The Two Faces of Britain

Last weekend a lot of money was spent on celebrating an elderly woman's birthday.  Royalist, republican or somewhere in between, the spending of such a large sum of money in the context of the world we live in has to be questionable at best.  Last year the Tussell Trust handed out over a million food parcels to people in need; every night in every town and city up and down the land people go to sleep on park benches or in shop doorways; young people, dispossessed by our social services system, sell their bodies for a single note over and over again; and more British people (1 in 5 or 13 million of us) live in poverty than at any time in the last century.  And I won't even begin to mention the millions starving and dying from dirty water or other easily preventable causes worldwide.

We're often told that the Queen only costs us 56p each (£35.7m total), but that doesn't take into account the hidden costs like £100m for royal security (offloaded to the Metropolitan Police budget), and others.

Yes, the monarchy does bring in more than it costs, but when they have such a vast, ever-increasing, private fortune, should we be paying anything at all?  After all, surely that private fortune was created off the backs of our ancestors!

For example, should we be paying for property maintenance when the Royal Palaces are hardly of benefit to the vast majority of us.  Can't she pay for this herself?  Does anyone actually need four huge houses to be maintained anyway?  That would be £11.7m back straight away.

What about the wine and spirits bill of £400,000, the travel by helicopter at £1.6 million?  If one already has £340m, can one not pay for these things oneself?!

Maybe as a birthday present from herself to the world, the Queen could have handed over some of her vast fortune to those in need, or sold off Sandringham and its contents, giving the money to all the charities she represents, anything other than taking more and more and more.

A poll currently running in The Independent reveals that more than 60% think the monarchy should be abolished.  I am not actually in their number as I do think our tourist industry is boosted by Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Queen.  But I certainly think she could give up vast quantities of wealth (and a house or two!) - as could many others of course - to benefit those in need.  Many of us in far lower income brackets give our 10% or more, but a huge gesture from the Queen would go some significant way to evening out wealth distribution in this country, and across the world.

What do you think?

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  1. since moving a broad almost 6 years ago, i feel more patriotic to the royal family than i ever did before. The Royal family are held in esteem in many other countries and i wouldn't like to see them come to an end


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