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June 01, 2004


Dick O'Brien

Well Frank, sometimes you've just got to call a spade a spade.

By the way, I also called the Spanish royal family 'dinosaurs' recently. You should probably denounce this as well.

Peter Nolan

Jaysus, saints preserve us from male feminist chauvinists!

Anyway Dick, wouldn't you consider Juan Carlos a progressive model for European monarchs for dismantling the post-Franco fascist system and standing up to the putchists of 1981?


Frank McGahon

Yes, now that you mention it, what is wrong with the Spanish Royal Family?

Dick O'Brien

I didn't know you were a closet monarchist Frank?

Peter, no one in Spain asked for a king and nobody got the chance to vote on the monarchy. While Juan Carlos dencounced the attempted coup, he could have at least had the decency to abdicate once democracy was established in Spain. Why should he enjoy a playboy lifestyle because of an accident of birth?

Frank McGahon

I am not a "rhetorical" monarchist in the sense of wanting to restore Brian Boru's descendents to their "rightful" place as monarchs of Ireland but I am a "utilitarian" monarchist in the sense of recognising the many benefits that, just so happen to, accompany constitutional monarchy. Spain is one of a number of stable, democratic European monarchies and it is arguable that society is in better shape there than in, say, France or Germany.

La Pepa

Frank, it was Francisco Franco who named Juan Carlos de Borbon his successor.

Stable? Disputable.

Democratic? Give me a break!

Dick O'Brien

Goodness me Frank. The self-declared enemy of bloated public spending getting all misty eyed over a blue blooded Bourbon living off the state?

And just how does the presence of Señor de Borbón make Spain superior to France or Germany?


Good God! I find myself on Dick's side. This must be a first.

I can see no merit in having a monarchy. The best you can hope for is that they are attractive people and politically unobtrusive. But, even when they achieve these "lofty" goals, monarchies do seem to come with a high price tag. I'm sure the people of Spain could get along just fine without their King and the rest of the royal family.

Frank McGahon

Maybe they could, as I said, I'm not a rhetorical monarchist. I have no attachment to monarchy for any reason other than the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" principle. It just so happens that countries with monarchies happen to be reasonably stable.

As for public spending, most royal families are already wealthy, I see no reason why a monarch* should get paid anything over and above the expense of fulfilling their duty, and certainly no more than an elected president would get.

*Note that the only properly recognisable royal ought to be the monarch and heirs, the extended family shouldn't get any kind of favourable treatment

Dick O'Brien

Well Frank, you obviously didn't know that the Bourbons weren't that well off before Juan Carlos was made king. He was given several properties such as the Zarzuela, where he lives, and the Marivent in Majorca. The last I heard, he receives around €6 million a year from the Spanish state. All of that just because of who his grandfather was.

Jon Ihle

Isn't Juan Carlos the guy who makes the olive oil? Just checking.

Dick O'Brien

That's Don Carlos. And guess what... he's Irish.


"It just so happens that countries with monarchies happen to be reasonably stable."

I presume you mean European monarchies, right Frank? Because there are a lot of monarchies in the Middle East that don't seem too stable right now. Nepal is another one I can think of that's not too stable.

But, I acknowledge that your support for monarchies is pretty limp - if they're working, leave them alone. I can accept that argument, but I think some of the European countries still supporting monarchies should phase them out slowly so as to not unhinge the political stability they have in those countries.

Frank McGahon

Those middle east "monarchies" are just nepotistic kleptocracies. I had in mind the type of thing which has evolved over centuries and where the monarchy is just the titular head of state, perhaps a focal point for patriotic sentiment but with no real power. I see no good reason for seeking to phase them out, but I thinking weaning them off the taxpayer's teat is not a bad idea. Nepal's royal family, like the kleptocrats, are absolute rulers, a totally different proposition.

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