Republican Set-Backs in Spain and Scotland

But Dangers Lay in Wait for Monarchists

The abdication of Juan Carlos Bourbon, the Spanish monarchy, seems to have increased support for the feudal institution. However in an El País opinion poll only 49% of those asked said they wanted to keep the feudal institution. Support for a republic was shown by 36% of those polled. A referendum on the future of the Bourbon family’s egregiously privileged place in the government of Spain was favoured by 62 per cent.

A poll by El Mundo suggested more support for monarchy. Fifty five per cent of those questioned wanted Spain to continue to be a monarchy.

Fewer than half of those asked at the start of the year had wanted to keep the monarchy.

The increase in public support is, no doubt, a reflection of public pleasure at the departure of the unpopular Juan Carlos Bourbon. But it is unlikely to be fully sustained if legal proceedings against his son in law continue. This gentleman has been accused of  “diverting taxpayers’ money, fraud and falsification of documents”

There have been more demonstrations calling for a referendum, which is supported by two left wing parties but not by the Socialists.

The wife of Felipe Bourbon, who is to be the new king, is from a republican family. Their marriage is rumoured to be a trouble one. In a report on the new king the Financial Times said “Inside the royal house, however, officials view the rising expectations with concern. For all his diligence and dedication, the prince has yet to show that he has the same political nous as his father. What is more, he clearly lacks the political credibility that Juan Carlos enjoyed during the transition. ‘Even if he wanted to, and he doesn’t, the prince cannot lead a regeneration of this country,’ says one person close to the palace. ‘What he wants is to renovate the crown’.”

In Scotland those hoping for a republic if a majority vote for independence have been disappointed by Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond. In a magazine interview he admitted to valuing the advice of Elizabeth Windsor and her son Charles. Mr. Windsor is reported to wear a kilt more often than most Scots.

However, Denis Canavan, who chairs the campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum on independence for Scotland, does not share Salmond’s affection for feudal rules. “A hereditary head of state is an affront to democracy and a complete anachronism in a modern 21st century democracy” he has said. In 1997 a SNP conference voted for a referendum on the monarchy. However, it is certain that if Scotland become independent it will do so as a monarchy.