Royalty, they declare, “does not hinder” the country’s progress and works out cheaper than a president if you count all the expense of elections, and so on and so forth. Such speeches by Labour leaders typify a facet of their “idiosyncrasies” which cannot be called anything other than conservative blockheadedness. Royalty is weak as long as the bourgeois parliament is the instrument of bourgeois rule and as long as the bourgeoisie has no need of extra-parliamentary methods. But the bourgeoisie can if necessary use royalty as the focus of all extra-parliamentary, i.e. real forces directed against the working class. The British bourgeoisie itself has well understood the danger of even the most fictitious monarchy. Thus in 1837 the British government abolished the title of the Great Mogul in India and deported its incumbent from the holy city of Delhi, in spite of the fact that by this time this title had become only a nominal one: the British bourgeois understood that under certain conditions the Great Mogul could become the focal point of a struggle of Indian upper-class circles against British rule.

To proclaim a socialist programme and at the same time to declare that royalty “does not hinder” it and comes cheaper is just the same as, for example, acknowledging materialist science but having recourse to a witch’s incantations against toothache on the grounds that the witch comes cheaper. In such a “trifle” the whole man is expressed, along with his spurious acknowledgement of materialist science and the complete falsity of his ideological system. For a socialist the question of the monarchy is not decided by today’s book-keeping, especially when the books are cooked. It is a matter of the complete overturn of society and of purging it of all elements of oppression. Such a task, both politically and psychologically, excludes any conciliation with the monarchy.

Where is Britain going? 1925, in Trotsky’s writings on Britain, volume 2 (New Park Publications, London, 1974)