One of the things that I dislike most about monarchy in Scotland or the UK, is that we have a head of state who has no democratic legitimacy and therefore, no actual right to get involved in politics.
Walter Bagehot in “The English Constitution” published in the 1860s, famously summed up the monarch’s role as involving ‘the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn’. Outdated it may be, but it seems to be what is accepted to this day as the monarch’s function.
But, of course, the government, and most particularly the prime minister, has an equal right to ignore any advice or warnings given by the head of state.
An elected head of state, even a relatively non-political one, like say the German, Swiss or Irish presidents, can legitimately claim to be democratically elected and therefore entitled to poke his or her nose in on limited occasions.
Many of the functions of heads of state in the UK are carried out by prime or first ministers. Of course they have been elected, but then only by a small constituency, whereas the president of Ireland has been elected by anyone eligible to vote in the republic.
Elizabeth has form in matters of involvement in referendums. She was famously tricked into voicing support for those people who were against independence for Québec in 1995.
In 2014, presumably acceding to a request by David Cameron, she made a quiet comment about people needing to think very carefully before voting.
There have been signs that royals are once again getting involved in our politics. There was a suggestion going about recently that one of the royals (Edward) might be sent to live in Edinburgh.
Then Willie was appointed to some honorary role in the Church of Scotland and recently made a deadly dull and sickeningly sycophantic speech about how he loved Scotland and he owed it so much. He then went on to a ceremony at their palace in our capital.
My view is that little will come of this royal intervention.
It seems to me that none of them has any real attraction here. If you have no real political or management function and can do no real good, you have to be either young and attractive… like a “celeb”… or perhaps old and granny/grandpa-like adorable.
I don’t see any of that. None of them are young and glamorous any more and although the Queen is old, she comes over in public like a rather grumpy old woman and not at all like my idea of a granny.
And certainly, among the younger voters it appears that across the UK, their popularity is not what it was.
I’m biased because I dislike all that they stand for and I turn off the radio whenever there is any mention of them. (I may be the only person in the country who saw and heard no news about Phil’s death), but I wondered what perhaps more moderately inclined people think of this idea to get them involved in our referendum… and whether it will be successful, will backfire or maybe most people won’t even notice.