Letter: Republic without a figurehead

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The Independent Online
Sir: Based on the common misapprehension that republics need presidents, Donald Foreman and Gordon Medcalf (letters, 10 September) quote the chancellorial horrors of pre-war Germany and the presidential misfortunes of the USA as arguments against abolishing the British monarchy.

But why would a people in their right senses wish to follow flawed models rather than learning from their own experience? The first time Britain was a republic (from 1649 to 1653) we did without a head of state until Oliver Cromwell became "king in all but name" from 1653 until his death in 1658, paving the way for the subsequent restoration of monarchy.

Over 300 years later, the UK's recently elected government has begun a huge, long-overdue project of constitutional reform. As people preparing at last to assume the full mantle of citizenship, we should surely be debating, not assuming, whether there is any place for any kind of head of state in our future governance.

SPENCER HAGARD

Cambridge

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