Ex-NIO minister in bid to reform monarchy…

FORMER NIO Minister Lord Dubs has described the ban on the British monarch or heir marrying a Catholic as an outdated piece of religious bigotry, the Independent reports. The Labour peer said: “At present, Prince William could live with a Catholic girlfriend without forfeiting the right to be king, but the moment they were married he would be instantly disqualified. Indeed, while the heir is barred from marrying a Catholic, it is surely absurd that the spouse could later convert to Catholicism without this being a problem.”

Lord Dubs was speaking in the context of his Succession to the Crown Bill. More here and here from the Fabian Society.

  • Young Fogey

    Catholic or Protestant, Hindu or Jew, the Windsor Family will always be a pack of spongers. Who cares?

  • CavanMan

    The British Royal Family are irrelevant in the world today.Let them play their own little game of bigotry..with their followers the ulster loyalists.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I’m constantly struck by the absurdity of those who wish to apply equal opportunities criteria to the concept of monarchy. It seems to me you can have an office of head of state to which all can aspire or you can remain a kingdom, but the two are by definition mutually exclusive.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I’m constantly struck by the absurdity of those who wish to apply equal opportunities criteria to the concept of monarchy. It seems to me you can have an office of head of state to which all can aspire or you can remain a kingdom, but the two are by definition mutually exclusive.

  • The Devil

    How would we know he married if we didn’t

    ********* SEE THE PHOTOGRAPHS **********

  • Keith M

    Why tinker with the system? Either leave well enough alone or (better still) do away with it completly. An elected head of state is the way to go. Do away with the House of Lords while they’re at it. Power is something that should be given by the people to those that earn it, not as some ancient birthright.

  • ShayPaul

    Keith M

    Always new you were a republican.

  • ShayPaul

    What about this as the next step :

    revolutionary unionism

  • Davros

    That was one of Coulter’s better articles.

  • ShayPaul

    He slipped up with the punt becoming the Euro in 10 years ???

  • Davros

    Aye, I wonder what that was all about ? Metaphor for the two economies ?

  • Nathan

    The Green Party both sides of the border called for a scrapping of the catholic monarchy ban earlier on this year:

    Green Party comment –

    “Not only does the Act of Settlement embed sectarianism, but it gives the all-clear to those who make sectarian comments.

    “What we in the Greens are asking for is the British Government to lead by example in the fight against sectarianism.

    “In our submission to the review of the Good Friday Agreement, we are urging the British Government to send out the right signals to people in Northern Ireland. “A good starting point would be amending the Act.”

  • Young Irelander

    Leave it to a Dub to stick it to the monarchy.

    BTW,great article on unionism.Thanks for the link,ShayPaul.

  • Davros

    YI – the Blanket is one of my favourite sites.

  • ShayPaul

    Your welcome YI.

  • ShayPaul

    You’re most welcome YI

    Slan

  • Davros

    Anthony McIntyre in fine form here

    “Sinn Fein, astute in measuring public perception and conscious of the need to maintain goodwill at home and abroad, knows it must be seen to be working towards an accommodation with unionism. The type of accommodation, however, must not be bedded down too comfortably otherwise it develops a dynamic and sustainability all of its own and might just bring an end to the endless processing. To prevent such settling Sinn Fein always offers the unionists a chair, which invariably has a nail in it so the latter, if they avoid getting scratched, can never sit comfortably. The nail is the IRA. For as long it is below the unionist fundament there is no respite. Sooner or later, with or without arms it tears something and all bets are off. Requiems and inquests follow. Then the two governments come along, give the kiss of life to the corpse, and the thing totters along for another while.
    Sinn Fein encourages this situation of creative crisis to happen. A permanently settled executive is no good to it. One facing seemingly interminable crisis gives the party’s island wide expansionist project more zip. Subverting any Northern political equilibrium, rather than thwart the peace process adds momentum to it. Each time IRA subversion occurs Sinn Fein is more than content to wage a public battle over the existence of its military arm. It seeks to persuade the island’s public that unionist intransigence is more detrimental to attempts at establishing a power-sharing executive than the IRA, which we are disingenuously told has been on ceasefire for ten years. That policy so far has been rewarded at the polls North and South. It is unlikely to be abandoned until such times as electoral growth is capped.

