In Spain the monarchy is respected by all and King Juan Carlos is one of the most popular people in the country. In Britain, although support for the Queen remains high, we are seeing a gradual decline in the monarchy's status and power.
The latest royal privilege to face the axe is the royal train.
The royal yacht Britannia, has become a tourist attraction. Even celebrations for the royal Jubilee have been scaled down.
Plans for a Naval review, which were a major part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, have been axed because the Royal Navy can't afford it. I remember the celebrations of 1977 and it was like a festival of Britain, twenty-five years later and the celebrations have been scaled down with the BBC announcing that they are planning to produce a wide-ranging opinion poll on the future of the monarchy to coincide with the celebrations.
I believe that things cannot continue like they are at the moment.
Britain has to decide whether it wants to continue with the monarchy in its present form or have radical change.
As far as I'm concerned this referendum is probably more important than the one on the euro. I cannot imagine Britain without a monarchy but the time has come to ask the public who may, unfortunately, not think like me, and who feel that having an expensive monarchy has no place in modern-day Britain.
An EU inner circle?
News over the weekend that Britain may decide to propose an inner circle of France, Germany and itself to take the key decisions in the European Union is likely to cause consternation in Rome and Madrid as well as in the capitals of the nine other smaller member states of the EU. There has been no reaction from Downing Street to the reports but the proposal would seem to be in line with Mr Blair's thinking on these matters witness the stir he caused when he tried to hold a FrancoGermanUK dinner summit on the war against terrorism last November. PP The argument for such a radical change is clear: the EU is only just manageable now, with fifteen nations participating in the important decisionmaking at all levels from the main European Council of senior ministers through all the subsidiary levels dealing with specific policy areas, and would be unmanageable with the ten more expected to begin joining from 2004. The arguments against such a change are equally clear and will no doubt be advanced with great vigour by Italy and Spain especially. The British idea, if it is confirmed, may be no more than a negotiating position with secondclass status for the new members from southern and eastern Europe in mind as an objective and even, being intended to give reassurance to British voters in any referendum on membership of the euro. The brutal European truth is that the EU will only achieve its full potential when Britain, France and Germany are jointly in charge of its affairs.