In many countries it is the offspring or relatives of the rich & powerful who inherit the role when the incumbent dies – and that is what it has been like in the UK for a thousand years or more.
British people are aghast to realise that in Syria the so called President Assad simply inherited the role from his father and he and his family are clinging onto power while annihilating their own people. That in Iraq it was Saddam Hussein’s family that was enriched and in his name perpetrated many of the atrocities on the population. That Mugabe has terrorised Zimbabwe for twenty five years and met dissent with extreme violence. That in Libya, a pariah state under Colonel Gaddafi in forty odd years of absolute rule (ended by full scale revolt in 2011 and UN intervention), it was his direct family who controlled wealth, major institutions and armed facilities (wife & 4 offspring now fled probably to Oman & 1 captured accused of crimes against humanity). In North Korea Kim Jong lived in affluence while his people starved to death, and ruled with killing authority, now passed onto his evil son in 2011 with chilling effect. That other tyrants, dictators & despots ruined their countries, secreted billions of pounds of assets, oppressed the masses, and murdered thousands to fund their extravagant lifestyles.
What the British fail to remember is precisely what happened in their own country. Failed to remember that the aristocracy became privileged simply because of past patronage, and continue even now in an ongoing position of advantage through every single generation. They fail to remember that the Country has been ruled from time immemorial by Kings & Queens of dubious quality and descent.
An interesting example of ‘advantaged’ is the case many years ago of a top Director of Coutts, the 300 year old bank used by the Queen’s & the Royals– as a young man, he didn’t join the bank as a mail-boy, or a clerk, or even a cashier did he? No, his first job there was Trainee Director! How did that happen then? Perhaps something to do with the fact that a family member was Chairman of the NatWest Bank, which at the time owned Coutts?
Other countries have in the long past got rid of their historic inherited rulers. But often by extreme violence of course – like France & Russia (but that doesn’t seem to have done them so well does it?). Monarchies, with their hangers-on, have been abolished around the World in at least a hundred lands in the 20th century. The British are a bit more cautious & reserved of course. What have we done then? Have we terminated the inherited peerages? Have we removed the attendant privileges? Have we confiscated the estates, lands, counties, towns and cities unfairly awarded to the elite? Have we removed or heavily taxed the wealth passed down from generation to generation? Well no, we haven’t actually. Alright then, we did make a start though didn’t we? Yes, a decade ago we stopped the bulk of the inherited & unelected Peers attending the House of Lords, claiming large amounts of expenses (including cleaning a moat or maintaining a dovecot or heating stables) and controlling the laws of the Country. Of course they still remained as peers of the realm, with titles galore and ill-gotten assets intact – how powerful was that action not? Was that it all then? In a word YES!
The case for the UK having a monarch is primarily that it gives us a Head of State and somebody outside of the day to day jousting of running the Country. We have been indeed blessed with a dedicated, hardworking, and caring Queen for over sixty years, but do we really need an expensive extended royal family of dozens of individuals lording it over everybody, using their position and perceived influence and power to their own advantage? Royals currently – the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of Cambridge, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince Henry of Wales, Duke of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York, Earl of Wessex, Countess of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent, Duchess of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra. Do we really require a line of succession to the British throne of several thousand people? Is the role of opening a few garden centres really worth all the expense? In the twenty first century do we really think that over eight hundred peerage titles (with all assets) should be handed down in perpetuity? Peer Ranks are – Dukes & Duchesses, Marquises & Marchionesses, Earls & Countesses, Viscounts & Viscountesses, Barons & Baronesses.
The UK monarch is supposedly apolitical, so it is a worrying development to find that Royals such as the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, has been trying to influence senior members of his mother’s Government (reportedly lobbying them with regular letters to senior ministers and obtaining meetings); the Guardian newspaper is trying to publish 27 letters from 2004 -5, but the current Government is trying to block that legally, so that the public are kept in the dark about what is going on – that is NOT democracy is it?
The top two UK universities (Cambridge & Oxford) are swamped by students from the elite private schools (like Eton & Harrow) giving them unfair opportunities in life compared with all others. The current UK Tory-led Government Cabinet is skewed by alleged cronyism and the preposterous & ridiculous number of Old Etonians in the (ex-Eton) PMs inner circle. At least ten percent of the UKs most successful folks come from a mere gaggle of private schools, while an Oxbridge degree itself is a precursor for a top job as a diplomat, a civil servant, a lawyer, or even a politician these days! Family money, influential ancestors, Public School education, and nepotism all together works wonders in insuring that the elite keep in power, generation after generation after generation, don’t they?
Is there any hope of change in the status quo, any chance of equality in the foreseeable future? Not really! You see we are not a volatile nation, more laidback if you like. No possibility of a revolution or a ‘British Spring’ here is there– we will just moan a bit and soldier on! Surely though our politicians will face-up to these inequalities and do something about them? Dream on everyone. You see everybody who has made it has done so using the current system so you can bet your bottom dollar that they are going to keep it in place for their offspring to be able to replace them, won’t they?
Conservative: top people
Leader (and PM) ex top private school & Oxford;
Chancellor ex top private school & Oxford;
Foreign Secretary Oxford;
Home Office Secretary Oxford;
Defence Secretary Oxford;
Justice Secretary Cambridge;
Education Secretary ex private school & Oxford;
Health Secretary ex top private school & Oxford;
Transport Secretary ex top private school & Oxford;
Environment Secretary Cambridge;
Energy Secretary Cambridge;
Minister without Portfolio and ex Chancellor/Home Secretary/Health Secretary/Education Secretary/Paymaster General Cambridge;
Cabinet Office Minister ex private school & Cambridge;
Leader of the Lords ex private school & Cambridge.
Northern Ireland Secretary & ex MEP ex private school & Oxford
Chief Whip ex top private school & Oxford
Policy Minister ex top private school & Cambridge
Cabinet office Minister & ex Chief Secretary to Treasury ex private school & Cambridge
Universities & Science Minister ex private school & Oxford
Attorney General ex top private school & Oxford
Cities Minister Cambridge
Labour: top people
Deputy Leader ex private school
Shadow Chancellor ex private school & Oxford
Shadow Foreign Secretary ex overseas private school
Shadow Home Secretary Oxford
Shadow Health Secretary Cambridge
Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary Oxford
Shadow Education Secretary ex private school & Cambridge
Shadow Commons Leader Oxford
Shadow Transport Secretary Oxford
Shadow Environment Secretary Oxford
Shadow Housing Minister Oxford
Shadow Minister without Portfolio Oxford
LibDem: top people
Leader (and DPM) ex top private school & Cambridge;
Deputy Leader ex private school
Business Secretary & ex Deputy Leader Cambridge;
Treasury Secretary Oxford;
UKIP: top people
Leader and MEP ex top private school;
Don’t think any of that lot will be looking for a major change – do you?In fact the Tory LibDem Government wants now to allow the mega rich to be able to leave a million pound sterling tax free to their inheritors! While what Britain really needs is the opposite, and to find ways to block all transfers from the wealth successes to their descendents on death – the incentive should be for all to spend their money when alive and require everyone else associated with them to independently find their own way in life!
[Royal Family –titles of His/Her Majesty (HM), His/Her Royal Highness (HRM): so that means monarch, consort to monarch, widows/widowers of previous monarchs, children of monarch, children of previous monarchs, male line grandchildren of the monarch and previous monarchs, wives/widows of the monarch’s and previous monarch’s sons and male line grandsons!]