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Highlighting news stories important to the Civic Republican
particularly those that are overlooked or little covered in the main media.
At the Cambridge Union Society on Thursday, 27th February 2014.
Speakers have each 10 minutes. Interruptions from the floor are allowed. Peter's address to the Union took three parts
... In conclusion, I would like to make two points specifically about the monarchy.
First, Monarchists like to say the monarch is politically neutral for it has no power.
In this regard, we should heed the words of the great eighteenth century Whig politican, Charles James Fox, who made a distinction between power and influence.
He said of his day that the monarch had both power and influence.
Today the power is gone, but its influence is as strong as ever.
This manifests itself in many ways, seen and unseen.
It manifests itself in censorship of the media.
For instance, the BBC dare not criticise the monarch or the institution of monarchy.
According to the BBC British history is just a history of the monarch.
Amongst many aspects of British history it never covers is the vital role of Republicanism and Whiggism and the crucial contribution both made to world history and political philosophy.
This is a denial of the truth.
It is a denial of our heritage.
It is a denial of the role of our great nation in world events.
Each one of us is impoverished as a result.
And monarchical influence manifests itself in the effect it has on appointments and favour.
Many people fear the monarchy for the effect it might have on their lives and careers.
This is a fear not of its power but of its influence.
We can no longer tolerate that unelected influence hanging like a shadow over our lives.
Second, monarchists claim that the monarchy serves to unify the British nation.
But this, I may remind you, is a nation where a large part of it, this year, is to hold a referendum on withdrawal.
In addition, Wales has a strong independence party with seats in the commons.
In England, the north-south divide intensifies year by year and there is a never ending talk of a crisis of English identity.
I live in the Republic of France with my French wife, who is present today, and I am also French.
Now we can assure you that the French sense of unity and national identity is powerfully evident every day of our lives.
There are no significant independence movements in France as here, and absolutely no crisis of national identity.
The idea that the monarch unifies a nation, whereas a republican president does not, flies in the face of all evidence.
With a monarchy we lack the necessary political structures to hold the nation together and to reflect and embody the marvellous pride in our nation and the shear love for it that is there all around us.
Madam President, we must reclaim our great Republican and Whig tradition and allow our nation to breathe again.
This tradition in the past was often called simply The Good Cause.
Tonight you can support this venerable Good Cause by passing this motion.