Sunday, 16 September 2012

Open letter to Elizabeth Windsor.


Considering your octogenarian status and the relatively short time you may have left to yourself we feel it would be remiss if we did not at this juncture make some last attempt to alert to you to the fact that you have been and are being misinformed, ill-advised and psychologically, emotionally and intellectually poisoned by your contact with the institution of monarchy, as are all your family and the peoples of Britain.
In a country claiming to be a 21st century democracy this institution is a hypocritical anomaly, a fossil which props up an outdated feudal political system and simultaneously rots it from within. Monarchy is fundamentally and irrevocably wrong. The inheritance of position in government, of status, privilege, influence, access to public money and the opaque accounting of same, the immunity from laws, the personal powers of veto for the monarch and the heir on government legislation which affects their private interests, the forced oaths of loyalty, regardless of political views, as a prerequisite of democratically elected representatives taking up their positions to work for the people, the cult of caste encouraging sycophancy and obsequiousness purely over societal position and birth - all these things are totally indefensible.
History will look back upon monarchy as an evil thing, make mistake no longer. It will be seen as the murderer, the enabler of massacre, the stifler of talent, the oppressor of spirit, the deadening dull boring mundanity of meaningless pointless waste of time and energy that it is, the empty nothing that it is, the dead thing.
You are supposed to have a human right to vote for who governs you, as are we. You should have the right to determine your own destiny and the right to speak your thoughts in public - these are pretty basic freedoms. There are people far older than you who have had to cope with far worse things than an end to the restrictions, pantomime and circus of monarchy. We give you advice entirely congruent with your utmost wellbeing when we urge you to initiate talks now for the extrication of your family from this ridiculous position as soon as possible and forever. It would be the best exit ever from the monarchic stage, bar none. And the last. 


This is a letter not a petition and the 163 names below have signed up as a representative snapshot of the estimated 18 million plus people in Britain who currently do not want a monarchy and who are not now being properly served nor represented by the media, politicians nor structures of society.  The letter has also been sent in in hard copy on 1st October 2012.  If you would like your name added to the website version only thereafter just email

