LONG live the Queen – but not in an independent Scotland, writes Colin Fox
|Scooped by Peter A Bell|
What Colin Fox sees as a flaw in the the draft constitution I see as a cleverly contrived opportunity. Let me explain.
We must first accept that there was no way we would be having this referendum if it explicitly involved Scotland becoming a republic. To be more precise, we would not be having the referendum under the conditions that now prevail. There would have been no Edinburgh Agreement. No British Prime Minister would ever have put his signature to a document which threatened to undermine the monarchy. At least, not knowingly.
Without the Edinburgh Agreement, a Yes vote would have been open to all manner of challenges. The Edinburgh Agreement is crucial to the plan to restore Scotland's rightful constitutional status. That document puts unprecedented power in the hands of the people of Scotland. A Yes vote cannot realistically be denied. But arguments about the monarchy would nonetheless be a distraction we can well do without.
What is clever about the draft constitution is that it defuses arguments about the monarchy by accepting its continuation while simultaneously making it impossible.
There is simply no constitutional formulation which can allow monarchy, as conceived by the British state, and popular sovereignty to coexist. The two concepts are totally incompatible and mutually exclusive.
The first line of Scotland's new constitution will state that the people of Scotland are sovereign. That ultimate political authority rests with them and cannot be vested elsewhere. The British monarchy will not be able to accept the implications which this article implies for its status. The British state will not be able to accept such a condition as it fatally undermines the basis of its political authority - namely, the Crown in Parliament.
The Scottish Government does not need to abolish the monarchy in Scotland. The monarchy will cease to be as an inevitable part of the process of writing our constitution.