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I am the Scottish Socialist Party spokesperson, former MSP for the Lothians. A founder member of the SSP I have been a political activist for 30 years.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

For A Modern Democratic Republic With An Elected Head Of State

And so to Oman. The game changing 2011 revolt that began in Tunisia and spread to Yemen, Algeria, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain has now reached the Gulf state of Oman.
How tremendously uplifting it is to see the downtrodden masses in all these countries rise up in courageous revolt against their unelected heads of state. Leaders who live amid stark and obscene excess whilst the people in contrast face a daily struggle to obtain the bare necessities.
Remind you of anywhere close to home?For all the 24 hour news coverage and wall to wall analysis of 'the revolution in the Middle East' not one programme editor or TV producer, far less their airhead presenters, have ever asked if we should be looking to our own constitution and its absence of democracy. No reporter or journalist has, as yet, made the $64 million connection that we here in Britain also have an unelected head of state just as far removed from the daily life of the population as Hosni Mubareak or Muamir Gaddafy.
And this is strange because our head of state's family are also seldom out of the news. Whether it is the manufactured and excruciating references to the minutiae of two royal weddings this year or to the orchestrated sympathy for the stuttering of a previous king in our cinemas, it seems that you can't move for monarchical PR these days.
Britain's royal family are perhaps the richest in the world, as far removed from the day to day realities of life as it's possible to be. Prince William and Kate Middleton need not worry about repaying their university debts. The poverty of 1 in 3 children will not impinge on their household in any way. There's no chance of any of their palaces being repossessed. The brutal economic crisis will not affect their pomp or circumstance. They will continue to reign over us as 'subjects' with apparent impunity.
Our feudal monarch is, of course, every bit as ridiculous as the Saudi Crown Prince and the barmy Bahraini royal family. And it may well be argued that since the people of Egypt (in the 1950s) and the Libyans (in the 1960s) threw out their hated monarchs to establish their own republics, they are a step ahead of us and probably feeling sorry that we do not have their courage to rise up and rectify this glaring oppression and insult.
Isn't it time we took a leaf out of the Arab people's book to establish a modern democratic republic of our own with a head of state we elected? What's the odds on this revolt reaching Britain?

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