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By Jason Michael
GOOD GRIEF, exclaimed Lynn from Glasgow, “the sooner we get away from the likes of you the better.” Clearly, I had said something to upset a few people on Twitter. Not entirely unusual for me in fairness, but what was it I said to upset these independentistas – people on ‘my own side’ – so much? Earlier in the day the story that David Cameron, the British Prime Minister at the time of the 2014 independence referendum, had sought help from Mrs Saxe-Coburg und Gotha to defeat the independence campaign broke. Apparently, the monarch was not best pleased that her involvement at the request of the London government had become public knowledge – she is supposed to be above politics, after all. And Cameron himself was deeply apologetic that he had revealed too much – dropping the monarch in the shit, so to speak. However, this episode tells us a great deal about the political nature – yes, the ‘political nature’ – of the British monarchy. It reveals the fact that the monarch does not, in fact, transcend parliamentary democracy.
We know this, of course. We know for example, of the so-called ‘black spider memos’ – letters penned by Charles, the heir apparent, to government ministers and influential politicians over a number of years. Together with its wealth and power, its shady influence over the media, civil society and the state, and all the trappings of the Palace and Crown establishments and the loyalties and favours accrued by the honours system, it is safe to say the Saxe-Coburg und Gothas are, by any measure, the United Kingdom’s most political and politically influential family.
Shadiness does not even begin to describe the politics of this family. We have a history of the abdication of her uncle who was forced to abdicate on account of his and his wife’s infatuation with a certain Herr Hitler in Germany and his disgusting racial politics. From about the same time we have photographs of a young Lady Elizabeth and her mother giving fascist salutes – all in good humour, of course – out in the garden. Her grandson, too, has a penchant for dressing up in brown shirts and sporting red, white, and black swastika armbands. The politics of this immensely privileged family is dark – like, really freaking dark. Their behaviour, too, leaves a great deal to be desired. There’s Harry off in Las Vegas pictured naked in an expensive hotel room doing charlie with a call girl – possibly also Charlie (who knows?), Philip mocking the murder of Scottish schoolchildren… Ugh, you get the picture! These people – as far as their connection to the politics of the UK is concerned – are bad news. We can do without them.
Maybe they aren’t hiding the true identity of Jack the Ripper, and maybe they had nothing whatsoever to do with the ‘unlawful killing’ of Dianna Spencer, but it has never been the case that they do not have the clout to swing a big stinking cover-up. The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he doesn’t exist. So, it’s about time we quit this charade and stopped pretending that the reigning monarch and the royal family have ‘no power.’ They do of course. It’s not conventional power, and its certainly not transparent and accountable power, but it is power – and a damn sight more power and influence than any other ordinary family in the country has.
Paulie D (@p_docherty) September 19, 2019
When I say I’m a Republican, what I mean is that I want rid of the monarchy now – like, today – never mind later in an independent Scotland (more jam tomorrow). So, it stands to reason that my own – personal – vision of an independent Scotland is an independent Scottish Republic. The thought of independence day, whenever that will be, being the first day of a newly independent ‘Kingdom of Scotland’ – with an unelected monarch as head of state and in attendance for the opening of our parliament with the singing of God Save the Queen to boot – gives me, quite frankly, the willies. It is not the independence I want. Admittedly, it is better (but, then, only slightly) than what we have – but I – personally – do not see this as independence, not really. Sure, I’ll take it. But only reluctantly, and only then as a stepping stone – a horrible, slimy one – to the true independence I seek for my country.
But people “the likes of” me upset people like Lynn from Glasgow – Scottish monarchists. The turn of phrase – the likes of you – betrays an attitude. It hints at their understanding of Republicanism as being somehow similar to the unionists’ understanding of Nationalism – something putrid, disgusting, dangerous, poisonous even. People the likes of me look out over Scotland and see an ocean of injustice. Wealthy private landlords own the houses struggling people call home. An elite social class has imposed austerity on the country. One in four of all Scotland’s children live in poverty. We subsidise the City of London – a city in a foreign country – while foodbanks and homeless shelters have become so commonplace, we hardly notice them anymore. Thanks to our union with England and the countless economic decisions made in London over the centuries to the benefit of England, Scotland exists in a near perma-recession – and there’s no real evidence to suggest it can get any better unless we break away from the neighbour who is bleeding us dry.
People the likes of me look at this and get angry. Absolutely, we can’t see this and draw a line from the awful effects right to Mrs Saxe-Coburg and Gotha’s door – but she is the actual physical embodiment of a constitutionalised system of privilege and inequality. What use, people the likes of me ask, is independence to the people at the very bottom – and there’s not a few of them in Scotland – when nothing has changed. Independence is more than the sum of its parts. Independence is not merely sovereign autonomy. It is freedom! What sort of freedom is there in a state in which gross social and political inequality are constitutionally enshrined?! Really? People the likes of me do not see this as any kind of freedom. It reduces independence to a politico-legal fiction – a thing, but not a thing.
cwilk (@cwilk123) September 19, 2019
In the independence movement we talk so much about building a better Scotland, about improving the lot of Scottish people in Scotland. We talk about beginning this ‘indy’ as we mean to go on. This is all just talk, though – isn’t it? I want to start as I mean to go on. I want to begin Scottish independence with a whole new Scotland, not a reset to the ugliness that was aristocratic Scotland prior to 1707. The world has changed. We have changed. Say what you want about prioritising independence before a Republic, I want both – and I want both because I do not believe either one of these things exists without the other. Nor do I want to begin our independence journey with an act of deception – and this is what many are suggesting. The argument is that we should go for independence first so we can win the votes of those who are still in thrall to the sham majesty of the Crown, and then – when we have won – work on ridding ourselves of the monarchy. Essentially, this thinking is not too far removed from what the unionists and the British state have done to us – Vote No to independence and safeguard Scotland’s place in Europe!
We were lied to. We were deceived. Not a one of us is happy with that lie. So, why then would we turn now to our fellow Scots and say: Vote for independence and we can keep the monarchy, when, in fact, the plan is to ditch it as soon as we’re shot of the rump UK? Start as we mean to go on?! Yeah sure. Start by repeating the behaviour of Britain and we will condemn ourselves to a future as the Little Britain of the north, a reproduction in the dreich of the empire over which the sun never set. Give me a break! Where is the integrity in that? Please do explain, because I sure as hell fail to see it. Freedom and justice are not meaningless concepts built atop lies and deceptions. Freedom – true independence – demands transparency, meaningful informed consent.
Before any half-baked notion of ‘indy,’ what I want is a free Scotland. I want a free and open democratic society; established of all the people of Scotland, by all the people of Scotland, and for all the people of Scotland – for everyone who chooses to make this country their home. Wanting this and wanting it not built on a deception is all that I ask. It is all that I want. But people the likes of me don’t really belong here, do we? Here we are, offered the rare opportunity in history to become the founding mothers and fathers of a great new potential – with all the hope and promise we can imagine into it, and what are we doing? We’re settling, it seems, for a sovereign and autonomous reproduction in miniature of a British state that has given us the boak. This is the distinction I make between ‘indy’ and Scottish independence. But then, maybe soon you’ll be able to get away from the likes of me. The sooner the better perhaps.
$460 Million Repair Bill for Buckingham Palace