Regiphilius: (waving banner) God save Her Madge!
Pandemocratis: You don’t even believe in God.
Reg: That’s not the point.
Pan: She’s just a woman. An old woman, at that.
Reg: I know that.
Pan: Why should she reign over us?
Reg: Someone’s got to.
Pan: No, they haven’t.
Reg: Anyway, she doesn’t.
Pan: Doesn’t what?
Reg: She doesn’t reign. She’s just a figurehead.
Pan: A figurehead? Like that girl on the front of the Cutty Sark? The one with her boobs out?
Reg: Don’t talk about her Madge like that! It’s very disrespectful.
Pan: But if she doesn’t rule over us, I can disrespect her if I like, can’t I?
Reg: Yeah, you can, if you like.
Pan: Well, then.
Reg: Just don’t do it when I’m listening.
Pan: Since when have you been a monarchist, anyway?
Reg: Since – the Royal Wedding. All those people! Waving flags!
Pan: Have you seen Leni Riefenstahl’s films of the Nuremberg rallies?
Reg: You know Godwin’s Rule only applies to Internet conversations, don’t you?
Pan: Waving flags isn’t a good thing. And in any case, it shouldn’t be what determines the constitution of the country.
Reg: The whatstitution?
Pan: Oh don’t come over all ignorant now. Parliament. Checks and balances on the Executive. The independence of the Judiciary.
Reg: Are you American? It’s because they’re all obsessed with the constitution that they can’t get rid of their guns. I don’t think about the constitution. It’s not a very British thing to do.
Pan: Look, I’m just saying that having a hereditary monarchy is completely irrational. It’s a throwback. It’s from a bygone era. It’s all from the time when we thought that Kings were gods. Then when we decided that there was only one God, we thought they were anointed by Him. But now we know there isn’t one at all, there’s no reason to have a Queen either, is there?
Reg: Well, there’s no reason to have a country, is there?
Reg: Nation states are throwbacks as well, aren’t they? They date from a time when people banded together into groups and defended their resources, and if they met another lot who might be a threat to them, they killed them. We don’t do that anymore, do we?
Pan: Are you sure?
Reg: Well, if we do, we shouldn’t.
Pan: What about Syria?
Reg: What about it?
Pan: That’s a nation state, isn’t it?
Reg: Not really. Not with the bits of it that aren’t controlled by so-called ‘so-called Islamic State’ being bombed to bits by the President’s army, and everyone else trying to leave. That’s not about nationhood. That’s basically a lesson in how to destroy a nation. How long is his army going to pound his own people before he has to admit that he hasn’t actually got anyone left who wants him to be there?
Pan: What’s this got to do with the Queen?
Reg: I’m just saying that there are lots of things we have which are irrational throwbacks – like the EU for example, or statues of Cecil Rhodes – but we don’t necessarily just get rid of them. Sometimes we keep them, either because we quite like them, or because we can’t think of anything that we know would be better. I mean, look how well Syria has done as a nation since it got rid of its king.
Pan: Syria never had a king.
Reg: Didn’t it?
Pan: It had a brief spell of glory as centre of the Ummayad Caliphate in the 7th century. Almost all of the rest of the time it has been a province of whichever empire was passing.
Reg: Well, that proves it then.
Pan: Proves what?
Reg: How long has England had a monarch?
Pan: (shrugs) Since 1066?
Reg: At least. So nearly a thousand years.
Pan: Your point, please?
Reg: We’ve done all right, don’t you think?
Pan: By some measures, I suppose.
Reg: And yet, look at Syria.
Pan: You’re just being silly. Look at France.
Reg: Must I?
Pan: They’ve done all right since they lopped their king’s head off.
Reg: Oh yes. They did have an Emperor at one point since, though.
Pan: And America. Best thing they ever did was rebelling against the King.
Reg: You can’t know that. If they’d stayed, maybe we’d have transferred the centre of operations across the Atlantic and the whole thing would have been the United Kingdom of North America.
Pan: How’s that different to now?
Pan: We’re America’s poodle, aren’t we?
Reg: You can’t have it both ways. You can’t think America is better than us because it’s a republic, and then complain that we are too much influenced by them. That must be a good thing, mustn’t it?
Pan: Look, you’re getting way off the point. You want the country’s head of state to be an ancient old woman who never says anything except when the words are written for her, and who spends all her time basking in obscene wealth –
Reg: Launching ships and opening University buildings.
Pan: While her children make fools of themselves showing off how rich they are.
Reg: I don’t want it to be her, necessarily.
Pan: But it can’t ever be you, can it? Or me, come to that.
Reg: Ah, now we get down to the heart of it. You don’t want a hereditary monarchy because you think you should be allowed to have a crack at being Head of State, and you can’t because you didn’t manage to get born to the right person.
Pan: Can’t think of anything I’d like less.
Reg: Then what’s the problem. So we have a Queen. We also have a St Paul’s Cathedral. They’re both outmoded and unnecessary.
Pan: But St Paul’s Cathedral is a beautiful piece of Restoration architecture which lifts your spirits when you see it.
Reg: (waves flag) There she is! God save her Madge!