Lib Dem MP, Evan Harris, has introduced a private members bill to alter the succession to the Crown and to lift the ban on heirs to the throne marrying catholics.
Aside from the fact that there are far more important things to worry about, is it really a constructive use of very expensive parliamentary time to debate a law that won’t realistically prevent discrimination against any living person?
The first female heir to the throne who has been bumped down the list who would make any significant gain is Princess Anne at number 10, behind Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice, Princess Euginie, Prince Edward, Prince James and Princess Louise. If the laws of succession were changed and she was bumped up the list, she would end up in 4th. The chances of Princess Anne, who is already 59 years old, becoming Queen is pretty slim. Princess Beatrice and Princess Euginie would drop down a place and Princess Louise would stay in 9th.
So, there’s little point changing the laws of succession for females when nobody will benefit. But what of the other “discrimination” – that of banning Catholics or spouses of Catholics from the throne?
Well, the ban on catholics sitting on the throne is there for a very good reason. The monarch owes their alliegence only to their country and their subjects, not to the Pope. The monarch is also Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith. How can a catholic become king or queen and take the oath to defend the established church if they belong to a different church?
A BBC poll apparently showed that 89% of people thought women should have equal rights of succession but how many of those people realised that it wouldn’t make any difference to anyone currently alive and that it would have the net effect of pushing two women further back down the line? The poll also apparently showed that 81% of people thought that the ban on marrying catholics should be lifted but how many of them realised that it would mean the king or queen would no longer be head of the Anglican Church?
We are in the midst of a recession, we are worst placed of any developed nation to ride out the storm, unemployment has reached 2 million and banks and big businesses are collapsing left right and centre. How can any MP think that such a pointless and futile exercise is important?