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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:

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:

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Will the election take us closer to a republic?

The general election is only a week away, and the choice for voters could not be clearer – a botched Brexit under Boris or a Labour-led Government prepared to make radical changes. The monarchy does not, of course, feature in Labour’s manifesto, but its proposals to take back control of parts of the economy and shift power away from a privileged establishment are the stuff of republicanism.

Labour’s manifesto contains the promise of a constitutional convention. Although those who drafted this proposal may not have had the monarchy in mind, it will nevertheless provide us with an opportunity to question why we still have an unelected, privileged and expensive head of state.

In this election, our head of state will not be up for discussion. So we need your help to challenge this. Please donate what you can to help us campaign, or alternatively, join us here from just £10 a year.

Alongside the General Election, the big story has been Prince Andrew, who has decided to step back from his public duties, following the fallout from his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. There are still questions for Andrew to answer, and this whole incident shows the dangers of unelected royals having public roles funded by the taxpayer. 

Thanks to Sue from Leeds, the royals knew the game was up for Andrew when her question was put to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn during the ITV leadership debate on Tuesday: is the monarchy fit for purpose? Corbyn, a staunch republican, diplomatically said “it needs improvement”, while Johnson said “the monarchy is beyond reproach”. This shows how out of touch our prime minister is, as more and more people question the existence of the monarchy.

Thanks to the generous support of our members, we hosted a lively and well-attended Labour conference fringe debate in Brighton which generated some press coverage. We were joined by Roy Greenslade (The Guardian), Hilary Wainwright (editor, Red Pepper), Alexandra Runswick (Unlock Democracy) and Stephen Pound, the retiring MP for Ealing North.

We’d like to wish the best of luck in this election to our republican candidates, and hopefully we’ll have even more republican MPs after 12 December.

We hope to be in touch with you soon with details of our New Year Social. In the meantime, however, please do keep in touch with us – we’d love to hear from you!

With best wishes,

The Labour for a Republic team

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Our Monarchy fails to protect our Democracy

Yesterday’s events demonstrate the futility of our monarchy. The queen has done nothing to stop Boris Johnson from trying to bypass Parliament, and she has refused requests for meetings from opposition leaders. She has not been able to protect our parliamentary democracy and has consequently given tacit support to the deviousness of our Prime Minister.

You couldn’t have a clearer example of how ineffectual a constitutional monarch is against a tyrannical prime minister. Only an elected head of state could act as a proper referee in times of constitutional crises and prevent clear abuses of power like this.

This gives added importance to the meeting we are planning at Labour’s Party Conference where we will be discussing the case for a republican constitution. The meeting will be on:

Tuesday 24th September, 8.30 – 10.00 pm

in the Gresham Suite, The Old Ship Hotel, Kings Road, Brighton.

We need help, however, in delivering flyers for the meeting. As well as promoting the meeting, flyers give us an opportunity to get our message to hundreds of Party members who might not be able to attend.

If you are likely to be in Brighton at the time of the conference, or are able to get there, please let us know.

Best wishes

The Labour for a Republic team