K.I.S.S.

This is the piece I had originally intended to publish on Monday morning as soon as it was safe to come out from under the duvet and switch on the telly without being assailed by an orgy of sycophantic and self-congratulatory British nationalism wrapped up in flags and obsequious BBC presenters cooing “Isn’t she maaaaaaaaarvellous!”

However as the saying in politics attributed to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan goes, “Events, dear boy, events.” The news on Monday was of course dominated by the announcement that the Prime Law breaker was to face a vote of no-confidence. This is the story which will dominate the political agenda for the rest of this week, and quite likely for some time to come. Johnson’s card is marked even though he squeaked through, much to the eternal shame of the 211 Conservative MPs who think it’s just fine that a liar and law-breaker occupies Downing Street. Mind you the two Scottish Tories who voted for him, Alister Jack and David Duguid have no shame, because if they did they’d have resigned long ago.

The fact that we are lumbered with this criminal enterprise that calls itself the governing political party of the UK and are stuck with it despite the fact that it has not won an election in Scotland since the 1950s. This alone is enough reason for Scottish independence.

That said, it is still important to talk about what lessons we can take from the recent British nationalist royalist sycophestival for the Scottish independence campaign. It is clear from the distinct lack of jubilee enthusiasm outwith Rangers pubs in the East End of Glasgow that Scotland is easily the least monarchist part of Britain. The jubilee was met in Scotland with a resounding “meh”. Even the BBC, which was doing its best to whip up interest and to shoehorn the jubilee into every unrelated TV show was forced to admit that the reaction to the jubilee in Scotland had been “more muted,” which is an interesting description of tumbleweed blowing across an empty street. We have seen this before in Scotland, such as with the general lack of enthusiasm in Scotland for previous big royal events like the desperately hyped weddings of Prince William and his brother. In general, people in Scotland have no great interest in the royal family. There were far fewer jubilee events in Scotland, and those which did take place attracted just a handful of attendees. The weather was beautiful and by and large Scotland had better things to do.

Much of this widespread disdain for the royals is due to the fact that the monarchy is not seen in Scotland as the uniting force that it is constantly portrayed as being by the British media. In Scotland the royals are very firmly associated with one side in Scotland’s constitutional debate and with supporters of a particular football team, flute bands, and the sectarian bigotry of the Orange Order. It is worth pointing out that no member of the royal family has ever disavowed the sectarian parades taking place in their name, ugly manifestations of intolerance which deface the streets of Scotland’s towns and cities every year. You don’t get to be a figurehead for sectarianism and at the same time tell us that you unify everyone in the UK. The Windsors’ tin ear is such that they even decided that at some point in the future they’re going to give us another King Billy.

While there may be in certain quarters a grudging respect to the queen herself due to her longevity, this does not extend to the other members of the family despite the carefully curated public image which is presented to us by a British media which does its utmost to cover up any criticism or scandal, and given the behaviour of the royal family that’s a full time job.

Like many of us who support Scottish independence I have no time at all for the Windsor clan. They epitomise everything that is wrong with the UK, with its lack of democracy and accountability, and its fetishisation of a romanticised image of a supposedly glorious past which in reality was cruel, rapacious and money grabbing. The Windsors sit at the pinnacle of the privilege and patronage which are at the centre of the the Westminster system and which fatally undermine democracy in the UK.

The campaign for Scottish independence is motivated in no small measure by the need to ensure that Scotland has a democratically accountable government which is answerable to the people of Scotland, that Scotland is a country where democracy is safe and secure, and by a desire to build a fair and just country which treats everyone equally and does not perpetuate privileges conferred by birth or title. The British monarchy as it is currently constituted is fundamentally incompatible with that goal.

Many independence supporters, myself included, make no secret of the fact that we would like to see the establishment of a Scottish republic. Getting rid of the monarch and the expensive aristocratic parasites who feed on the public purse would be one of the greatest opportunities offered by Scottish independence, we can be certain that it is not an option that would ever be offered to us by Westminster. There will be no substantive changes to the current monarchy under the Westminster system.

