Looks like the beginning of the end of male primogeniture – hurrah! The Sunday Times put the story on its front page and ran an editorial on the subject today.
So what’s the story all about? The rules about who becomes our Monarch discriminate against women – and skip over women to men. Now – that’s the sort of crude discrimination that we should have left behind years ago (as have many other monarchies, which have changed their rules to remove this old-fashioned sexism). So a little while back I referred to the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights the pushing back of Lady Louise (daughter of Prince Edward) from 8th to 9th in line to the Throne when her baby brother was born.
It took a while to get a reply – but when I did – it began to move things on. The letter agrees that this is discrimination (more or less) but that it has no powers under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. However, it also says that they are going to look at the Single Equalities Act as a vehicle for change and that we will meet and talk the way through.
In subsequent conversation with the Commission, I had said that I would table an amendment to the Act which I would expect to have cross party support – but that if the Commission could persuade the Government to bring it forward in the Act in the first place that would be even better. The Commission has now owned it and support it. As I said – how could the new equalities body do anything else?
So today I read in the Sunday Times that Vera Baird, the Solicitor General, agrees and it will (hopefully) happen – presumably in the Act. And so – if this ridiculous anachronism finally is buried – at least I will have done something for equality during my sojourn.
It’s not equal pay and it doesn’t address women’s pensions or carers’ allowances or improving rape convictions – all of which are desperately important and need priority. However, the screaming message of male primogeniture in accession to the throne has been that men are better than women. So good riddance to that!