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New support network launched, see page 9 and enclosed leaflet for details.

The voice of modern republicanism

2008 | Issue 4

INSIDE
Campaign updates What’s new online Republic in the news Much more...

The big challenge
5 years to win over public as political Charles says he wants crown by 65
See page 4

Republic FOI exposes military royals Richard Dawkins backs Republic Adam Tomkins interview
Back issues and more at www.republic.org.uk/imagine

! OK BO 10 A IN AGE W P

2 | Imagine

FOI exposes William flight
Republic scored a significant media hit by using Freedom of Information laws to expose how Prince William had misled his commanding officers in the RAF. Earlier this year it had been reported that William had used a Chinook helicopter to fly to a stag party on the Isle of Wight. At the time the MoD said the flight was authorised and William's superiors knew the purpose of the trip. However, emails released to Republic under Freedom of Information rules show this was not the case. Republic passed the emails to the Mail on

“It says a lot about William’s attitude to his military postings and the way royals are given special treatment.”
Sunday who subsequently broke the story on November 9th. As the paper put it: "[the] emails reveal that Prince William misled his superiors over trips in military helicopters costing £50,000 - while allowing other officers to take the blame." The emails showed that the officers in question didn't know the true nature of the flight until the story broke in the media. One of the messages revealed that Group Captain Turner was 'not aware of the detail' of the trip and had he been aware 'the sortie would not have been flown and alternative means of transport would have taken PW to the IoW'.

Officers were unaware the Chinook flight was taking William to a party.

Republic responded to the revelations by condemning the prince’s attitude, and demanding to know why disciplinary action was not taken against Prince William. Graham Smith

Charles’ birthday PR bonanza
The Clarence House PR machine was in full swing as Charles Windsor celebrated his 60th birthday. The BBC was fully signed up to the publicity campaign, broadcasting an hour and a half ‘documentary’ on Charles’ life. In response Republic has accused the broadcaster of taking on a role of cheerleader-in-chief for the monarchy, forgetting its pledge on impartiality. It wasn’t just the BBC though, many commentators and journalists were falling over themselves to heap praise on the prince. Some went as far as calling Charles a ‘great public intellectual’. This was met with astonishment by Republic supporter and columnist Johann Hari, who made his own views clear in his Independent column the following week. Meanwhile Charles landed the taxpayer with a hefty security bill as he laid on three lavish parties for his closest friends and 75 European royals.

online@
republic.org.uk/news

told the press: “William has abused his position and status to take advantage of military aircraft for his own personal use. It says a lot about William’s attitude to his military postings and the way royals are given special treatment in the armed forces”. FOI laws are set to be central to a new ‘Standards in Public Life’ campaign to be launched by Republic in the new year.

Have you signed up to the Urgent Response Network?
Get the latest press releases and urgent action requests in your email inbox - sign up today at www.republic.org.uk/urgentresponse

NEW

Imagine | 3

So they say...
Send your letters to imagine@republic.org.uk
The election of Barack Obama was an inspiration to us all. What nonsense that the monarchists come out with, suggesting they’ve got all the colour and ’magic’. There’s nothing more inspiring and uplifting than seeing democracy in action, delivering historic change. What a contrast between America’s next head of state and ours. Declan McCarthy Aberdeen on sticking his nose into things he’s unqualified to speak on. Jan Kip Hounslow Good luck apart, the British monarchy will not provide – by sexist, racist or religiously discriminatory descent – the calibre of leadership that can be provided by elections every seven years for head of state. Geoffrey Robertson — Our current rules don't just discriminate against Catholics or women. They discriminate against the entire British population bar a single family: the house of Windsor. Jonathan Freedland — Apparently 49 per cent of the Great British Public believe that the Prince of Wales should on assuming the throne have 'a voice on current political controversies'. Those polled by YouGov must be republicans. Will Self — If not for that fortuitous journey through a royal womb, Charles Windsor's "wise" arguments would be gathering dust in the reject bin at certain newspapers' letters pages. Johann Hari — Nominate a quote by emailing imagine@republic.org.uk

I really enjoyed this year’s Annual Conference. Great speakers, excellent reports. Well done all. Trevor Heston Bristol

I don’t think we should be campaigning for an alternative oath of allegiance. Oaths are utterly meaningless, they are a tool of oppression, a demand for unthinking loyalty. If someone is loyal they need not ‘swear’ an oath to prove it, if they are not loyal, an oath will change nothing. Better to do away with them altogether. Therese Walcott Manchester

It seems Charles is doing half our job for us. Can I suggest we challenge him to a televised debate? He apparently wants to be ‘presidential’, I wonder if he’s willing to be subject to the same level of scrutiny elected leaders face. I very much doubt it, judging by his appalling past record

Did you see the Atheist Bus Campaign raise £100k in one week? Just think what we could do if Republic had that sort of money. Maybe a ‘republican bus campaign’ is long overdue. Dan Roberts London

BRITISH LIBRARY EXHIBITION
Republic has been included in the British Library’s latest exhibition, TAKING LIBERTIES: The struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights. The online part of the exhibition features video commentary from Graham Smith, while our website is listed a source for further reading on the topic of monarchy versus republic. You can find out more by visiting the website at www.bl.uk/takingliberties. The exhibition runs until March 2009.

Imagine The magazine of Republic Republic PO Box 69 Brighton BN50 9GS 08708 508 825 imagine@republic.org.uk Back issues of Imagine and more information about the magazine can be found online at www.republic.org.uk/imagine. Members Let us know if you would prefer your copy by post or email.

4 | Imagine

‘Presidential’ Charles wants crown in five years
ver story . . . cover story . . . cover story . . . cover story . . . cove

‘55in5’ challenge for republicans
We’ve all seen recently how grassroots financial support for Barack Obama helped to radically changed the fortunes of the US Democrats in just a few short years. Republic is set to challenge Britain’s ten million-plus committed republicans to back our cause in the same way. We believe that with the right resources and a focussed campaign we can win over a clear majority of public opinion - 55% - in just five years. Republic believes its message is unassailable, that the case for a republic is compelling and unanswerable. We know from experience that public commitment to the monarchy is fickle and superficial. We know too that, when faced with the facts and the arguments that support a republic, people quickly change their views and support our cause. The challenge is to build a campaign strong enough to push this issue up the political agenda and into every home and office in the country. More details coming soon!

Charles: His ambitions would wind back clock on centuries of reform.
Prince Charles sees a ‘presidential’ role for himself when he becomes King, a position which could be his in just five years, according to two recent reports. If true, the plans reported in two Sunday newspapers could change the face of the republic debate and create a new sense of urgency. considered for the Queen to step aside in favour of her son in five years time, when she’ll be 87 and he 65. The Express reporter responsible for the story told Republic: “this is from very credible sources from within Buckingham Palace.” Republic, who accused Charles Windsor of wanting to ‘wind the clock back on centuries of reform’ was not alone in condemning the notion of a political King. Geoffrey Robertson, Paul Flynn MP, Liberal Democrat peer Dick Taverne and poet Benjamin Zephaniah were among those joining the chorus of criticism. The reports apparently split monarchists, many of whom clearly favour the institution only if the monarch remains silent. Republic told the press: “If Prince Charles wants to turn the British constitution on its head then he will have a fight on his hands. If Charles wants to get involved in politics he should stand for election”.

“If Charles wants to get involved in politics he should stand for election.”
In the Sunday Times Jonathan Dimbleby, biographer and friend of Charles, wrote: “there are discreet moves afoot to redefine the future role of the sovereign so that it would allow King Charles III to speak out on matters of national and international importance in ways that at the moment would be unthinkable.” On the same day the Sunday Express revealed that plans are being

TREASURER NEEDED
Republic’s Treasurer, John Tarrington, has announced his intention to step down after more than two years in the voluntary post. If you are interested in joining the Board and taking on this role please get in touch with Graham Smith at the usual address or email.

Imagine | 5

Republican Round-up
Republic has been busy gaining more media coverage lately, with interviews on BBC radio, Sky News and other radio stations. We were quoted on a number of occasions in the press, in connection with stories about Charles’ succession, and Graham Smith has had more articles published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website. We were delighted when three film directors added their support to the campaign. Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and ‘Bourne’ director Paul Greengrass all backed Republic. Previously Paul has been quoted as saying the monarchy is: “an intellectual nonsense in the 21st century and it absolutely panders to the nostalgia that is the death of this country.” News from Australia continues to look promising. Former Australian Republican Movement leader Malcolm Turnbull is now leader of the conservative Liberal party in opposition, and recently Green Party leader, Senator Bob Brown, tabled a bill to hold a republic referendum at the time of the next federal election. The Republic reception in parliament was well attended, with Peter Tatchell, Norman Baker MP, Joan Smith and former BBC political editor John Cole being among the guests. The schools campaign continues unabated, with Graham Smith, John Campbell and others visiting schools and colleges in London, Norfolk, Kent and across South Wales. Reports back from teachers have said that the talks are challenging, often getting students to think critically about the monarchy for the first time. Don’t forget, all events information can be found online at www.republic.org.uk/whatson. Republic continues to visit schools, clubs and societies to give talks and presentations on what we do and what we stand for. We also participate in organised debates. If you would like to invite Republic to give a talk please call Graham Smith on 07747 608 770. In the talks we cover the key issues, why we campaign for the abolition of the monarchy and what the alternatives are. We also talk about what Republic does, how we campaign and what plans we have for the future.

Meeting the challenge
Each new issue of Imagine seems to mark a milestone in our campaign, and this one is no exception. Republic made the headlines in all major British newspapers (and as far afield as The Times of India) last month with our revelation that William abused his position in the RAF. Our message is clear: royals and regiments don’t mix. We also used Charles’ 60th celebrations - and his well-publicised plan to become a “presidential” monarch - to gain further media coverage and promote our vision of a truly democratic Britain. As our media profile grows, so does the need to invest in our campaign. Fundraising continues to be a priority for Republic and the last couple of months have seen a range of activities to help us secure the funds we need to take our campaign to the next level. You can read more about these in our regular Fundraising Section on page 9.

Message from the Chair John Campbell
recent GMTV/Daily Mirror survey which put support for a republic at 43 per cent. Of course, the only poll that really counts is the referendum held after a full and open debate. That said, if the survey is accurate it means there are around 26 million republicans out there! We need to galvanise that support, so please think about what you can do to drive our campaign forward. Whether you make a donation, comment on an online article, tell a friend about us or write to your MP, it all makes our campaign stronger and brings our goal closer. As you’ll read on the opposite page, while it might take a little longer to actually abolish the monarchy, we believe we can swing public opinion behind us in just a few short years - if we have the resources to mount a major publicity campaign.

“As our media profile grows, so does the need to invest in our campaign. Fundraising continues to be a priority.”
Our Annual Conference in October was a great success, with two truly inspiring speakers - author Joan Smith and political commentator Mick Hume. As always it was a real pleasure to see so many Republic members there. You can read a full report on the conference on page 8. Many of you will have heard about a

6 | Imagine

Politics is no place for a prince
Dick Taverne
Prince Charles is a man of passionate convictions who expresses his views publicly, assiduously and provocatively. For instance, he believes he has a mission to save the world from GM crops, which he described in his recent Sir Albert Howard Memorial lecture as "a gigantic experiment with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong". He tells us that only organic crops are truly sustainable. He has also urged the government to promote alternative medicine and

@republic.org.uk
A quick look at what’s happening at www.republic.org.uk and around the internet. Republic’s Facebook page now has over 1300 members. You can sign up easily enough by visiting www.republic.org.uk/facebook. The page includes links to recent articles, debates among our supporters and much more. Republic is soon going to be adding video to the website. Clips will include video-blogs, interviews with some of our high profile supporters and on-the-street vox-pops. Hits to the website have jumped over the past few weeks, no doubt thanks in part to Republic’s own work in getting into the press, and of course thanks to Charles’ bizarre suggestion that he can be a ‘presidential’ King. Changes are being made to the way you can renew your membership online. You’ll soon be able to set up regular payments from debit or credit cards, as an alternative to the other payment options. We’re increasingly using email to let members know what’s happening. Be sure to let us have your address! Last time we mentioned the Guardian’s excellent ’monarchy’ page. Well, the Telegraph has something similar, albeit a little more deferential in tone. Their ’royal family’ page can be found at www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ newstopics/theroyalfamily/.

Architecture: Charles’ outspoken views have damaged careers.
endorses, is that natural chemicals are good and synthetic ones bad: a principle every scientist would describe as a scientific howler. Charles also believes that homeopathy could save costs in the NHS if used to treat asthma. This would be true only because more people would die. However, the merits of his views are not the issue. If Charles were a private citizen no one could question his freedom to say what he thinks. The snag is that he is the heir to the throne, yet seems unaware of the proper role of a constitutional monarch. The Queen sets an impeccable example. No one knows her views on GM crops or other controversial topics. She has given no hint what she thinks about any aspect of government policy. Nor do the constitutional monarchies in Europe stray into politics. They have all recognised, since the death of the doctrine of the divine right of kings, that hereditary monarchs have no right to interfere. Not so Charles. He feels he has a duty, almost a higher calling, to speak out or, as he put it, to "keep sticking my 60-year-old head above an increasingly dangerous parapet". Even

“If Charles were a private citizen no one could question his freedom to say what he thinks.”

homeopathy in particular. In fact we must go Back to Nature, because he trusts Mother Earth to see to it "that plants and animals are left to protect themselves against disease". Science is clearly out of control, and he questions its contribution to modern medicine as well as agriculture. Such views are held by many, if not generally in such extreme form. His comments about GM crops have no basis: authoritative bodies including every national academy of science in the world, the World Health Organisation, the European commission and our own Food Standards Agency have found no evidence they cause harm. His views also conflict with present government policy that encourages new GM trials. As for organic farming, its basic principle, which Charles strongly

Continued opposite

Imagine | 7

Best of the Blog
The ‘fading away’ myth
Graham Smith - October 2nd One of the more bizarre arguments against republicanism is “why bother, the monarchy will eventually just fade away and die out”. It is bizarre on two points. Firstly, it implies the person in question isn’t bothered if the monarchy vanishes into thin air. This suggests that they are in fact republican but are apparently too lazy to actually stand up and declare themselves as such. My reply would be, if you believe in something, say so. If you don’t care, then tell us. But don’t pretend that an issue will be dealt with by the passage of time simply so you can avoid the matter altogether. Secondly, institutions of state do not just fade away. How would that happen? How would such an entrenched part of the British constitution just vanish? Even if popular support for the monarchy evaporated, a campaign is needed to provide an alternative and a political momentum.

It would seem some people see the monarchy as just a family, a family which would gradually shrink in size, popularity and profile and which would itself lose interest in ‘being the monarchy’. Of course this is not the case. Not only is the monarchy designed to be actively selfperpetuating, not only is it an institution upon which our entire political and legal system is based, it is also occupied by a family who are as keen as the most sycophantic royalists to keep it going.

Citizens Lottery
Formerly the 100 Club

The Winners Are
A Blood - £94.00 (August) J Coten - £99.20 (September) F Saunders - £102.00 (October) Since 2006 members have been winning cash prizes in Republic’s very own lottery fund-raiser. It’s very easy to do, just complete the form which came with your Welcome Pack when you joined or request a form and we’ll pop one in the post for you. Every month a prize ticket is drawn. You can enter as many times as you like by setting up a standing order to purchase regular tickets - each pound paid is equal to a ticket in the draw. Remember, the more tickets sold the bigger the prizes!

Comment o n l i n e @
republic.org.uk/blog It is important to understand, the palace conducts a continuing PR campaign, seeking to reinvent itself and secure public support for the next generation. If the monarchy is to go, this campaign must be met by a strong and vocal case for an alternative. There are too many vested interests in the monarchy. Too many people enjoy the power, prestige and privilege the Crown provides them. It cannot fade away and will not fade away. It must be actively abolished. The Republic Blog features daily posts from Graham Smith and James Gray.

BE IN IT TO WIN IT!

Continued from opposite
more inexcusably, he does not restrict himself to speeches. He has used his position to damage the careers of those he disapproves of, or, on a more charitable interpretation, has been blind to the effects the strong expression of his views are bound to have. Many years ago, he famously claimed that architects had done more damage to the City of London than the Luftwaffe and described the proposed extension of the National Gallery as "a carbuncle". Whatever the merits of his opinions about modern architecture, their expression by the heir to the throne severely damaged the practice

of several architectural firms. Recently he jeopardised the career of Professor Edzard Ernst, the chair of complementary medicine at Exeter University, who has spent 15 years studying the effectiveness and safety of alternative treatments such as acupuncture and homeopathy. When Ernst criticised a report on alternative medicine commissioned by Charles, the prince's private secretary, as Ernst revealed in a recent letter to the British Medical Journal, complained to the university about an alleged breach of confidence. Ernst endured "a gruelling 13 months of inquiry" before he was cleared. The prince faces a clear choice. If he feels he must speak out, because the

dangers to the planet posed by the excesses of modern science are so great that it is his moral duty to save us from impending doom, he should renounce his claim to the throne. If he wants to succeed as a constitutional monarch, he must shut up. He cannot have it both ways. A democratic country cannot tolerate a monarch who meddles in political matters and whose views only command notice not because of expertise, but because of a position that he owes solely to the accident of birth.

Dick Taverne is a Liberal Democrat peer, Republic supporter and author of The March of Unreason - Science, Democracy and the New Fundamentalism.

8 | Imagine

2008 Annual Conference
The monarchy will not go without a fight, but it’s a fight we can win. That was the message from speakers at Republic’s 2008 Annual Conference, held in October at the Directory of Social Change in London. The theme of this year’s conference was 'How to Win the Argument' and members heard a variety of presentations on the progress Republic is making on winning over the British public. Executive Chair John Campbell described a successful year that saw both an increase in media coverage and a growth in membership. The conference got off to a lively start when member Peter Kellow proposed a motion to change Republic’s preferred model of republic from a parliamentary to a presidential one. Peter summed up his proposal by declaring that “It should be our democratic right, our republican right, to directly elect our leader - separate from parliament.” The motion was opposed by Republic’s Board of Directors, and Campaign Manager Graham Smith urged delegates to view the current preferred model as a campaigning tool rather than an “article of faith”. demonstrated Republic’s own democratic credentials. The conference also saw the launch of a new booklet collecting concise responses to common monarchist arguments. Gareth Robson, Chair of Republic's Policy and Writer Joan Smith speaks to the Conference. Strategy Committee (PSC), explained that How to Win the Argument will be of Nepal’s recent transference to a updated in response to members’ republic, and the US election, to suggestions. (You can get your copy demonstrate just how invigorating online at www.republic.org.uk). democracy can be. Speaking after the conference, John Campbell described it as: “an inspiring event which I hope has left our members as energised as I am for the fight ahead”.

