Today it was announced in western Australia by PM David Cameron and Australian PM Julia Gillard that a couple of big changes will happen in the rules of succession for the British Royal Family. All the realms have agreed that first of all the head of state can be married to someone of the Catholic faith and secondly that the sole determination will be age and not gender.
The head of state will still have to be Church of England due to the fact that they are the head of that church but freedom to marry a catholic is an important change. Everyone should be free to marry whoever they love. It shouldn’t matter what their religion is as of course Catholicism was the only religion which was banned by the rules of succession.
However the biggest part of the story is probably the fact that gender is now not part of the equation. So if the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge have a daughter then she will be first in the line of succession behind her father even if the couple have younger sons. This is a huge step forward and in all honesty is something that should have been done long ago.
It isn’t something that is going to change our economic climate and therefore some might wonder why time has been spent on it but when you look deeply you’ll see very little time was actually spent. It was in April of this year when DPM Nick Clegg first said he was working on this and had contacted all the heads of state of the Queen’s realms to discuss making these changes. Writing in the Daily Mail on April 20 Robert Hardman said that, ‘it would certainly not be seeking to devote months — if not years — of parliamentary time to resolving a problem which does not even exist.’
However here we are six months down the line and the changes have been made. Mr Hardman continued to bang on about the issue of not being of any significance and actually being one that could harm the coalition, ‘It is an interesting talking point but a political issue of spectacular pointlessness since it concerns no one alive. Let us hope that Mr Clegg simply wants to reinforce his image as a fearless slayer of discrimination — and leaves it at that. Or is there another, darker motivation at work here? Because if he does decide to push this one further, he will be heaping untold troubles on the Coalition’s head.’
Well he has fearlessly slayed discrimination and made the system fairer and brought us into line with most of the other monarchies of Europe. Gender should not be a barrier and nor should the issue of who you fall in love with.
This is all Nick Clegg’s doing. He was the driving force behind this news story but I am not hearing his name being linked to this story at all. PM Cameron is taking all the plaudits when in fact he couldn’t care either way. It might be a small issue today but in the future this change will be huge and will impact the history of the commonwealth.
Whilst it might not be the biggest issue on the doorstep and isn’t what people are talking about over the dinner table or down the local pub it is yet another sign that Nick Clegg is all about equality. This change makes things fairer and brings the Royal Family into the 21st Century.
So I for one congratulate Nick Clegg on this. A job well done. Plenty more jobs to do but this one he can cross off his to-do list with a quiet sense of satisfaction across his face.
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