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'Royal Wedding Sacrifices Democracy'

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TEHRAN, April 30 (ICANA) – Britain's royal wedding cost UK taxpayers anywhere from 20 million to 10 billion dollars, says an analyst, adding that this symbol of monarchist extremism undercuts the democratic process.
Saturday, April 30, 2011 9:20:28 PM
'Royal Wedding Sacrifices Democracy'

Press TV talks with Dr. Adrian Thurston, director of The Lyceum think tank in London, who reveals that the British government spends millions a year manipulating “Britishness” on the English people in order to persuade them to preserve the monarchy. The following is a transcript of the interview supported by other guests.

Q: I know that your group, the Lyceum think tank, has a lot to say about the royal wedding and about the monarchy system in the UK. I'd like to start with your concerns.

Thurston: My main concern is the establishment of the monarchy, which represents an archaic way of living and an archaic way of life. It's being used by the constitutional monarchy to advocate ”Britishness” over English people in England. That's my main concern at the moment.

Q: When we discuss the economic fallout of the [royal wedding], do you think it was worth it in the amount of tourism that it attracted, the amount of enthusiasm on the streets? Although it has been declared a bank holiday and reports say it's estimated to cost 10 billion dollars, was it worth it?

Thurston: You have to comprehend that both the British cabinet office and the Buckingham Palace press office spend millions and millions of pounds every year promoting constitutional government, constitutional monarchy, and “Britishness” over English people in England.

I don't see the costs of paying even more money, the costs of it being in the region that I understand - about 20 million dollars to pay for a royal wedding - doesn't make sense.

Obviously, if the British are going to keep controlling England, they're going to have to constantly impose “Britishness” on English people so that English people aren't disenfranchised -- and seem to be disenfranchised. The organization, Republic, doesn't represent that point of view, but the Lyceum does.

Q: And in what way are the two different -- if you could elaborate on that as well?

Thurston: As I said, the Lyceum is more a national virtue, citizenship type of organization; and Republic, which is an organization in the UK advocating a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy, doesn't advocate any particular type of republicanism. But, the Lyceum does. It advocates national virtuous citizenship for the four countries of the British Union.

Q: While the republicans do say that the royals should be stripped of their powers, critics argue their political role is only symbolic and, actually, they do not have a role in politics in the UK. I'd like to have your view on it, as well, before we move on. Tell us your view on that.

Thurston: That's untrue. Recently, a Freedom of Information Act was passed throughout Parliament, our English parliament, by the way, and the royals were given free access to the prime minister.

They were excluded from the Freedom of Information Act, which means that anyone can go to the monarch, the prince, or any member of the royal family and say whatever they want to them, and then the royal member can go directly to the prime minister and speak directly to them. It is short-circuiting the whole democratic process.

Q: We were hearing, of course, critics asking why the royal family has decided to make invitations putting royalty over people's rights and creating this kind of criticism?

Thurston: Great Britain has diplomatic relations with all of these countries, and it's conventional just to invite the ambassadors of the countries that have embassies in London to royal weddings and official functions. The queen could have objected; the prime minister could have objected.

I think the only real objection came from William Hague with regards to the Syrian ambassador, and he was told yesterday that his presence wouldn't be expected.

But I would like to remind your viewers that the founding fathers were English. They weren't Scottish, Welsh, or Irish. They were all English. It was they, who founded America -- the United States of America, that is.

Of course, George Washington was offered the crown of America and he did decline it because declaring independence from a monarchy is hypocritical if you're going to put the crown on yourself. Obviously, he didn't want to be thought of as a hypocrite.

I heard an American commentator say yesterday that since that time, the Americans were very glad to get rid of the British and the monarch -- especially the monarch, because George the Third wasn't really a pleasant man as far as the Americans are concerned.

But since that time, and since the declaration of independence, Americans have wanted the monarchy back again, which is crazy. I don't know why the Americans have such a love for the British monarchy and the British royal family. It's just completely, utterly ridiculous. The American constitution can't stand for such things.

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