Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Queen has a duty to hold her Realm together - we must encourage her to perform it.

I am a republican and I want the United Kingdom to have a President. But that is an argument for another day - Elizabeth Windsor is our de jure Head of State and even I would admit that she has, for more than sixty years, done a good job. A key part of this has been her acceptance that, as a constitutional monarch, she must keep out of Party politics. But she has never had to face a situation as serious as the implications of a "Yes" vote in the Scottish referendum. Let's be clear about this. The country of which HMQ is Head of State is in mortal danger of breaking up. The country of which she is Queen may disappear. Elizabeth II was not crowned the Queen of England or Scotland, she took oath of office as Queen of the United Kingdom. The clue is in the name. The UK is one "Kingdom" - it is either united, or it fails to exist.

The Head of State of any Country has to be more than a ceremonial figurehead. And at the top of that leader's list of duties and responsibilities must surely be to protect the integrity of the State from threats, external or internal. This is not "politics" - it's survival. The very concept of Britishness will go because, without Scotland, Great Britain will not exist. And with it would go centuries of history and centuries of pride. The soldiers leading the fight against the Kaiser and Hitler weren't English, the were British. The pioneers who painted much of the planet pink weren't English, they were British. The athletes who performed so magnificently at London 2012 weren't English, they were British. The world's greatest broadcaster is not the "English Broadcasting Corporation"... And so on. Britishness matters.

The Union Flag symbolises the unique construct that is Great Britain. The cross of St George is not superimposed over the cross of St Andrew - it has equal weight with it. But it will go. And Wales will surely join Scotland as independent within a few years of a Scottish breakaway.  And then Northern Ireland will inevitably join the South in a United Ireland. So the Union Flag will appear only in the history books and only St George will fly on our English public buildings.

The gloomy post a "Yes" vote prospects are something that must trouble our Head of State both emotionally and practically. That she should at the end of her reign, and through no fault of hers, face the destruction of her realm is a scandal. We all know how she must feel - we must encourage her to share her feelings. As Head of State, because she has a duty to do so. And as a person because if even the hardest nosed republicans like me admire her it is proof that she is special. I hope she speaks her mind as and as perhaps her last major act of service helps hold our nation together.


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