What purpose does a Head of State actually serve? Apart from having the run of some disgustingly large houses and being invited to fancy shindigs, I can’t work out what possible benefit there is in having a ceremonial figurehead who we deem superior to all the other citizens of that country.
The arrival of a new royal baby has brought this into sharp relief; with so much fawning coverage of a hospital door and flag-waving, sycophantic nonsense about the importance of this royal spawning, it enourages a more critical look at our constitutional arrangement and the benefit of a hereditary monarchy. In other words, aye but fit div they dae?
In Scotland, we have a unique chance to take control of this debate as we’re currently shining a big shiny spotlight on our own constitutional arrangements as part of the UK. Should we become Independent, there could well be a second referendum on our relationship with the monarchy and, personally, I think it’s long overdue. The very concept that one person is superior to another through lineage and birth is vile, and there is no place for it in a modern democracy.
The only argument people ever seem to muster is one of tourism, but surely we can do better than that, right? I mean if the only reason for keeping this jaded, anachronistic dinosaur of an institution is so American tourists can gawk at them while on holiday then we really are a country of subservient morons. Fuck that.
I have a proposal. It’s a bit out there, but bare with me. We don’t need a singular head of state. No King, Queen, Elected President or Imperial Ruler. A country does not need a ceremonial figurehead in a democracy.
So what would we have?
We would already have a government, a cabinet and a leader of government (First Minister or Prime Minister). They would take care of all genuinely important business, negotiating treaties, etc. Why not designate the collective citizens of an independent Scotland as the Collective Head of State?
This radical idea would set the people at the heart of constitutional affairs and raise them up as the ultimate rulers of state. We could hold a lottery for civic occasions, with different members of society getting the chance to represent Scotland at state events or meeting foreign dignitaries. How great would that be? Barack Obama meets the First Minister to discuss the latest trade agreement then is swiftly driven off for lunch with the State Representative Big Jim Buchan fae the Broch, just in aff the boats. He could present some fresh Langoustines to the President and then introduce him to the fineries of the Doric language on the Buchan coast. Amazing.
We need to get away from this idea that only those born to rule, should rule. It’s absolute shite. The reason we have such low engagement in politics across the UK is because the majority of people don’t identify with their representatives and the political elite are absolutely fine with that. It means we don’t look too closely at what they’re getting upto. Get more normal people involved at every level and we’ll soon see people becoming more engaged in the politics of the country, and a more representative system of government. We will no longer be ruled by the public school attending political and aristocracy elite of UK life.
Politics is important, and the independence referendum proves that normal people are willing to be engaged in political debate, it’s just that no one wants to speak to them normally. Scotland needs to bring more of it’s people into political life to ensure we always stay grounded and don’t allow the minority of connected, rich members of society dictate how the majority should live.
Only a Yes vote will bring about any chance of reform on the monarchy, it’s just another item (along with electoral reform and removal of trident) that isn’t being put on the table by any mainstream Westminster party. Once we vote Yes, Scotland can be whatever we want it to be.