Marjory Smith

Eben Myrddin Muse

Bob Wiggin

Paul Bates

Renee Davis

Richard Vernon

Mel Hepworth

Angela Miller

Mark McGinlay

Dominic Bell

Sarah Balfour

Paul Johnson

John Jones

Leyton Dodds

Bill Hart

John Kelly

Tristan Alexander

Stiv Gillan

Jamie Docherty

Scott McMahon

Mick Higgins

John Sweeney

Brian Hale

Steve Wilson

Davy King

Stuart Malcolm

Anne Kathleen Nielsen

Maureen Wallace

Simon Nelson

Lynn Higgins

Frederick Nye

Caz Smith

Ben Fowler

Gavin James Campbell

Rafa Luna

Ian Mcvey

Rebecca McKinlay

John Robinson

Kevin Bell

Michael John Taylor

Kevin Paul Allerton

Ollie Coxhead

Lawrence Molton

David Harvey

Joe Coten

Jennifer R. Jeynes

Doug Beard

Elaine Morris

Tricia Bates

Kenny Mitchell

Andy Stewart

Murdo Maclean

Martin Shapely

Jason Sandy James

Mark Hollinrake

Gary 'gigs' Weir

Paul Kinnear

Janetta Willis

Sharlee Stringer

June Maxwell

Mark Stephen Jones

Karl Bough

Peter Clarke

Mike Cunningham

Niall MacLennan

Harri Ap Owain Glyn

Elsa Kerr

Stephen-Cewydd Holcroft

Marjorie Godfrey

Alice Johnson

Aidan Campbell

John Fiddes

Gail Fielding

Alan Rorrison

Doug Troup

Edel Carroll

Mike Allen

Colin Birch

Johnny Darkly

Campbell Stewart

Raibert McPhadraig

Gary Briggs

Paul Kealy

George Macbeath

Lance Dyer

Shaun Iggleden

Graham Barnes

Billy Ross

David William Humphrys

Norman Sinclair

Dave Fletcher

David Malcolm

Michael Jones

Andy Barnes

Nick Collins

Joe Shooman

Loretta Caughlin

John Tollan

Mitch Hayworth

Tony Nicholls

Conchur Ó Muadaigh

Rob Cameron

Michael Swann

Dobromir Angelova

Paul Chapman

David Milsom

Nigel Singh

Phil Thompson

Fred MacMillan

James Whittaker

Paul Robinson

Dale Latimer

Linda Tilsen

Gary Bamber

Walt Ferguson

Dec Smith

Kenny Kerr

Sean Kane

Mo Ungi

Eòsaph MacGillebhràth

Dave Emsley

Lee Hyde 

Mandie Lee

Tim Chiswell

Dave Cann

Tom Dunn

Michael Hughes

Julie Flynn-Ciniglio

Seán O'hAmhsaigh

Kyle Gray

Paul Daverson

Billy Fotheringham

Benny McGuire

Ben Baxter

Paul Owens

Jillian Nicol

Roddy Williams

Ian Coulson

Brian Carpenter

Gavin Paterson

Gerard Cassidy

John Morland

Paul Gribbin

Grahame Morrison

Mel-Annie Brudenell

Philip Ridge

Teddy Brul

Lars Nunnegaard

Monique Buckner 

Martin Knox

Donald Roderick MacKinnon

Mary Amanda O'Connell

Lee Tea

Dan Read

Frazer Mckenzie

Ju Ju Norton

Ryan Cockman

Joseph Nelson Salazar

Todd Collins

Billy Muir

Robert Britton

Eleanor McCarthy

Stewart Culbard

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Guest Blog

Currently, in order to take part in parliamentary proceedings, all democratically elected representatives of the people at Holyrood and Westminster must swear an oath to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Elizabeth Windsor and her heirs and successors. Alex Samond predicates this with the statement that his party's primary loyalty is to the people of Scotland, and others have stated that they take the oath under duress, but it is sickening that this compulsory oath to monarchy is in place. Monarchy is the opposite of democracy and should have nothing to do with representation of the people. This forced oath is an oppression and an insult. Several MSPs and MPs are members of Republic, the campaign for a democratic alternative to the monarchy, yet to do their job for the people who elect them they have to swear an oath they don't mean a word of. The first thing parliament does is make them lie.
The evil excuse for the massacre of Glenoce was a six day delay in the swearing of an oath to monarchy, which monarch subsequently signed the massacre order for two companies of the Argyll regiment to genocide the Macdonald clan. If you look in the phonebook you can conclude they didn't quite follow orders, though it was terrible enough.

I share James Keir Hardie's opinions on the subject of monarchy and the puerile nature of it. It reinforces and is at the apogee of a decrepit feudal political and class system. It is populated by nameless officials who speak as if they are buildings 'the palace says', 'Clarence House denies'. It is secretive and has recently been made more exempt from Freedom of Information laws so that if it again asked for money from the State Poverty Fund which is set aside for schools, hospitals and low income families, as it did when Labour were in power, we would not now be able to discover this, nor what the answer would now be to this incredible example of the monarchy's sense of entitlement to any and all public money. I suppose that's what absorbing £200 million plus every year of public money does to you. Westminster has overseen a deal which allows the piracy of national asset revenue direct to the institution of monarchy and refused Holyrood control of Scotland's part. If monarchy was free it would still be a poison. Its message is that everyone except this one family are common lownesses. Nothing infuriates me more than switching on the news and having the spectacle of a member of this one family as the remnants of Hanoverian monarchy trailed out in some imbecilic non news story. The BBC particularly went completely insane over the jubilee and prior to that the society wedding of William Wales and Kate Middleton - they had five times more staff working on it than other channels and have refused to disclose how much, of our, money they spent on coverage. There were still items such as on the cake being shown on breakfast TV nine months after it happened. And him in that redcoat uniform...

Can anyone remember what happened just a few days after “The wedding to bring the whole nation together”? ? I'll tell you. Scotland voted in a landslide for a party whose stated aim is to pull this whole bloody awful set up apart. Not long after that was the moment when a little spark of hope lit in my heart and I had a sea change on independence. The real possibility suddenly hoving into view of Scotland escaping the fossilised behemoth of Westminster and it's only a hop, step and a 'carravooltchin' to a much fairer, healthier society and so many things which seemed difficult are suddenly within our grasp. A yes we can moment where people dare to dream things they never thought they'd see, where anything is possible.

Soon after the swearing in at Holyrood Alex Salmond was on my TV assuring us that Elizabeth Windsor would remain head of state in an independent Scotland. Mary McCabe who wrote, proposed and got accepted at the '97 SNP Conference the motion that there should be a referendum on the monarchy within the first term of an independent Scottish Parliament now states that retaining the monarchy meantime is about putting as few hurdles as possible in the way of the future negotiations about independence and says 'there are people in the British establishment prepared to go to the wire over the issue of the monarchy'. I say exactly who are these people in the British establishment? What do you mean by 'go to the wire'? The people should be told the truth. If you're frightened of them, tell us. I did wonder if I saw fear in Alex Salmond's eyes.

