Centuries old, the British monarchy seems to hold a special place in the hearts of British citizens. Indeed, a survey in 2012 showed that more than 70% of Brits were in favor of the monarchy in place and less than 10% would want it to be abolished. However, to what extent can we explain this attachment to the British monarchy when worldwide, monarchy is judged as being out of date?
Monarchy in the UK today has been reformed and is in line with modern day democratic governments. The constitutional monarchy regime that we know today can be traced to be in the early 1600s. In 1603, James I, ruled over Scotland and England as a single monarchy. Before, monarchy did exist within the UK but it was dispatched in different kingdoms. Monarchy in the UK is quite singular. For example, the royal family holds almost no political power but has a power of influence. The sphere of influence of the monarchical regime goes beyond the borders of thes UK, it stretches out across the world. Indeed, the queen is head of the Commonwealth which associates 54 independent countries which were formerly under British rule. It is highly appreciated as the queen has a duty of representativity only.
From a more internal perspective, the benefits of the Crown are numerous. Although monarchy has an estimated cost of £37 million a year, its revenues outweigh its costs. In 2017, it is estimated that the Royal Family brought in £42 billion to the UK economy. There is an inherent value of the value of the British monarchy as a brand. As a matter of fact, it benefits the UK tourism industry, big UK business house of the Royal Warrant (Fortnum and Masons, Berry Bothers…), and provides a reputational benefit to businesses such as British Airways and Harrods.
Monarchy in the UK is seen as a vector of influence throughout the world and also within the United Kingdom. It is a symbol of permanence and stability of the nation. This is why monarchy is viewed positively in the UK.
In your view, should the rise of self-determination movements in Europe be feared or favored?
The history of Europe is intricately linked to the rise of self-determination movements. Indeed, as soon as World War I broke out, self determination movements in the Austro-Hungarian Empire started to bloom. Yet, as it can be noted, the former have indeed been at the roots of a deadly 4 year war. Should these movements therefore be encouraged or feared?
With Wilson’s 14 points, there has been this ongoing idea that individuals are entitled to self determination. This right allowed the creation of different nations in the 1990s within Europe such as Bosnia Herzegovina as well as Serbia and Kosovo. Yet, these movements have been a source of deadly wars. The toll of the Yugoslav Wars between 1991 and 2001 is of about 140 000 deaths. In this sense, these movements have been a source of upheaval more than anything else, as these countries are still exposed to instability.
However, it would be quite laconic to consider these nationalist movements as being solely ravaging. Indeed, European values seem to revolve around the right to self-determination. Therefore, in this sense, why should they ever be feared? The rise of the Catalonian independence movement has not been particularly deadly, yet, the problems that seem to underly it go beyond one’s imaginations. Europe does not oppose the rise of self determination groups but it does apprehend them because it could lead to a certain breakup of the European Union.
The UK officially voted for a withdrawal of the European Union on June 23rd 2016 and it seems to be well advanced as the exit is planned to take place on January 31st 2020, couldn’t we be facing new exits with the rise of nationalism and self determination in Europe? Where would the European Union be heading? The rise of self determination does not seem to portend a glimmer of hope for the future of the EU.
NB: Other elements can be discussed such as the rise of independentist movement sin Scotland with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP (Scottish National Party). You can evoke the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum (44.7% in favor, 55.3% against). You can also mention Nigel Farrage and UKIP. It is up to you to determine which historical or political event suits the question best.