Randomonarchy

A few years ago, I raised the possibility of removing the delusion of democracy, and introducing randomocracy instead.

Is this really the best way to achieve representative government?

In case you can't be bothered to click the link and read my original post, here is a precis:

Randomocracy would be government by lottery, where a political position would be filled by drawing the name of a member of the electorate out at random.  Rather like jury service, you would receive a letter in the post telling you to serve your city, or county, or country.  Taking on the role would be a civic duty.

Party politics would have little or no influence, and people who craved power desperately would be unable to claim it, except by luck.  Money and influence would mean nothing, and Britain would not be ruled continually by white, male, Oxbridge-educated public schoolboys.

If 19 Etonian prime ministers is representative democracy, I don't want representation.

I haven't really developed my hypothesis fully, but sociologist Erik Olin Wright, Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, certainly has.  Wright is a Marxist social scientist and president of the American Sociological Association, and promotes randomocracy in his book Envisioning Real Utopias.  In his book, which I've not yet read, Wright apparently promotes the concept as a genuinely feasible form of government.

In the hollowballoo of the Diamond Jubilee, though, I have been wondering about taking the notion a step further.  Randomocracy may not be very attractive to people because - like jury service - it is a potentially onerous responsibility.  Far more appealing may be the additional notion of randomonarchy.

I've nothing against the Queen as a person.  I'm sure she's perfectly nice.  I absolutely do have a problem with the notion of hereditary monarchy though.  The idea that she and her offspring are to be our heads of state forever and ever is quite simply offensive.  Why should they?

Yes, they have no real powers, but they still have influence, and this is influence without merit.  And if we're going to be a country ruled by non-meritorious* people, these might as well be people selected at random every few years.  People like you or me.

I, I will be king. And you, you will be queen.

I would be more than happy to live in one of countless palaces and houses and travel the world waving at people, especially if I had the best part of £40m to compensate me for the inconvenience.  I am sure plenty of other people in Britain feel similarly.

Monarchists always trot out the argument that the Queen represents value for money.  Apparently we taxpayers gain loads of money from the Crown Estate, and loads more from tourism.  That's fine (if indeed it is true) but it has very little to do with the Royal Family itself.  Those people are just the by-product of the system, and the beneficiaries.  They do not generate the monies through their own ability.

Under randomonarchy, this one-family gravy train would cease.  Instead, there would be an annual draw in which a member of the electorate would become king or queen for a year.  It could be absolutely anyone - male or female, right-wing or left, rich or poor, good or bad - and they'd get twelve months to sample the high life.

It would undoubtedly be more problematic in some years than others, but that's the case already.  And at least it would give us common and garden taxpayers the chance to spend some of our own money.  After 60 years, I'm sure even Mrs Windsor would be glad of a change.




*I originally used meretricious, till I discovered this meant 'of prostitutes'.  And then I looked into the etymology further and discovered that a meretrix was a woman worthy of payment, a lady of merit.  Being a proponent of true meritocracy, I was therefore delighted to learn that this puts prostitutes on the same footing as politicians.

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