Sunday School

Sunday School 28th February 2021

This topic contains 42 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 3 months, 1 week ago.

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    Kristina, Strega, Davis, Reg, and The World At Large,

    I don’t wish the Royals a trip to Madame Guillotine or any other harm, but I just have to ask:

    What exact purpose does Great Britain’s or any other nation’s Monarchy serve in the modern day, except to provide grocery store tabloids with story content and serve as the world’s richest welfare families?

    At some point, some point someone is going to have to sit down with them and say:

    “Look, the UK, the States, and the whole West is on the verge of going belly up soon.  Everybody’s going to have to do some major straightening up and flying right.  You and everyone else has ten years to sell off the luxuries, find work, learn skills, make sound investments, and be self-sufficient.  Beyond that, the taxpayer’s reps have to turn the spigot.  No one can live like this anymore.  We know you can make it if you try.  Tally ho!”



    I don’t have an opinion on what the Queen (her heirs and successors) contributes to the world in terms of value. I suspect anything she adds in terms of philanthropy or advocacy could probably be better achieved by other means. In terms of historic relationships, I have no attachment.

    When I was twelve I was required to swear an oath to the Queen as an air cadet. I deeply resented it and considered quitting—I took oaths quite seriously back then. I rescinded it when I aged out, and part of why I ruled out possibly joining the CAF was refusal to take the same oath.

    I used to go to the opera. On two separate occasions, I was asked to rise for the Governor General of Canada and the Lieutenant Governor of BC, respectively. I declined both times. On one of those occasions, the lady next to me asked if there was something wrong with my legs or if I was just ‘bloody-minded’ like her. I liked that lady.

    But with regard to the way our government is formed, the crown is embedded into the framework. Removing the concept of the reigning monarch would require considerable constitutional reforms which likely never rise to the level of priority to make it worthwhile.

    Almost ironically, the Queen cannot exercise much power in Canada. She can’t, for instance, enact or deny the approval of laws. So while the authority of the monarchy is needed on paper for our parliament to operate, constitutionally, if the monarchy ever actually tried to exercise that authority it would result in a constitutional crisis. Or it would have once upon a time. Pretty sure now the queen would politely be told to fuck off, and then maybe someone would check to see if she were still functioning cognitively as she very well knows she can’t govern Canada.

    I am against Canada recognizing a monarch. I am also in favour of abolishing the senate. However, I don’t think either is currently worth the level of reform needed unless we were going to get really serious about reform to the point it may require actually wiping out the entire system and starting over. I’d definitely be in favour of doing that if we could be reasonable about it instead of stabbing the heck out of each other until the best stabbers get to have their way.

    (Metaphorical stabbing. One would assume more advanced weaponry would be used).


    @kristina – is the term “Dominion” ever used in Canada (as in Dominion Status)?

    Gee….that question reminds me of a hairy nun!! 🙂



    Probably not since well before that video was made. I don’t know if the term could technically be applied to Canada still, or if there are still some codified references to dominion status, but it’s not used anymore. Canada’s independence was asserted in steps. Leading up to WWII was a major turning point. The Constitution Act in 82 was pretty definitive regarding Canadian independence.

    It’s rare I hear anyone here even refer to Canada as part of the Commonwealth of Nations. I believe in that context we are currently a realm. The only place I see ‘Dominion’ used is with the Toronto Dominion Bank, but they long ago de-emphasized what the letters stood for. I can’t imagine their American subsidiaries (still branded as TD) like to play that up much.


    Around the time that video  was released (1988), I was working for the Dept. of Health in Whitehall, London (a short-term project). One wet evening I was running to catch a bus and misjudged the space between the traffic because one of the cars was a stretch limo and I almost ran into the side of it. I was greeted by a slightly bemused looking face that I recognized but whose name I did not immediately register.

    As I boarded the bus I got a second look at the car…… was the Queen of England!! A myriad of thoughts about potential outcomes of that ran thorough my head. None of them were good 🙂




    I’ve lived in four countries with monarchies (well three and a half because Canada’s monarch is never in residence). In all of those countries the monarch is popular. They serve a political function (they act as the only executive/legislative check and balance). In those countries there is only one effective legislature (there is no president and their second house of parliament doesn’t really block legislation) meaning the King or Queen can refuse to sign a bill or authorise a cabinet minister that may technically be constitutional but is exceptionally dangerous or not in the spirit of democratic. Canada, Spain and the UK haven’t had a refused royal assent in modern history so, luckily it has never had to be used and if it were ever abused I’m sure they would just get rid of the monarch. The Belgian king refused to sign an abortion bill. Not because of constitutionality or anti-democratic law but because he didn’t agree with it.  The country responded by suspending his powers until the legislation was passed and then limiting his powers in the future. In countries with a Prime Minister and one single legislature the monarch is a valuable tool to avoid democracy slipping into autocracy. Apart from that, the royal family maintains tradition, culture, history, philanthropy, duty etc. They are also huge cash cows (especially in the UK). It is estimated the royal family adds hundreds of millions to the UK economy.  I don’t have a particular problem with the royal families as long as the public want them, they have no power except the virtually never used ability to refuse passing a bill and that the royal families become financially independent. I wouldn’t mourn their loss if they disappear but I don’t feel any motivation to get rid of them.



