Letters: The Monarchy

'Modern' monarchy for a backward country

Related Topics

David Cameron says the existing rules of the royal succession are "at odds with the modern countries that we have become". Perhaps he would like to explain what is modern about a monarchy.

While he's at it, perhaps he'd like to explain why the UK is called a democracy when its head of state is an unelected, unaccountable monarch whose role stands in direct contradiction of any British claims to being a meritocracy, and which underpins the two-tier system of extreme privilege that defines "modern" Britain, and of which Cameron and his wife are archetypal beneficiaries.

Mike Hockney

Newcastle upon Tyne

The proposed reform to the rules of succession further emancipates women and Roman Catholics. In so doing it highlights the remaining insult to the larger number who are not their parents' eldest surviving child or who were born out of wedlock.

It was demonstrated within the first two generations of the Norman dynasty that these are eligible candidates for the throne. When kings and queens had important jobs to do, some flexibility was desirable to let the most capable contender through. This mattered less as they became figureheads and the succession was allowed to fossilise. Now that they are figureheads in an age of mass media there is once again a need to pick the most suitable.

This could be developed, along the lines of traditional systems of tanistry, to say that our future monarchs would be selected from among all the surviving descendants of Queen Elizabeth II.

John Riseley

Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Among the changes to the laws which determine who can succeed the throne is the removal of the bar on anyone married to a Roman Catholic.

The Roman Catholic Church places on a Catholic partner in a mixed marriage a requirement to "see to it, as far as possible" that children are brought up as Roman Catholics. If the Roman Catholic partner in a royal marriage were successful in that regard, their children, as Roman Catholics, would, under another provision of the Act of Settlement, be barred from the succession to the throne.

That would presumably result in pressure to amend the Act further, so as to allow a Roman Catholic actually to become the sovereign and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Would everyone be happy with that, or would the Roman Catholic partner in a royal marriage be given some sort of church dispensation?

Dr Robin Orton

London SE26

Business that enriches the few

The revelation that FTSE-100 directors have enjoyed a 49 per cent pay increase in the past year shows just how broken our economy is. While the majority of workers suffer real-terms wage cuts, top directors continue to line their pockets, ensuring that wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few.

This state of affairs is sadly inevitable in a system which prioritises short-term profit above all else. What we need is a rebalanced economy that rewards sustainable business and holds companies to account to ensure they act not only in their own interests, but in those of their staff and communities.

Social enterprises are such businesses working to ensure that society profits, rather than CEOs and senior directors. To rebuild Britain's economy we need businesses to act in the interests of the many rather than the few.

Peter Holbrook

Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK,

London N1

As "we're all in it together", when will the rest of the country get its 49 per cent pay increase?

Dr Pete Dorey

Reader in British Politics

Cardiff University

Does the bonus for Bart Becht, boss of Reckitt Benckiser, "which makes Nurofen, Calogen dish-washer powder and Durex condoms" include free washing-up, unlimited sex, and no headaches?

Robin Spencer

St Andrews, Fife

Cathedral impasse

The Tragedy of the Commons currently playing around St Paul's Cathedral benefits the "disaffected of St Paul's" at the expense of residents, visitors and the local workforce.

A solution benefiting the wider London community would be to introduce a temporary daily tent-parking licence of, say, £25. Rather higher levies already apply to parked cars, skips and mobile burger and ice-cream vans. The revenue would be shared between the Cathedral and the City.

If they want to stay, let them pay.

Caroline Doggart

London SW3

John Walsh ("In Finsbury Square, a whiff of revolution is in the air", 28 October) cheerfully noted the sign displayed by the latest wave of protesters in the City of London, quoting Henry Ford's views on the global banking system.

If these people claim to speak for the 99 per cent yet take their economic analysis from the author of The International Jew, with chapters titled "Jewish Power and America's Money Famine", "The Economic Plans of International Jews" and "Jew versus Non-Jew in New York Finance", then they certainly do not speak for me.

Andy Strang

Balcombe, West Sussex

Is it too much to ask the undercover police officers who are surely imbedded among those camping out at St Paul's to use their influence at the camp's general meetings to bring this matter to an end? What do they think we're paying them for?

