Review of the year
It’s been another busy year here at Republic – our membership and public profile grew substantially in 2014, but we’ve also been doing lots of behind-the-scenes work to make sure we’re prepared for the challenges ahead.
The year started with senior MPs telling the Queen to do more to cut costs. Following extensive campaigning by Republic, this was the first year that the royal accounts were opened up to any form of real scrutiny – but, as we pointed out, the official figures are just a fraction of the monarchy’s real cost to taxpayers.
The Guardian’s battle to see Prince Charles’s letters to government ministers continued throughout the year. In March, the High Court ruled that (then attorney general) Dominic Grieve's use of a ministerial veto to stop the letters being published was unlawful. But the government appealed, and the fight entered its latest round last month.
Charles’s increasingly vocal interventions into politics in 2014 prompted much debate about the constitutional implications of an “activist king”. This gave us plenty of opportunities to put the case for an elected head of state who can be held to account.
Republic’s long-running campaign to scrap the "royal veto" entered a new phase in March, when the political and constitutional reform committee published a report questioning the royal household’s "undue influence" over legislation. The report followed months of lobbying by Republic, and quoted us extensively.
Later that month, Republic representatives attended the annual convention of the Alliance of European Republican Movements (AERM) in Oslo. The Republic team met anti-monarchy activists from Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway to share information and plan future campaigns.
Closer to home, local group co-ordinators gathered in Bristol for another successful local action day. Our local campaigners have been a real success story for 2014, with 16 groups now up and running all over the country. If you’re looking to get more involved with the campaign in 2015, why not get in touch with your local group?
Of course, the big political story of the year was the Scottish referendum. Republic took no view on what the result should be, but that didn’t stop us getting involved in the debate. "Yes or No: the monarchy must go" was the theme of our packed annual conference in Edinburgh in June. And when the result came in, we called for a "democratic revolution" across the whole of the UK.
Worth every penny? our report into the true cost of the monarchy, caused a stir when it was published in June. Based on one of the most extensive investigations into royal finances ever undertaken, the report found the total cost of the monarchy to be almost £300m - around 9 times higher than the official figure. When the royals released their own financial report shortly after, our figure was widely reported.
The year ended on an enormous high, when our Royal Secrets crowdfunding campaign raised a staggering £12,000 – more than twice our original target! The funding will support a major lobbying and public awareness campaign on freedom of information next year. Thanks to the generosity and commitment of our supporters, we can do so much more than we envisioned.
Not everything we did in 2014 was in the public eye. The board of directors and the campaign team have been working hard on a new strategy for the next five years, making sure that Republic focuses its resources on the most effective activities and campaign themes. The strategy has been a major piece of work, involving almost a hundred supporters and volunteers, and we can’t wait to begin putting it into practice in 2015!
Thanks to everyone who got involved with Republic this year, whether that’s making a donation, handing out leaflets or simply retweeting us. We’re up against one of the best resourced and most entrenched institutions in the country – without your commitment, we simply wouldn’t be able to make the impact that we do.
Here’s to an even louder and stronger republican movement in 2015. Happy new year!
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