Let\’s give the Queen a yacht

Yes, this is a good idea.

Michael Gove has brushed aside Britain\’s economic problems to propose the public donate a new royal yacht to the Queen as a mark of respect during this year\’s diamond jubilee celebrations, according to a confidential letter to fellow ministers.

Why not? At £60 million it\’s just under a £ a head.

However, this is a very bad idea indeed.

Gove ends his letter by suggesting that if insufficient taxpayer funds are available a private donation could be sought,

No. Taxpayer funds are not to be used in such matters. That would be a present from Ministers, who control the disposition of our money (although Ritchie would of course disagree, stating that it\’s rightfully the State\’s money to be used as the State desires), to the Queen.

A present from us to the Queen would be one that is given vountarily. That is, by public subscription.

My doubts about whether £60 million could be raised range from very little to none. It could in fact be done amazingly simply if there were a few KVOs to be handed out.

So, what we need is a banker willing to open an account into which little old ladies can deposit 10 pence, into which captains of industry can vie for a gong with a £100 k (LVO, the KVO being rather more expensive) here or there and someone who knows the second hand yacht market.

Anyone?

17 comments on “Let\’s give the Queen a yacht

  1. Make it only the one KCVO, to be given to the most significant donor. Amounts donated not to be revealed until the subscription closes, of course. Creates a bit of competition that way.

    You might also have another honour which will go to a name drawn from a hat, in effect. Encourages everyone to chip in.

    And once the yacht is bought and decked, the balance of the account can be split among good causes of which Her Maj is the patron.

  2. Or, thinking about it, it might be seen to be a little unseemly for Her Maj to offer an honour in her personal gift in recompense for a personal gift.

    This may be a case where HMG can engage in a little pump-priming by announcing they would recommend for KBE and MBE (subject to the usual procedures) at the next opportunity. There’s no cash cost to the State, and it lets the politicians feel like they’re doing something.

  3. Does the Queen want a yacht? If so, how about creating a new title for donors: we could call it Benefactor of the Royal Yacht Britannia Endowment.

  4. Why not take the honour’s idea further. Draw up a list of prices for all the honours available, from a dukedom at £10,000,000 down to the least offer. Publish it for everyone to know about. Those that want to be an earl and have the hard-earned can buy one. The treasury gets the dough. Everyone wins.

    Oh, and make the Lords all-elected to avoid accusations of people buying access to the levers of power.

    Job done.

  5. Dont even need to give out gongs.

    How many could it fit on board for a cocktail party? Divide £60m by that number, and everyone who donates that much gets an annual invite for drinkies.

    The money will flood in.

  6. Give the old bat a ship! I agree. Jolly good idea. After all who else is single handidly responsible for bringing in so much tourism.

  7. I’ve nothing really for or against the royals. If starting a country from scratch, I probably wouldn’t go for a royal family, but getting rid of them now would probably do more harm than good. There is something to be said for having a non-political head of state.

    That said, I really don’t buy the argument that they bring in the tourists. I really do not think visitors think to themselves “lets go to the UK, they have a queen”.

  8. Take about a week, I expect. Less if they flogged off honours -£10m for an earl, £5m for a viscount – if they opened it to foreigners, we could raise the money in an hour.

  9. ChrisM: I think the argument, for what it’s worth, is that the Crown Jewels, the Beefeaters, the Changing of the Guard, Bucks House and all that jazz are attractions — and importantly, the more attractive because there’s a sense that they’re tied to something which still exists rather than historical exhibits of ‘how things used to be’.

    You may still not buy it, of course, but it’s a bit more subtle than “Britian has a Queen, sounds like a cool place to have a holiday.” And with our weather, we need every little bit of help we can get!

  10. @Philip, Ok that makes a bit more sense. However, the Crown Jewels and Buck House exist independently of the Queen. The other items you mention could also exist independently of the queen although I take your point about having added attraction by being tied to an institution that still exists.

    However, I think that many people (not you) try to conflate the palaces, buildings, jewels etc with the monarchy itself. Thus the importance of the queen to tourism is massively overstated.

  11. The state should pay for the hull, engines, controls, bogs & basins, safety systems, ship’s officers & some crew as the yacht is not the Queen’s personal transport but is used on State business. However the Queen should pay for the upmarket furnishings and facilities, and the flunkies to serve their needs over and above what you would get on the Harwich to Hoek van Holland ferry. If she (or other royals) use it on private jollies then they should pay the going rate to hire an Abramovich-class yacht.

  12. Yes, it’s a value-add argument, which are always tricky to keep carefully demarcated from the less nuanced idea that people come to see the Queen. ‘Cos if that’s the case, there’s loads of disappointed tourists!

  13. 600-foot, four-masted schooner? Really? The length of two American football fields? And available only when the teen-aged scrotes aren’t on some ‘team-building exercise’.

    Blow that. 250-foot, coal-fired (easily re-fuelable) steam turbines, please, for the exclusive use of Madge & Co.

  14. Philip Walker,

    I think the argument, for what it’s worth, is that the Crown Jewels, the Beefeaters, the Changing of the Guard, Bucks House and all that jazz are attractions — and importantly, the more attractive because there’s a sense that they’re tied to something which still exists rather than historical exhibits of ‘how things used to be’.

    Versailles attracts 3 times as many visitors as Windsor Castle each year.

  15. C’mon, Tim, that factoid is far too easy to deal with:

    Think how many fewer they’d get if we abolished the monarchy. Or again, Paris is the world’s most popular tourist destination. I can go on. Versailles is closer to Paris than Windsor Castle is to London. The weather in France is better, as is the wine. No-one has a romantic weekend in London.

    Look, I buy this argument less than you’d think, but you really have to try harder than that.

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