National moment of reflection


The public have been invited to take part in a National Moment of Reflection to mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and reflect on her life and legacy.

In Rye, the mayor will be observing the one-minute silence outside the town hall at 8pm on Sunday evening and members of the public are encouraged to join him in a communal moment of reflection.  Paul Goring, the town crier will announce the occasion and after, the Revd Paul White will say a short prayer.

Community groups, clubs, and organisations across the country are encouraged to take part and people overseas are also urged to observe the one-minute silence at 8pm local time.

Details of larger-scale public events to be held across the country will be published at:

Image Credits: GOV.UK .

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  1. The extensive mourning period for the Queen has given days, not minutes, for reflection. Queen Elizabeth deserves respect for her dedicated service to the country over 70 years. The historic pageant, or royalist propaganda campaign (depending on one’s point of view), which played out over 11 days has been spectacular but what was its ultimate purpose? One could argue its aim has been to consolidate the rule and reaffirm the legitimacy of the monarchy.

    The UK needs to have a more mature debate over the future shape of its constitution and governance. For instance, should we look to a hereditary monarch as head of state, or a republic? Should the monarchy be radically slimmed down? Do we need a House of Lords with 756 sitting members, none of whom are elected? Is it right for our head of state to control vast wealth, historically seized at the expense of the British (and Empire) without their consent? Many Commonwealth nations are having the wider debate and so should we.

    While the Queen was exemplary in keeping her political views to herself, history has shown that we will get good and bad sovereigns. Monarchies, non-meritocratic by nature, implicitly promote the idea of privilege and exceptionalism and their very existence bolsters the so-called ‘Establishment’, whose activities have proved so divisive for Britain over the centuries. Unfortunately, the UK hangs onto its traditions, even when they’re unfit for purpose, and when they’re patently failing to prevent our national decline. There has to be considered change if we want a better future.

    • The balance between our hereditary, Constitutional Monarchy and our elected Parliament is one that has evolved over many centuries, and is possibly as ‘fit for purpose’ as any governance scheme could be.
      It is no coincidence that 7 out of the top 10 ‘most democratic’ countries on the 2022 Democracy Index are hereditary, Constitutional Monarchies (including Norway, in the no 1 ‘most democratic’ spot). Republics with elected Heads Of State are mostly far further down the Democracy Index – indeed both USA & France are classed as “flawed democracies” rather than “full democracies”.
      A Constitutional Monarchy means the Head of State has no practical legislative power; all actual power rests in the fully-elected, 650-member House of Commons (or that country’s equivalent). In contrast, in a Republic with an elected President, much power lies in the hands of just one man – the President. This is inherently less democratic, and, throughout modern history, we have seen how that can go disastrously wrong.
      If the UK were to switch from a powerless Monarch to an elected President, the powers we give that President would have to be taken away from the House of Commons. Our Police and Armed Services would no longer swear allegiance to a non-political monarch, but to a politically motivated President. If we modelled ourselves on The USA, our ranking in the Democracy Index would drop from “Full Democracy” at present, to “Flawed Democracy”. Is that really what we want? Is the ‘discussion’ you seek really worth the risk?

  2. What I find strange about our democracy is that we vote in our preferred candidate to the House of Commons but they get vetoed by the unelected House of Lords.
    Would someone care to explain the fairness of this system?

  3. Lots of very interesting and thought-provoking comments. What strikes me is, however, is that it’s not the un-elected Lords, nor the hereditary head of state that presently threaten the health of our democracy, but our elected representatives! This is facilitated by the “elective dictatorship” of First Past the Post, but also by the electorate’s understandable cynicism and disengagement with the political process, which is clearly a calamitous perfect storm for us all. There are very real threats to our democracy, to our civil rights, and to the over-arching aegis of international law that protects us all, but we need to see where the real threats lay.

  4. Thanks for the interesting comments. If I may just reply to our town crier Paul, I should point out that his argument is flawed, because of course a republic does not need to grant its president the huge powers Paul claims he or she would exercise. Take, for example, Eire, where the president has no real power whatsoever. In a similar republic, the prime minister, or equivalent, holds the power. Many people would oppose the view that our monarchy and parliament are ‘fit for purpose’ — just look at the utter chaos in government right now, and also look at the numerous problems the royal family has experienced. As Darren says, monarchies shore up the existence of a privileged hierarchy, holding that an elite is innately superior to ‘ordinary’ people and monarchy also rejects meritocracy. I refer Paul and anyone interested in the history of Britain’s constitution and its future to Gavin Esler’s book ‘How Britain Ends’, which Mr Esler spoke about in his 21 September talk at the Rye Arts Festival. I urge Rye News to report on this fascinating talk. GH is correct in saying that a lot of the problem lies with our elected politicians, but we urgently need to sort out and modernise Britain’s constitution, its electoral system, how people are represented fairly — perhaps through a federal, decentralised system —if we are to prevent the UK from splitting asunder as various nationalisms (including English nationalism) tear it apart. The solution is in our hands.


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