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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.
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.
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.
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19 thoughts on “Vile Republican Scumbag”
People are traumatised because the gears of empire have become visible – too visible to deny. You make them angry because you make them not be able to look away from that truth – and they don’t like this feeling of a massive cognitive dissonance. It must hurt.
Weirdly this monarchy backlash is the tell-tale sign of how badly the SNP have potentially messed this up . Normally it is exceedingly difficult to defeat an empire – they have so many layers and mechanisms of control – most of them hidden that you can’t break the chains. Over the last 3 years Westminster itself has exposed those mechanisms and not only is it highly vulnerable it has been found wanting.
If this was a computer game – it is like the last challenge has actually lowered all its defences and instead of freeing yourself – you help it to re-power up.
Unless this falls in SNP’s lap by mistake – or the SNP is playing a last-minute fake – this will go down in Folklore and become a future generation’s swear word.
You are ignoring the reality of the situation in Scotland. We have only very recently gained some momentum in the polls. If you worked on a independence stall or canvassed you would realise that there are still a high percentage of voters who are not interested in politics or who are very much against independence. Don’t blame SNP for their reluctance to risk another No vote. Instead look at the brain washing BBC and MSM who lie and manipulate truth to keep people ignorant of the reality of Brexit.
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I disagree. I love all those who work tirelessly for YES. This is not at their feet.
However, the world over, the majority are not engaged in politics – until its time to be. If you want people to move, you need to campaign to give them something to wake them up.
A lack of campaign to galvanise Scotland is fully at the feet of the SNP (particularly a party whose Raison d’être is INDY). If you sit and wait – don’t be surprised if you get stung by a counter attack.
The unionists who goad YES by saying they win at the polls are correct. YES at 50% should dominate every level of government but can’t even get out to win bye elections. The SNP have pretended everything is normal (just a bit Brexity) so it is unsurprising that YES are not energised and Scotland is in the main sitting idly by while the car crash is about to happen.
I think it is hard for people who always lived under a Monarchy to understand what a difference it makes when you have a democratic form of government, where all the different parts of that government are at least vaguely accountable and know they have a job to do apart from being paid vast amounts of taxpayers money to wave at people.
You you do belong here Jason. Only person articulating that you don’t is you. I always enjoy reading your words ( although sometimes I’ve felt uncomfortable). I’m nobody with an important voice- just a wee Scots-Irish granny who wants the best future for my family. My Irish heritage is something about me I value very much and I’m glad we don’t need (yet) to go down the same road to ‘ Indy’ as Ireland did. I moved from Yes to No on the Monarchy and abolishing it. I now look forward to Scotland becoming a Republic but in my mind it will come after we gain independence. That’s my goal- to do my wee but important bit to help SNP and Yes parties deliver this. Many of us ‘Indy’ supporters care passionately about making a free Scotland a reality. I’m grateful for your voice in our political situation.
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There are two issues which are not necessarily linked. You do not need to support Scottish Independence to be a Republican. But neither do you need to be a Republican to support Scottish Independence.
As it happens I would hope that an Independent Scotland was a republic, but there are more important issues like Independence, Environmental threats Land ownership, the Welfare system, the list goes on.
We will I hope get the Republic when we are adopting the constitution of Scotland. until them I’ll get on with what matters.
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All true, but obviously ‘importance’ is subjective. A Republic is important to me and many others.
I don’t disagree, but while a republic could in theory happen without Scottish Independence, I would see it as necessary for Scotland to become independent to have s realistic chance of becoming a republic
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I hear you, but I tend to think that independence may just not be possible without the Republic. The power is strong in that old medieval magic.
I see the order as independence and then a republic (and then Socialism). I don’t believe that the U.K. as a republic is practical politics at last not with the Queen still alive
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I am not in favour of the monarchy. However, like a lot of people, think it’s naive not to acknowledge that lots of our older generation in Scotland still like or love them. From my earliest recollections, the first being a national holiday when I was 5 for the wedding of QE, royalty have been revered in this country and it’s really only in the last few decades that they’ve been exposed for the venal and greedy elite they are. Why the U.K. still supports them financially I’ll never know, especially when the other Monarchs in Europe have become an irrelevance. We have to tread carefully at this important time. Let’s get independence first then we can deal with these troughers.
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Reblogged this on Ramblings of a 50+ Female.
There are too many non-sequiters in the argument being put forward.
The claim that if we retain the monarchy on independence we are not actually independent is nonsense. Australia, Canada and New Zealand all retained the monarchy on gaining independence. Does that mean they are not really independent? Do they not have their own social, economic and foreign policies? Of course they do. There is no diminution of independence simply because we have a monarch as head of state instead of a President.
The assumption that a Republic is intrinsically more egalitarian than a constitutional monarchy is also nonsense. The USA is a Republic yet the inequality rife in that country is, if anything, worse than in the UK. As is the case with many Republics around the World. By contrast, the constitutional monarchies of Scandinavia are often cited as models of egalitarian societies.
The claim we would have to “lie” to Indies who want to retain the monarchy by pretending not to want a Republic until after independence is achieved, and then springing it on them with a collective cry of “surprise” is, again, nonsense. There is no need to hide republican views, just as there is no need to hide monarchist views. These views exist within the UK never mind an independent Scotland so it would be futile and counter productive to pretend otherwise.
I’m reminded of the account given by an indie supporter who met an acquaintance on the way to the polling booths in 2014 that he knew was a die hard indie. However, the acquaintance told him he was voting No because the Queen would remain head of state of the newly independent state. He wanted two things; an independent Scotland and a Republic. So, bizarrely, decided that if he couldn’t have both …. he didn’t want any. Rather than vote for independence and take the opportunity to argue for a Republic this offered, he decided to “Remain” (sic) in a Monarchy with no chance of achieving the Republic he wanted. He was the “idiot”; not the woman who happens to be comfortable with a constitutional monarchy,
It is becoming a cliche but it is none-the-less true, whatever you want an independent Scotland to eventually be, first of all GET INDEPENDENCE. Work for a Republic within the newly independent state if it is that important to you.
PS The only time I have voted in a TV programme poll was to vote for a Republic. I am sympathetic towards it but I’m not willing to sacrifice independence for it.
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You failed to mention a single non sequitur.
I suppose it depends on what you consider a non-sequitur. Your article claims A leads to B as if it was inevitable on several occasions. I don’t believe the evidence points to that inevitability. Therefore, to me, they were non-sequiturs.
A non-sequitur is a conclusion that does not follow logically from the previous statement. I don’t believe your conclusions follow logically from your initial statements. Certainly not inevitably.
The definition of a non sequitur is not subjective.
100% spot-on Jason. The thought of “these people” who derive satisfaction from kneeling to “these people” sends shivers up my spine
I see several people try to make an argument in favor o monarchy citing Canada and Australia. And what about India? What about Ireland, U.S or…. Israel?
Why in US there’s an elected President and not the Queen of England as head of state?
None of one realms in Commonwealth ever had to strive against Britain. Anyone is entitled to have his own opinion but there are historical reasons why a lot of former British colonies are a Republic, right now, and why others aren’t, and in my opinion accepting monarchy would be a disavowal of Scottish history.
We need to have a vote regarding keeping the monarchy. I personally don’t want a monarchy but many do and I do not want this to be a stumbling block for our independence.