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Republicanism Enters the SNP Leadership Debate

By Tristan Gray – Convenor

Full article here:

This week Kate Forbes, Ash Regan, and Humza Yousaf were asked where they stand on the Monarchy during an SNP leadership hustings.

These were their overall responses:
Forbes – “I’m pretty relaxed about it. It’s not important to people.”
Regan – “I’m a republican. Backing the Monarchy was the right position for the time, but now let’s go back to conference and have a debate.”
Yousaf – “I’m a republican. We’d keep the Monarchy for a period of time before transitioning after independence.”

Two of the candidates clearly believe in a future for Scotland with an elected head of state. One does not believe it is an issue worth taking a stance on.

We believe the time is now for starting to have the discussion about this topic because we know Charles is significantly less popular than the Queen was. We don’t think his coronation full of wealth and pomp is going to help during a cost of living crisis.

We’re really grateful to the SNP member who brought it up because it is important to know the perspective of the new first minister coming in because it’s not really a debate that’s happened at the top of the party so far.

There is a clear impact on people’s lives from Charles actively putting himself into the middle of the political arena as we saw last week when he intervened on the Brexit negotiations on behalf of Rishi Sunak.

In the past we’ve seen the monarchy’s impact has been to some extent to reinforce the status quo, we saw that with the independence referendum, but never has it been quite so blatant as a monarch actively intervening in negotiations on foreign affairs on behalf of the prime minister.

Not only do we have that, where the monarchy intervenes in the best interests of the Conservative Party, but for their own interests too when they meddle with our laws to ensure they don’t have to abide by the same laws as everyone else.

We also have the less direct impact of the monarchy, which is the underlying impact they have on what a society thinks is the right way society should work. The underlying belief that nepotism is okay, that the system of nods and handshakes between wealthy men is actually all right and proper.

Why should people be able to criticise Boris Johnson for giving his father a knighthood when we know that’s exactly how the monarchy works as an institution and the monarchy is raised up as the pinnacle of our society?

We have contacted all three candidates and asked if they would support the points that are made in our petition – to make the communication between the Scottish Parliament and the monarchy transparent, to remove exemptions to our laws that have been made for the benefit of the monarchy and its estates, and to ensure no further exemptions will be made in future.

We think that’s all common sense stuff that even monarchists should support if they believe that the founding principle of how our country should work, that everyone is equal under law, should also apply to the monarchy.

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1 thought on “Republicanism Enters the SNP Leadership Debate

  1. I’m annoyed that EVERYBODY has forgotten that in 1997 the SNP Conference at Rothesay debated whether there should be a referendum on the monarchy “within the first term of an independent Scottish Government”. The resulting vote was YES. (An amendment to the effect that in the event of such a referendum the SNP should openly campaign for a republic fell).
    It took me three years to get the resolution on to the agenda and then when Princess Diana died there was heavy pressure on me and my branch to withdraw the resolution.
    When it was passed the resolution made headlines in all the newspapers and on the TV news, The plan for a referendum became official SNP policy and was quoted as such when, for example, John Swinney as leader was asked what the policy was on the monarchy.
    The policy for a referendum on the monarchy has never been rescinded by Conference which is still officially the policy-creating body (although I accept that in the real SNP world of today it’s the NEC which creates policy and the Conference only showcases it).
    That being the case, there’s no point in reinventing the wheel and re debating the issue at Conference. It was already debated in 1997 and the case in favour of a referendum won the day. Obviously the Our Republic organisation doesn’t know this.
    Once Scotland is independent I would hope we will quickly move on to that referendum on the monarchy. And let that hard-won debate back in 1997 be the foundation for it!

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