Monday, 24 May 2010

Republicanism and Democracy

 Over at Plaid Wrecsam there has been an interesting article on the Oath of allegiance. I couldn’t help but put in my own contribution in the comments section and finished by stating

“it is shameful that a pacifist republican elected to any Assembly or Parliament who answered his/heir’s own conscience who refused to take such an oath would be excluded from the democratic process. At the very least the part her heirs and successors should be removed. Republicanism is honourable and democratic.”

There was a reply from NitroTab who

Said...

“A Republic and a Democracy are two very different systems of governance glynbeddau. You can't be a Republican and believe in a Democracy at the same time as they are entirely different.
A common mistake a lot of people make actually.”

Now I accept that there are many republics in this world that are not democratic, but it is ridiculous to suggest that they are incompatible.

However it is the position Monarchy I am concerned with here. I could possibly swear an oath of loyalty to the monarch as the current head of state, but the Oath also adds that one should......

"sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and
bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and
successors, according to law."

Heirs and successors? No I am a republican. What this part of the oath  means is that any avowed republican, who has received the majority of votes in constituency at a general election on a platform of abolishing the Monarchy could not take his/her seat without lying on oath. Is this democracy?

Even if we had a Monarch who was a paragon of virtue I could not support he or she because there is no guarantee that their successor would inherit these virtues.

There are a number of republicans in Parliament and our Assembly  who lie when taking the oath. But they cannot express republican views in the chamber; But is it not a contradiction of our Human rights that we forbidden to express our views in the very heart of our democracy?
The Option should be given as to members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to sign Pledge of Office. Then we can at least have some measures of true democracy. I am a citizen not a subject.

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