Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the tag “Queen”

Our Election Humiliation

Well, that’s it, the General Election date is finally to be announced today. The date when we, the electorate, shall decide to whom we will lend our power for the next probable five years. Yes, our power, as citizens in a supposedly free and democratic society.

Before this can happen though our elected Prime Minister must go to Buckingham Palace and ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament in order for the election to take place. It is a national humiliation that the permission, even if somewhat symbolically, of an unelected, undemocratic, Head of State who is only there by virtue of being born into one particular family, should be sort.

If we elect a party with an overall majority then the Government is not effective until the Monarch has given her approval and in the event of a ‘hung Parliament’ again it is the Queen who ‘invites’ one Party to form the Government. In addition it is through the Monarch’s Privy Council that powers that we, the people, did not give to the Prime Minister of the day are wielded. It is time to embrace true democracy and end our humiliation.

Cost Cutting Queen!!!****

The royal family’s travel costs have been spiralling out of control for some time and with the Royal Train being used at a cost of tens of thousands of Pounds for even short trips the Queen has embarked on cost cutting.

Yes she has, really! She wants a Royal Jet at a cost of £3million plus the cost of fitting it out in a style fit for a queen and of course there’s the running costs and as for the carbon footprint, well, let’s not even go there.

Your Money!

I’ve had time to get some detail from the Royal accounts that I pointed out were released yesterday. Here are a few examples of how your money is wasted away by these scroungers.

Queen charges £14,515 to get train from Euston to Liverpool.

Queen and Phillip charged us £22,275 to go to Great Yorkshire Show

Charles and Camilla’s trip to Japan, Bruinei and Indonesia cost a staggering £655,675!

Duke and Duchess of Gloucester charge taxpayer £149,000 for trip to Australia

Andrew charges taxpayer £55,000 to fly to Sharm el Sheikh

Queen charges taxpayer £16,000 to take train from Windsor to Totnes

It’s about time that this madness was ended. More details and how you can help can be found at Republic.

Royals Scared Off?

A press conference to present the Royal accounts today has been cancelled. We all know, or should know, that these accounts are in any case far from transparent and are never properly audited, so what are they afraid of?

In addition, the Queen is asking for even more cash from us stating that there is a £5million hole in the finances. Isn’t an estimated £180million per year enough! Quite rightly the expenditure of public money by members of Parliament has come under the microscope and so to should the Royals whose lavish lifestyles we support.

Update: Just been announced that they will be published after all but NO press conference! Wouldn’t want any awkward questions now would they?

Royal Secrets

Brown had promised us more openness and transparency in the wake of the expenses scandals. What does he do? He caves in to pressure from the Palace and is bringing in a blanket ban on the Freedom of Information Act applying to the unelected Royals stating that secrecy is required to ensure the impartiality of the head of state. What?!!

Statement from the Ministry of Justice:

To ensure the constitutional position and political impartiality of the Monarchy is not undermined, the relevant exemption in the Freedom of Information Act will be made absolute for information relating to communications with the Royal Household that is less than 20 years’ old. After that point – if the relevant Member of the Royal Family is still alive – then the exemption will continue to apply until five years after their death – on an absolute basis for the Sovereign and the Heir to the Throne, and on a qualified basis for other members of the Royal Family.

This is utterly outrageous; if they demand secrecy then they must have something to hide or rather, a lot of ‘somethings’. We are footing the bill so why shouldn’t we have a right to know or at least find out what they are spending our money on? If they are using their undemocratic powers to influence political decisions, or promoting their businesses or using government planes for their private pleasure at our expense we have a right to know.

It is even likely that this FOI ban will become law not by being debated in Parliament but brought into being by powers given to the Prime Minister by the very people who demand this outrage.

If you still have any doubts about whether we should know then how about this from The Guardian in June last year.

“Prince Charles used the royal train to travel from Kemble, near his Gloucestershire home, to Penrith, Cumbria, to visit a pub – part of the “pub is the hub” initiative to revitalise village life – at a cost of £18,916, which may make it the most expensive pub visit ever made. The prince also used the train to get to Edinburgh (£21,460) and during a trip for various engagements in Wales (£43,258).”

Queen’s Intervention

A few Members of Parliament have suggested that the Queen should step in and remove the Speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin, from his post over his handling of the expenses scandal.

The Speaker is elected by the whole House and then under our ridiculous and undemocratic system, is appointed by the monarch of the day. Now that is bad enough but should the Queen exercise her power to remove the Speaker then the whole rotten system of unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable power of the monarchy would come into the open and be exposed for what it is. This is why it will not happen but here’s hoping.

King Charles 3rd or Democracy

It never ceases to amaze me that whenever the topic of finally becoming a democracy and electing our own head of state comes up, numbers of people say “What! Imagine Tony Blair or Gordon Brown as President.”

Try to get your head around it people; We would get who the majority voted for, nothing more, nothing less and it’s called Democracy. In addition if it turned out that we didn’t like our choice then in four or five years we can vote for someone else. With a king or queen we have no choice and are stuck with them ’til they die and then we have someone else from the same family appointed to take their place. That is NOT Democracy!

A Right Royal Business

I copy below the details of a Downing Street Petition to which I was a signatory and the Government’s response.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to remove the privileges which give the duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster an unfair advantage so that they have to operate according to the laws and taxation applied to all other businesses.”

Details of Petition:

“The duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster are exempt from corporation, capital gains and inheritance tax. They are also exempt from civil law so tenants have no recourse. This means that these duchies are able to operate on the same playing field as other businesses but they have a huge advantage, the time has come for them to tow the line.”

Read the Government’s response

Tax Position

The Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall are private landed estates, whose annual surpluses provide an income for Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince of Wales respectively. The Queen and Prince of Wales do not have access to the capital or capital profits.

The Duchies’ main purpose, established in law, is to generate an income for their beneficiaries, across successive generations. Following the 1993 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Royal Taxation, the Queen and Prince of Wales made a voluntary arrangement to pay income and capital gains tax at the same rates as any other citizen. The Duchies do not pay corporation tax because they are not companies and are therefore not within the charge of Corporation Tax. Their income is effectively taxed in the hands of their beneficiaries.  Since neither beneficiary is entitled to the assets nor any capital gains or losses made by the Duchy of Lancaster or Duchy of Cornwall, no CGT is payable. Any part of the Sovereign’s estate, which passes to her successor will not be subject to inheritance tax (IHT) because the 1993 MOU was founded on the principle that the Sovereign as head of state should have a degree of financial independence from the Government of the day.  However, any other bequests by the Sovereign would bear IHT in the normal way. The Duchies bear other taxes in the usual way, eg Stamp Duty Land Tax, VAT, council tax etc.

Civil Law

The Duchies, like the Executive arm of the Government, are part of the Crown and have a similar status in law.  This means that in practice, on a case by case basis, the Duchies are subject to many aspects of civil law.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have a multi million pound business set up for us to live off the profits and to pay tax on a ‘voluntary basis’. The underlined phrase (by me) makes one wonder why it is then that we the tax payers, cough up at least £150 million a year to support this family?

Act of Succession

A private members bill is to be debated today in Parliament, which if passed into law (unlikely) would make it possible for catholics to inherit the crown and become head of state. The bill also proposes to abolish discrimination against females in line for the throne.

Well, quite right too, this is the 21st centuary after all is said and done and fairness, equality without any discrimination should prevail.

Hang on though! If we agree and I can’t imagine anyone of sound mind disagreeing, that ‘fairness, equality without any discrimination should prevail’ then obviously the head of state should be elected to that position. In that same spirit of course, the Queen or her heirs could also stand for election.

Sponging Royals at it Again

buck-house This building on the left is of course Buckingham Palace, one of the official residences of the Queen. There is something of an ownership blur here as the Queen does not actually own it but holds it in trust for the nation. The Royal Household is paid an allowance for it’s upkeep from the Government who are frequently asked for yet more millions.

Alan Reid, ‘keeper of the privy purse’, appeared before the public accounts committee yesterday to explain what steps were being taken to find the £32m that needs to be spent on repairing royal palaces. It has been suggested, by MPs amongst others, that there is enormous scope for income generation simply by opening the Palace more often to tourists. Not surprisingly the Royals are resisting this idea and even came up with the lame excuse that they wouldn’t be able to find the staff to keep it open all year. I doubt they would have any trouble finding staff even without the recession and rising unemployment.

Alan Reid also suggested that it would be inappropriate for the public to be allowed access during state visits to the palace by foreign heads of state. Well how come The White House is open all year round, surely their guests are just as important as those visiting Buck House?

The Government should take over complete control of the Palaces and use them to generate income for their upkeep and probably some left over for the Exchequer, instead of continually paying out for them. The Royal Household obviously thinks that the people don’t mind them being inefficient and are  happy to keep handing over millions on demand.

Let’s face it, The Tower of London needs maintenance but still manages to make a handsome profit.

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