Blogging is a strange occupation - a solitary writer in search of the sort of communion with others that used to happen in the pub, on the corner, on the bus is now engaging with others electronically instead. So much for progress.

THIS blog is about ideas - big and small - connected with one of the things I care about with a passion, namely the future of liberal thought in this country. I am instinctively a radical liberal, with a grudging belief in the value of markets but an abhorrence of statism and indifference, and a strong belief in social justice. I find Labour bankrupt of ideas, and the Tories intellectually flacid. This is my response.

I am intending always to stick to the point: there will be no rabble-rousing talk, and no wasted jibes at other parties and political philosophies.

Comments will be moderated, but anyone can leave one.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

A republic at any price?

Seen the Republic website? It's a strange campaign, working to "support a republican constitution in place of the monarchy". But what kind of republic?

It seems that for the folk at Republic anything will do. They say that after a successful campaign to replace the monarch with an elected head of state they will "facilitate a debate on the best model for a future republic" - but only AFTER?

The problem with Republic - and the reason that even as quintessential Roundhead I can't support their campaign - is that they seem to want to end the monarchy at any cost. Even at the cost of a unchecked Presidency that allows dictatorship to grow in its midst? Even if the reserved Presidential emergency powers allow immediate and unconditional suspension of the constitution? Even at the cost of forced coalitions to avoid Presidential intervention?

We need a grown up political dialogue in this country which isn't about not liking the Civil List, Prince Andrew's views on helicopter usage or Prince Charles' views on architecture as a reason for preferring a republic, but a solid case for a TYPE of republic that suits us. Not a borrowed form (whether American or European) but one that is made for the UK. Surely that is not beyond us?

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