Independence referendum: 'Yes or No, the Monarchy must go!'

HM The Queen and Prince Philip

On the 19th August, the anti-monarchy group, ‘Republic’ are holding a debate in relation to the referendum on the future of the monarchy in Scotland.

Held in Glasgow, the debate will feature politicians from both sides of the divide in this issue, and a range of different parties.

Britain is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as head of state, and in recent years support for the current system remains high, but Republic are often questioned in news issues regarding the royal family.

A poll in the run up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee showed 80% in favour of the monarchy and only 13% in support of a republic. A 2011 Guardian-ICM poll, before the royal wedding, showed one of the highest supports for an alternative system with 26% thinking the country would be better off without the royal family.

Additionally, a 2012 Sun-YouGov poll asked 'If Scotland were to become independent, what would be your prefered head of state?' Interestingly 46% of the 1,002 asked said that Queen Elizabeth II remain monarch, whilst 41% said: 'Not have a monarchy at all'. This shows that within Scotland there exists some strong republican sentiments.

In the context of the referendum, which Republic remains neutral on they have one clear goal: ‘Yes or No, the monarchy must go’, showing their commitment to the cause regardless of September’s outcome. The event on the 19th August is the only referendum discussion in regards to the monarchy.

The panel will discuss the future of the monarchy and implications of republicanism in regards to the referendum.

According to Republic, the debate will begin with an ‘introductory address’ by Republic Scotland, which will then be followed by the taking over by the chairperson: David Torrance, a writer and journalist from Edinburgh.

On the republican side of the debate there will be John Mason, a former charity worker, council group leader, and is now the SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston.

Joining John Mason on the republican side will be Zara Kitson a Green party activist who was selected to run in the 2013 Dunfermline by-election.

Interestingly, both people on the republican side also support independence for Scotland.

As for the pro-monarchy side there will be James Gardiner, a former president of the Oxford University Conservative Association. Originally from Sterling, James Gardiner was the Conservative party’s fourth candidate in the Scotland seat for the European Parliament elections this year, failing to be elected. The Conservatives retained their one seat.

Joining James on the anti-republican side will be Robert Brown, a Liberal Democrat councilor for South Lanarkshire Council.

Again, interestingly both members of the pro-monarchy side also belong to parties in favour of Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom.

The debate should be an interesting one, examining an aspect of Scotland’s future, in light of the independence debate, mostly overlooked by the mainstream media.

As for where parties stand on the issue of Republicanism, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives, as well as the SNP, Plaid Cymru and UKIP are all in favour of keeping the monarchy. However, there exist strong republican sentiments within most of the parties, with the late Tony Benn being in favour of abolishing the monarchy. As for the Green’s, both the Scottish Greens and its England and Wales counterpart take an official stance on pro-republicanism.

It is highly unlikely that the United Kingdom will become a United Republic in the near future if polls and popularity of the royal family are to be believed, but this event clearly shows that there is still more than negligible demand for a Republic of Britain.

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