The Scottish left is planning to dump the Queen as head of state if the country votes for independence. Despite the official line that Queen Elizabeth II will be kept on the Scotsman has revealed a plot to oust her.
Republicans are believed to see independence as the ideal opportunity to put in place an elected head of state. They took the opportunity of the debate around the recently published draft Scottish interim constitution to speak out.
Colin Fox, a member of both the The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and the Yes Scotland advisory board member attacked the constitution for stating that the Queen would stay on.
Fox said: “I am sure the Scottish Socialist Party is not the only one to see the flaw in this plan. Constitutional sovereignty only rests in the people when they also have the right to elect their own head of state. ‘Hereditary privileges’ and ‘the divine right of kings’ have no place in democratic constitutions worthy of the name.
“The view that ‘the people are sovereign’ cannot be upheld if we maintain a constitution that describes us as ‘subjects of Her Majesty’. Such an approach cannot be reconciled to democratic principles of equality, citizenship and the sovereignty of the people.”
Mr Fox is not alone in harbouring republican views and his comment were backed by leading lights in both the Green movement and the hard-left Common Weal project.
First Minister Alex Salmond has previously stated that the constitution of the independent country would be created by a convention of the Scottish people. But in the meantime an interim constitution would be put in the place by the Scottish Independence Bill published by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week.
The bill sets out how the country would be run from the proposed independence day of 24th March 2016 until the new constitution is drafted and agreed.
Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP and independence campaigner, was not as critical of the interim constitution as Fox but still he believes Scotland should abolish the monarchy.
He said: “I recognise that we are not suddenly going to convert the SNP to republicanism. After a Yes vote parliament will probably pass the interim constitutional law, which retains the Queen as head of state.
“After that, however, the constitutional convention will look at the alternatives and I will be making the case for an elected head of state.
“We can live with that [the interim constitution] at the moment, but it is not my ideal preference. The most important thing is to secure a Yes vote.”
The divisions in the independence camp over how to deal with the issue of monarchy was described as a “shambles” by the Better Together campaign against independence.
At the moment they are ahead in the polls but there are large numbers of undecided voters, particularly women. The media seem agreed that the referendum result is still up in the air but unless the yes camp can convince women of the practicality of their proposals they will lose.
Discussions about the role of the monarchy are not new in this campaign. In March Breitbart London exclusively revealed that an independent Scotland may end up with a Governor appointed in London. This would be in line with the arrangements in other independent countries such as Australia and Canada.
Traditionalists in Scotland are likely to be put off by the anti-monarchist ideas. Whilst most Conservatives are also Unionists there are a sizable number of right-wing traditionalists who like the Monarchy but want independence.
They are likely to see this proposal as evidence that an independent Scotland may become much more left-wing than the United Kingdom, putting the country at risk of becoming much less prosperous than England.
It remains technically illegal to call for, or even think of abolishing the monarchy. The law, which is now considered an amusing legislative relic, still says that anyone found guilty of wanting to create a republic should be beheaded.
Whilst independent Scots may want to sever all links with the United Kingdom the feeling is unlikely to be mutual. Irish heredity members of the House of Lords still enjoy the same rights and privileges of their English, Welsh and Scottish counterparts. Indeed up until 1999 they all sat in the House of Lords making laws over the United Kingdom, which the Irish Republic left in 1922.
The Scottish and English thrones were initially merged because James VI of Scotland happened to also be the heir of Queen Elizabeth I of England. When she died he also became King James I of England. Confusingly because of this the present Queen is Elizabeth II in England and Elizabeth I in Scotland.