Spine Film

about Spine Film

Spine Film is run by the husband and wife duo of:

Spine Film 's Roger and Tanya Smith

Roger and Tanya Smith

Together since 2011, they are cinephiles who subscribe to the principles of republican democracy. Those ideals inform their filmmaking projects.

a radical agenda?

The mainstream UK media recently published survey results that suggest the majority of British adults under 25 are sceptical about constitutional monarchy as a form of government. Over 60 percent of those who responded were in favour of Britain becoming a republic. Can news like this be greeted with cautious optimism?

Almost everyone born in the United Kingdom is groomed from infancy to accept monarchy and aristocracy. A pattern of predictably inherited opportunity thereby slithers under the radar. The British continue to tolerate divisions based on ethnicity and family background that effectively constitute segregation. The inheritance of property, wealth, celebrity, and influence is enabled without anyone ever asking whether those advantages are deserved. There is even less concern about whether they will be used to promote wider social benefit. The collateral damage is that it justifies the inheritance of disadvantage without any reference to an individual's gifts or effort.

The Crown and Royal Family are institutions the British grow up with. Questioning their existence must seem entirely unnecessary, perhaps even rude. That's because the institutions occupy a blind spot. People are conditioned to treat them as facts of life. However not eveyone is subdued by the indoctrination, so those who describe themselves as Royalty can receive negative media attention. Is it the increasing international embarrassment that is leading young adults to consider an alternative future? Is there a sense of urgency to pull their country's reputation from the flames?

Britain’s Royal Family serve one main purpose. They are the most visible example of the inheritance of privilege and power. One of its members ultimately succeeds, as the monarch, to the role of Britain’s head of state. Aside from the obvious problem with this, is there a more insidious danger? If people are socialised to believe that a person with no special talent or qualifications for leadership merits that position, won't they acquiesce to the inheritance of every other leadership role or profession? Is this the template for Britain's reward for failure culture? If you ignore that the system is unjust, it's still just wasteful, and that's the crucial issue. The value and potential of people dissipates while mediocrity is rewarded. In fact, monarchy is a way of ensuring mediocrities are usually in charge.

Ironically arguments like this struggle for traction amongst the people who would benefit most ‐ the majority. Identification with oppressors is a crippling national affliction. Arrogant establishment attitudes and behaviours are perceived as the norm. They are associated with wealth and glamourous lifestyles. Most people, particularly it seems the over 25 age group, only listen to information that confirms their derivative sense of superiority. When they open their mouths, the culture speaks.

The British have internalised a mind‐numbing array of double standards and contradictions: Monarchy and democracy, enforced deference and recognition for accomplishment, nepotism and competition based appointment, or convention and written law, to name a few. These concepts are treated as being compatible when it makes more sense to insist they are mutually exclusive. Perhaps the most obvious double standard is the selective application of laws to protect equality. In a society that makes genuine efforts to be multicultural, our head of state is potentially always going to be from one privileged white family. Is that consistent with a policy of diversity? If it isn't, and the intent of the establishment is ethnic exclusivity, any legislative program for racial justice that applies only to everyone else looks suspiciously like divide and conquer. This is their oldest dirty trick, leaned so well from the days of empire.

For a people so adamant about democracy the persistence with constitutional monarchy is another baffling anomaly. Britons have demonstrated the maturity to adhere to the outcome of a 2016 referendum that was decided with a narrow majority. Why do they tolerate an unelected head of state with reserve powers, and an unelected chamber in Westminster that can frustrate the intent of elected representatives?

What the talented and gifted people of this country could contribute will remain a mystery under these conditions. The voices of people opposed to the establishment have mostly been whispers compared to the loud proclamations of those who endorse the status quo. As the problems facing humanity increase in complexity we need to hear from people who can think ten steps ahead, not merely the one step required to protect established interests. These are protected at the expense of the majority and the environment. At least if you organise elections for every civic leadership role the wrong people don't creep in merely because you're asleep at the wheel. Elections invite scrutiny. Monarchy is a veil. A democratic presidency requires a majority to exercise a conscious choice. Succession is a fait accompli.

Is Britain going to be a museum of imperialism or a dynamic modern republic? It could be a democracy that protects equality of opportunity for every child while working co‐operatively on global solutions to environmental threats, poverty, conflict, and disease. Do we want people with the best minds working on these issues or just those with a sense of entitlement? Intelligence isn't predictably inherited, although title and advantage clearly can be.

This is what Spine Film stands for. This is what its films will always be about. Please consider supporting it.

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