about the EU to racist cartoon characters.

Brexit is not what I wanted, or voted for. None of this for me changes the fact that the EU is undemocratic, or that it accuses countries of breaking EU and international law when it does exactly the same itself.

It also doesn’t make it alright for me that the EU is hell-bent on eroding the democratic nation-state.

After all, favouring democratic nation-states over undemocratic homogenous blocs does not make you an isolationist imperialist in my book. It just makes you more of a democrat.

Rob Hyde

Rob Hyde is a freelance journalist based in Germany. He has been published in mainstream newspapers such as The Times, The Times Ed Supplement, The Weekly Telegraph, The Mirror, and specialist titles including The Lancet, The Catholic Herald, Woman, Bolted and The Volvo Group magazine.

He also acts as a Germany-based stringer / fixer for British media. This involves doing research and writing for The Daily Mail, Mail Online, The Sun and The Sunday Mirror.

Taking Power in Guyana

PPP/C must seize the day

by James Tweedie

Guyanese caretaker president David Granger still refuses to admit defeat in elections almost four months ago. But the winning People’s Progressive Party/Civic seems reluctant to force a transition of power, despite the support of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

Last week the GECOM chair, former justice Claudette Singh, finally declared the PPP/C and its president-elect Dr Irfaan Ali the winners on the basis of a recount held weeks after the March 2 election.

In doing so she rejected Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield’s ‘summary of observations report’ that sought to invalidate some 60 per cent of the 460,000 ballots cast.

Lowenfield’s report backed debunked claims of voter fraud by officials from the APNU+AFC coalition that is dominated by Granger’s People’s National Congress party.

Granger’s victory over sitting PPP/C president Donald Ramotar in 2015 was marred by vote-rigging allegations, and that the PNC used ballot fraud and emergency powers to hold onto power from 1968 to 1992.

Following Singh’s ruling, APNU promptly switched tack from claiming fraud to ensuring last Thursday’s GECOM meeting to declare the result would be inquorate.

Two of the three government-nominated commission members failed to attend the meeting without explanation. For the commission to be quorate, two members appointed by the president and two by the opposition must be present. Lowenfield also failed to attend and report the final vote tally as he is required to.

However, article 226 of the constitution states that if the meeting is still inquorate after being adjourned for two days, on the third day it can go ahead without that quorum. But legal moves prevented that from happening.

That same Thursday, a motion was heard at the Court of Appeal on behalf of Eslyn David, a resident of the Sophia district of the capital Georgetown, to prevent GECOM from declaring the result.

Dr Ali called Ms David an “APNU proxy”, while the pro-PPP/C iNews Guyana said she was an APNU “supporter.” Whether she is or not, the court has since ruled that it has jurisdiction over the matter, which APNU+AFC celebrated.

On Monday the appeals court interpreted section 177 (2) (b) of the Guyanese constitution to mean that the party with the most “valid” votes shall be declared the winner – resurrecting the vote-rigging claim yet again.

The PPP/C then appealed to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the judicial arm of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) regional bloc of English-speaking nations.

CARICOM’s outgoing and incoming Chairpersons, Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Ralph Gonsalves, PM of St Vincent and the Grenadines, have both urged Granger to accept defeat.

But yesterday the CCJ restrained GECOM from declaring the result until a second hearing set for July 1 – four months on from polling day.

This reversal of fortune at the hands of the CCJ’s panel of judges highlights the perils of going to court for that which is rightfully yours in the first place – it might just hand it over to those trying to rob you.

Guyana’s neighbour Venezuela has made a similar gamble with stakes of £800 million pounds of national gold reserves held by the Bank of England.

The UK government effectively seized the bullion as part of its support – alongside the EU and US – for opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s baseless claim to the presidency over elected socilaist President Nícolas Maduro.

The Central Bank of Venezuela went to the High Court in London this week, not to demand the return of its rightful property but for them to be transferred to the UN Development Fund to buy “healthcare equipment, medicines and basic foodstuffs” for the South American nation.

The Bank of England’s case is that it is “caught in the middle” between the legitimate Venezuelan authorities and Guaidó’s “ad hoc” board. But who’s to say the High Court won’t just hand the fortune over to Guaidó’s gang of putschists in Washington?

The PPP/C, the movement that led Guyana to independence in the 1950s and 60s, won the election fair and square. The Washington-based Organisation of American States said yesterday GECOM already has “a result based on the valid votes cast” and “this election has gone on long enough.”

Yet both hesitate to act decisively and end this crisis that threatens to return their country to the bad old days.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: