Matthew Groves is on the parliamentary list and
ran for Parliament in 2010 in the constituency of Plymouth Moor View. He
achieved a 7.9 per cent swing for the Conservatives. He was also a local
councillor in Surrey for eight years. Matthew has recently launched his
own blog, "A voice from the Shires".
There have been some very good years for the Monarchy, with
the Royal Wedding, the Diamond Jubilee and now the birth of Prince George. Polls show that the current approval ratings
for this longstanding institution are at an all time high. It is difficult for even the most embittered
republican not to find himself smiling benignly to hear the latest from our
national family about the nappy changing of Prince George!
That is of course one central part of our monarchy – its
role as our national family, bringing us together as a family who share in the
joys of weddings and births and the sadness of funeral. George III in particular saw the advantage of
strengthening the Monarchy through emphasising the Royal Family.
When the Family went through its crises in the nineties,
with the break down of two marriages, the Queen suffered her annus horribilus
and the final crisis of Princess Diana’s death, the institution suffered. It was wounded, but not fatally and that is
because while being the national family is so important, it is not the only
vital role that the monarchy performs.
Monarchy unites all the strands of this nation, government,
parliament, the armed forces, the church, much of our charitable sector. It is the monarchy that stands for permanence
in the vicissitudes of modern life. It
does not move at the pace of ephemeral Westminster politics. With the birth of the new prince, the media
is now commenting about Britain in decades, not days or weeks.
One often hears arguments for the monarchy made in the
negative with comments such as, I prefer the Queen to President Blair. This negative comment is actually about
something far more positive. The fact
our head of state is not party political and not elected, means that the
monarchy can represent us all, joining together Britons of different parties
and indeed past and future generations.
This is particularly important for the armed forces, where
allegiance is sworn to a commander in chief who is not a partisan but truly
represents the whole nation – past and future.
By the monarchy’s political neutrality and the inspiration of historic
longevity this institution is a fitting figurehead for those who risk their
lives for us on the frontline.
Then there is the international role performed by the
monarchy. It unites us with all those
foreign nations with whom we have historic ties, so that whatever the
disagreements in the moving field of international relations, all those
nations, from such different parts of the world that share the Queen as head of
state are bound as a family, despite temporary matters of foreign affairs. The Queen is known to take her role in the
Commonwealth very seriously. The recent
gratuitous gesture to political-correctness by the government by its attack on
primogeniture, means many nations will have to reconsider their constitutional
set up, so it has now given driven republicans in other nations an opening to
attack their countries’ links with the monarchy.
In terms of politics it is often under-estimated what sort
of role the monarchy has. Many former
prime ministers have testified to the importance of their weekly meetings with
the Queen, who like the House of Lords, but in a less formal and public way, can
provide a voice of wisdom and more long term experience for prime ministers
whose terms of office are far shorter.
When Britain was left with a hung Parliament in 2010, our
situation was stable because the nation knew that if the politicians were unable
to carve up a deal in smoke-filled rooms there was the Queen in the background
a reassuring presence to protect the nation from a constitutional abuse. Had Gordon Brown attempted to continue in
office, he would have had to seek the assent of the Queen.
It is often mistakenly assumed that we have separation of
powers in this country. We do not – we
are governed by the Queen in Parliament.
Only the judiciary, with its separate Supreme Court is the anomaly in
The Queen gives Royal Assent to Parliament. The Queen opens Parliament. Her ministers are members of the
legislature. The bishops of her church
sit in the upper house of Parliament.
All this means continuity and unity in a political system
centred around the monarchy – the central institution to our nation since the
Anglo-Saxons. It is a set-up that has led to a millennium of stability and
The danger to our great institution comes from a political
class that is preoccupied with abstract theory. An institution that has evolved
as organically as the British monarchy does not fit with abstract theory. Thankfully the fact the British public so
clearly value the monarchy means that for now the restless political class,
always looking to change things and tinker, will continue to support the