  • ShayPaul

    Davros

    (open brackets)

    What has that to do with the monarchy versus republic thread here ?

    Please don’t destroy interesting threads like that.

    You could post that link on other threads where it is on thread or an extension to the debate.

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on this one, but one might conclude that you deliberately use that tactic to strangle certain debates.

    (close brackets)

    As earlier posted by Nathan, the Green Party statement :

    “Not only does the Act of Settlement embed sectarianism, but it gives the all-clear to those who make sectarian comments.

    “What we in the Greens are asking for is the British Government to lead by example in the fight against sectarianism.

    “In our submission to the review of the Good Friday Agreement, we are urging the British Government to send out the right signals to people in Northern Ireland. “A good starting point would be amending the Act.”

    These are fundamental issues, I would like to hear some feedback from my orange friends here on this issue ……..

  • Davros

    Shay – if you want to tell people what they can post and where I suggest you start your own site 🙂
    Of course you had no problems posting the Coulter article which doesn’t mention the issue of changing the law to allow a Roman Catholic Monarch.

  • Nathan

    Shay, its beyond me why would any self-respecting RC would wish to marry into such a dysfunctional family? But thats a different issue altogether I suppose.

    Anyway, Carmel Hanna from the SDLP Balmoral branch made this comment in May 2002:

    “I agree broadly with the statement [repeal of the Act of Settlement], from a specifically Irish perspective. The events of the Glorious Revolution – Battle of the Boyne, 1690 and so on – have been one of the factors which has cemented and fossilised the linkage between national identification and religious affiliation in Ireland. That is, to be Protestant is to be unionist/British, to be Catholic is to nationalist/Irish, though there are outstanding exceptions to this.

    The identification of political identity with religious affiliation has poisoned political discourse in Ireland for over 300 years, right up to the present day where some groups are still fighting the religious battles of 16th-century Europe. The task, in the new Ireland, is to respect the equal legitimacy of both the British and Irish identity, without regard to religious affiliation. I say this as a practising Christian (Roman Catholic).

    As someone who is pro-European, I favour a written constitution where all citizens are treated equally, unlike the British models where people are, in law, subjects.”

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Reform the monarchy? Have Catholics not suffered enough.

  • Alan2

    Reform of the monarchy would be very complicated and time consuming in law, especially since it has no effect whatsoever on anybody until such time as a monarchy wishes to marry someone. The establishment of the Church of England was a compromise by Queen Elizabeth between Catholicism and Protestantism ensuring that the monarch was the highest authority of the Kingdom and not a foreign ruler ie The Pope.

    It would ina ctual fact be far far simpler to abandon the monarchy rather than reform it and establish an elected head of state. The question however is when we have an elected government with a Prime Minister what benefits would an elected head of state give over a parliamentary constitutional monarchy? I really cant think of any unless we move to an american midel with a President.

  • Alan2

    Reform of the monarchy would be very complicated and time consuming in law, especially since it has no effect whatsoever on anybody until such time as a monarchy wishes to marry someone. The establishment of the Church of England was a compromise by Queen Elizabeth between Catholicism and Protestantism ensuring that the monarch was the highest authority of the Kingdom and not a foreign ruler ie The Pope.

    It would ina ctual fact be far far simpler to abandon the monarchy rather than reform it and establish an elected head of state. The question however is when we have an elected government with a Prime Minister what benefits would an elected head of state give over a parliamentary constitutional monarchy? I really cant think of any unless we move to an American model with a President.

  • Nathan

    Pat

    Sorry to hear that you don’t feel the time is ripe for reform. For your fellow subjects who happen to be nominally republican reform offers the opportunity for informed debate about the continued existence and role of the British sovereign.

