After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to step back from life as senior members of the Royal Family, a lot of fuss has been made about whether they will continue to receive public money for their security detail.
Although the topic of the Royal Family is normally relegated to the tabloids and magazines, there is, in my opinion, very important political philosophy behind an argument for continued state funding of their security.
Harry and Meghan are two of the most well known members of the British Royal Family. Their position garners an exceptional level of exposure and attention. Along with all the many benefits associated with such a position, it also brings a significant amount of danger. This danger stems from a variety of sources, one of them being the fact that they are symbols not only of the British Monarchy, but of the British state itself. As such, they face considerable threat from those who wish to attack the UK, its values and its institutions.
I invoke the notion that they represent the British state as I want to focus on the danger posed to them by ideological threats. Threats from networks or organisations that want to degrade or dismantle the UK. It is because of the risk posed by these threats that it has become both a moral and political necessity that the taxpayer continues to pay for their protection.
There was a degree of outrage in the UK when author Salman Rushdie was given state funded security after the publication of his 1988 book the Satanic Verses. The book was accused of blasphemy and mockery of Islam, resulting in the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issuing a Fatwa calling for Rushdie's death.
Rushdie was given state protection in the end. The importance of which cannot be overstated as there were several assassination attempts made against him. In the face of backlash over the use of taxpayers' money to protect an author, using his freedom of expression, who had offended some members of a particular religion, the British state did the right thing and defended a British national against a threat to their life.
By the same rationale, a similar level and type of protection must be provided to Harry and Meghan. By their very membership of British Royal Family, they are targets. Targets to those who wish to harm our country and what it stands for.
Are we going to capitulate and succumb to the wishes of a loud minority of people who think that it is not a worthy use of public funds to defend the vulnerable individuals and institutions of this country?
No, we should not. As a matter of political, philosophical and moral principal, we must pay to protect that which represents our country, regardless of the cost.
Author: Jason Montaner