How to oust an unelected head of state?
November 19, 2004 2:59 AM   Subscribe

If I lived in a country (mentioning no names, because I'm not sure if it is treason...) that had an unelected head of state, and whos position was based on the family they were born into, how would I go about getting rid of them, in any way other than the obvious one? I'm thinking some kind of political campaign, etc.
posted by Orange Goblin to Law & Government (30 answers total)
Best bet right now:

Even if you like the de facto head of government that one example country, you certainly would have an even greater interest in making sure that every single one of the votes for him was properly counted.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:07 AM on November 19, 2004

I'm sure there are already campaigns around to get rid of the blue bloods through non-violent means so that's really not going to work easily. Instead you'll see your tax burdens powers become more and more marginalized. I think that an absolutely hideous scandal would be about the only thing that might get them ousted. It would have to be a scandal that offended peoples morals rather than honour though, more along the lines photos of sheep buggery than photos of war crimes or political misconduct.

Bloodshed might still be involved though because as neutered as their positions are I don't believe there is any actual way of voting them out. Expecting a rich person in an unearned position of any sort of power at all to relinquish their position over public opinion, the changing of millennia or divine intervention is naive.
posted by substrate at 3:15 AM on November 19, 2004

Response by poster: Space Coyote - by unelected, I mean really unelected, as in no elections took place. So the total amount of votes, properly counted, would
posted by Orange Goblin at 3:20 AM on November 19, 2004

(orange goblin has a .uk address if you need any hints *cough*)
posted by mathowie at 3:29 AM on November 19, 2004

Response by poster: *O*range *G*oblin, dammit! Those two letters are all that mark me out from the swans and the clocks...
posted by Orange Goblin at 3:44 AM on November 19, 2004

The obvious way being asking nicely for them to step down, I presume? There is such a thing as a British Republican Movement already: maybe you could join them. Although support for the monarchy has apparently fallen over recent years, you would probably still have a lot of work to do in galvanising anti-monarchist public opinion.
posted by misteraitch at 3:45 AM on November 19, 2004

Internet-wise, perhaps a website inspired by they work for you might be a good idea: something to highlight what public moneys and perks are enjoyed by the various members of the royal family, and what work they do in return for it.
posted by misteraitch at 4:11 AM on November 19, 2004

The Russian's knew how to handle royalty.
posted by influx at 4:36 AM on November 19, 2004

are you really worried about the treason thing, or was that a joke?

in practical terms, maybe the best you could do would be to murder the two princes (and now i'm worried!). their security is pretty weak, apparently, and they seem to be the last great hope of the british monarchy, who are otherwise imploding rapidly.

however, i have to say that this seems to be one of the rather less pressing political problems of our time. there are people i'd much rather you assassinate (or die trying to) than a couple of kids who will never have any real power. that kind of thing was sorted out in the uk a long time ago (seriously - i am not advocating killing anyone involved with the british monarchy. it's pointless, wrong, and anyway would likely do much more harm than good, via a pro-royalty backlash.)

and if you weren't thinking of the uk, then the best action would depend on the appropriate circumstances involved.

vaguely related - my impression from chile (where assassination might have made more sense in recent history) is that when it really matters, people are already trying their hardest to carry it out. when any loony is able to do it, things have already moved on.

and in more general terms, there's that bell chap and assassination politics (see, for example, cryptome).
posted by andrew cooke at 4:46 AM on November 19, 2004

Join the IRA.
posted by yerfatma at 4:51 AM on November 19, 2004

You could join Republic.
posted by Nick Jordan at 5:12 AM on November 19, 2004

We could deport them back to Germany?
posted by influx at 5:32 AM on November 19, 2004

Join the IRA, an ex-terrorist organisation now apologising at long last for murdering British citizens? Classy, helpful and empathetic all at once, Space Coyote. [US news link especially for the solipsistic] The Royal Family will be more terrified if you joined the Campaign for the Advancement of Secondary Education, methinks.

I'd start a Student society, endorsed by the college SU, ridicule the Windsors at every opportunity, esp. to older rellys, spread the word about all their gaffes, wealth and mediocrity. Debunk the concept of President Thatcher or Blair - we're just as likely to have a President Geldof or Lineker or [insert likely character here]. Talk to every canvasser or PPC for your constituency, and every councillor, whatever party they are, even Green, UKIP, BNP [!] - these are the real policy wonks who ought to know that the issue is on your agenda and should be on theirs.

Write letters to the local weeklies and dailies - the weeklies are prolly posher, with a bigger letters page, and greater respectability; but the dailies have a bigger readership amongst working people - and do print some outspoken views, if my home town paper is anything to go by. Make sure you assert in the letter any other british quality that you like [union flag/beans on toast/ Parliament, whatever], so that your patriotism is not in doubt. Make it coincide with an issue of a recent news item, like Charles' idiotic comments about education, or Phillips routine racism, or Harry attacking a working photographer, or the like.

