Scotland is easily the least monarchist inclined part of the UK, where the royal events, weddings and general flummery which the BBC is hell bent on force feeding the populace with a sycophantic enthusiasm which puts the North Korean state broadcaster to shame are met with a combination of bored indifference and anger that Bargain Hunt has suddenly disappeared from the television schedules. It should be a warning sign to the British establishment that yer average Scottish punter would far rather watch someone try to turn a profit from some broken down auld tat culled from a wet car boot sale in Droitwich than endure Nicolas Witchell on our telly screens wittering on oleaginously about the latest bout of waving at the peasantry which passes for a day job for members of the Windsor clan.
The general attitude of indifference verging on mild distaste towards the royals which is widespread across Scotland is even more in evidence among that part of the Scottish population which is supportive of independence. It’s a safe bet that republican sympathies are even more pronounced among confirmed independence supporters in Scotland than they are amongst that part of the Scottish populace which simply flees to the far reaches of the EPG in search of old re-runs of Judge Judy whenever the BBC decides that the privilege and entitlement which passes for “working royalty” is going to colonise our telly screens.
Despite this however, the issue of the monarchy has never figured large in the independence debate. The general and widespread view, even among people with republican sympathies who are active in the independence movement being that the question of whether an independent Scotland should retain the monarchy or should move to becoming a republic is one that should be for the people of Scotland to decide after independence has been achieved.
Partly this is tactical, it makes it easier for the independence movement to reach soft noes and undecideds because it helps to soften any fears this group might have about a sharp rupture from the rest of the UK. It allows for a degree of continuity making the choice of independence seem like less of a leap into the unknown. However it’s also because the current independence debate is a discussion about the Union of Parliaments of 1707, not the much earlier Union of the Crowns which took place in 1603 when the Scottish monarch King James VI inherited the throne of England from his cousin Queen Elizabeth. The maintenance of this earlier union allows supporters of independence to argue that independence does not mean the breaking of all the cultural and historical ties that Scotland has with the rest of the UK.
However the recent news that Downing Street has called on the royal family to participate in a so-called charm offensive on behalf of the anti-independence cause could change all this . Some members of the Royal family might be worried about whether Scotland will continue as a part of the UK , but Prince Andrew claims he’s not sweating about it at all, although he is not noted for his charm, just for his offensiveness.
Just a few days after the Mail on Sunday reported on the royals’ pro-union charm offensive we had the second in line to the throne come to Scotland for the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland but he also made the time to earnestly tell us how much Scotland means to him, having spent some of his formative years blowing Scottish wildfowl to buggery with a shotgun. We also had the tabloid press decode his wife’s expensive wardrobe for those of us whose budgets can only stretch to Primark, because apparently it’s possible to save Scotland for the Union through the medium of designer dresses. I was all for independence, but then I saw the Duchess of Cambridge in a £2500 Alexander McQueen saltire blue pleated frock and now I’ve totally changed my mind, said no one ever.
Admittedly we don’t need to worry about Prince Andrew telling the press how much Scotland means to him, as he doesn’t want the FBI to know that he’s available for interviews.
Just a couple of days later we discovered that that the royal couple had also met with Gordon Brown, who holds no public office but who has very recently launched a new organisation to campaign against independence. Then royal aides made a cack-handed attempt to get channel4 news not to report on the meeting, claiming it was “private”. For the royals to get involved in the independence debate is a very clear breach of the convention that the monarch and her representatives do not get involved in politics.
In 2014 the Queen restricted herself to asking people to “think very carefully before voting in the referendum” an ambiguous phrasing that allowed the palace to maintain the pretence that it doesn’t get involved in politics. Afterwards David Cameron told us that she “purred” down the phone when she heard the result of the vote. So apparently did George Galloway.
After the meeting with Gordon Brown, Kensington Palace issued a press release in a clear attempt at damage limitations claiming that the Prince was merely trying to learn more about “community attitudes” to independence as though Gordon Brown was really there in his capacity as a member of the management committee of Kirkcaldy community centre. And if you believe that you probably also believe that when Kate Middleton put on an expensive designer blue frock it means that she really cares deeply about ordinary Scottish people.
The real danger for the Windsors is that they risk making the monarchy an issue in the independence debate. If they are seen to become agents of the campaign to oppose independence they merely make it more likely that an independent Scotland would seek to become a republic. Prince William will one day become king. However an independent Scotland would not be happy with a king as its head of state if that king had actively sought to prevent independence from ever happening. No independent country is going to consent to a head of state who was hostile to the creation of the state. If the Windsors want to continue to provide Scotland with the Kings and Queens of Scots, they’d be wise to butt out of the democratic process.
NEW MODERATION POLICY
In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.
Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.
If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.
This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.
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