That said, it would be a mistake to link the fate of the monarchy to Scottish independence in a future independence referendum. We should not muddy the waters by making the vote in a second independence referendum simultaneously a vote on independence and a republic. The maxim K.I.S.S. is apposite here. Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. The question put before the people of Scotland at a future independence referendum should be about one question and one question only, should Scotland become an independent country. The question of independence is about whether Scotland wants to continue with the Union of Parliaments of 1707, the matter of the Union of Crowns of 1603 is an entirely different question, a question which should properly be answered by the people of Scotland once the issue of independence has been decided.

There are those in Scotland who feel that the monarchy is as much Scotland’s as it is England’s. Some of those may believe that an independent Scotland would be best served with a stripped down and strictly constitutional monarchy more along Scandinavian lines, they might be alienated from voting yes in an independence referendum if they thought that by voting for independence they were also voting to end Scotland’s 1200 year long history as a kingdom.

We need to keep the question facing Scotland in the next independence referendum simple, this will be a vote about independence. Once we have restored Scottish independence that will be the time to have a debate about how Scotland chooses its head of state. Then I personally will be advocating a republic but this is a decision for the citizens of an independent Scotland to take.  We only damage our own cause if we alienate people who might potentially vote yes by bundling in other issues which are not about independence.

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49 comments on “K.I.S.S.

  1. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Totally agree Paul….I too am most definitely not a royalist but it has to be one step at a time…independence first.

    Ace piece as per.

  2. Capella says:

    Excellent summary of where we are. I was never before very interested in whether we had a constitutional monarchy or a republic. Some of my favourite places are monarchies such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. But these are modest affairs limited mostly to the Head of State role with a respect for the people which is quite absent from the British monarchy. The fact of being British sets it apart from the people it is meant to serve.

    Andrew Tickell wrote an interesting piece in The National where he argues that the present Queen commands a certain affection and respect precisely because of her personal history as someone directly involved in the WWII effort. That is something that can’t be inherited. It will die out with her.

    However, I am now republican because of the gross privilege and obscene wealth that a monarchy represents. The House of Lords is an affront to democracy and should be abolished. We will need a constitution which will protect our rights and spell out the proper extent of power and its limits.

    As you say, that is a matter to be decided after independence.

  3. Eilidh says:

    Great article Paul I actually never saw any of the Jubilee Weekend as a friend and I deliberately decided to go on a trip to the North of Scotland at Jubilee Weekend. We stayed in a hotel near Oban and it is first time I spent 3 nights in a hotel and never even turned on the TV. We travelled around a lot even to Mull and Iona but only saw well under 30 Uk flags across our entire journey. We had a lovely time exloring our beautiful country with nice weather too. I am thankful that I did not have to endure Jubilee TV even being stuck in really slow traffic on A82 on way home was better than that. Scotland has shown itself to be greatly uninterested in the waste of money that was the Jubilee but you are right we have to get Independence before we decide whether Scotland remains affilated to the monarchy personally I can’t think of any positive reason to keep it once the Queen is gone

    • Mark Robertson says:

      Your so lucky you missed all the hype ,
      However your great leader Nicola and her hubby made an effort to attend the royal celebrations on your behalf , you must feel so chuffed eh ??
      Considering she hasn’t managed to attend any AUOB marches in her own country or city but has the time and gaul to parade herself in London makes one wonder

  4. gavinochiltree says:

    The Royal family are English. England is where they live and are born.
    Their titles, ceremonials and rigmaroles are relevant only to English history.
    However………..

    Edward V111/Duke of Windsor asserted “I don’t have a drop of English blood in my veins”! He thought he was German, with lots of German cousins and an ideology which suited him.
    Famously the royals changed their Germanic name to English because of war.

    They have even less interest in Scotland than the BBC.

