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Thursday, September 25, 2008 

Won't someone please think of the Catholics? (and the women...)

I think I can leave you to come up with your own clichéd analogy - rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, fiddling while Rome burns, etc - all of which would more than apply to the ludicrous proposed constitutional reforms of removing the barrier to a Catholic becoming monarch, while also allowing the first successive heir, regardless of gender, to ascend to the throne.

You would have thought it was patently obvious, but you cannot improve an institution based on the hereditary principle and the accident of birth by making the rules ever so slightly less discriminatory. In fact, doing so brings it even further into disrepute: modifying the monarchy at this stage to make it slightly more equitable and less openly bigoted gives the government's seal of approval to the head of state being anything other than elected. It gives the impression of both fawning and respect to a bunch of inbred half-wits whose only modern function is to be propaganda props for the army, having failed to find anything else to do with their lives, whilst giving the nation's tabloid journalists something to write about when they spend the other part of it falling out of London's more exclusive clubs and bars.

It's not even as if there is any great need to modify the religious rule, as the royals themselves have already figured out a way to get round it: Peter Phillips, 11th in line to the throne, was still so desperate to retain the chance of becoming King should a bomb drop on Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle or Harry or someone else go postal ala the Nepalese Crown Prince, that his fiancée, baptised a Catholic, swiftly converted to Anglicianism. If these unimpeachable scroungers are so desperate to remain royalty, let them convert, however cynically, to the Church of England.

Unfair perhaps though may it be to pick on just one person for their response, but you really would expect the Liberal Democrats to be a little more circumspect in giving it the OK:

Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dems' spokeswoman on equalities issues, said: "This is an overdue but welcome move. Whilst the hereditary principle itself is obviously still a bit dodgy, at least this modernisation ends the outrageous discrimination against Catholics and women."

Quite so. I mean, there's nothing outrageous whatsoever about a dysfunctional family receiving at the very least £40m a year from the taxpayer just because of who they were born to, it's the fact that this wonderful institution discriminates against Catholics and women that we should really be concerned about.

If we aren't going to rid ourselves of the entire shower, then surely we can at least make the whole charade slightly more accountable. Let's take a leaf out of the management cost cutting guide and get each member to reapply for their "job" every so many years. There won't be any chance of them actually losing it of course, but at least reading their self-justifications might be good for a laugh. Alternatively, we could call the bluff of those who so seem to love the royals over politicians and get them to job-swap and see how they fare in their respective tasks. Who knows, we might even be so impressed with the results that our first president could be Princess Eugenie. Well, she couldn't be worse that the next generation of Milibands....

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The Civil List makes me so mad! Let's abolish it and give them back the Crown Estate (which George III gave up in return for the Civil List) and see how they like it! That'd show them, having to struggle along on the Estate's piddling revenue of £150+ million per year...

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