Letter: Cut the cost and the embarrassment of a monarchy with an elected president

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ARE we British so timid that we dare not seriously contemplate abolishing the monarchy out of dread that a Margaret Thatcher or David Owen might be elected? While I would not vote for either of them, surely the point is that whoever is elected would hold the position because the majority of the electorate voted for them and, in any event, unsatisfactory presidents do not get re-elected. A British republic would mean we get the head of state we vote for and get rid of a monarchy we merely pay for.

David Misell

Alderley Edge, Cheshire

SPEAKER Betty Boothroyd and more recent predecessors have, no doubt, been impartial (and thus a model for a president) but this has not stopped accusations by MPs of their showing partiality in favour of their former political parties ("How to set up a republic", 25 February).

Australia's present head of state costs them nothing except when Her Majesty is invited to visit. Paul Keating, the Australian Prime Minister, is pouring taxpayers' money into issuing "the case for a republic" literature but not giving one cent to the pro-monarchist movements. Is this democratic?

In post-Communist democracies, minorities such as gypsies and ethnic Hungarians in Romania long for the return of King Michael, and ethnic Turks in Bulgaria would, with other Bulgarians, welcome back King Simeon to ensure the impartiality of their new "democracies".

Constitutional "experts" and journalists might expend their efforts more fruitfully by pressing for proportional representation, a far more pressing need. And when the two-party system eventually fades into the past tense we will see the strength of constitutional monarchy, as in the Netherlands and Denmark, with coalition governments.

Daniel E Cooke

Welwyn Garden City, Herts