Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A future monarchy for a future Scotland

It is one of the smaller talking points in the debate about Scotland's future but in the month of the 60th anniversary of the Coronation the question of who should be the head of state is still quite an emotive topic among many. Although the unionist politicians are keen to throw the promise of keeping the Queen onto the long list of 'nationalist claims' it is more a matter of fact that the Queen, on day one of independence, will be Scotland's sovereign.

Not only is it Alex Salmond's express wish to retain the monarchy it is also highly unlikely she can be removed from her role in Scotland without first consulting the public. The Queen, with the best health provision possible and remaining in remarkable shape for an 87 year-old woman could easily to be with us beyond her 100th birthday in 2026 a whole decade after Scotland's projected year of independence. So the majority of Scotland's population with its former unionists and people who are open-minded on the issue of the monarchy are going to vote to keep the Queen and her heirs.


The current Royal Standard as used in Scotland

I won't make a secret that I'm one of those who would vote to keep the Queen as head of state. But I also believe the monarchy needs its reforms. However, the question of the monarchy is secondary to the much bigger questions about Scotland's economic performance and pursuit of social justice.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Independence is where Scotland's future lies

There is a backstory to why I support independence for Scotland at the next opportunity. Independence is normal for countries around the world and full sovereignty has practically become the standard for defining a country. But I haven't always believed in Scottish independence so I would regard myself as very much a convert to the cause.

So let's go straight back to the beginning. At five years of age already with over two years of memories behind me we are travelling back on the boat from Sweden. I hear my sister mention that we are returning 'to England'. Of course that's true as the boat was to dock in Harwich. However, this being my first introduction to the seven-letter name and having not yet heard 'Scotland' uttered I naturally thought that England included my area round where I lived in what I now know to be Southern Scotland. When I was corrected within a year of this misunderstanding I began taking it for granted that Scotland and England were two different countries. And around the age of eight or nine I learned the horrid truth after reading some atlases that officially they were both part of the same 'country'. I decided this mattered and when we were given the exercise of identifying the countries to which a list of European capital cities belonged I came across London and wrote beside it, 'Great Britain.' The teacher wasn't happy about this and asked me to correct it to 'England'. There must have been one of two reasons for this. One was that the teacher was a Scottish nationalist. The other was that the teacher felt that the idea of countries within a larger country was a rather awkward and confusing thing to discuss and everyone was at that point used to 'England and Scotland' or 'Scotland and England'. Why complicate that?