    • deelsdugs says:

      And sadly, their privileges own a swathe of Scotland. Operation White horse with a nose-horn, will be the location for the starting point of the cortège (after she departs the world and has a ‘secret’ journey north) via train, with PS out in force for a bit of protection (funded by ?) then south to the big kirk and hoose in the ‘one and only city in the world’…bearing in mind the met are in tow with no backup support for PS. Aye, privilege…grimace, eyebrows shrug and head shake.

      Republic for me, once we get the butcher’s apron well out of the Bonnie land.

    • Mark Robertson says:

      Nicola and hubby didnt have any reservations to attend her majesties jubilee celebrations !
      Nicola and hubby dont ever attend AUOB marches! !

  5. bringiton says:

    We may think of Scottish independence as a means of bringing democracy to our country but for the London establishment it is about the survival of the British state.
    The British state can only exist so long as Scottish one doesn’t.
    Scottish independence will be a devastating blow for many people in England who will see much that they considerd cast in stone crumbling to dust,including the “British Monarchy”.
    They are only just finding out what Scots knew all along,that their present PM is not fit for public office and once we show them the way to true democratic accountability will do something about their present sham of governance.

  6. Statgeek says:

    I’m not 100% against any monarchy of any nation, if:

    – They can generate profit for a nation (i.e. a real profit; not a paper exercise profit, with book massaging)…and honestly.

    and

    – They are never used to make or break any political stance that the voters face. Their opinion should be “No opinion”, and the media should never ask them it.

    Up until September 2014 I was ‘meh’ about the monarchy, but “purry chops” changed my mind on that. Let them eat keech, same as the rest of us. All the tourism money is generated and taxed in London anyway. We’re not seeing it here. Never have. Never will.

  7. Alice says:

    As my dear father said it shouldn’t matter what bed you are born in but it does…..he worked in the steelworks all his life but knew the score . These people live a deluded fantasy life but a light must shine now and then that tells them it’s only because of the bed they were born in …nothing else. That light darkens speedily and they are back to delusion and fantasy once more. Lots to lose totally nothing to gain facing reality for these royal folk.

    We wait until independence then we will hear what folk in Scotland have to say on the matter of monarchy.

  8. yesindyref2 says:

    Well, never one to shy away from being controversial, here I go again. And this is the logic.

    1), Scotland is currently part of the Union.

    2). Scotland can not abolish the monarchy, can not abolish the House of Lords, and can not abolish Trident – while part of the Union.

    3). With Independence Scotland can abolish the monarchy for Scotland, the House of Lords has no remit over Scotland unless the negotiators have a donkey’s ass where their heads should be, and Scotland can remove Trident from Scotland but not abolish it.

    4). Therefore to campaign to abolish the monarchy while within the Union is being a Unionist.

    5). To campaign to abolish the House of Lords is being a Unionist, or none of our business when Independent.

    6). To campaign to abolish Trident while within the Union is being a Unionist.

    QED

    • barpe says:

      Whilst agreeing with 1), 2) and 3), I’m lost as to how you can then justify 4), 5) and 6)??
      Seems to me you are trying to conclude that ANYTHING we campaign for, while still in this barren ‘union’, would render us Unionist. QED??

    • grizebard says:

      As to #4-6, I’m reminded of the 70’s retros who chant “Tories out” at every indy march. Also self-evidently Unionist, since the Tories are in power… where, exactly…?!

  9. Bob Lamont says:

    Aye, well summarised…

    Aside the “grudging respect to the queen herself due to her longevity” for many in Scotland, for those who believe the respect the Queen enjoys in England will automatically be inherited by her successor, they are seriously deluded – Attitudes toward the Monarchy will dramatically change following the Queen’s passing, there is nowhere near “respect” for those waiting in line despite all the jingo.

