2007 - 2021

Diamond Lite

The jubilee is like extra strong cheap cider. It’ll take your mind off things very quickly but by god you’ll feel bad when you come to your senses. So if you are necking undilluted Brit propaganda this weekend, drink responsibly.

My favourite jubilee story is the one that all this fawning over blue blood  will put us in the red.  Okay, that WAS my favourite jubilee story, though it’s been recently eclipsed by the idea of a BNP Vajazzle (‘Her Majazzle’ anyone?).

There’s a tendency to say “none of this matters”. Or at least it matters no more than any of the raft of light entertainment that keeps the whole show bubbling along (‘No likey – no lighty‘). This is just a holiday with cupcakes. Everyone getting blootered amongst the bunting isn’t really acquiescing to feudalism, they just want a break. And anyway, you can’t really HATE Lizzie, you’ve never even heard her be herself. This is a ‘biscuit tin monarchy’, so don’t fight it.

There’s various theories about what’s going on here.

Glen Newy suggests it’s a reaction against political failure: “As politicians sink ever deeper in public esteem, so the queen rises. Over the coming weekend the country’s usually scabrous public sphere will turn, as it did when Diana croaked, as deferential as Zimbabwe’s.” David Hare has written that the monarchy is the last part of British society not yet privatised, and we cling on to it pining for the simplicity of the 1950s (‘the monarch floats above the stink during a national carnival of disillusionment ‘).

While Laurie Penny writing on the ‘Royal Wedding’ last year pinned it down as essentially ‘Twee aesthetic nostalgia for a fantasy of “lost Britishness” . Penny hit the spot arguing that: “There is something monstrous in this fetishisation of wartime austerity and imperial pride – but there is something tragic there, too. There is a sense that the future is closing down, while Britain’s glorious past shines ever brighter.”

So why shouldn’t we aim to remove the monarch whilst we’re breaking up the British State with independence? Patrick Harvie says the Greens will campaign for just that (and good on them), and Edinburgh Eye has quizzed Bella on the SNP position. As our most articulate republican points out: “The monarch we are supposed to celebrate this odd weekend has no claim to the throne of Scotland. She is not, and has never been, my queen. I hereby pull down the entire edifice of the British state. For fun, you understand. For the Jubilee.”

Bella believes in a republic, and will argue extensively and campaign exhaustively for one. But the independence referendum is about 1707 not 1603. Once we have sovereignty –  all else falls into place. This is about a new democratic order. Change the structure and the whole thing will split open like a piñata. In other words we need democracy, real power, in order to make real change. Tethering the referendum to Betty Brandenberg is a fools game.

Myths, relics and blind populism remain powerful motivators. Choose your ground.

Of all the arguments in favour of the monarchy the idea that she – it – somehow defends our democracy is not just the oddest, but the most offensive. Only in Britain could the idea of fetishising feudalism be equated with democracy. In fact the monarchy secures not just landed privilege but justifies the whole system.

As Lenins Tomb put it: “The monarchy still functions as the guarantor of a caste within the ruling class, which any good bourgeois wants admittance to – give an old chief executive an OBE, and he will consider himself to have truly lived. It still bestows social distinction – more than that, it upholds and perpetuates the superstitious belief in distinction, in meritorious ‘honour’ as well as ‘honour’ by birthright. Its systems of ranking still structure hierarchies within the state, notably the police, the navy, the air force, and the army. It is still the major patron of ‘Britishness’, the myth of a temporally continuous and organically whole national culture.”

But it’s important to realise how much that ‘whole national culture’ is dependent on Balmoral, the Castle of Mey, the ‘Prince of Wales’ and all of the associated trappings to present the Queen of England as an icon of Britishness. Without a UK, there will not be anarchy, but democracy, and there’s no place for a monarch in a new Scotttish democracy.

Comments (8)

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  1. DougtheDug says:

    But the independence referendum is about 1707 not 1603. Once we have sovereignty – all else falls into place.

    Which is also the way I feel. First the country and then the republic. There seems to be an odd idea floating around that the policies the SNP propose for Scotland before the referendum are the ones which will define how Scotland is governed for ever more after the referendum.

    I helped vote Alex Salmond in as leader of the SNP in 2004 and it was a good choice but that doesn’t mean I always agree with him or with his views on the monarchy.

    What the SNP propose in terms of such things as currency and the monarchy are simply the starting points for a new Scotland on independence day one. What we decide for Scotland from day 2 onwards is up to us as Scots.

  2. Ben Power says:

    Very persuasive article, and having had a gut full of all the red white and blue bunting etc etc I tend to agree with the position.
    But maybe a majority of Scots do not so lets just get independence for Scotland first.
    After that Scots can decide if they want this or that monarch. At the moment we do not get to decide anything much at all for ourselves.

    If offering Elizabeth Rex to keep the crown of Scotland guarantees the independence minded royalists to vote yes for independence, well I am all for it.
    And if it ever comes to a referendum on monarchy or not for Scotland. Well whatever the majority of Scots vote for, I would be all for that too.
    It is all about democracy in my opinion. I may not like a direction and may try to persuade against it, but if the majority decide one way, that’s the way they will go.

    A horrible bit about ti all is that even if an english monarch wanted to do the right thing and throw it all in as a bad deal, there would be a thousand others or more clamouring to take their place such is the indoctrination of rampant in our society.

    We have a long way to go, a good start would be to cull princess/prince fairy stories and tales of derring do of british aristocratic warmongers and empire builders fed to our children..

  3. John Souter says:

    In this world there are many servants riding horses – the problem is their horses are going nowhere due to the amount of toadies clinging on to the their tail and surviving off the excrement that appears from under it.

  4. The problem is this…

    and the jubilee celebrations serve to reinforce the institution.

  5. Scots Citizen says:

    “…subsidizing what is left of the prestige and strength of the once mighty Britain. The sun has set forever on that monocled, pith-helmeted resident colonialist, sipping tea with his delicate lady in the non-white colonies being systematically robbed of every valuable resource. Britain’s superfluous royalty and nobility now exist by charging tourists to inspect the once baronial castles, and by selling memoirs, perfumes, autographs, titles, and even themselves.”
    ~Malcolm X

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