Andy McSmith's Diary: Vote Green, and choose your monarch – you might even get a Boris Johnson or Tony Blair

Our man in Westminster

Prince George of Cambridge is too young to care, though it may upset him when he is older: the Green Party would take away his, his father’s, and his grandfather’s inborn right to be king. But the good news is, as the Greens meet in Brighton for their annual conference this weekend, they may change their policy in the way that would give the Prince a chance to run for election, if he still wants the job that now runs in the family.

Howard Thorp, the party’s campaigns co-ordinator, is proposing that there should be a referendum that lets the people decide whether they want to dispense with the monarchy, and whether they want an elected head of state for what could no longer be known as the United Kingdom.

The party leader, Natalie Bennett, has no objection – but others have. Molly Cato, leader of the Green group on Stroud council, said: “Some of the Green Party lefties will go for it but we old, sensible ones will oppose it because it flies in the face of public opinion and it won’t have any effect.

“I don’t think it will get through. Somebody only has to get up and say we might have Tony Blair for president and they’ll vote against.”

Mr Thorp said: “I accept the fact that the present monarch is extremely popular, but this would be a policy for a Green government, and we don’t anticipate a Green government in the near future. There are people who wouldn’t want a Boris Johnson or a Tony Blair to be head of state, but if you have an elected head of state that you don’t like, you can vote them out.”

‘Bling’s the thing,’ says Government minister

Tony Egginton, Mansfield’s independent elected mayor since 2002, has furnished photographers with some memorable photocalls during his time, including one in which he presented the Olympic athlete Rebecca Adlington with a pair of golden Jimmy Choo shoes.

The trouble is, the council’s Labour leader, Martin Lee, thinks he is naff. He has reportedly accused him of “parading around in bling” and has claimed that the ceremonial chains of office belong around the neck of the council chairman, not the mayor. For now, the civic adornments are locked in a safe while the argument rages on. None of this has anything to do with the Government, as junior Communities minister Brandon Lewis acknowledged in a written reply to a businessman who asked him to intervene. But that did not deter him from ventilating his opinion. “Where councils have historic civic regalia, I believe they should be worn with pride,” he wrote. “This Government strongly supports celebrating our country’s tapestry of local historic traditions.

“Democracy is diminished if one whitewashes all colour and ceremony in some bland, vain, politically correct bid to ‘modernise’. Indeed, my children have advised me that ‘bling’ is actually quite fashionable these days; this observation reflects the fact that reactionary ‘modernisers’ are generally out of touch with the people. I suspect the public would rather have their civic event opened by a dignitary wearing impressive chains of office than some municipal official only wearing a stuffy suit.”

What if they got elected and nobody noticed?

The most powerful Green, a technocrat named Jason Kitkat, is 35 today. He is leader of Brighton & Hove Council, the only Green-led council, with ultimate control of a £750m annual budget. Under his guidance, Brighton has become the world’s first One Planet City. That is not because the Greens have a separate planet: the title refers to Earth, and was awarded by a charity called Bioregional in recognition of Brighton’s “ambitious sustainability plan”.

Brighton’s experience suggests when Greens take power, things stay much as they were. Their main achievement so far has been to minimise the impact of the cuts. Whether voters will reward them for that is unresolved, because as the council’s deputy, Lizzie Deane, commented ruefully: “People don’t notice when their libraries remain open: they notice when they close.”

Fallon slips away to deal with another meltdown

Michael Fallon, the Business Minister, dropped in to address the World Nuclear Association, the international trade body for companies that run nuclear plants, in London today.

He gushed about the great future this Government has planned for nuclear energy, but disappointed participants by then rushing off. “He was unique amongst the participants in not taking questions,” my spy tells me. “Even the Chinese stayed for questions, but he just marched off the platform and was never seen again.”

But Mr Fallon is a busy man: he has the soon-to-be-strike-bound Royal Mail to privatise.

7-mile pink peace scarves – what fun

It is easily overlooked what fun can be had protesting against nuclear weapons. This is from the latest issue of Peace News: “We put up banners, sang together, and read from the accounts left by survivors of the terrible bombings in Japan… And we knitted for peace, to help make a seven-mile scarf that will join Aldermaston and Burghfield.” The seven-mile scarf will be pink.

a.mcsmith@independent.co.uktwitter.com/@andymcsmith

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Life and Style
i100

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

NQT Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: Randstad Education can provide you wit...

MATHS TEACHER, PERMANENT VACANCY, TONBRIDGE SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is currently ...

HR Advisor - HR Officer - Employment Law - East London - £25000

£25000 per annum + 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: *** HR Advisor - HR Office...

ENGLISH TEACHER, FULL TIME SUPPLY ROLE, DOVER SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: TEACHER OF ENGLISH NEEDED for lo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week