    From what little I saw of the hype, the holographic queen in the gold coach was absurd, but the flags….😲 It frankly came over as Spice Girls meets Austin Powers kitch…

    As for the BBC in Scotland’s attempts to turn the Monarchy into a political football, was there ever a more absurd journalist than Glenn Campbell 🙄

  10. Golfnut says:

    Hi Paul, just to let you know, I’ve had a fair amount of difficulty getting into the ‘ WordPress ‘ site this morning. Normal route ‘ we ginger dug ‘ only allowed podcasts dating from 2020 backwords. Tried an old Facebook link and then twitter which took me to the K.i.s.s article.

    • Tam the Bam says:

      Me too Golfnut and I eventually gained access via same route as yourself.
      I’m guessing theres some algorithmic jiggery-pokery going on.

  11. Alan D says:

    Simple enough as long as Elizabeth continues to be the monarch. May not be so simple when Charles becomes it.

  12. Welsh_Siôn says:

    Watch this space …

    ‘Stronger Senedd an absolute must’ say Plaid ahead of ‘historic’ vote on expansion and voting reform

    08 Jun 2022 3 minute Read

    A stronger Senedd is an “absolute must”, Plaid Cymru have said ahead on a ‘historic’ vote on Senedd reform later today.

    The Welsh parliament will vote later on today to endorse recommendations made to expand and change the voting system for the Senedd and implement them in time for the next Senedd elections in 2026.

    Last week’s report from the Senedd’s Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform endorses a plan set out last month by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price for a 96 member Senedd using a proportional voting method.

    If today’s vote passes the Welsh Government will begin work on a Senedd Reform Bill – making Senedd reform by 2026 highly likely.

    […]

    https://nation.cymru/news/stronger-senedd-an-absolute-must-say-plaid-ahead-of-historic-vote-on-senedd-reform/

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      Just in:

      ________________

      Dear W_S,

      Today is a historic day.

      A majority of MSes have just voted in favour of strengthening our Senedd – taking us another step closer towards building a stronger, more representative parliament for the people of Wales.

      Much like the historic victory to the Wales football team on Sunday, the vote to strengthen our parliament is a game changer and marks a Wales growing in confidence and independence.

      Set this against the toxicity of the Tory chaos currently raging in Westminster, our ability to be able to take a step away from the pantomime politics of the other parliament is not just a nice to have – it’s an absolute must.

      If you agree with Plaid Cymru that Wales can do so much better than this Westminster show, then join us today.

      YES PLEASE.

      Already member? Consider chipping in. Every penny counts as we continue to build a better future for the people of our communities.

      (Not yet on the BBC)

  13. yesindyref2 says:

    The question keeps arising: “What if councils boycott IR2”, and I put my reply in at the end of the greased piglet thread.

    https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2022/06/06/the-greased-piglet-oinks-again-for-the-time-being/comment-page-1/#comment-169279

    But I wish one of the YES Lawyers would write a column about it in the National, if it still supports Independence rather than having being hijacked by other agendas.

    • Alex Clark says:

      I’ve just read your reply and it’s good to know that the Referendums (Scotland) Act 2020 appears to have provisions in place for noncooperation to run a legal referendum. No one can be forced to carry out something they refuse to do but neither can they obstruct the referendum from taking place without potentially facing penalties.

      Like you, I’d also like to read an opinion piece on this topic from a legal expert.

    • Aye, obstructing a democratic vote is a serious business, whether that be an election or referendum. Iref2 will be the law of the land; it won’t be a choice for councils to carry it out or not. If some don’t want to do their legal duties, they will need to depart their jobs. Simple as that. You’d be looking at gross misconduct for refusing to cooperate.

      A referendum struck down by the courts or one where the SNP was e.g. rounding up unionist voters and jailing them for campaigning etc would be quite a different matter.

      However, trying to block a free and fair vote is into Trump thug Capitol storming territory, and you are looking at jail for active obstruction. Interfering with voting is a criminal offence, and for good reason.

  14. yesindyref2 says:

    From the Herald:

    Adam Tomkins: I voted for Johnson as Tory leader but he’s betraying Conservatism

    The problem for Scottish Conservatives is that 211 MPs who voted for Johnson – a majority – are also betraying [decent] Conservatism, whereas only 2 of Scotland’s 6 MPs voted for Johnson – a self-serving minority.

