Diamond Jubilee: Sunday protest at Queen’s flotilla


“Monarchy is incompatible with democracy. It’s a relic from a bygone feudal, aristocratic age. In the twenty-first century, the British people should have the right to elect their head of state. It should not be imposed upon us.

“The Queen is welcome to stand for election. If she won, which she might, I’d accept the result. Let the people decide,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights advocacy organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Mr Tatchell is speaking at Sunday’s protest for a democratically elected head of state, which is organised by the pressure group Republic: www.republic.org.uk

The protest takes place from 1pm to 5pm at the side City Hall, London SE1 2AA. It is timed to coincide with the Queen’s flotilla sailing down the River Thames:

“I have nothing against the Queen. She seems quite likeable,” added Mr Tatchell.

“The problem is the institution of the monarchy. It is based on inherited power, wealth and status – not on merit or democratic choice. Deference is enshrined. Equality and accountability are spurned in favour of elitism and privilege.

“The Queen sometimes seems out-of-touch with modern multicultural Britain. She supports and visits many charities and community groups but almost never black or gay ones.

“Like most republicans, I favour a low-cost, purely ceremonial, elected president, as they have in Ireland – not a French or US-style executive president.

“Recent Irish presidents have been people of great honour and integrity. They’ve enjoyed huge popular support.

“The Irish presidency costs 5% of the official cost of the British royal family and 2% of the real cost.

“The argument that the royal family are vital for the UK’s tourist industry doesn’t stand up. France abolished its monarchy two centuries ago. The Palace of Versailles has more visitors that any British royal palace. More people visit the Legoland theme park than nearby Windsor castle.

“Replacing the monarchy with an elected head of state is an issue of democracy and human rights,” said Mr Tatchell.