Big Ben could be renamed Elizabeth Tower

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Big Ben could be renamed Elizabeth Tower after the Queen” was written by Lizzy Davies, for The Guardian on Friday 23rd March 2012 16.33 UTC

A group of MPs is calling for the tower housing Big Ben to be renamed in honour of the Queen, sparking horror from republicans who accuse them of championing a “crass and profoundly inappropriate” change to the Houses of Parliament.

Twenty-three MPs, mostly from the Conservative party, have signed a Commons early day motion requesting that the east tower of the Palace of Westminster be formally titled the Elizabeth Tower to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee. Tabled by the Tory MP Tobias Ellwood and backed by former foreign secretaries Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, it urges MPs to support the move “in recognition of Her Majesty’s 60 years of unbroken public service on behalf of her country”.

It notes that, in 1860, when the west tower of the Palace of Westminster – hitherto known as the King’s Tower – was rebuilt, it was renamed the Victoria Tower in honour of the country’s longest-serving monarch. Only the present Queen and Victoria have been on the throne long enough to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, it adds, paying tribute to the Queen’s “energy, wisdom and grace”.

But the proposal provoked the immediate criticism of the pressure group Republic. Spokesman Graham Smith said the move was “crass and profoundly inappropriate given that the tower in question is a landmark of our democratic parliament”.

He added: “This is not supposed to be an absolute monarchy. She [the Queen] isn’t there to be the dominant figure; she’s supposed to be very much a personal figure in our political system. That parliament is there for everybody and the idea that you’re going to turn a major feature of our parliament into a tribute to an unelected, unaccountable head of state completely stands against absolutely everything that democracy’s about. It’s absolutely obscene.”

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5 thoughts on “Big Ben could be renamed Elizabeth Tower

  1. I am a Canadian citizen living in continental Europe who has also lived in the UK. Since the Queen is also my head of state, I feel I should comment on the input of Graham Smith (Republic).

    His comments are unwaranted and demonstrate the pettiness of his organization, which fails to appreciate or understand the positive role the monarchy has in the UK. As usual, they react negatively to every (supposed) “offense” given by members of the royal family and object to any acts of loyalty or kindness done towards the Queen. Their opposition to the monarchy shows that they have no understanding of the British constitution or of British society.

    They have a right to express their opinions but given that they are a tiny minority maybe the time has come for the press to give them less importance and relegate their envy-based comments to the back page. “The Guardian” is unlikely to do that since it, too, is the mouthpiece of a small minority of the population. Perhaps even its constant barage of anti-monarchy statements should be given the same treatment.

    God save the Queen!

  2. I agree completely that the petty, mean spirited organization Republic should stop receiving so much undue press. The point they miss, of course, is that the Queen does not represent herself, she represents Britain and the Commonwealth. I live in a republic(the US).You can trust me when I say having a constant, steady, Head of State to advise politicians who come and go,and are considered less important therefore keeping their preening egos in check is a much better system. That she represents the national spirit and brings a sense of pomp and purpose to the national life is far superior to watching some idiot you voted against (at least half the country does every four years)stand up for you.

  3. As an American, I would be PROUD to call Her Majesty our Head of State. I wish we would repatriate to the Crown, move our squabbling and useless Congress to a basement somewhere, and convert the Capitol into the Palace of Elizabeth so we might tempt the Royal Family to stop in more often! Long Live the Queen!

  4. Keep in mind that “Big Ben” properly does not refer to the tower, which is named “The Clock Tower” but to one of the bells housed in that tower and by informal extension the clock itself. The bell would retain it’s current name regardless. Seems like a win-win situation and a very fitting tribute to Her Majesty.

  5. I agree with James W. Sanderson’s comment. I thought the name Big Ben referred to the bell and clock not the tower. Renameing the tower so that both towers honor the longest reigning sovereigns is an excellent idea.

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