    Scottish Conservatives should try to wake up to the real world.

    • Or drop the ‘and Unionist’ from their name?
      We shall certainly see a ‘Conservative’ Party in Free Scotland.
      ‘Now is the time’ for forward looking right wing politicians to get in on the ground floor, Day One of Independent Scotland?
      There may even be room for them on the Divorce Team of negotiators.
      Lib Dems and New Labour? Not so much.
      When Diageo and Hyundai start knocking on the door of Bute House when the figures indicate that Self Determination is nigh, just watch the True Blues Up Here have their Road to Dalmarnock conversion.

      • yesindyref2 says:

        Absolutely Jack, it’s a part of “Representative Democracy”.

        The Conservatives should make sure they’re not left behind.

      • Golfnut says:

        It’s the oil and gas corps that will cause the panic Jack.

  15. James Mills says:

    Another straw in the Independence Wind ? The Tories have reneged on their ”commitment ” to build HS2 as far as Scotland .
    This further snub to Scots was sneaked out during the Confidence Vote brouhaha – meaning they will NOT spend a penny of OUR money, which is subsidising this vanity project , on improving links with the rest of the UK .

    Could it be that Boris the Beast has NO CONFIDENCE in Scotland still being a part of the UK when this last link was to be built ( sometime in the 23rd Century ! ) ?

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      We’ve known for some time there will not be a 2.54 cms (or should that be ‘an inch’?) of HS2 will be laid in Cymru/Wales.

      And all this is to benefit ‘the whole country’? Just like the ‘Elizabeth Line’

      Aye, right.

      Welcome to our world, Scotland.

  16. Clydebuilt says:

    yawn . . . . Just woken up . . . . has BBC Scotland managed to get the Scotland manager sacked yet!

    • Welsh_Siôn says:

      What was that headline in the Daily Rancid?

      “Be more like Wales”

      God … that must hurt some people!

  17. Huh? Why not just donate a few million of his cash to homeless charities? That or offer to house those in need in his mansions?

    It’s typical Tories getting a photo op at the foodbanks they’ve created stuff. These people are truly sick.

    And folk like him who deliberately and weirdly flash their polished teeth in bizarre strained pouts when they smile are f’n weirdos.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-61747092

    Prince William spotted selling Big Issue in central London

    His smile could not look more contrived. It’s like ‘look at me smiling! I have amazing teeth right? Cos you scum can’t have that unless you have my kinda money! That or you take out a loan you can’t afford for some dental work in Turkey!’ And for what? Instagram pics that need sunglasses to look at?

    Every photo of this family looks fake. Because they are. They’re bloodsucking leaches. The true ‘subsidy junkies’. Go through life making absolutely no useful contribution to the world, but milking the system for every penny.

  18. Mark Robertson says:

    Nicola and hubby seamed to have a great time at the jubilee celebrations ! Is anyone else thinking this is weird ? Considering she couldn’t be arsed to find the time to attend a AUOB march in her own country, city

    • grizebard says:

      Because she has to win over those who are not yet committed to indy, not those who already are. It’s not hard to understand, one has only to think beyond the bubble. A lesson which some aspiring losers evidently still haven’t learnt, sadly.

      • Mark Robertson says:

        Oh Really ? So why hasn’t her strategy worked ,after 8 years We are still at 45% for yes in the polls
        Would it not have been more important to spend time and resources on giving the “aspiring losers” as you put it , the facts on HOW the SNP was going to improve Scotland and why they should change their minds and come along with us ?

        • grizebard says:

          They do. It’s just that inveterate grumblers like you are not paying attention. Wilfully, sometimes.

          • Mark Robertson says:

            Man up Mate ! “Inveterate grumblers “ “inspiring losers “ those statements ain’t gonna get us Indy!

