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Quixotic distraction

Scrapping the monarchy gets in the way of real political reform

By John Morrison   April 2002

It was when the Republican of the Year boasted about peeing on an aristocrat’s carpet as a child that I realised the monarchy was safe. My epiphany came at the annual meeting of Republic, Britain’s anti-monarchist movement. Before the teabreak the 60 people present chose Mo Mowlam to be their fantasy head of state and heard comedian Mark Steel describe the monarchy as “bloody mad.”

Republican of the Year for 2001 was Claire Rayner, who delivered a rambling attack on the monarchy as a symbol of privilege: “It makes me want to throw up!” Not all of the speakers were…

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