Not Impartial On Scottish Independence
One of the monarchist claims is that the Windsor clan unite the nation in a way that partisan politicians cannot. For that reason clan members are, in theory, required to keep their mouths shut on political issues.
In the Scottish independence referendum it may for once have been true that queen Windsor helped to keep the queendom united. But she did it by breaking the impartiality principle. She did it by putting her hand on the scales.
The referendum in itself undermined the monarchist claim that the feudal institution serves to unify the UK. The need for a referendum highlighted that the monarchist UK has a bigger problem staying united than most comparable republics.
And when it looked as if Scotland might leave the UK, some leading supporters of the union were keen for queen Windsor to intervene on their side of the argument. And she did intervene, in that characteristically understated way that has helped the clan preserve and expand its feudal privileges.
She broke her habits by stopping to speak to local people (still referred to as “subjects” in some parts of the news media) after a church service in Scotland. She told them that “I hope people will think very carefully about the future.” This was widely understood as a subtle expression of support for the belief that independence would be disadvantageous for Scotland.
Windsor’s opposition to independence seemed to be confirmed when Prime Minister David Cameron was heard to boast, in what he thought was a private conversation, that Windsor had “purred down the line” when he called to tell her that Scotland had voted to stay in the UK.
Windsor also intervened after the vote by calling for national reconciliation, asking the British people to cool their “strong feelings and contrasting emotions”.
Republic, the leading anti-monarchy group, said there should be a parliamentary inquiry into what it called “underhand, deliberate and provocative” interventions by queen Windsor. It said it would write ask the Justice Secretary carry out an inquiry into the actions of Windsor and her advisers.
Republic chief executive Graham Smith said “We would normally expect a head of state to take an active interest in such a momentous referendum, but the deal with the monarchy is that the monarch stays quiet and keeps out of these debates.”
Needless to say, there will be no parliamentary or judicial inquiry into the behaviour of the nation’s most privileged individual. The Windsors are not impartial. But their supporters will be united in protecting them.