And be aware that many others like you are also quietly doing the same all over the country...
posted by dash_slot- at 5:55 AM on November 19, 2004

Sorry - not Space Coyote, he's the solipsist; it's yerfatma who was inappropriately recommending terrorists. Apologies.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:02 AM on November 19, 2004

About the treason thing, Orange Goblin: according to this page at least, it is still technically, under the 1848 Treason Felony Act, "a serious offence to publish an article advocating the abolition of the monarchy". The given punishment is transportation, so, who knows, you may get an all-expenses-paid trip to Oz out of it!
posted by misteraitch at 6:30 AM on November 19, 2004

Not to worry, Orange Goblin - the death penalty has been abolished even for treason in the UK (and also piracy and some military offences - see this for details of what we used to hang people for.

dash-slot- ridiculing the Windsors is easy and counterproductive. The more difficult and useful thing is to successfully argue against the institution of the monarchy, i.e. the institution that, unless things are drastically altered, will outlive the whole Windsor clan.

n.b. - my first comment! Please don't hit me!
posted by altolinguistic at 7:43 AM on November 19, 2004

Lure the princes into a three-way gay affair. Get caught. By the queen. Bonus: sheep fetish, with photos.

Don't forget to save the dress!
posted by naomi at 8:07 AM on November 19, 2004

the consensus round here is that if you ridicule people then they go away. we ridiculed the republicans and, oh. well. that's the theory, anyway...
...but if you remove the word "ridicule", and the emphasis on the windsors, the rest of what he says makes sense.

fwiw, i think the best argument against the monarchy itself is that it's a terrible symbol - both internally and externally. holding up the privileged rich, who have simply inherited power, as something we should be proud of, or as somehow representing us, is simply wrong.
(i also think that's fairly weak, hence my general lack of enthusiasm)

on preview - i suspect that would convert dash_slot into a vociferous royalist :oP
posted by andrew cooke at 8:09 AM on November 19, 2004

I'd more easily become a Sun reader, andrew!
posted by dash_slot- at 8:24 AM on November 19, 2004

What are the alternatives?

Be sure to have (or join a group who has) sound alternatives for head of state that people and politicians can (be forced to?)agree with.

Are there any vaguely serious political fractions talking about to abolish the monarchy? Join them. Or start a group if there isn't. I think that some of the Norwegian parties actually has abolish the monarchy on their party programme. Anything similar over there?

Be a serious political factor, not the weirdo who hangs around yelling about the republic like the nineteen communists who still talk about the Revolution.

Personally I would find it very annoying if there wasn't a prince I could fall in love with, and dream of becoming a queen one day.
posted by mummimamma at 8:35 AM on November 19, 2004

Response by poster: The treason thing was kind of a joke...but you never know. Thanks for all your suggestions, but so far the only one the seems likely to work so far is naomi's - any volunteers?
posted by Orange Goblin at 9:24 AM on November 19, 2004

Calling altolinguistic...
posted by languagehat at 9:26 AM on November 19, 2004

Alas, I have an innie not an outtie, so no gay three-way with the lads.

And doesn't Nostradamus say that William will be the last? Or maybe one more beyond Wills, but in any case, you might not have long to wait to be royalty-free.

Seriously though, why get rid of them? They don't do any real "ruling" and they bring in the big tourist bucks.
posted by deborah at 10:46 AM on November 19, 2004

Response by poster: I just find the whole thing distasteful. During the Golden Jubilee ceremonies a few years ago I found myself disgusted at the hordes of people cheering and waving Union Jacks (which I also don't like) for a woman who only got where she is today by being born. Plus, I really, REALLY don't want to have Charles on my currency.
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:08 AM on November 19, 2004

Plus, I really, REALLY don't want to have Charles on my currency.

I think you just found your rallying cry.
posted by naomi at 11:33 AM on November 19, 2004

Wait, we're talking about GWB here, right?
posted by mkultra at 12:55 PM on November 19, 2004

wouldn't they still bring in big tourist bucks if we stuffed them? perhaps some kind of animatronics would help?
posted by andrew cooke at 1:12 PM on November 19, 2004

Naomi's plan wouldn't work. Hell, you can't kill them all to get a republic -- those bloodlines are intricate and there are people who are proud to say "I'm 867th in line to the throne".

Oliver Cromwell's your man to emulate, but you might want to not ban TV and films, if you want to keep your republic.
posted by bonaldi at 2:56 PM on November 19, 2004

Hell, you can't kill them all to get a republic

Hollywood lied to me again?
posted by influx at 5:35 PM on November 19, 2004

True enough, andrew cooke, and then why not display them at Madame Tussauds?
posted by deborah at 6:13 PM on November 19, 2004

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