Author: Ian Stewart
Read Time: 7-8 minutes, 1,081 words
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Is it time for Scotland to give up the monarchy?
This may seem like a controversial question to some, but to many in Scotland this would be answered with a straight forward yes and a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders. Should the question ever be put to the nation, it would be hard to imagine it being an issue that would create a lot of debate. Of course, the UK government would likely intervene, and the newspapers would circle the wagons to defend the Monarchy, but I’m not sure they would succeed. I’ve lived here for over thirty years and there is so much of a contrast on this issue between Scotland and the rest of the U.K. It is nothing like the debate on self-governance we’ve had.
Like many who live here, I do not hold a strong opinion on the subject. I’m not trying to lead the troops into battle, take on the crown of England, or start a revolution, I’m not going to go off on a mad tirade accusing the royal family of being Reptilians, or even dive into the complexities of Scottish politics where the people are considered sovereign. I’ve given up being angry at a stubborn system that never changes, nowadays I ponderously stroke my beard, sip coffee and imagine how the future will be. Maybe Scotland will one day become a republic, maybe one day Dundee FC will win the Scottish cup, maybe one day they will create an app that will translate my words so that the animals can understand me. None of them are likely, but I still like to imagine what that world might be like.
With news recently of a new Royal baby being born, the most surprising thing for me was discovering that Kate Middleton was pregnant. Admittedly, I stopped buying newspapers years ago, so most of my information comes to me on a Twitter newsfeed catered to my own interests - Mainly blogs, poetry, pictures of animals, and music – you know, the important things in life. However, it seems that I was not alone in my ignorance and in fact many in Scotland, like me, were oblivious to the newest member of the royal family. It just seems that most of Scotland holds little affection towards the Monarchy, forgetting at times they even exist.
While some were celebrating, I was looking at pictures of the happy couple leaving hospital with their new born and my heart was filled with empathy, particularly for Kate. A woman who had just experienced child birth and was now forced to stand for photographers, make-up on, not a hair out of place, prim and proper, looking like they were about to go for a casual stroll around the park. I was thinking back to Prince Harry’s visit to Edinburgh where there were dwindling crowds of indifference. Whilst royalists were celebrating news of a royal wedding, people here were asking if we would get a day off work for it. It was a tongue in cheek question, but that’s about the extent of how much they care.
Maybe it’s ignorance, or perhaps I just lack respect, but I don’t buy in to a system where I need to be subservient in the presence of anyone. I see them the way I see everyone else, they’re human like the rest of us, with their own failings and if I am going to respect someone, then it needs to be earned. I don’t mean some bullshit like working hard or being a team player, but to have someone born into power that I need to automatically treat as a greater individual than myself? Fuck that.
There was no kind of anti-monarchy upbringing in my life, I was once told a story where my Irish grandfather embarrassed my gran at the pictures by refusing to stand as they played God Save The Queen, it was a rebellious moment that filled me with pride for the man I never met, but I suppose he had reason for it having lived in a unified Ireland and seen it torn apart under a Union Jack. However, I don’t think that was the sole reason I have reached this point in my life without ever learning the words to God Save The Queen. It’s supposedly our national anthem, and I couldn’t tell you what the first line was. In fact, I know more words to the Star-Spangled Banner just from watching American television. I wonder if this is the case for anyone else?
In recent years, Scotland has become a forward thinking, progressive nation. The people are at the heart of that. We know what kind of country we want to be, mostly. We don’t have the same immigration “issues” that seem to be so prevalent in England and we’re in fact still somewhat suffering from the forced emigration problems of the past. We could do with increasing the population by a million or so, and perhaps that’s why we are so welcoming when it comes to immigration. We realise that we need to make Scotland a welcome home to whoever chooses to live here, and we do so without fear of them stealing our jobs, whilst simultaneously being benefit cheats. Don’t get me wrong, there are ill-informed, xenophobic individuals who think this way, but it’s not their fault when it’s being rammed down their throats by a corrupt media. There has been too much politics recently, so I have no intentions of diving in to talk of the two-child cap benefits and how the average person simply can’t afford to have larger families to grow the population. If we strip away all the bullshit and look at solving our problems, then there are simple steps we need to take. I have no faith in any of our politicians, but I do believe that we live in a society that is moving in the right direction. It seems to me that there may come a time when we decide that the pennies we are collectively taxed and are donated to an archaic institution would be better spent on NHS Scotland or the children who live in poverty in a 21st century Scotland. With news that the only Royal Wedding street party in Glasgow was cancelled due to lack of interest, I think that future may not be too far away, but perhaps that is the last dwindling light of rebellious hope that smoulders inside of me.
Ian Stewart is on Twitter: @GutterKid101