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29.8.08

Why are you a Republican? / Nationalists and republicanism

Various Cornish campaigners have now expressed grave concerns about the Duchy of Cornwall and its apparent boundless ability to affect decision making in and over Cornwall, so if the case, why do you wish this deformed and antidemocratic Duchy institution to be liquidated? If you are a republican what are your reasons?

Republic -the campaign for an elected head of state- (following Angarracks revelations it seems 'elected heads of state' would be more appropriate) are compiling a book written the subjects of this feudal system. If you have a point of view that you think should be included then click here and get writing: Republic Book Project . I know there are plenty of informed individuals who have something to say on the subject so why not get our cause a bit more publicity?

On a different subject the article below is taken from the Republic blog. It calls into doubt the republican credentials of Welsh and Scottish nationalism, and asks why the SNP and Plaid avoid the subject or even support the monarchy. I get the feeling that both parties just avoid this divisive issue that is tainted with IRA extremism and is simlpy not a massive vote winner.

To turn things around I'd like to ask why Republic hasn't shown much greater support for nationalist republicans from around the isles.

Where is Republic when the Cornish try to confront the Duchy?

Imagine Article: Nationalists and republicanism

August 22nd, 2008 Paul Cassidy

The following article is featured in the latest edition of
Imagine. You can respond to the article here.

Since the nationalists came to power in Scotland last year, debate over the future of the union has gained in prominence on both sides of the border. Many hold the view that a continued increase in support for both Scottish and Welsh nationalists could result in seismic constitutional change – a view strengthened by speculation that most nationalists are also republicans.


It is important to stress that republicanism and nationalism are entirely independent ideologies, but it is often assumed that if you are a Scottish or Welsh nationalist you are necessarily against the monarchy.

In practice, however, this is not the case. Neither the pro-independence Scottish National Party nor the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru has an official position on the crown that could be described as ‘anti-monarchy’. SNP leader Alex Salmond has even expressed his support for the monarchy as a symbol of a ‘social union’ between England and Scotland that he hopes will remain even after Scotland achieve independence. In short, Salmond envisages an independent Scotland which nonetheless retains the monarchy.

An independent Scottish parliament, whilst a rejection of the 1707 Act of Union (which established a single Westminster parliament for both nations), would still leave in place the Union of the Crowns of 1603. Similarly, an independent Welsh parliament, whilst a repeal of the 16th Century Laws of Wales Acts, would nevertheless leave untouched the 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan . Thus it is conceivable for either Scotland or Wales to achieve full political independence whilst preserving the monarch as head of state.

But is there any reason for why nationalists should be anti-monarchy in principle? For everyone there is good reason to take a principled stance against the monarchy. For nationalists, however, there is another reason: support for the monarchy undermines the central aim of nationalism: sovereignty.

The primary objective of any nationalist movement is national sovereignty – the exclusive right of a nation to govern its own affairs. Accordingly no nation could be described as ‘sovereign’ if a significant aspect of its governance were controlled by some foreign body.

Now if Scotland were to achieve independence from Britain yet retain the monarchy, we would have a situation in which Scotland had a foreign head of state. This would mean a loss of sovereignty for an independent Scotland, as the highest position in their constitution would be occupied by the head of a foreign power that was neither a true representation of Scotland nor was subject to their laws.

So if the primary demand of nationalism is sovereignty, then it makes no sense at all for nationalists to advocate independence from Britain whilst retaining a foreign monarch. The loss of national sovereignty that would result from having a foreign head of state would undermine the very thing independence aimed to secure. In short, not all nationalists are against the monarchy, but they should be. As should we all.

2 comments:

britologywatch said...

Your conclusion (that if an independent Scotland retained the monarchy, this would mean it had a foreign head of state) is based on a false premise: that the Union of the Crowns would remain in place. On the contrary, the Queen could become the Queen of Scotland (Elizabeth I), separate from her functions as Queen of the continuing Britain. In this, Scotland would be just like any of the other Commonwealth nations that have the head of the Windsor family as their monarch, such as Australia or Canada.

cornubian said...

Hello David,
Just to say that it is not my, the CDs, conclusion but that of Paul Cassidy. I agree with you to a point but the Monarchy would have to change a great deal to be simply a powerless and symbolic head of state. For example the Crown Proceedings Act that gives the Duke of Cornwall the right to control and intervene in all processes that might affect his rights, profits or privileges would have to go. I don't expect the Queen as head of state in Canada has such powers over Canadian affairs. Next would be a general guarantee of equality before the law that includes the Royals.