Colin Burke


What we need is another royal wedding, then all of the tents outside St Paul's Cathedral will be "legitimised" overnight. Problem solved. Prince Harry, your country needs you.

Steve Rudd

Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

The Church of England used to be referred to as "the Tory Party at prayer". Could St Paul's now be regarded as "the City at prayer"?

Beverley Thompson

Milton Keynes

Selective schools don't work

During my teaching career I taught in secondary modern, grammar and comprehensive schools (letter, 28 October). Teaching in some secondary moderns was a depressing experience. The pupils were all failures and the teachers mostly non-graduates, having failed to get the few places available at university in those days.

Contrast this with grammar schools, where the staff, virtually all graduate, were better paid, teaching in the main highly motivated pupils. It was more a process of osmosis than education.

Fortunately, some of the comprehensive schools managed the task of teaching all these children successfully in one building, in my opinion better preparing them for understanding life after school. Surely it is not beyond the wit of our current masters to ensure that all schools copy the most successful comprehensive schools.

Compare this with the background of our current ruling elite, taught in select little bands, isolated from 90 per cent of the population. Grammar schools were little different. There were very few pupils from working-class backgrounds. For every success story of a working class pupil able to advance through the system to university and beyond there were thousands of "failures" who left school with nothing but negative experiences.

Jeremy Axten

Addlestone, Surrey

My advice: go forward together

With reference to your distinction between "council" and "counsel" (Errors & Omissions, 22 October), the latter has a completely different derivation to the one you propose.

I agree with the Oxford English Dictionary that "counsel" is derived from the Latin noun consilium meaning consultation or advice. Whereas the derivation of concilium is, as you say, concilio "call together", the derivation of consilium is to jump or go forward together ("consult" and "consul" are also derivatives). The two words are closely connected in Latin usage and one merges into the other in a process: you call a meeting and should hope to progress to agreement and giving advice.

When I taught Latin, I used to explain the difference between concilium and consilium by referring my pupils to the two English derivatives council and counsel. I hope the lesson stays with them: if it does, it is an argument for the usefulness of Latin.

Hugh Hollinghurst


Pushed to the edge of Europe

Is it not mind-blowing to see the Eurosceptics of the Conservative Party and hardline supporters of closer European Union working steadfastly to the same end, namely the marginalisation of Britain in Europe?

Having succeeded in making their leader look vulnerable at the Brussels summit, the rebel Tory MPs must be thrilled at the prospect of Merkel and Sarkozy putting up the "no longer wanted" sign over British influence in Brussels.

There will be no need for a future referendum on EU membership. Britain will already have been shown the door.

Anne Swift

Beckenham, Kent

The Eurozone's plan to allow Greece to default on 50 per cent of its debts and also to set up a €1trn bailout fund to safeguard European banks has in effect done away with any moral hazard for European governments and European banks for years to come. The effects will surely be disastrous.

Rob Michaels


Feta cheese and olive oil the only two products of Greece (letter, 28 October)? What about tzatziki and taramosalata – otherwise perhaps known as double-dip recession?

Nick Pritchard


A weak prime minister exposed

I don't think Matthew Norman's analysis of the Prime Minister's fortunes is quite right ("Has Cameron's lucky streak just run out?", 26 October). I'm not sure Mr Cameron has been all that lucky – not since the day he was born anyway. But any lucky streak he did have surely ran out the day that he failed to win a Commons majority.

In theory his position is no weaker now than it was in May last year. But that position is fundamentally weak. And it's in the nature of political weakness that when people start to stand and point at it, it grows.

David Woods


Early poppies

Eddie Johnson may think it early to see a poppy on 25 October (letter, 27 October), but the greeter who welcomed us at a hotel in Chagford, on the edge of Dartmoor, was certainly wearing one on 15 October. Can I claim the prize?

Caroline St Leger-Davey


React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Read Next

I’m not sure I fancy any meal that’s been cooked up by a computer

John Walsh
Labour leader Ed Miliband delivers a speech on his party's plans for the NHS, in Sale, on Tuesday  

Why is Miliband fixating on the NHS when he’d be better off focussing on the wealth gap?

Andreas Whittam Smith
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness