Currently on television is a programme about HMY Britannia – aka ‘The Queen’s Yacht’.
As this article shows, it was the politicians of ‘the day’ (circa 1997) who made the decision and who subsequently regretted it. Little thought was given, it appears, to the fact that that vessel was the reason for many of the trade deals that were ‘done’ (again, read the aforementioned link).
In this article, John Major is quoted as having said:
‘During the early Nineties, the monarchy went through a very difficult time,’ Sir John Major explains. ‘Ask yourself this question: in the midst of the recession, with the British people facing economic hardship, how popular would it have been to announce a £50 million spend on a new yacht for the personal use of the Royal Family? How would that have been portrayed by the media?’ In any case, he argues, Britannia, which cost £11 million a year to run, had been designed for a long-gone era of ocean-going royal tours — and air travel had rendered her semi-redundant. ‘Would I, personally, have wished to retain her?’ he wonders out loud. ‘Of course I would. But one has to be pragmatic about such things.’
It cannot be denied that Major, in 1994, already knew that he would be out of office three years later and was desperate to avoid any ‘media downside’. In any event he had a ‘Maastricht Headache’ (or at least the aftermath) to worry about; and like any politician he needed, above all else, to ‘retain office’.
Major asked how popular would it have been to spend £50million on a new yacht. Bearing in mind that any government has no money other than that which it forcibly extracts from the electorate, under pain of imprisonment for non-payment, why were the people who provide the money that government spends – supposedly on our behalf – not asked? Hell, that would have been less than one pound, per person.
This sorry saga only reinforces the need for ‘Referism‘, does it not – and not just for a Royal Yacht, but for whatever else ‘government’ may wish to spend, such as ‘overseas aid’ or even their personal remuneration?
Has not the time come whereby the need for the introduction of direct democracy has arrived? Has not the time come whereby we control our politicians and are no longer subject to the needs/reasons for their political dictatorial existence?