Our head of state is a lame duck

Defenders of monarchy are frankly naïve when they suggest that our constitutional monarchy wields no political influence. The monarch’s backstage clout is formidable.

Apart from being singularly undemocratic, the House of Windsor is the pinnacle of the entire “honours” system, culminating in the bizarre, unelected, bloated House of Lords.

Monarchists claim that an elected head of state would, by default, need to be nominated by a political party.

Wrong. Democratically, our head of state could perfectly well be appointed by parliament, provided it is truly representative of all citizens.

Such a parliament would need to be elected by proportional representation, as in any other western democracy. So we’d have to update our voting system. Let’s get on with it.

Candidates standing for selection could even be independents and Charles Windsor would be perfectly entitled to stand on his own platform.

As it is, our head of state is a lame duck, costing us a fortune and exempt from being pursued by the long arm of the law for a whole host of misdemeanours, but, at the same time, bound and gagged by our unwritten constitution (that needs changing for a start). It’s the worst of all worlds.

The death of Elizabeth II, occurring just as we find ourselves in a true maelstrom of one-in-a-hundred-year events, provides a golden opportunity to look hard at what’s going wrong and choose a new and better way forward.

Let’s listen to Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” He got it right; we must grasp this opportunity and begin a wholesale reinvention of how we govern ourselves.

Monarchists’ heads are in the sand. They – and the rest of us – need the courage to start anew. If we’re going to change our monarchy, surely, we can come up with a way of choosing a new head of state that goes beyond our existing tired two-party political system.

The alternative is sticking with a head of state who’s only there because he happens to have been born by a certain mum.