Source: Press TV
Burdened with having to pay for the $50 million dollar royal wedding, the British taxpayers are not happy with the royals' guest list that includes the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, says an analyst.
Press TV talks with Peter Carty, a writer and journalist in London who reveals that the majority of Britons are not interested in the upcoming wedding. The true cost of the event is discussed and the reasons for inviting the Middle Eastern rulers. Following is a transcript of the interview supported by other guests.
Press TV: Is it fair on the public to pay (for the wedding costs) considering the hard economic times? Some are saying it is only going to be $1 per head; others are saying it is an issue of spreading happiness - a diversion; it will bring in more income for the royal family and for Britain at the same time. But the question is - Is it fair for the public to be paying for it?
Peter Carty: I don't think it is going to bring in more income in the country as a whole. Our overall income will probably go down by six billion pounds (ten billion US dollars) and the amount of extra revenue we're going to get back from tourism, sales of memorabilia etc, would be about one billion pounds best estimate - something like 1.5 billion US dollars, so overall the country is going to lose out very heavily.
The question of whether that's fair on the populous as a whole - It's quite clearly unfair. It's extremely unpopular with a substantial proportion of the population. A poll has been conducted by a republican group that indicates that approximately 80% of British people really aren't very interested in the wedding at all. So to ask everyone to finance it is very unfair when you look into the issue closely.
Press TV: Ideas raised by the Republicans referred to the royal prerogative, the Privy Council and the Crown in parliament that there are cases that the royals can overstep parliament - in their words. Have we seen cases where the royal family has used that kind of authority? And do you think that these kinds of statements and these kinds of positions can bring about change in how the public view the royal family?
Peter Carty: The royal family's role now is purely symbolic and ceremonial. You won't find many constitutional experts who would say they have much of a role or significant political role nowadays. I think the main impetus for change ironically at the moment might come from the saturation of media coverage of the wedding. That really is starting to irritate and annoy huge numbers of British people.
The way the [state-funded] BBC is pumping out massive coverage of the run up to the wedding is highly likely to alienate people from the monarchy that normally wouldn't be too concerned about this institution that's mostly in the background and you don't have to pay attention to it if you don't want to. To really rub people's noses in it the way the media is doing at the moment I think will backfire and might produce more impetus toward the eventual disbandment of this institution.
I'm not saying that's going to happen overnight or even very soon, but inevitably over time as we become a more educated and developed society, support for the monarchy is likely to fade away. Ironically I think the royal wedding might actually be speeding that process up.
Press TV: Another issue that has caused controversy regarding this royal wedding is the invitation of royals from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which created the expected controversy that it should have - Why do you think they've been invited? Observers are saying it is protocol that they should be invited, but don't you think that it wasn't worth the controversy that it has caused?
Peter Carty: Well, I think it is purely an issue of protocol. And the problem with the wedding's organizers is if they didn't invite heads of state from countries with poor democratic records then there'd be hardly any heads of state at the wedding; the role call would decline by more than half.
Your other guest made a point about the tainting of the royal family by scandals and corruptions that have infested our system over the past few years. The members of the royal family are not bright people. One of the problems with the Duke of York for instance is that he's a very unintelligent individual and the problem with him has been trying to find him some sort of gainful employment. The scandals that have been attached to him have basically been through his poor judgment in choosing his business associates. There have been problems of greed in there too, but the problem is that this isn't a very bright family. They've had the best education possible, but they are not intellectual - they are figureheads that occupy a symbolic function.