Monday, 9 February 2009
Tom Paine wrote one of the great works which influenced thinking in America at the time of the revolution. If you haven't read Common Sense, I strongly recommend it! It is available online at http://www.ushistory.org/paine/commonsense/singlehtml.htm
His chapter "Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession" greatly influenced me. We should never forget that, although Paine played a key role in developments in America and then France, he was an Englishman. But as the Bible says "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country". Perhaps I am being a bit unfair - Tom Paine has many supporters in the UK.
His ideas on a hereditary monarch are backed by "Republic" - the Campaign for an Elected Head of State. You can visit the website at - http://www.republic.org.uk/
Britain still retains a political culture centred on "Her Majesty's Government" - not ours, but hers, a powerful reminder in days gone by of where our place was in the system. The idea of royal "ownership" continues to pervade this culture and to reinforce the idea that the system is not our own.
Despite the extravagant costs of monarchy, and the increasingly erratic behaviour of the royals, our arguments are concerned with democracy, the principle that this is our country and we should choose our heads of state.
We should have the right to elect and hold to account all who hold public office and such people must remember that they are there to serve us, and not vice versa.
It is time to claim the right to our own country and to choose our Head of State.