“A healthy and necessary debate that demonstrated Republic’s own democratic credentials.”
Other presentations included ‘Winning the Argument Online’, from Graham Smith, and ‘Developing Republic’ which saw Development Manager James Gray update members on the progress Republic has made in increasing membership, attracting donations and developing a strong network of volunteers and advisors. Finally, guest speakers Joan Smith and Mick Hume shared their personal thoughts on Republic's campaign. Joan talked about her experience in rejecting an MBE and described the monarchy's grip on the public imagination. Mick concentrated on the social implications of a constitution in which power emanates from the crown. He used the examples

New Conference plans for 2009
Republic’s Board has recently approved plans to split the Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting into two separate events. The AGM will continue to be held around the end of October, while the new Annual Conference will move to the middle of the year. The plan is to give members and non-members more opportunity to enjoy debates on a range of topics, and to hear from a wider range of speakers. The new Conference will be advertised to non-members too. A small entry fee will be payable for the Conference, although the AGM will remain free to members.

“A successful year that saw both an increase in media coverage and a growth in membership.”

A frank debate followed as members weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of advocating each model. The motion was defeated by a wide margin, but all agreed it was a healthy and necessary debate that

Imagine | 9

What you get with Network ‘25 invitations to quarterly events where you can meet the Republic team and our high profile supporters regular reports from Republic’s national campaign team, so you know exactly what your support is helping us achieve your own exclusive Network ’25 certificate and more… (see leaflet for details)
us achieve. And we’re beginning to see the results; income from small donations is more than twice what it was last year. But we’ve still got a long way to go if we’re to effectively counter the royal PR machine.

Enclosed with this issue of Imagine is an information leaflet on Republic’s new membership scheme Network ’25. In return for a monthly gift of £25 or more, Network ’25 members receive a range of benefits including invitations to special events. Network ’25 has been established with our most committed supporters in mind, providing

Republic with a regular and reliable source of income as we work towards our goal of a British republic. For more information email network25@republic.org.uk or call Development Manager James Gray on 07920 776 329. online@
republic.org.uk/network25

Fundraising news
Firstly, thank you to all of you who attended our annual conference in October. As a "fulltime republican" it’s always inspiring to meet members and discuss the campaign with our supporters. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, I want to update you on the work we’ve been undertaking to get Republic into shape for the fight ahead.

from

James Gray

with your feedback in mind. And hopefully we’ve also made it easier for you to come to us with your ideas. Members are not only a regular and reliable source of income. There are members who lend us an office or a venue for events, open their contact books or give us pro bono professional advice. And then there are those who volunteer their time doing all sorts of things – from stuffing envelopes to programming our database – that we simply couldn’t function properly without. That’s why it’s so important to have a large and engaged membership.

“We rely solely on the financial support of individuals to keep doing what we do.”

“Members are the lifeblood of our campaign, so we’ve worked hard to improve the way we communicate with you.”
Members are the lifeblood of our campaign, so we’ve worked hard to improve the way we communicate with you. Many of you will have completed our membership survey, which has really helped us to get to know what you want from us and what you want to see us doing (NB. The survey is sent to all new and renewing members, but you can compete it online right now at www.republic.org.uk/membersurvey). Our website, magazine and email bulletins have all been redesigned

online@
republic.org.uk/fundraising

Between twenty and forty per cent of the public are already on our side – and that’s before the full and open debate that we have been denied so far. So our task is to get Republic into the position where it can kick-start that debate and effectively counter the monarchist propaganda. One of the most disheartening things we hear is: “I’d like to see the monarchy abolished, but it’s never going to happen.” Well I for one firmly believe that it will happen, and sooner rather than later. But the monarchy won’t just fade away – we’ve got to give it an almighty push!

But fundraising remains the priority at Republic and will do for the foreseeable future. As a campaigning pressure group, many of the sources of income that charities rely on are completely closed off to us. This means that we rely solely on the financial support of individuals to keep doing what we do. Hopefully we’re much better now at giving donors - of whatever level - a picture of what their support can help

James Gray is Republic’s full-time Development Manager, with particular responsibility for fundraising and membership development.