Keir Hardie said people's heads were turned by Westminster “the best men's club in Europe” and often “forgot why they were there and who put them there”. That is as true now as it was when he made the observation. It really hasn't changed much at all. Over a hundred years after an Act was passed decreeing the House of Lords would be determined by popular mandate, this has yet again failed to materialise. The precedents, habits and traditions of the way Westminster conducts itself are maintained as if it were a political museum. I really wish it was. The power at Westminster comes from the Crown in Parliament and the royal prerogative powers placed with the Prime Minister and Privy Council. These are not democratic powers, they're autocratic and monarchic and they are not relative to the electoral mandate gained or as in the current situation, not gained, at the ballot box. The power available to whomsoever manoeuvres into Number 10 is unaccountable and corrupting. Currently we have King Dave and he alone can decide to do a U-turn, or not, to have a yacht, or not, to alone bring in a policy when no-one else in the cabinet agrees with it, as he did recently with minimum alcohol pricing for England and Wales. The royal prerogative powers are wielded to suit, for instance were extended to expel the Chagos islanders in 1962. This was deemed unlawful by the High Court in 2000 so the Labour government used royal prerogative power to issue an Order in Council to achieve the same effect and won their appeal in the Lords after this was also found unlawful. The royal prerogative powers enable writing of law, going to war etc without reference to parliament. It is supposed to be constrained by constitutional convention but as we have no written constitution the conventions have been described as “whatever the government wants them to be”. It's a right royal stitch up of the people, who are not being properly represented and are not in any kind of proper control of government. 'The power to make great changes' may be deeply desired by people with altruistic motives, but also by those with completely avaricious ones. It's far too arbitrary. The people still have all the power of a hereditary establishment against them – Cameron, Osborne and Johnson are all from families who were in the same kind of position hundreds of years ago. That is neither natural nor healthy.
In the game of Westminster power-grab it is 80 or so seats in what is termed 'Middle England' which hold the keys to the castle, these are the voters yenned for and courted with policies, image and rhetoric. The bare-faced cheek and mummery of Ed Miliband one day in Glasgow referencing Hardie to promote Scottish Labour and then a day or so later issuing a fawning congratulations to monarchy for being in an unelected position propping up this rotten system for 60 inglorious years.

During the passage of the Scotland Bill at Westminster, Labour MP Dennis Canavan tried to get the requirement for an oath at the Scottish Parliament replaced with an affirmation “I do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and, do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.” Westminster did not pass it. Rejected as a Holyrood candidate by New Labour despite 97% support from his local party, he stood as an Independent Labour candidate and was expelled from the party. He got the biggest majorities in the Scottish Parliament both times he stood. He now supports the Yes campaign. He is the kind of Scottish Labour party we want and need, now.

The SNP I know contains some honourable and good people but some of us could never join a party identifying as 'nationalist' as we feel, and Scotland is really, internationalist. I also do not trust the leadership of the SNP who seem happy to fudge issues and allow misconceptions to go unchallenged, primarily that they can decree now what will be so in an independent Scotland. The SNP will most likely crumble in independent Scotland, there will certainly be splitting off and if they called themselves the Scottish Independence Party and declared the truth, that they are not likely to be in the same popular position ever again as they are in this period of advancing towards independence, but they are happy and willing to fall on their swords for the greater goal, they would be unanswerable. This may be difficult for those who have stalked the corridors of Westminster's unaccountable power and centuries of very old money, but if they want a place of real note in history they should bite the bullet, and certainly forget about trying to inveigle any royal prerogative powers into independent Scotland.
The current rump Scottish Labour Party leadership bemoan that the SNP leadership have Scotland on pause while they play games, but the situation with the Westminster political system, which is hung together on a dodgy deal done with monarchy centuries ago, is that it effectively has democracy on pause and has done for quite some time, for people all over these islands. We can do better than that and our move may be the catalyst for change in other countries too.

If we let the people speak they will, but we have to give them the choice to choose. Currently on the monarchy the SNP and Labour offer no difference – the Jubilee debate saw republican after republican in the SNP getting up in the chamber at Holyrood to make fawning comments on monarchy. The party of Keir Hardie were the same. Why do they do that? What are they afraid of or who are they trying to play games with – is it the institution of monarchy, or the people of Scotland?

We should lay our cards on the table. Set a clear agenda which sets out the removal of this anachronism. Offer the Windsors citizenship in an independent Scotland and the human rights to vote, stand for election and determine their own destiny. If they don't like that, Hell mend them and cheerio to them.
If we make a party which offers the people what they actually really do want, they will go for it. Stop trying to hoodwink and second-guess the public. Tell them the truth and let them choose, that's what this is all about after all.