In a shameless display of artificial outrage, Labour’s Ian Murray and the Tories’ Jackson Carlaw have declared that they are angered and appalled by the admission from the SNP’s Humza Yousaf that most people in his party would support getting rid of the monarchy. That’s a bit like expressing shock and horror that people in Edinburgh don’t put vinegar on their chips, or that exemplars of the species Ursus arctos feculate in sylvan sectors of substantial arboreal coverage.
There haven’t been any recent opinion polls on the topic in Scotland, as far as I can ascertain. The last seems to have been the ITV debate in the late 1990s which showed that Scotland was the only part of the UK where there was a majority in favour of a republic. Certainly judging from the spectacular lack of enthusiasm shown in Scotland whenever there’s some royal non-event or other, the SNP’s republican tendencies are pretty mainstream in this country. It would be fantastic if just for once when the Windsors were having some family event that they kept it private and only invited close members of the immediate family. Mind you, then Prince Harry wouldn’t get to go.
Scots are not enthralled by the magic of monarchy to anything like the degree that people in other parts of the UK might be. Announce that there’s to be some major royal event that is going to dominate our TV screens for mind numbing days on end, and the only mass enthusiasm you’ll find in Scotland is for booking a holiday in the Canaries that week so you can avoid it.
We’re a pretty bunting-phobic bunch. For some bizarre reason, Scots are not convinced that the best way to choose a head of state is on the basis of descent from a mediaeval robber baron who claimed to have a magic sword, a circular dining table, and a resident wizard. Most Scots remain of the view that if you want a head of state who understands the struggles of ordinary people it’s better to have one whose mother was on food stamps, rather than having one who had her head on postage stamps. Like thousands of others of my compatriots, I resent the fact that the BBC employs a professional royal sycophant and expects the rest of us to pay his wages so he can witter on inanely about irrelevant crap that no one with an IQ in double figures gives a feculance about and invites us all to be joyful because some inbred moron who has never done a day’s work in his over privileged life has waved at some people who do have to work for a living. And then without a shred of irony or self awareness the BBC cuts to a piece about North Korea and tells us about the uncritical and fawning coverage its leadership gets.
Jackson Carlaw might state in pursey lippit tones that a desire for an elected head of state puts the SNP at variance with most people in Scotland, but he doesn’t actually have a shred of evidence to back up his claim that love of the monarchy extends much beyond the Tory party and neanderthals in sashes and bowler hats. BBC Scotland news reports showing a gaggle of reporters outside Craithie church doesn’t count as mass popular support for the monarchy, and the views of members of the Tory party aren’t exactly representative of mass popular opinion in Scotland. The only people who love royal weddings or births more than the BBC are dictators in Commonwealth countries. It’s a convenient time to repress a few oppostion figures without attracting too much attention.
If anything, such evidence as does exist contradicts Jackson’s claim that Scots are as monarchist as the editors of Royal Walkabout Monarchygasm Magazine. Not even the deeply conservative people in the doucer parts of Edinburgh can be arsed enough to have a party when there’s a royal wedding or a new royal sprog, much to the desperation of BBC Scotland as it fails dismally to find any spontaneous outbursts of public joy to film for its bosses in London. To be fair, there was a wee spurt in sales of gin, but that was on Deeside so probably doesn’t count. If we’re going to be really honest about it, those of us of a Republican persuasion should recognise that giving birth to a royal wean is the only time that any of them have to do any labour. It’s also considerably more difficult and painful than giving birth to a commoner, on account of the silver spoon.
As for Ian in his Union Jack suit, when the Honorable Member for the Morningside Soviet is not trying to score a few political points, and let’s be honest here Labour needs all the help it can get in that department, he knows just like the rest of us do that there’s no great affection for the Windsors in the Labour party either. Labour posing as the great defender of the monarchy is about as convincing as its recent conversion to home rule.
The question of how Scotland chooses its head of state is entirely separate from the question of whether Scotland should become an independent nation or not. That’s why when the SNP announced the last independence referendum they did so on the basis that the monarchy would continue if Scotland voted to become independent and return to its rightful place in the international family of nations. Scots were not being asked to decide how we should choose our head of state, we were being asked who we thought had the right to decide the question. On that occasion we narrowly voted to allow the Westminster parlie the right to continue choosing for us. Next time we won’t make the same mistake.
It is only when Scotland becomes independent that the Scottish people will have the right to decide how we choose our head of state. Then Jackson will find out just how little popular support his fawning obsequience actually enjoys. He might like the idea of living in a backward looking ruritania, but the rest of us want to join the 21st century. We’re already a republic in our imaginations, it’s only a matter of time before the law catches up. Scotland’s future is as an independent republic, and then the Gaelophobic Jackson will be welcomed home by a sign on the border that says Fàilte gu Poblachd na h-Alba.
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