    For your fellow subjects who are ultra-monarchist, there is the happy fact that there is at present an heir apparent with two sons. Succession for the foreseeable future is unlikely to be affected by any alteration of the law allowing it to be passed to the eldest child of the sovereign irrespective of religion or sex.

    Alan
    There is no support for merging the roles of the Queen and the Prime Minister into a strong presidency on the lines of the United States.

    The American model overloads the office of President by combining the onerous executive responsibilities of a head of government with the formal duties of a head of state.

    In modern corporate governments the best practice is to separate the role of chairman and chief executive, something which is even more desirable in national governments.

  • ShayPaul

    “As someone who is pro-European, I favour a written constitution where all citizens are treated equally, unlike the British models where people are, in law, subjects.”

    Agree 100% with that Nathan.

  • ShayPaul

    Alan2

    Thanks for the reply, so I agree with you let’s get rid of them.

    We live in the 21st century after all.

  • Nathan

    Shay Paul

    I have a lot of respect for Carmel Hanna, even if she is a stoop. She’s a founding member of the United Irishmen Commemoration Society and I met her at a commemorative event last year which marked the death of our hero Thomas Russell.

  • barnshee

    The monarch is as far as I know the Head of the Curch of England. hard to see how he/she can be other than a prod?

  • ShayPaul

    Nathan

    The famous man from god knows where …

    What she said makes enormous sense, the whole monarchy issue is an important basic condition here.

    Apart from Alan2, who has always the courage to stand up and be counted on any orange issue, I hear a deafening silence from my orange friends on this one.

    The glorious revolution, the 1772 Royal marriages act, Head of the Anglican church.

    barnshee hits the proverbial nail on its crown.

    State and church are established in the UK.

    Loyalism is not loyal to the UK, that is “provisional” loyalty.

    God (a protestant one) and Ulster (also a protestant one) are the provisions I suspect.

    The 21st century will change these basics surely ?

    As Bob Dylan says :

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.
    Steal a little and they put you in jail,
    Steal a lot and they make you a King.

    As good a reason as any for being a Republican.

  • Davros

    Nathan – did you see Carmel’s letter to the Irish News on Monday ?

  • Nathan

    Shay Paul

    I’ve seen with my own eyes when I was in Canada a sort of Orange respect for forms of republicanism totally different from the ‘republicanism’ of provisionalism in Ireland. An Orange lodge in Toronto carries the name of Guiseppe Garibaldi, who was an Italian republican even though most of the other nationalists of his day were monarchists. He bombarded the Vatican when his army of revolutionary redshirts reached Rome.

    So even within the Orange community, there have, at different times, been different shades of Orange just as there has always been, and still are, different shades of Green.

  • Davros

    Nathan – in Canada do they have the elaborate banners we have in NI ? Nothing to do with the discussion, purely for my own information.

  • Nathan

    davros

    i’ve never spectated a parade in N.Ireland (and don’t intend to) so don’t know what differences to look out for. was recommended to go see the cavan county museum upon my return to ireland though. apparently one can view breathtaking displays of banners, sashes, drums, minute books and all the rest of it from the OO, apprentice boys as well as the AOH. never bothered my arse to visit though, maybe someday.

    as for the hanna’s article, wasn’t aware of it, just read it now. i’m sure the conference she’s organising on civic republicanism for the 21st century will be appetizing, hope it goes well for her.

  • cg

    Oh I ‘m sure it will be Nathan.
    Carmel’s Republicanism has always been here distinguishing feature. ; )

  • Davros

    Ah, OK Nathan. The Iconography of the banners of the various organisations- e.g. OO, AOH and INF are fascinating.

  • John East Belfast

    Having a monarchy at all links the country back to its histiorical – dare I say it Christian past – and the acceptance of the Protestant reformatiion.

    The wars that set Britain against France and Spain thereafter reflected this religous division and helped shape the world (especially US) and Britain as we know it.

