Iraqi pupil from Paddington argues that Britain needs a Royal Family
With thousands of Londoners lining the River Thames and millions of people up and down the country enjoying street parties over the weekend, much of the nation has well and truly been swept up in Jubilee fever.
After surviving various ups and downs – not to mention calls for the UK to become a republic at various times throughout its history – the monarchy seems to be enjoying a period of widespread support.
With the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last year and the Jubilee celebrations last weekend, recent opinion polls have shown backing for the monarchy is at its highest for decades.
Last month one 14-year-old Church Street boy faced a panel, which included BBC home editor Mark Easton, to argue that not only is the monarchy important but it is in fact the most influential factor in shaping modern Britain.
Hosted by the British Future think tank, the Great British Breakfast debate saw opposing groups argue for the monarchy, pubs, literature, migration and faith as helping to shape Britain.
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King Solomon Academy pupil Radwan Hussain, who was the only non-adult to take part in the debate, said he wanted to show the benefits that the Queen brings to the country.
“Every year the average person spends �6 on Coca Cola and only 61p of their taxes on the monarchy,’’ he said. “By contributing this 61p, the British people get a Royal Family, extra holidays and a sense of national pride and identity.
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“By spending almost ten times that amount on Coke, the British people can enjoy the benefits of bad teeth, the risk of diabetes and heart problems.”
He called the monarchy “one of the most influential forces in British society”.
Originally from Iraq, Radwan, who now lives on the Hallfield Estate in Paddington, says the Queen creates an international identity for the UK.
“Whenever I go and visit Iraq, the Queen is the one person everyone asks about,” he said.
“They ask what the palaces are like and whether I have met her. Of course I have to tell them I haven’t.”
Radwan asked the panel: “What’s best for our country – a lovely, sweet drink which sticks your back teeth together, or a lovely, sweet old lady who sticks the country back together?”