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Do you think that having a monarch undermines the concept of democracy (in the UK)?

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  • View Poll Results: Do you think having a monarch undermines the concept of democracy (in the UK)?
    Yes
    40.24%
    No
    59.76%

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    (Original post by Psyk)
    Surely there are republican movements in other European countries? And I know there are republican movements in some of the commonwealth realms (countries that share the British monarchy)
    Yes, I agree. I misread an article a while back that does not say what I thought it was saying, having now re-read it. (many confused with any :rolleyes:)

    Nevertheless, there is no campaign in any of the European monarchies to remove their respective monarchs.
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    (Original post by Roaroaroar)
    You're contradicting yourself. How does the fact that they plead oath to the Queen prove that they will act in her favor when the enemy is their own country? Hint: it doesn't. You, yourself, just admitted that it's unlikely that the soldiers would take this order so I don't see how you refuted my original statement.
    I said that the whole scenario is highly unlikely; it is unlikely that the Queen would dissolve parliament, unlikely that it would cause a civil war if she did and unlikely that the Army would need to respond with deadly force in the event there was widespread social unrest. Ultimately, there is no way to conclusively prove one way or the other what the actions of the British Armed Forces would be in this highly unlikely hypothetical scenario. However their allegiance is undeniably to the Queen and like somebody else already pointed out, the events on Black Sunday in NI proves that it is quite possible for British soldiers to kill their own citizens.

    (Original post by Roaroaroar)
    And a constitutional monarchy is different than a authoritarian monarchy. And arms aren't everything. Syria has lower arms rate than us (3.6 per 100 people and we're at 6 per 100 people) yet as you can clearly see they're still fighting. You're also not factoring in the likeliness of police siding with civilians, it would be guerrilla warfare which is notoriously difficult to combat. When we're dealing with freedom, humans aren't known to just sit back and take it, history has shown us people will revolt even if not straight away eventually they would.
    I am well aware that a constitutional monarchy ≠ an absolute monarchy. I was merely foregrounding the fact that it is by no means certain that a transition from one system to the other would even face a majority opposition, never mind cause an all out civil war. And Police in Britain, for the most part, do not even carry firearms. Even if they did side against the monarchy they would be no match for the armed forces.

    Comparing Britain with Syria is ridiculous on so many levels. For a start Britain is a developed first world nation with cutting edge military weaponry. Conversely Syria is still using remnants of the cold war; it is the disparity in arms that is important not the number of civilians with access to an airgun. Secondly, the Queen is not Bashar al-Assad. She has shown herself to be considered and benign not a ruthless, callous megalomaniac. In the event that she dissolved parliament it is likely that it would be in circumstances where she felt it was best for the country as opposed to her own self-interest. Thirdly, in Syria there is a recent history of extensive religious and ethnic oppression, which have rendered sections of their society desperate enough to feel like they have nothing to lose. This is not and would never likely be the case in Britain. I could go on but frankly it's a waste of time, the comparison is absurd.
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    No
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    People really ought to keep up to date with the laws. The Queen can no longer dissolve Parliament, it is automatically dissolved every five years on the first Thursday of May, or if Parliament decides to have a general election, or if there is a vote of no confidence. (Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011)
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    (Original post by Torpedo Fish)
    I said that the whole scenario is highly unlikely; it is unlikely that the Queen would dissolve parliament, unlikely that it would cause a civil war if she did and unlikely that the Army would need to respond with deadly force in the event there was widespread social unrest. Ultimately, there is no way to conclusively prove one way or the other what the actions of the British Armed Forces would be in this highly unlikely hypothetical scenario. However their allegiance is undeniably to the Queen and like somebody else already pointed out, the events on Black Sunday in NI proves that it is quite possible for British soldiers to kill their own citizens.
    I think it's hard to predict what would happen in the monarch and the government opposed each other. Officially the military are supposed to be loyal to the monarch, but they take their orders from the government. There would be a lot of confusion if the government ordered them to do one thing and the monarch ordered them to do another. I suppose it ultimately depends on which side the military's top brass sides with.
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    The Economists' Democracy Index has 12 of the top 25 democracies in the world as monarchies, and they dominate the top ten, and are four of the top five.

    Democracy means the ability of the will of the voters to be translated into state policy through an elected legislature. This is achieved with our present makeup, and the absence or presence of the monarchy makes no difference.
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    One of the traditional roles of the monarch is to defend the people against the arbitrary will of their lords. This eventually evolved into being a defender of democracy against those who would undermine it. If we had an elected, or appointed head of state, he would simply be a politician, and politicians are not respected.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    The Economists' Democracy Index has 12 of the top 25 democracies in the world as monarchies, and they dominate the top ten, and are four of the top five.

    Democracy means the ability of the will of the voters to be translated into state policy through an elected legislature. This is achieved with our present makeup, and the absence or presence of the monarchy makes no difference.
    In all of these countries, the majority of people favour their respective monarchies. So the (minority) republican point of view (of wanting to force on these countries an elected head of state to satisfy the needs of democracy) doesn't hold water.
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    No.
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    It complements democracy. The two are complementary.
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    (Original post by gladders)
    The Economists' Democracy Index has 12 of the top 25 democracies in the world as monarchies, and they dominate the top ten, and are four of the top five.

    Democracy means the ability of the will of the voters to be translated into state policy through an elected legislature. This is achieved with our present makeup, and the absence or presence of the monarchy makes no difference.
    The Economist talks a lot of nonsense. To pick out a couple from the list Ukraine have imprisoned the leader of the opposition, and Honduras had a military coup in 2009, yet both rank higher than some working democratic republics.
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    The Economist talks a lot of nonsense. To pick out a couple from the list Ukraine have imprisoned the leader of the opposition, and Honduras had a military coup in 2009, yet both rank higher than some working democratic republics.
    Not from what I can see in the list - what countries are you referring to?

    The list seems pretty well researched. Can you come up with an alternative list (that's not from marxists.org!)
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    (Original post by gladders)
    Not from what I can see in the list - what countries are you referring to?

    The list seems pretty well researched. Can you come up with an alternative list (that's not from marxists.org!)
    Ecuador, Bolivia? Even places like Georgia, Liberia, Nicaragua?

    Now, I'm not saying any of these places are perfect, far from it. But I'd say their deficits are probably less significant than coups or imprisonment of opposition.

    And then of course what would take a longer time to explain is The Economist's ideological slant that would mean the list would be more accurately named the 'Liberal Democracy Index'.
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    Ecuador, Bolivia? Even places like Georgia, Liberia, Nicaragua?

    Now, I'm not saying any of these places are perfect, far from it. But I'd say their deficits are probably less significant than coups or imprisonment of opposition.
    I have a strong notion that these things occur as frequently there but are less frequently reported, or are less spectacularly reported anyway. The distance from the UK has an inverse proportion to the manner of reporting.

    And then of course what would take a longer time to explain is The Economist's ideological slant that would mean the list would be more accurately named the 'Liberal Democracy Index'.
    Can you provide your own?
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    (Original post by gladders)
    I have a strong notion that these things occur as frequently there but are less frequently reported, or are less spectacularly reported anyway. The distance from the UK has an inverse proportion to the manner of reporting.
    The Honduran coup was barely reported here at all. Honduras is about as far away from the UK as most of the other countries I mentioned, and if you can find a similar example, I'd love to hear it.

    Can you provide your own?
    I'm sure you know as well as I do why that is a ridiculous question.
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    The Honduran coup was barely reported here at all. Honduras is about as far away from the UK as most of the other countries I mentioned, and if you can find a similar example, I'd love to hear it.
    Well the Economists' criteria for measurement are clearly stated and they are not only looking at headline-grabbing incidences but the atmosphere on a general and day-to-day basis. I think that's a fairly sound means of research.

    In any case, the table still makes my point: monarchies dominate the most democratic states, thereby allowing me to argue the presence or absence of a constitutional monarch has no bearing on the democratic nature of a state.

    I'm sure you know as well as I do why that is a ridiculous question.
    I take it you mean that I'm bound to dispute it? Maybe
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    (Original post by gladders)
    Well the Economists' criteria for measurement are clearly stated and they are not only looking at headline-grabbing incidences but the atmosphere on a general and day-to-day basis. I think that's a fairly sound means of research.
    Yes, and I disagree with their criteria and consider them insufficient. There's no provision for non-national elections, participation, information available to voters, whether the parties and candidates presented actually support popular desires, recallability, freedom of speech or association, democracy at community level, etc.

    In any case, the table still makes my point: monarchies dominate the most democratic states, thereby allowing me to argue the presence or absence of a constitutional monarch has no bearing on the democratic nature of a state.
    In other words, you're going to ignore me.

    Also, which European countries (as that's what the top largely consists of) have monarchies and which don't is largely coincidence.

    I take it you mean that I'm bound to dispute it? Maybe
    No, it's that it's obvious and you know that I don't know enough about each country in the world to be able to rank them in accordance with criteria that I would consider to indicate democracy. That doesn't mean I can't criticise a table I consider to be heavily flawed.

    Out of interest, I'll repost something I posted on another thread about this a while back to see what your take on it is:

    (Original post by anarchism101)
    Here's an idea: the King of Sweden has no power whatsoever, not even ceremonial power. He opens the Swedish parliament and does a few other things, but according to the Swedish constitution, he must be invited by the parliament/government for this to happen, and they do not constitutionally have to invite him.

    However, how about we go a step further than that, and as well as stripping the monarchy of all ceremonial functions, we also cancel funding to them, and they can just be treated as any other person. They'd still officially be the monarch, however.

    Would monarchists be happy with that?
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    There's a myth that Daddy long legs have the most poisonous venom in the world but don't have the teeth to administer it. That's basically the queen. Yeah she has a lot of power but she can't use it so it's actually pointless.

    Those that do have power and can use it are elected. They're like tarantulas. I'd rather a daddy long legs as a head of state than a tarantula
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    (Original post by anarchism101)
    Yes, and I disagree with their criteria and consider them insufficient. There's no provision for non-national elections, participation, information available to voters, whether the parties and candidates presented actually support popular desires, recallability, freedom of speech or association, democracy at community level, etc.
    True, but there's just too many variables there for it to be easy to extrapolate, at least right now - I'm sure someone may study it one day. Plus, a lot of that might be down to opinion, while they kept themselves with stuff which can be made a little more empirical.

    In other words, you're going to ignore me.
    Am I? How? I've brought the table up as a means to show there is some evidence from an esteemed source that constitutional monarchies are perfectly democratic. You've disagreed with that source, and that's fair enough, but I've not seen a single authoritative source from republicans showing monarchies at the bottom of the pile.

    Also, which European countries (as that's what the top largely consists of) have monarchies and which don't is largely coincidence.
    Well, that's kind of my point. People have been arguing that monarchy makes us undemocratic, and I've shown that according to an esteemed source, the indication is the opposite: that they tend to be associated with very stable democracies. I'm willing to meet you halfway and state that the presence or absence of monarchy has no bearing on democracy.

    No, it's that it's obvious and you know that I don't know enough about each country in the world to be able to rank them in accordance with criteria that I would consider to indicate democracy. That doesn't mean I can't criticise a table I consider to be heavily flawed.
    I never said you couldn't - go right ahead, and every source deserves to be challenged. You've made some very valid observations on the problems of studying such a messy subject. But again, I've at least posted a source from a recognised authority (however challenged).

    Out of interest, I'll repost something I posted on another thread about this a while back to see what your take on it is:

    Here's an idea: the King of Sweden has no power whatsoever, not even ceremonial power. He opens the Swedish parliament and does a few other things, but according to the Swedish constitution, he must be invited by the parliament/government for this to happen, and they do not constitutionally have to invite him.

    However, how about we go a step further than that, and as well as stripping the monarchy of all ceremonial functions, we also cancel funding to them, and they can just be treated as any other person. They'd still officially be the monarch, however.

    Would monarchists be happy with that?
    I wouldn't, personally; I think the Swedish system is less than perfect, as it places powers over Parliament in the hands of the Speaker, and it makes the position a political football - as an office meant to be impartial, it's an important thing to avoid.

    Furthermore, the ceremonial functions in all such offices is very important (I know you'll dismiss it, but it's a fundamental part of human nature to seek out and value ceremony and ritual). The monarchy is best placed to carry out those functions with gravitas. I doubt many would be as impressed by Mr. Bercow!

    I think your proposal would fail in a referendum on that basis: people would expect a monarchy to be seen and to do something.

    In particular, the monarchy would be expected to travel round the country, opening buildings, meeting people, making speeches and so on: it's a very, very busy job, and also costs a lot to maintain. You won't get away with making such a thing free of charge.
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    (Original post by Torpedo Fish)
    Unless you've carried out extensive surveys to establish these claims, I'm afraid this is just baseless conjecture. In any case, it doesn't really matter what most soldiers believe in or what their motives are, soldiers merely follow orders.
    And those orders come from the MOD and the government. The Royal Family has no input into the running of the armed forces at all. As a former soldier I can tell you that whilst we are all pretty much very loyal to Her Majesty, the idea that she'd be able to personally order the army about, or that we'd defect to her in a stand off is ridiculous.

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