    Therefore I accept the hereditary monarchy on this basis – not out of due deference to a family that I personally have little current respect for. I have always had the hope that William will be a better King than his father appears to be shaping up to be. My deference is to the position and they are only servants of the people therein.

    Therefore once you start changing the rules then the whole thing will start to unravel.

    I fully understand how any catholic British citisen would be offended by such a rule but I think most do not take it personally and accept it as part of the heriditary tradition.

    Marrying a catholic would be one thing but say he married a muslim and the future king was a Muslim – acceptable – why not if the individual was considered to be the best person for the job but I guarantee then it would be the end of the British hereditary monarchy.

  • cg

    John East Belfast

    “Marrying a catholic would be one thing but say he married a Muslim and the future king was a Muslim – acceptable – why not if the individual was considered to be the best person for the job but I guarantee then it would be the end of the British hereditary monarchy.”

    One can only hope for such a situation.

  • Davros

    As I recall the founder of your party 99 years ago didn’t have a problem with Monarchs cg 😉

  • cg

    “As I recall the founder of your party 99 years ago didn’t have a problem with Monarchs cg ;)”

    As I recall Davros one of the great Irish Protestants of the 18th/19th century, John Mitchell, thought a hatred of the English ; )

    It’s a funny old world that.

    But seriously, Ireland has changed a lot from 1905 as have Sinn Féin. Griffith saw the monarchy as a compromise not a love.

  • John East Belfast

    cg

    “but I guarantee then it would be the end of the British hereditary monarchy.”

    One can only hope for such a situation.”

    why ?

    As an Irish Republican why do you care ?

  • Nathan

    CS

    “But seriously, Ireland has changed a lot from 1905 as have Sinn Féin. Griffith saw the monarchy as a compromise not a love.”

    sinn fein has had the unsettling habit of changing colour more often than a chameleon. A bumper car does less u-turns than sinn fein 🙂

  • cg

    “Why?

    As an Irish Republican why do you care?”

    You have just answered your own question, I am a Republican.

    While the British Royal Family has no impact on me I detest Monarchy in all its ugly form. The fact that some one is deemed “royalty” simply because of their birth disgusts me. Every man and woman should be deemed equal CITIZENS of their own country and should have the right to determine their head of state by vote and not birth right.

  • Davros

    As I recall Davros one of the great Irish Protestants of the 18th/19th century, John Mitchell, thought a hatred of the English ; )

    Don’t we all ? 😀

  • cg

    “CS”
    I presume you mean me, CG

    “sinn fein has had the unsettling habit of changing colour more often than a chameleon. A bumper car does less u-turns than sinn fein :)”

    Correction Sinn Féin adapts with the times. It is not stagnant, unlike some other parties.
    This said the basic element of Sinn Féin remains the same ,a free and peaceful Ireland.

  • John East Belfast

    cg

    The role of the British monarchy has been long dealt with from Cromwell on.

    Hereditary monarchy is purely a way of selecting someone for a role that is purely symbolic. I still believe it is better than elections.

    Real power rests with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet who are elected.

    Meanwhile the monarchy give the UK a link with its past and is a cause of respect around the entire world – even ROI where Diana fever was as apparent as anywhere else.

    It is also a major tourist earner.

    I think you are taking the matter too seriously.

  • cg

    John East Belfast

    Sorry John
    I forgot that sectarianism and inequality isn’t wrong so long as it is profitable.

  • maca

    I’d have little against the monarchy if I was a Brit other than the fact they seem to spend a lot of time on skiing holidays or vacationing at their summer “home” in Scotland. As a tax payer i’d be more than a bit pissed off that there are people who do sweet fuck all except live in huge mansions while i’m slaving away trying to pay the bills.
    Apart from that I think the whole thing is just a bit stupid, same goes for the Scandies etc.

  • maca

    JEB
    “and is a cause of respect around the entire world”

    Hmmm, you sure about that? I have my doubts.
    (Mind you Will could be a decent bloke, never met him though so not sure.)

  • John East Belfast

    maca and cg

    From a UK marketing and branding point of view the British Royal family is a dream.