            • grizebard says:

              Your original (twice repeated) complaint, let us not forget, was “Sturgin doesn’t go on indy marches”. The old bait-and-switch. While there is a programme for indyref in the offing, no less. So who exactly is wasting time and effort here, “mate”…?

          • Fable says:

            👍

        • Why lie about the % in polls? Yes is most certainly not on 45% average. People don’t trust liars so it’s better to tell the truth.

          The situation is this:

          The latest Yougov (the single ‘45%’), like it’s polls in general, are way out of kilter with the general trend, particularly since 2017. They produce the lowest lows for Yes, and smallest maximums. when everyone else was getting well over 50% in 20-21, yougov was barely over the line 3 times. On average, they are about 3% lower than the pack.

          The consistent long-term trend – which is what matters in terms of getting independence and that being the ‘settled will’ – is rising Yes with waves on top that ebb and flow in response to events. The pattern is no different from Sturgeon to Salmond as they can do nothing to encourage independence other than try to do a decent job at governing. It is wider (UK to global in our case) events that shape the future of nations and Scotland is no different. Politicians and political parteis themselves have very little influence. Each day Scotland gets a little less British as Britishness declines along with Britain itself. The SNP, Greens did not create support for yes, their rise is a product of it. They have grown in response to rising yes, not the other way around. The devolution referendums of 1979 and then 1997… iref1 and iref2 are products of Scots not becoming more Scottish – that they have always been – but less and less British.

          Very similar has been happening in N. Ireland (hence the unionists now in minority on just over 40%), and even Wales. All driven by the same factors.

          The good news is that Yes got every possible vote available in 2014. All those that considered Yes ended up voting for it. Peak Yes ahead of the vote was 45% on average and that’s what happened. Same will happen again. Peak yes is now well over 50%, as evidenced by the 20-21 wave on the rising tide.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      “Is anyone else thinking this is weird ? ” You mean aside from your atrocious grammar and spelling aside “arsed”, which for some strange reason you perfected. Are you really Alister Jack ?

      Then you threw in “in her own country, city” and it was obviously not Jack or anyone else from from around these parts…

      So NO, the only weird is yourself…

    • Alec Lomax says:

      AUOB heid bummer is an Alba member.

      • Capella says:

        I went on a few AUOB marches before the pandemic. But once the leadership began to attack the SNP I decided never to go an another march. I’m questioning the value of marches. They show solidarity but only if there is solidarity.

        But everything can be recovered. If AUOB can resolve to unify the independence movement then I would participate again. Everything is possible.

    • yesindyref2 says:

      Your puerile attack on the First Minister of Scotland: “Nicola and hubby“, with the FM officially representing Scotland same as Mark Drakeford officially represented Wales, is the same as AUOBNOW does, both openly and less openly such as:

      SCOTLAND CAN’T WAIT – SET THE DATE

      The Scottish Govt have promised a referendum before the end of 2023. We call on the First Minister and Govt to assert self determination now, and put Legislation through Parliament. Now is the time for bold action to ignite the campaign. (18)

      twitter. com/AUOBNOW/status/1529157206922432512

      AUOB used to be 200,000 people of all sorts out for a March or Rally about Independence. Now it’s about a small number of very noisy people venting their personal spleen against one person – Sturgeon.

      Just as you did.

      • yesindyref2 says:

        If you look at the banner in that National article, it should be something about Independence, but what it says is “AUOB – All Under One Banner”, with the Freudian slip or commentating caption saying: “All Under One Banner supporters will be out on the streets of Dumfries on Saturday“.

        It could be “All Under One Banner” for a one way trip to Mars for all anybody would know. Unless it’s just been photoshopped – again. One time that was done was something about “scum”. I’ll leave the rest to the memory.

        https://www.thenational.scot/news/20199880.everything-need-know-auob-dumfries-independence-rally/

        Hopefully the YES movement will get organised when it counts, and hold some rallies that are actually about Indy, not egos.

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