By Tristan Gray – Convenor
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.