Meritocracy and monarchy

Two people will walk down the aisle to get married on Friday and like any wedding the rows and discussions the ceremony is provoking are an interesting measure of the values that are important to us. For example the guest list: was it really acceptable to invite the crown prince of Bahrain, a country that is vigorously and violently suppressing protests in favour of democracy, and not to invite two former British Prime Ministers - even if they were Labour? Thankfully the issue has been solved by a tactful withdrawal. Then there's family background of the bride and finally of course, what to wear. Is a morning coat just too posh? Does it send out the right message? Perhaps that will be on the mind of Nick Clegg as he dresses on Friday morning. A man who in his own words wants a country where "Everyone is free to flourish and rise regardless of the circumstances of their birth." At the Abbey, they will celebrate the opposite principle: the marriage of a man born to be king. Royalists argue that the monarchy symbolises deeply ingrained values that go beyond social and political fashion. Republicans counter that an hereditary ruler makes as much sense as an hereditary dentist and the monarchy traps us as subjects, enshrines inequality and that we should have the power to choose our head of state. So is the monarchy compatible with a truly meritocratic society?

Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk with Claire Fox, Clifford Longley, Michael Portillo and Matthew Taylor.

Robert Hardman, Royal author and Daily Mail writer
AN Wilson, Writer
Graham Smith, Executive officer for Republic
Tony Mulhearn, One of the fighting 47 who fought Thatcher in the 80s and was president of the Liverpool district Labour party.

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45 minutes

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Sat 30 Apr 2011 22:15