Former Labour MP Dennis Canavan argues that there is no place for
a monarchy in an independent Scotland
Scottish independence: Chairman of ‘yes’ campaign rejects monarchy
by Laura Latre
The chairman of the pro-independence ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign, Dennis Canavan, has said he does not believe the Queen should be the head of state in an independent Scotland.
The former Labour MP criticised the Scottish government’s plans for the monarchy to remain in place post-independence arguing at the Radical Independence Conference yesterday that sovereignty in Scotland rests with the people and not the parliament as it does in England.
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Mr Canavan maintains the claim of the monarchy over an independent Scotland is therefore “irreconcilable with the sovereignty of a non-elected hereditary monarchy”.
Referring to the Claim of Right, which was reaffirmed prior to the setting up of the devolved Scottish parliament in 1988, Canavan acknowledged the “sovereign right of the Scottish people”. The pro-independence campaigner added: “The Crown Estate should be the People’s Estate. And it should be the Scottish parliament that decides.”
Canavan continued: “If those who think that today’s monarchy has no or little relevance to the big picture in terms of building a fairer Scotland, let me remark that the Westminster parliament passed a bill to take a considerable amount of money from the Crown Estate and hand it back to the Royal Family.”
Continuing the idea that sovereign decisions should lie with the people of Scotland, Canavan referred to his former political party:
“Many of Labour’s problems today - particularly Scottish Labour - stem from the fact that the agenda is still very much tied to London”.
Canavan insists his conversion to independence is based on his parliamentary experience - not on emotion.
On experience alone, he has come to the conclusion that Westminster is “completely out of touch with the people of Scotland”. Canavan also accused Labour leaders of spending more time defending a “discredited” union, than it was spending defending the working class.
Canavan’s comments were backed by other speakers yesterday, as calls were made for the independence campaign to approach a clear vision. The SNP were accused of holding a “cautious and conservative” outlook for the 2014 referendum.
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond did not attend the conference, which hosted speakers from Greece’s left-wing party Syriza, Canada’s Québec Solidaire, and from the Basque country’s Bildu party.
Canavan's comments follow recent speculation that independence would allow Labour to “regain the heart” of the party. The founder of Labour’s splinter group ‘Labour for Independence’, Allan Grogan, said the party could begin to put “the people of Scotland, their ideals and needs first in an independent, free, and just Scotland.”
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