May 21, 2012 8:03 PM GMT
The Daily BeastFor while you might have thought that those advocating republicanism in the UK would be ploughing a lonely furrow in summer 2012, the year of the Jubilee, you’d be wrong, at least according to Mr Smith, 38, the full-time chief executive of Republic, the UK’s biggest anti-monarchy pressure group.
For whilst the Royal Wedding and the Diamond Jubilee may have stirred up patriotic fervour and the desire to stitch giant Union Jacks in some British hearts, the very public displays of the vast inherited wealth and privilege of the royals are also proving to be potent recruitment tools for his campaign to abolish the “costly and anachronistic” British monarchy.
A rising tide, it seems, lifts all boats.
“We have never been bigger,” Mr Smith tells the Daily Beast. “We’ve been gaining thousands of new supporters. Our membership has gone from 9000 to 21000 in the last 18 months. The idea that the royal family has never been more popular than they are today is nonsense if you actually look at the polling.”
Indeed, the uncomfortable truth for Royalists (like me) is that the most recent large-scale opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion showed that only 54% of Britons want their country to remain a monarchy. Introduce the concept of King Charles and Queen Camilla, and the numbers go into a tail-spin (even I get queasy).
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