    So long as the incumbants don’t succeed is screwing it up – and they are trying hard – it is an important asset to the UK.

    Who would some visiting Head of State wish to be received by – the Queen in Buck Palace or an elected Ken Livingstone in a County Hall.

    Come on – it fosters goodwill and has influence for UK plc.

    In terms of cost the benefits far outweigh.

    The UK has been a real Republic for centuries in terms of who wields power on behalf of the people.

    I suspect in your case cg you are really only betraying an Irish republican knee jerk prejudice against the British Royal family.

  • cg

    “I suspect in your case cg you are really only betraying an Irish republican knee jerk prejudice against the British Royal family.”

    So basically you are saying that my opinions and comments aren’t correct simply because I am an Irish republican (possibly because you can’t present evidence to the contrary).

    I’d like to say your response surprises me but sadly it doesn’t

  • Nathan

    cg

    “Correction Sinn Féin adapts with the times. It is not stagnant, unlike some other parties.
    This said the basic element of Sinn Féin remains the same ,a free and peaceful Ireland.”

    I cannot help but marvel at the way in which the the penny finally dropped for provisionalism thats all (and a long time coming for them to adapt may i say).

    In self-assuming their right to a bigger and bolder armed PIRA campaign they actually betrayed those Protestants who could have been persuaded of a meaningful united ireland.

    Protestants had and still have an overriding right to say NO to a united ireland. I’m glad the provisional leadership came to reluctantly accept this.

    I wonder what the future will hold for the pen of P O’Neill but lets hope when the time comes that your leader will do everything in his power to bring as many shinners forward as possible into a brave new beginning as a IRA-less movement.

  • John East Belfast

    cg

    “So basically you are saying that my opinions and comments aren’t correct simply because I am an Irish republican (possibly because you can’t present evidence to the contrary)”.

    I am only saying that words like ugly, disgust and detest in the context of the British Royal Family are ott. We have gone way beyond the divine right of kings to rule so all your stuff about the people not being given the chance to elect their Head of State is equally ott.

    I am then challenging you on from where such views come from. If Protestants came out with such stuff about the Pope I would challenge them too.

    Do you feel the same way for instance about the Dutch Royal family ?

  • cg

    Nathan
    “Protestants had and still have an overriding right to say NO to a united ireland. I’m glad the provisional leadership came to reluctantly accept this”

    Correct but what Protestants don’t have any longer is the right to veto any decision on a United Ireland.
    ………………………………………….

    John East Belfast

    “I am only saying that words like ugly, disgust and detest in the context of the British Royal Family are ott”

    We’ll have to agree to disagree there.

    “so all your stuff about the people not being given the chance to elect their Head of State is equally ott.”

    It’s the truth so its not ott.
    Every citizen should have the right to elect there own head of state, period.

    “Do you feel the same way for instance about the Dutch Royal family ?”

    I feel the same way about every monarchy, I don’t agree with them, period.
    As you have already acknowledged, I am a republican not a monarchist

  • Nathan

    John

    The Queen in Parliament affects provisionalism as much as the next one. Why else did they demand the scrapping of the oath of allegiance, which has kept them from taking their seats in the Commons?

    Probably because they believe that as proper republicans, they should not compelled to swear an oath of loyalty to any human being.

    Supposing there was a united Ireland, wouldn’t you find it outrageous if a ugly looking parliamentary oath was decided upon excluding anyone who didn’t swear that they were republicans?

  • Davros

    Do the farcical events in the House of Commons today alter people’s views ? During a discussion on the very sensitive matter of respecting the wishes of people in respect of treatment in the last days of life ( labelled a back door to euthanasia by critics) it was reported that a letter by a senior member of the Roman Catholic Church, penned during the debate, was passed to Roman Catholic Labour MPs informing them that the amended Government proposals were acceptable to the Church. As not all MPs could see this letter there was chaos and the Labour Minister’s performance has been labelled inept. In a local context, Seems to me like a gift to the Paisleyites.

  • Davros