Letter: Crowning absurdity

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The Independent Culture
Sir: While containing many good ideas for reform, the Demos report's proposal to elect the next monarch is pretty absurd (Letters, 9 September).

How can we expect the sovereign to be dignified on the throne if he or she is to lose all dignity getting there? How are we to choose sensibly between one royal and the next when their whole constitutional role is to look good and keep quiet? It would be the ultimate beauty contest where the tabloids would be bound to turn ugly.

But all this is not to say the idea of a referendum is wrong, only that we should ask a different question, namely, whether we still want a monarch to reign on our parades. If the answer is yes, then we cannot choose who that monarch will be, because if we buy into the monarchy at all then we have to accept its fundamental rule, the hereditary principle. The alternative is a presidential election where anyone, including the royals, may stand.

When the Queen does die, we may finally be ready to decide. That is, if the toadying politicians will let us.

CHRISTOPHER WHITEHOUSE

London WC1

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