The Mail on Sunday reported that in the wake of the Meghan fall-out, the Queen is to appoint a diversity tsar to modernise the Monarchy. The tsar will, according to aides, undertake a “listen and learn” exercise over the coming weeks to champion minorities’ rights. This follows the claims made by Meghan of institutional racism. We are told Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace aides will undertake the exercise over the coming weeks about how the Monarchy can improve representation. Guido has two modest suggestions; firstly remove from the statute books the last piece of explicitly anti-Catholic legislation to complete the emancipation. Secondly, disestablish the Church of England and remove the Bishops from the legislature.
It is still the case that in twenty-first century Britain, a dozen Church of England Bishops are members of the legislature as a matter of course. There have been no Roman Catholic clergy appointed since the Reformation.
The occasional Chief Rabbi or other religious representative is given a peerage. Polling from YouGov shows that by 3 to 1 most people think this is not right. Labour voters by a 4:1 ratio and Tory voters by a 5:2 ratio agree that a Bishop’s place is with their flock, not in the House of Lords. Even if you think it is a good thing to have religious representatives in the legislature, the Church of England is followed by 12% of the population, so why does it get all the representation?
The legislature’s bias towards the Church of England is one thing, the anti-Catholic legislation on the statute books is another thing altogether. You don’t have to be Meghan to think that perhaps the royal diversity tsar could look into the legal bigotry that legislates that no Roman Catholic can ever become Head of State. It is an Act of Parliament to this day, imagine if it was ‘no black person’ or ‘no Jew’. Why is it still the law of the land?
The legislation is discriminatory in extreme, it prevents even former Catholics from becoming Head of State. Some will argue that this religious bigotry is enshrined in law because the Head of State is also the head of the Church of England and “Defender of the faith” – a title incidentally bestowed on Henry VIII for his Catholic beliefs by the then Pope. This is not impossible to unravel. Separating the Head of State from being the Head of the Church of England and removing the Church of England’s bishops from the legislature would move twenty-first century Britain from being an unrepresentative theocracy, to a modern representative democracy.