Politicians on both sides of the political divide have called for Her Majesty the Queen to make an intervention on the matter of Scottish independence, but fears of politicising the Monarchy have left the Prime Minister and Cabinet office paralysed and unable to act.
Many newspapers have reported the comments of Her Majesty in 1977, when she used a speech during her Silver Jubilee to make her thoughts known on the matter of Scottish and Welsh devolution.
Royal historian and monarchy expert Rafe Heydel-Mankoo, a research associate at the public policy think-tank ResPublica and a trustee of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust, points out this is not the only time the Queen has intervened on such matters, and that she made moving statements in support of Canadian national unity during that country’s heated debate regarding Quebecois independence.
Speaking of her intervention, he said: “In the middle of this intense and very nasty Canadian political drama, The Queen made an official visit to her Canadian realm.
“On the advice of her Canadian ministers The Queen delivered a moving, and perfectly pitched, speech to the tens of thousands of people who were assembled in front of Parliament; it was also broadcast live on television to millions of homes. Her Majesty’s words in Ottawa in 1990 could well be repeated today in Edinburgh.”
The Queen’s Ottawa speech followed two speeches in 1987 calling for Quebec to stay in Canada. Addressing her people in Canada, she said: “I am not just a fair-weather friend and I am glad to be here at this sensitive time. I hope my presence may call to mind those many years of shared experience and raise new hopes for the future. The unity of the Canadian people was the paramount issue in 1867 as it is today. There is no force except the force of will to keep Canadians together”.
The Queen made the speeches on the advice of her Canadian ministers, and constitutionally she would do the same on the advice of her British adviser – the Prime Minister. As the responsibility to take action is incumbent upon the PM a growing number of parliamentarians have pleaded with Mr Cameron to advise the Queen to address the nation before the vote on September 18th.
Speaking to Breitbart London, Liberal Democrat MP Sir Bob Russel emphasised the decision on this matter does not rest with the palace, saying: “the ball is firmly in the Prime Minister’s court, not the head-of-state’s”.
David Cameron has this afternoon announced he, and the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats, will not be attending Prime Ministers’ Questions tomorrow in an unprecedented move, as they go North to Scotland to campaign for the Union. Unfortunately, all three suffer poor approval ratings north of the border, a fact that has apparently delighted pro-independence leader Alex Salmond. But, as Heydel-Mankoo points out, the Queen remains extremely popular in Scotland and commands more respect.
“Her Majesty The Queen is the most respected figure in the country (including Scotland) and is consistently ranked among the three most frequently cited symbols associated with “Britishness”, the very quality we may be about to lose. Her Majesty’s approval rating dwarfs those of Ed Milliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg combined.”
Heydel-Mankoo has suggested the only public event at which the Queen could speak before the vote without appearing contrived or politicised would be at one of the various celebrations held for the annual Battle of Britain Day, which will be marked with services and ceremonies nationwide around the 15 September, 3 days before the referendum.
Concluding, Heydel-Mankoo said Her Majesty could consider using the opportunity to “deliver a gentle but moving speech about our national accomplishments and how we really are better together. In 1940 we stood alone as an island nation, resolved in spirit and united in purpose. This year, let Battle of Britain Day become the Battle FOR Britain”.