The Monarchy is the head of England, whether you like it or not. Years ago, it was a Catholic country until Henry VIII created the Church of England (King Charles is now the ruler) to destroy the religion (many monks and nuns were killed). Most people (even non-monarchists) admired the Queen for her sense of duty, but others wonder if King Charles is the person to lead a church, with his marital history. But others could say the same about the Vatican, with its child abuse scandals. The King can dissolve parliament, but it’s unlikely. Other things the King can legally do include:
- Drive a car with no license (nor license plate)
- Tell other Royal family members what to wear (they are told to wear neutral shades of nail polish).
- Refuse to be arrested, no matter what. He does not have to obey speed limits, so if driving 200mph, no-one could arrest him.
- Not pay taxes or disclose income (both now done voluntarily).
- Travel without a passport
- Not have to sit on a jury
- Not have to curtsy. If you don’t curtsy to a Royal, what happens? Not much, but you won’t get knighted!
- Grant a pardon to a criminal
- Own swans. This is quite good as they are now protected (previous Royals used to eat them for Christmas).
You’ve likely heard that Royals bring in more money through tourism, than they cost. This is not strictly true. The figure of £80 million is money that goes direct to King and family (the Metropolitan Police protection is also funded by taxpayers). But income from Duchy of Lancaster and Duchy of Cornwall (which belong to the public) goes to King Charles, so tens of millions of pounds of money that could fund the NHS, is lost. The true cost of upkeep for the Monarchy is nearer £345 million.
Campaigners know that it’s unlikely the Monarchy will end anytime soon. So they want instead for Parliament to set an annual fixed salary for the King, with all costs transparent and visits met by set finances. Then revenue from the Duchy to go to the Treasury, to help fund public services.
Other Sources of Power in England
- The government is kind of a democracy, but won’t allow fair voting. So we’re stuck with three uninspiring political parties. So things don’t change, due to vested interests.
- The House of Lords is elected by Parliament, often populated by friends of politicians who decide our fate, simply because they are friends of friends. A lot seem to be asleep when they should be working, and get paid up to £300 a day in expenses, just to turn up. They also have little power. Even if they vote against something, the government can usually override it, so it’s all a bit bananas. They could debate for hours to reject a Bill, then it can be reinstated under the Parliament Acts.
- Councils have quite a lot of power, as do mayors. But parish, district and county councils have different powers, so it gets confusing and wastes money and time. Order a booklet to tell you who does what.
- The Police have the power to stop and search, and arrest anyone committing a crime. Most are not racist, but it’s a fact that a black person is 9 times more likely to be stopped and searched for drugs, with no evidence. We have a long way to go.
If you want to know the real character of a person, give him power. And see what he does. Anon
When a man is intoxicated by alcohol, he can recover. But when intoxicated by power, he seldom recovers. James F Byrnes
It is said that power corrupts. But actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things, than power. David Brin
Power is when you have every justification to kill someone. And then you don’t. Oskar Schindler