A poll published today shows that sixty-nine per cent of people in Britain support the monarchy, the highest level for over a decade. Apparently, support for the monarchy remains solid across the country and social classes.
It's hardly surprising that support for the monarchy has risen in the run up to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee given the round the clock pushing of it on TV, in the press and by supermarkets and other retailers. As a republican, I'm actually quite heartened that only just over two-thirds of people still support the monarchy. I would guess it was much higher at the time of the 1977 Jubilee and pretty much universal at the coronation in 1953.
The democratic case for abolishing the monarchy is unanswerable which is why defenders of the instituion never argue that inherited power and privilege is democratic but rather base themselves on flimsy arguments about "stability" and tourist income.
Tom Paine put it well in the revolutionary year of 1776:
"To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as
the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as
a matter of right, is an insult and an imposition on posterity. For all men
being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to
set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though
himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his
contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them.
One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in
kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently
turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion.
Secondly, as no man at first could possess any other public honours than were
bestowed upon him, so the givers of those honours could have no power to give
away the right of posterity. And though they might say, "We chooses you for
our head," they could not, without manifest injustice to their
children, say, "that your children and your children's children shall reign over
ours for ever." Because such an unwise, unjust, unnatural compact might
(perhaps) in the next succession put them under the government of a rogue or a
fool. Most wise men, in their private sentiments, have ever treated hereditary
right with contempt; yet it is one of those evils, which when once established
is not easily removed; many submit from fear, others from superstition, and the
more powerful part shares with the king the plunder of the rest."