15 September 2014: The British Queen Elizabeth II warned voters to “think very carefully about the future” before the Scottish independence referendum. House of Windsor soft-speak for “don’t dare vote Yes.” The Windsor family has holiday homes at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire and Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. The royal injunction issued as part of the fear-mongering “Better Together” campaign reminds us that the fiction that the “constitutional monarch has no power” and that the Queen of England is just a “titular head of state” and not involved in politics – a romantic institution of another supposedly “shared” British institution that is not of much relevance – is a fraud.
Today, despite the existence of the Scottish Parliament, all decision-making continues to lie with the British monarch under the Westminster system of government. Something called the Scotland Office makes the decisions on all matters which fundamentally affect the lives of the people. After winning the 2011 Scottish election, the Scottish National Party (SNP) called for the devolution of the Crown Estate income to Scotland, the Scotland Office decided against dividing up the Crown Estates.
In the United Kingdom, the Crown Estate is a property portfolio owned by the Crown. The Estate is one of the largest property owners in the United Kingdom with a portfolio worth £8.1 billion, with urban properties valued at around £4 billion, and rural holdings valued at £1.049 billion; and an annual profit of £240.2 million, as at 31 March 2012.
The Crown Estate owns 94,015 acres of land in Scotland and the legal and feudal right to salmon fishings in many rivers in Scotland. In fact, more than half of Scotland is owned by just 500 people, few of whom are actually Scots. The Duke of Westminster alone owns 91,000 acres of land in Sutherland. And the Scots are deprived of this income!
As has been pointed out, the nostrum of a “symbolic sovereign” diverts from the issue of where sovereignty – the decision-making power – actually lies, which is in the financial oligarchy, not in the people. Its tyranny is established through the powers of the Royal Prerogative of a Prime Minister who acts as a king above even Parliament’s control.
It is high time the people of Scotland were able to determine their own affairs in a manner suitable to themselves.