I am a ‘republican’, by which I mean I would prefer to see the British Monarch removed from our Constitution and his/her role taken by a President appointed by Parliament. In other words, the Governor General would then become our de jure, rather than just de facto, Head of State.
For the present I no longer support the drive towards an Australian Republic, not because I think it is wrong in principle, but because I believe it has been corrupted. The current President of the Australian Republican Movement does not understand the constitutional issues and, more damagingly, has co-opted the idea into a partisan political question dividing Left and Right. Until we can have a debate in which people from both sides of politics can choose either side without being subject to abuse or opprobrium, the idea of the republic will be divisive and therefore, counterproductive.
That by the way. What prompted the above is my dismay at what is transpiring in the UK over Brexit.
Supporters of the Monarchy in Australia, argue that one of its benefits is that the existence of a uniting figure, such as the Queen, provides a defence of our fundamental institutions, by which I mean the rule of law, representative government, universal suffrage, the separation of powers and so on. The idea, apparently, is that the majesty of the Queen and her sacrosanct position will give pause to those who might seek to subvert our democracy.
Well that concept is now under serious review in Britain. What we see is a large group of cynical and self-serving MPs overtly attempting to subvert the will of the people as expressed in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Judging by all I have read, the British Parliament is now both incapable and unwilling to deliver the Brexit that the people voted or.
The most likely outcome that I can foresee is another referendum which, almost inevitably, will overturn the original decision, not because the will of the people has changed but because the parliamentarians have so corrupted the Brexit process that many people will now decide enough is enough. Many Remainers predicted that Brexit would be a disaster and then worked assiduously to make it so.
Another referendum would be a subversion of democracy – overturning the institution of representative government. Anything other than a complete Brexit would be a subversion of democracy. Does the Queen understand that, I wonder? If she does, does she believe, according to the theory advanced by Australian monarchists anyway, that she is the last bastion? I am not sure what powers, if any, she has to act but she does have a voice. Would she consider speaking out against the outrage that we now see playing out at Westminster. Her declaration in support of Brexit, if only for the reason that it was the express will of the people whom she represents and whose interests she is sworn to defend, would go a long way to ensuring the success of a second referendum.
For her to speak out on this would be to go against a lifetime of regal reticence. But, arguably, she has never confronted a situation like this before. It is probably the most difficult constitutional crisis faced by Britain during her reign. She has always given the impression that she understands and values her role. If she chooses to remain silent simply in order to avoid the inevitable controversy, she will seriously undermine the case for the Monarchy as anything other than a colourful tourist attraction. It is hard to imagine that a direct descendant of Queen Victoria could wish to preside over the utter degradation of a once proud nation shackling itself to the corrupt regime in Brussels.