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The money and power of the monarchy

£100 MILLION pay rise for the queen

At the end of last week it was reported that the queen’s income was likely to rise by over £ 100m p.a. as result of the licensing of plots for off-shore windfarms. It’s not that the monarchy needs another £100m a year – it’s just the result of a ludicrous decision to give the monarch 25% of the income of the Crown Estate. 

A few weeks ago the queen honoured Capt Tom Moore for raising £ 33m for the NHS. The queen’s pay rise is going to be three times that amount, but it’s not going be of much help to Covid patients. 

What sort of country are we if we’ve prepared to give another £100m a year to an exceptionally wealthy woman when so many people have lost their incomes because of the pandemic, and when rising poverty places new demands on food banks?

The queen has more power over British law than we ever thought

This week the Guardian has reported how royal lobbying led to a proposed law being changed so that extent of the Queen’s fortune, and companies in which she was investing, would not be revealed. However, this was only one of the cases in which the Guardian found that the royals had applied pressure to change draft legislation through the ‘Queen’s consent’. This protocol requires the monarch’s approval of draft legislation which might affect the monarch’s interests. 

According to an expert in constitutional law
“The anti-democratic potential of the consent process is obvious: it gives the Queen a possible veto, to be exercised in secret, over proposed laws”.

What sort of democracy are we if allow a person, because of their parentage, a veto over what our parliament can debate?

Now we need to act. Please:

  • Write to your MP asking what they will do to bring this nonsense to an end (and if you have a Labour MP, what they think the Party should do);
  • Raise the issue in your CLPs and branches – encourage them to hold a discussion/debate on republicanism and remind them that Labour for a Republic is happy to ‘send’ speakers to Zoom meetings;
  • Encourage your fellow Labour members to join Labour for a Republic (by clicking here).

Best wishes

The Labour for a Republic team

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How we can campaign in spite of lockdown

The country may be in lockdown, but the problem of the monarchy has not gone away!

This year the pandemic has deprived us of a Labour Conference and the opportunities to reach out to new supporters which conferences usually provide. Several invitations to speak at CLP meetings had to be cancelled, and we have been unable to arrange meetings and events for our members.

There is nevertheless a lot we can do:

  • Many CLPs and branches are now holding meetings by Zoom. Why not suggest to your CLP that they have a debate on the monarchy? With Zoom it is very easy for us to provide speakers right across the country.
  • Labour will soon be electing its National Executive Committee. When the list of candidates who will be on the ballot paper has been confirmed, email them asking their views on the monarchy (and let us know of any replies you receive).
  • If you have a Labour MP, it would be very helpful if you were able to write to them asking for their views on the monarchy. You may want to tell them that recent opinion polls show that a majority of Labour members want rid of it!
  • Watch out for opportunities to say something about republicanism – there may, for example, be a member of royal family visiting an area near you, or there may be something in the news about royal extravagance. Use your social media, and write to your local papers, making the point that we want a society in which everyone is regarded as of equal worth and none have rank and status that is hereditary.
  • Check the website of Republic for recent press releases that you may be able to adapt and use locally. On their website you can also watch ‘The Man who shouldn’t be King’ – Republic’s documentary on Prince Charles and the Duchy of Cornwall.

Get in touch with us if you have ideas on ways we can campaign in the current situation, and the sorts of campaign you would like to see from Labour for Republic when circumstances permit.

Best wishes

The Labour for a Republic team

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Campaigning through the coronavirus crisis

Like everything else, Labour for a Republic has been affected by the coronavirus. With all meetings cancelled and all media attention focused on what we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe, what we can do in present circumstances is limited.

We had, unfortunately, to abandon plans for a social event we had hoped to hold with a supportive MP, and we have needed to postpone our AGM until it is considered safe for us to meet. Our committee has, however, continued its work (meeting, of course, virtually) in preparing a programme of events for happier times.

We will hold a major fringe meeting at the Labour Conference (assuming there is one) as that is an important opportunity for us to reach new supporters, and following the conference we hope to have an event to launch a booklet on the links between socialism and republicanism. Meanwhile we hope to step up our campaign on social media, with You-tube videos as soon as it’s possible for people to get together to film them.

Building the campaign for republicanism in Labour, however, requires work around the country with CLPs and branches. That may not be possible at the moment, but please give some thought to how you might be able to persuade your local party to hold a discussion on republicanism (and remember we can provide speakers in most areas).

There has been speculation that the present crisis may bring about changes in society. It reminds us that the big problems can only be resolved by people working together, and that we are all equal in terms of our vulnerability. The virus does not show deference to princes and prime ministers, and neither should we. If any in our society are to be regarded as having superior status, it should be our nurses, doctors and care workers rather than our royals. The coronavirus crisis has messages for us.

We send our best wishes and hopes that you have managed to avoid the virus. Keep safe.

The Labour for a Republic team

PS  Have you signed Republic’s petition asking that local council tax payers are not burdened with the costs of royal visits? If not, please do so here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300422

PPS  Labour for a Republic is funded solely through its members and supporters. Help us continue to campaign during and after this public health crisis by joining as a member today here: https://labourforarepublic.org.uk/join-us/