The official position of Queen Elizabeth II in the runup to the Scottish independence vote on Sept. 18 is that she is neutral. A spokesperson for the Queen said Sunday night that “Any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the referendum campaign is categorically wrong.”
But by amazing coincidence the Queen happens to be hanging out at her estate in Balmoral, Scotland, chatting with the locals right now. The Financial Times reports that she went to church on Sunday and told a small group outside, “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.”
This doesn’t seem very neutral at all!
Quite the opposite: It seems like the Queen is stumping for the “No” vote. The Queen has an obvious interest in all of this — it is, after all, her United Kingdom that the Scots are thinking of leaving.
Nobody seems to be fooled by the Queen’s official neutrality. “Of course the Queen isn’t neutral — do we really want her to be?” The Telegraph says. The Belfast Telegraph adds, “If Elizabeth cannot intervene in Scotland, then why have a queen?“
They both make a good point.
Weirdly, the Scottish National Party’s official stance is that it would keep the Queen as Scotland’s official, albeit ceremonial, head of state after independence. (Canada and Australia do a similar thing.) But if you wanted to be independent, why would you also want to keep the unelected monarchy that you’re trying to escape?
Here, for the record, is the Queen’s official position on Scotland:
“The sovereign’s constitutional impartiality is an established principle of our democracy and one which the Queen has demonstrated throughout her reign.
“As such the monarchy is above politics and those in political office have a duty to ensure that this remains the case. Any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the referendum campaign is categorically wrong.”
“Her Majesty is firmly of the view that this is a matter for the people of Scotland.”
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