The success of Prince William’s wedding was one thing but if you want another indication that, whatever people think they think of Prince Charles right now, the monarchy is in no imminent danger consider the fate of the referendum on introducing the alternative vote for Westminster elections.

I suggest that republicans are among today’s losers. Assuming the polls are right, that is. If the British public rejects a relatively minor change to the electoral system there is almost no chance, at any conceivable point in any conceivable future, they will vote for a republic. Custom and the Burkean arguments for custom are powerful things (and probably the best arguments in favour of FPTP). I know that republicans often think that time is on their side and that the stupid people will eventually "wake up". They won’t. If electoral reform is a goner that’s even more reason to suppose that a republic will, happily, remain an eternally lost cause.

Tags: Britain, Electoral reform, Monarchy