Royal Wedding – Do you give a damn?


This is a recording of the public debate hosted by Editorial Intelligence in association with The Foreign Press Association at the Commonwealth Club in London on 30 March 2011.

Listen to the debate (MP3) here:

Peter Tatchell’s contribution can heard from 35.45 minutes into the debate.

Other speakers: Sarah Sands (Deputy Editor, Evening Standard), Peter Kellner (President, YouGov polling organisation), Rachel Johnson (Editor, The Lady) and HE Nicola Clase (Swedish Ambassador).

“An ICM poll poll published in March, found that 79% of the British people are largely indifferent or don’t care about the Royal Wedding. One-third of councils have no applications for Royal Wedding street parties and two-thirds have five or fewer applications. There is no great public enthusiasm for William’s and Kate’s nuptials. Monarchy is losing its lustre. It’s becoming just another strand of celebrity culture and soap opera,” said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell.

“We should start thinking about the post-Elizabeth II era. It’s time there was a serious public debate about the alternative to the monarchy – an elected head of state, chosen by the people and accountable to the people.

“This is an issue of democracy and human rights. The monarch is our head of state. The monarchical system is anti-Catholic, sexist and, by default, racist. Catholics are barred. For the foreseeable future, no black or Asian person can be our head of state. First-born girls are passed over in favour of younger male children. These discriminations are out of step with the values of modern, liberal Britain.

“I would prefer a democratically-elected, low-cost and purely ceremonial president, with no political powers and with any citizen being eligible to stand for the post, regardless of their race, gender, class, faith or sexuality.

“Our head of state ought to be chosen based on merit and public endorsement, not on the grounds of privileged parentage and inheritance. They should be subject to periodic election, so they can be replaced if they fail to fulfil their duties as expected.

“Monarchy is incompatible with democracy. It’s a relic of feudalism and of a bygone aristocratic, imperial era. The time has come to consign royalism to history,” said Mr Tatchell.