10 | Imagine

Republic Replies
Republic answers the most common monarchist arguments. They say: “It’s tradition!”

SPRING CONFERENCE BRISTOL

REPUBLIC REPLIES
Republicanism is as much an integral part of British tradition and history as the monarchy - perhaps more so. Constitutional innovation and reform have been crucial to Britain’s development, and much more relevant to modern times than our mock-feudal monarchy. The Magna Carta of 1215, the 1689 Bill of Rights, the Great Reform Act of 1832, and the introduction of universal suffrage in the 1920s, are all pioneering political advances. It is these traditions of reform we should hold dear.

Victoria: Mother of royal tradition.
and expand the power of those with the greatest stake in the welfare of our country – whether medieval Barons, or, in the democratic age, all British citizens. It is important to remember that history has to be made – and each age will make its own history. It is useful to remember too, that much of the so-called ‘tradition’ of the monarchy is a recent invention. The ceremonies surrounding Trooping the Colour, Changing the Guard, the coronation and the State Opening of Parliament have all been invented since the reign of Victoria. They are part of the monarchy’s continuing PR campaign - dressing up a shabby constitutional arrangement in fancy dress and flamboyant occasions so as to distract the casual observer from the more serious questions about why the monarchy exists. Our country has many traditions, some we can be more proud of than others. It’s important we know which to cherish and which to consign to the history books.

“Remember too, that much of the so-called ‘tradition’ of the monarchy is a recent invention.”

www.republic.org.uk/spring

APRIL ‘09

From Milton and Locke, through Tom Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft to modern campaigners and reformers such as Emmeline Pankhurst, our history is littered with men and women who have strived for a more modern and democratic society. Since the earliest days of recorded British history, our nation has aimed to curtail the power of the monarchy

Q

WIN A BOOK
How many republics are there in the Commonwealth?

Richard Dawkins joins Republic
Republic is delighted to announce that renowned biologist and campaigner Richard Dawkins has added his name to Republic’s growing list of public figures who back the campaign. Dawkins joins other eminent scientists John Bryant and Steven Rose in supporting our cause.

A

Answers to the usual address or email by December 20th.

Win Darkness is where the stars are, a book of poetry from Republic supporter Patrick Jones. Last quiz answer was ‘Nepal’. The winner was R Fennell.

Imagine | 11

Adam Tomkins

Republic Interview

Republic interviews Adam Tomkins (left), Republic supporter, professor of constitutional law and author of How we should rule ourselves, available at www.republic.org.uk/shop.

Board News
by Gareth Robson The Board has been receiving reports from Graham Smith on new campaign and fundraising plans, as well as a number of interesting developments with the media. More journalists and getting in touch with Republic since our ‘Chinook’ story broke. Just as work was beginning on a new fundraising campaign called 55 in 5, Charles helped our cause by letting it be known that he wants to be a ‘presidential’ King. The reports also coincided with a story that the Queen will make way for her son in five years’ time. The Directors were presented with a plan for changing the way Republic runs its AGM and Annual Conference. The plan to split the even into two separate occasions was approved. With five new Directors on the Board a timely ‘Induction and Refresher’ was held at our last Board meeting, ensuring that all Directors can play an a full and active role in Republic.

