Well – having referred one institution (the monarchy) to the Equalities Commission, I find myself invited to another institution (Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour) to talk about it. They hauled in Charles Mosley as the reactionary to argue the case against stopping male preference primogeniture (i.e. to argue that it’s ok for a man to bump a woman in the line of succession to the throne just because they’re a man).
I don’t really think there are any valid arguments against changing rules on this – and indeed plenty of other monarchies have already changed.
As I said on the program – the current sexism is offensive! It says to me that this country still believes men are better than women. A large part of the monarchy is about symbolism – so what does it say that we let it be a sexist symbol? We romped through all the arguments – but to be frank – none stood against the central plank of discrimination.
Having referred the issue to the Equalities Commission – I expect that they are wondering what to do. If they take it seriously – as they should given their charge to fight discrimination – then they will come out and say that this is a wrong that must be righted, that they will put a working group together to advise the Government on taking this forward and say that Parliamentary time must be made available to see this through.
There have been efforts before by Private Members’ Bills – but at no point has the establishment been moved to actually get to grips with this. By omission this could remain the status quo forever. I hope that the Queen (who I was told by my opponent today on Woman’s Hour is pro this change!) will also suggest via usual channels that this should be done.
Anyway – it was a good debate – and three cheers for Woman’s Hour for giving it air time!
(And if you missed hearing it, you can listen again via their website).
UPDATE: Local newspaper coverage here.