Thursday, 2 July 2009

Now on Special Offer

So it emerged the other day that the Royal Family cost each British taxpayer 69p per year to maintain. Being the stark (raving) liberal that I am you may well have assumed that I would be well against this 'Imperialist ancient taxation' but I am not and would like to explain my reasoning based on a pure economic footing.

In America there is a subsidy for mohair. This has been around for years, originally used to guarantee the production of military uniforms. It has hung around though for more than 50 years later as one of those obscure taxes that only costs the American taxpayer a few cents per year. Nevertheless, pressure on state senators has made sure the subsidy always makes it through the budget.

Anyway the point is that this small subsidy doesn't provide any economic benefit. Journalist Eric Pianin suggested in 1953 that it "does little more than line the pockets of western ranchers who raise goats and sheep". The Royal family on the other hand are probably the first thing tourists think about when visiting Britain. I'm not saying that's all there is in Britain and tourism will just die but it has to be said that the Royals are part of our culture. The Queen as Head of State also performs an important function. State visits are important for a lot of countries and there is definitely something of a buzz when the Queen of England comes to town. I think this stems from what Walter Bagehot described as the "dignified part of government", although not truly performing an efficient part of governmental work the monarchy is venerable and respected. I furthermore believe that this acts as a stabilising influence on the political system when governments come into disrepute.

This isn't the traditional BNP rhetoric that the Royal family are what make Britain British but I think that people should look at this issue rationally and make a sensible choice.