Keep the Queen as Head of State? Really?

Posted: February 19, 2013 in Politics/Current affairs
Tags: , , , , , ,

Media Scan. Those two words put together might sound spiffy but trust me they can be very annoying. Why you may ask? because one of the stated tasks and outputs in my job description at my relatively new job is to scan the media for relevant discourse.Now I pride myself on being informed but since being mandated to do so I have had to read the nation’s two major daily newspapers a lot more than the norm.

Today as I carried out this scan two articles, both having nothing to do with my work stood out and to varying degrees annoyed me. One article each from the respective major papers. From the Jamaica Observer the culprit article was entitled “Keep The Queen – Advisor to British PM urges Jamaica.” The article from the Gleaner that got to me was entitled “Black Bias”

For now we will deal with this Queen business maybe tomorrow I’ll have some gas in the tank to take on the “Black Bias”

JAMAICA should step cautiously in its attempt to remove the Queen of England as head of state, as it could have adverse consequences, a special advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Shaun Bailey, a budding, black politician who is of Jamaican heritage, told Jamaica Observer executives and journalists yesterday at the newspaper’s weekly Monday Exchange, that it would not be in Jamaica’s best interest for The Queen to be removed as this north Caribbean island’s head of state.

Now with all respect due to the so-called budding politician and Jamaican diaspora member, his arguments represented arguably one of the weakest I’ve heard for retaining the queen. Let us one by one debunk the almost silly points made.

a) “It gives Jamaica access to a broader world market, a broader world community, and Jamaica is a small place that could be powerful, but not on its own.” – First and foremost what does this even mean? Britain though our sovereign doesn’t negotiate on our behalf in any economic forum. Thanks to the neo-liberal world order they can’t really give us any special treatment in the realm of trade and I can see really any evidence of this loving mother helping guide us through the world economy. So this helping us “gain access” is really on shaky ground.

b)”When you look at a country like Britain, and by extension Jamaica, about all of our history, separately and intertwined, I think sometimes you have to ask the question: Why would you want to unwind any of that? Where is the benefit? Definitely you go on and you modernise and maybe even modify, but I think there are big bits of it that should be kept because [of] the history, the link. What’s very interesting when you speak to black people, black children particularly in Britain, is pointing out to them how much we are a part of British history. For me that’s a real sense of pride,” – Really? Intertwined history? That’s why we should keep ties? LOL. We have a shared history right and indeed we Jamaicans have played an integral role in British history. It is our land, resources and ancestors that were raped to make old Britannia the world power she once was. The development of the queen’s homeland was directly predicated on the underdevelopment of us over here on this side of the Atlantic. So the shared history is really a reason for us to say a kind good-bye to our head of state. Poor poor argument Mr Bailey.

c)”I don’t know a lot about Jamaican politics, but our politics is murky… it’s adversarial and it’s nice not to have the head of state involved in any of that. If we have a drama, The Queen can represent everyone without any sort of political colours, which is very useful,” – to be fair this is probably the best argument Mr Bailey makes. as due to our culture I’m sure whatever mechanism we use WHEN we replace the queen is in danger of becoming a political animal which may pose problems. That aside my gut says when we reach that bridge we cross it as neither the queen nor her representative within these shores really serve any substantive purpose in our domestic political/governance scene.

Let me make myself abundantly clear. I am 100% in favour of removing the Queen of England as our head of state. Mr Bailey and his kind must accept that this economic benefit we will lose if we sever ties is a myth as it doesn’t exist to begin with and even if we accept its existence just for argument’s sake, removing the queen as head of state does not mean we will be out of the Commonwealth. Also as signatories to the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement, Jamaica’s economic dealings with Britain would not change much.

Additionally in what world is it acceptable for persons to have to spend money and go through hell to get a visa to visit the country where their head of state resides? It is ludicrous to put it mildly.

As a British Jamaican it is ok for Mr Bailey wanting to feel equally British and Jamaican. but that simplistic reasoning cannot inform how an INDEPENDENT country wishes to reshape its relationship with its former enslaver.

So God bless the queen cause God seh we mus love everybody, but keep the queen as our head of state? Not in my cabinet!!!!

PS see the articles below and see if they get to you too:

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/KEEP-THE-QUEEN-_13671367

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130219/cleisure/cleisure3.html

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Comments
  1. atomtrident says:

    The guy advising Cameron is absolutely out of his mind and out of touch with Jamaica / the West Indies. Having the Queen as Head of State doesn’t give a Commonwealth realm economic advantages. He seems to be confusing the status of a Commonwealth realm with that of a UK Overseas Territory. In the early 70s when the first Lom√© Convention was being negotiated the UK did precious little to ease the strain of recently independent Caribbean countries. If we were not on their agenda 5 minutes after we stopped being their colonies then 50 years after I think it’s safe to say there isn’t any benefit to be derived and none being offered at all on their end.
    As for shared history you are spot on about the nature of said history. And also, the US and UK are quite chummy with their “special relationship” and yet still the US link to the British Monarch goes no further than pop culture fascination.
    I find from my iinteraction with British contacts of West Indina heritage that they really seem to think it’s some kind of fun and games history we have with their current home country. I even had one British girl of Bajan parentage say that Barbados should be glad it was colonised by the British because now it makes such a good national living off of tourism when Brits visit the island.

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