Britain should harness "spirit of Arab Spring" with move to a republic, leading QC will say at inaugural John Campbell Lecture30th Sep 2011
Leading lawyer Michael Mansfield QC will use his John Campbell Lecture next week to call on Britain to harness "the spirit of the Arab Spring" and demand an elected head of state.
As pressure group Republic prepares a series of protests in the run up to next year's diamond jubilee, Mansfield will argue that part of the nation's response to the current economic and political crises should be a move to a republic, where the Head of State can be responsive and accountable to the people.
Speaking ahead of next Tuesday's event, Michael Mansfield said:
"No Head of State whether titular of otherwise should be immune from accountability and it is time to gather up the spirit of the Arab Spring and ensure that democracy is the hallmark of our governance at all levels."
"We cannot continue with a Head of State who remains unresponsive to these economic, political and environmental crises ... We cannot have a Head of State ring-fenced against recession and freedom of information."
Graham Smith, executive officer of campaign group Republic said:
"Michael is absolutely right to point to the monarchy as part of the wider problem that this country faces. It's not just a symbolic institution, it lies at the heart of our political system. It corrupts our political culture and it ensures power is simply not properly accountable to the people."
"We have already witnessed states in Eastern Europe leap-frog over Britain in the democratic stakes - now we risk seeing Arab states overtake us and become better democracies than us. It's time we played catch-up with the democratic world."
The inaugural John Campbell Lecture, which will take place on Tuesday, October 4, at the Bishopsgate Institute, has been set up in recognition of republican campaigner John Campbell, who died last year. Describing John Campbell's influence on modern republicanism, Graham Smith said:
"John made an enormous contribution to the republican movement. This campaign is growing at an unprecedented rate and continues to go from strength to strength. That is in no small way a result of John's leadership over recent years."
The John Campbell Lecture is at 7pm at the Bishopsgate Institute, Bishopsgate, London on Tuesday October 4.
Tickets have sold out, any journalists wishing to attend should contact Graham Smith on 07747 608 770 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT JOHN CAMPBELL
John Campbell was a member of Republic for eight years, from 2002 to 2010, and in that time he made an enormous impact on the campaign. For six of those years he served as Executive Chair, leading Republic through a period of change and upheaval as it became a serious active pressure group. John died in October last year after a brief fight with cancer.
As a tribute to his enormous contribution to the cause Republic's board of directors have launched the annual John Campbell Lecture, featuring a keynote speaker who will speak on a topic of their choosing relevant to the republican movement.