What age did you become a republican? AT. In the sense that I have been sceptical of the alleged value of the royal family I have been a republican for as long as I can remember. I watched the Charles/Diana wedding live on TV when I was 12 years old and remember feeling nauseated at the pomp, servility and excess on display. What is the most compelling reason for a British republic? AT. The pomp, servility and excess that is elemental to the monarchy is degrading to the British people. It is also damaging to the British people. We should regard ourselves as a free people exercising sovereignty over our own political experience. Monarchy makes this impossible. Under a monarchy sovereignty vests not in the people but in the Crown. Famously, we are subjects of the realm, not citizens of a free republic. In this sense there can be no political freedom in a monarchy: freedom and republicanism are inextricably linked. Is there anyone you would like to see elected as president and why? AT. I think that the Prime Minister should be head of state and that the monarch's current functions not exercisable by the Prime Minister should be transferred to the Speaker of the House of Commons. We do not need a President as well. What do you think is the monarchy’s biggest strength or Republic’s biggest obstacle? AT. Tradition. Britons are constitutionally and culturally conservative. There is a fear of

Presidents on the US model, and such fear is both understandable and wellplaced, in my view. Britons, on the whole, do not actually want to rule themselves - it is deemed too onerous a responsibility - we would rather someone else took care of it for us. This reluctance to embrace freedom, and the responsibilities that come with it, is Republic's greatest hurdle. What drew you to constitutional law? AT. It is the law of power. Power is the most fascinating phenomenon I have ever tried to study. Constitutional law is the area of law that both facilitates and (sometimes) seeks to limit political power. Exploring the tension between these twin goals of constitutional law has an enduring fascination for me. What other constitutional or political reforms do you support, in addition to a republic? AT. All prerogative powers should be abolished and replaced with appropriate statutory safeguards. Judicial power in the constitution should be reduced. Executive power in the constitution should be more effectively subject to parliamentary scrutiny and accountability. Parliamentarians must be fully educated in the roles and importance of Parliament: parliamentarians must be made to understand that their principal loyalty is owed to Parliament itself, and not to any political party. What would you do on the day a British republic was declared? AT. Pledge an oath of allegiance to the new Free Republic of Britain, and celebrate!

Director Profile
NAME: Ann Darnbrough DIRECTOR SINCE: Oct 2008 Ann Darnbrough has had a long career working with a number of disability charities. In 1980 she founded the National Information Forum and remains as its director. Ann joined the Board at this year’s AGM. Ann says: “The UK's head of state should be a person elected on merit rather than left to the vagaries of automatic hereditary succession.”

Republic is a campaigning organisation supported by thousands of British citizens around the country. It’s easy to get involved. This regular page shows you some of the simple things you can do to help promote Republic and make the case for change.

online@
republic.org.uk/action

Writing to your MP really does help
There’s a lot of scepticism these days about Members of Parliament and how effective our democracy is. But writing to MPs really does help campaigns like Republic. For every constituent who makes the effort to write a letter, MPs often assume there are many more constituents who are concerned about that issue, but don't bother writing. The more MPs hear about an issue from their constituents, the more likely they are to take action.

JOINING IS EASY
Republic’s campaign work relies on the support of people like you, citizens who are committed to the idea of a republic. If you’re not a member already you can join online or over the phone.
www.republic.org.uk - 08708 508 825

TOP TIP
Sign up to all the newspapers’ online forums. That way, when stories are in the news or Republic has articles online, you can quickly and easily join the debate. From Jon Carter Republic member Send your Top Tip to imagine@republic.org.uk

Writing made easy
Republic’s website - www.republic.org.uk/mp - has more information on how to write to your MP, including how to find contact details and to write by email. You can also use the website www.writetothem.com. If you know the name of your MP, you can simply send a letter to: ‘Your MP’, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

What to say
You can write more than once, but perhaps the first letter should simply ask if your MP supports the abolition of the monarchy, and if they would add their name to Republic’s list of supporters. If you have done this, or if you know your MP already supports Republic, you can write on individual issues. Remember, keep letters short, polite and to the point.

Imagine: how far can yours go?
Did you know, this magazine is a valuable promotional opportunity waiting to happen? Once you’ve read it, don’t file it in the bin, pass it on to friends, family or work colleagues. You could even leave it lying around in waiting rooms or staff canteens. Help spread the word and promote Republic with your copy of Imagine. Leave your copy around for someone to discover.

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Find out more at www.republic.org.uk

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