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Why should Scotland just fall into line?

The following letter appeared in the National on Monday, September 12th:

Charles was officially proclaimed King at 10 am at the Accession Council on Saturday and an hour later proclaimed sovereign, with a second proclamation as sovereign at noon at the Royal Exchange in the City of London.  There will be proclamations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Sunday.

            In Scotland there are serious doubts about whether we want to remain in the UK, and whether we wish to retain the monarchy.  Many in Scotland like the monarchy as an institution and had a great affection for Elizabeth, but I think many more in Scotland do not share that view.

            The Lord Lyon King of Arms will be reading this proclamation out at 11 am. to the people of Scotland. There will be numerous other ceremonies throughout Scotland.  In Wales, the proclamation will be at Cardiff Castle, with the Wales Herald of Arms Extraordinary making the proclamation in English and the Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan doing the honours in Welsh.

            So my question is ‘Why are we accepting a new monarch who is preserving all the bad things we want to be rid of?’  Should we not now be putting this to the people of Scotland to decide?  The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, while accepting King Charles as head of state for now, is pushing for a referendum on a republic within 3 years.

            By many metrics, the United Kingdom is a failed state.  The nation-state is supposed to create a system of rule of law, rights which can be defended, and then create as much as is possible the conditions where people can live their lives reasonably well.  In the UK, this is no longer the case.  In one of the richest countries in the world, people are reduced to foodbanks to eat, as all their money goes on exorbitant rents and energy.  The government enables the exploitation of the poor by laws promoting zero-hours contracts, punitive welfare sanctions, and encouraging the greed of the haves at the expense of the have-nots.  Their answer to the poor (and by many measures that is now most of us) is to work harder/faster/smarter, anything as long as it is not dismantling the structures of power.

            The UK has scant regard for the law when it applies to themselves (partygate), and only cared about exploitative big business when it became apparent it was affecting the middle class.  In its New Zealand trade deal, it wants to turn the UK into a dumping ground for thousands of tonnes of foreign produce, and to hell with Scottish farmers.  It applies the rigour of the law to trade unionists and benefit claimants, and it is not creating the economic conditions where people can lead dignified lives. 

            It is dismantling laws which protect the people, like its replacement of the Human Rights Act.  It is disregarding the Northern Ireland Protocol and couldn’t care less about a continued relationship with the EU, not to mention its destruction of Scotland’s and Northern Ireland’s relationship with the EU.  The UK could have been like Denmark, which has territories which are not in the EU while Denmark itself is, but that would have weakened its grip on the UK.

            The monarchy legitimises all the power imbalances at every level of society.  it promotes the idea that things should just continue as they always have.  Kings and Queens belong in the Middle Ages. 

            Wouldn’t this have been a great time for Scotland to say we are NOT going to automatically fall in line?  To restate the supremacy of the People of Scotland, and delay acceptance of a new monarch until we are sure we want one?  

           By all means, respect the passing of Elizabeth, support the idea of monarchy if you want, but the ceremonies and trappings of the passing of power are deliberately set up so as to make us fall in line for fear of being seen to disrespect the passing monarch and, worse, upset the apple cart.  But isn’t that what a nationalist Scottish government should be doing, at least asking the question?

Julia Pannell                                        12/09/2022

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