    Even with the vice regal positions, I’d be surprised if any of them were selected by the reigning monarchs themselves. The next governor general of Canada will be, in effect, selected by Trudeau, not QEII.


    Simon Paynton

    I was on the phone (a phone box) to my mum in Catford High Street in South London, and the Queen Mother drove past.  She was sitting in the back of the car.


    Simon Paynton

    I don’t have an opinion on what the Queen (her heirs and successors) contributes to the world in terms of value.

    Maybe not the world, but from a UK perspective, she makes us look good on the world stage, and I imagine contributes a lot to the UK economy with her soft diplomacy.  She also has a function of holding the country together.  Although there are a lot of republicans, she and the royal family are held in general affection by the UK population.

    There are always rich people who were born into their wealth.  At least the Queen works hard for the country.



    Fellow Unbelievers,

    Judging from what you all have told me, a Monarchy doesn’t really  do anything that others couldn’t equally do.  And those others could do it without claims of special lineage and Divine Right and at little to no taxpayer expense.

    The whole thing strikes me as a big boat anchor that countries keep around for social inertia and nostalgia.  The people really could do away with Monarchy if they wanted to bad enough.  In fact, it would be one of the few things that could temporarily unite Labour and Conservative, Libertarian and Socialist, Sensible and Silly and Slightly Silly. ⛑🎩🌿🥀😁😜😛

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Iconography
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Iconography again


    No that’s not necesarily true encoginationer. Constitutional monarchies would have to replace the head of state somehow and it is not straight forward obvious how to do that. Canadians/British/Spaniards etc. don’t want to have a President in the style of the US. The amount of political problems that come from having an elected president are notable for anyone to see. Just look at a democrat president not being able to do anything while a Republican house or senate blocks everything. As I said before the monarchy also makes a shit ton of money for the countries economy (especially in the UK but also in other european countries).

    I agree that costs should be reduced (especially with say the nephews, nieces and great granchildren of Elizabeth II, who shouldn’t be given any notable privileges or funds. But for most people in constitutional monarchy countries, the losses to them (cultural, economical and the check-and-balance) isn’t worth the gain (the illusion that they would somehow become more democratic or more “modern”).

    I could equally use the argument that all of the formalities and pomp and circumstance and extreme expense with the US president could be done away with. Does he really need a palace (the white house?), the galas, the god like mystique, the high salary, all the red carpets everywhere, being labelled Mr. President for the rest of his life after he leaves office, their children given federal jobs? Do you even need to have a president at all? Why can’t you just have your house of representatives? Your check and balances don’t seem so much check and balancing one another but causing legislative dead lock that has put the US well behind many countries in social programs and progressive legislation.



    Also the royal family doesn’t really divide most british people. They are generally supported throughout the political spectrum and no political party (except some in a few regional parties) quesiton the monarchy, so I don’t see how that would “unite” different parties. Nor do parties in a multi-party democracy need to unite. They have different political positions and represent their voters accordingly. Most European countries are not like the US with a two party system where everything is left or right, red or blue creative corrosive division requiring “uniting”. Belgium for example has a dozen parties. Those parties come together temporarily to rule in coalitions (which I suppose is a sort of unity) but that unity is gone by the next election. And even if the parties did need uniting (which they don’t) I doubt rallying around the end of the royal family would help in the slightest.



    One of the reasons I don’t have to post a lot is because @davis puts points I’ve thought of, so much more eloquently than I could. This perception of the position of Royalty is spot on.

    a) most of us like the royalty and love the Queen. She’s been the Queen all my life – and I’m Dunkin Donuts senior discount eligible.

    b) the Royalty sits as a lynchpin to so many aspects of our lives in the UK – and our Magna Carta of the 1500’s (our version of the constitution) is an agreement between the King at the time, and the nobles. No King/Queen, no agreement, no Magna Carta. There are so many ways in which the UK over hundreds of years, has intertwined its management with the royalty as an integral piece.

    Why should we change it, when it works so much better than the Presidential system and we are all pretty much happy with it?


    It might be surprising to many that the Queen and some members of the royal family are fondly regarded by the Irish. They generally get a warm welcome when they visit.  I see no reason why they should not.



    The whole thing strikes me as a big boat anchor that countries keep around for social inertia and nostalgia. The people really could do away with Monarchy if they wanted to bad enough. In fact, it would be one of the few things that could temporarily unite Labour and Conservative, Libertarian and Socialist, Sensible and Silly and Slightly Silly. ⛑🎩🌿🥀😁😜😛

    An anchor? More like a dead pedal. It serves a function beyond the cosmetic, but if you don’t use it, nothing really happens. If we wanted to reform the amount of money spent on the crown, likely we could, though it wouldn’t necessarily amount to the sorts of budgetary reductions we’d like.

    While I am not in favour of our constitution recognizing the monarchy or the ‘supremacy of God’, the reality is the impact that recognition has is negligible on our democracy. It doesn’t even rank in terms of concerns for reform such as doing away with first past the post voting. If it were a simple reform to remove the monarchy, put to a referendum, I would support it. But it’s not.

    Given the choice between the queen and the US electoral college and statewide winner-take-all system for US federal elections…

    …bring on the royal corgis. I understand that’s a false choice as one has nothing to do with the other. But what I’m saying here is sometimes you do have to look at the appreciable impact of things and pick your battles.

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