QEII

Like everyone else, I expect, I had been aware that Queen Elizabeth II was in declining health and was unlikely to last much longer (though I personally had my fingers crossed that she'd last until her centenary, at which point she would have beaten Louis XIV to the title of longest-ever reigning monarch: that's the competitive historian in me, I guess!) I was nevertheless taken aback when the news broke that the decline had been faster, and more terminal, than anticipated.

I am neither ardent monarchist nor fervent republican: I just think the Head of State mostly does ceremonial duties and therefore the person performing the ribbon-cutting doesn't really matter. On the other hand, if you elect Heads of States directly, they tend to become Presidential and centers of power in their own right -which doesn't suit the Westminster system very well at all. Plus, certain Presidents (mentioning no names, but the French and US ones spring to mind) tend to behave as quasi-monarchs anyway, so if you're going that route, what's the difference?! Appointing former political leaders to the ceremonial Head of State role also doesn't sit well, I think: they have a past, and past allegiances and loyalties to mates, and one of the nice things about a hereditary Head of State is that they owe no-one any favours. It's quite a nice check-and-balance to have, in other words, where the ultimate referee of the constitutional game is beholden to no-one for their position.

And as Dr. Jordan Peterson put it the other day, it's also rather good to have a bumptious Prime Minister with delusions of quasi-monarchical significance be slapped back into place by someone with actual monarchical significance!

It's also a reasonably cheap way to do things: estimates for how much the monarchy costs Britain every year range from the monarchists' preferred figure of around £87 million per year, to the republicans' estimate of £380 million per year (ignoring any economic benefits from tourism inspired by the institution and its trappings). The last US presidential election (whose winner only gets 4 years in the job) cost $14 billion, which works out at about $3.5 billion per year in office. For what is, in the UK, an almost entirely ceremonial rôle, I'd say the cheaper option was probably the better option!

Anyway: though my monarchical instincts are therefore entirely pragmatic (and economic!), I'm still sorry Elizabeth has gone. To the point where (to my surprise) I have been a bit emotionally knocked sideways by it all -and, therefore, I have to announce a bit of a slip in the software development schedule. The promised Giocoso update and new Semplice program release will be delayed, probably, until October, in consequence. My apologies.

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