Wills and Kate, Harry and Megan, Charles and Camilla. Big Liz herself. We all know who they are, and we all must put up with the media’s fetish-like obsession with one absurdly wealthy family. They are famous for fame’s sake. The royals have not earned their place in Buckingham palace nor have they done anything worthy of the adulation which they receive everywhere they go. They were merely born. They are mortal. And they’re pointless.
The bee in my bonnet though, beyond the fact that they’re never off the telly, is this: the British monarchy is the most expensive in Europe, costing taxpayers approximately £40 million per year on the so-called ‘sovereign grant’. That’s not too bad I suppose, maybe these are just my republican (not the American kind) tendencies manifesting themselves. There are, however, plenty of hidden costs which are offloaded on to other organisations or which seem like they have nothing to do with our monarchs. Once these are added on, these freeloaders are taking more than £330 million from the public per year – making the already pitifully small social security payments paid out to those most in need look even more disgraceful.
Economists are unsure exactly how much money Liz and co. contribute to running country, generally it is believed that the tourism they’re thought to have drawn brought approximately £550 million to UK coffers in 2017. Unfortunately for any royalists out there who thought I’d tripped myself up here, this is small fry. Total tourism brought in an excess of £22 billion for the same period. If we turfed them out and turned their numerous palaces into museums, government offices or public property we’d find a better use for them and likely make more money from them. People aren’t going to lose interest because these buildings are empty. Why shouldn’t we take the Palace of Holyrood House and turn it into sheltered housing?
To further prove how out of touch they are, the queen’s hat (or ‘the imperial state crown’ if you subscribe to such arbitrarily pompous and absurd titles) arrived at parliament for the Queen’s speech this month, in its own carriage. If that doesn’t demonstrate the sheer ignorance of this incredibly wealthy family, then I don’t know what will. While far too many people in the UK struggle to even put food on the table, Liz has a carriage just for her headwear.
Aye, some folk love the queen. Half of Britain’s grandmothers view Will and Harry as their own grandsons. The question we need to ask ourselves is: what are they contributing either to public life or the economy? Sure, they give money to charity, but if we stopped the sovereign grant and properly taxed their incomes and properties, we would be able to more fully support public services and reduce the need for charities to step in where the government is unwilling or unable to do so.
We hear a lot about ‘benefits scroungers’ from some of the hate-filled rags which pass for newspapers across the UK, even though actual occurrences are few and far between. The real benefits scroungers, however, are the people glorified and worshipped by the Daily Mail. The real benefits scroungers are not living in social housing. No. The real burden on society, the people who take our taxes and contribute nothing in return are living in Buckingham Palace or Kensington Palace, or Windsor or Balmoral. The British monarchy is an outdated, archaic institution which flies in the face of what should be a modern, constitutional, outward looking democracy.
Image: pasja1000 via Pixabay