The other day my wife and I were in the car listening to Radio 4 – that’s her station of choice; I’m more of a Radio 5 Live man myself. But we are united in listening to Classic FM for music! I digress.
It was Woman’s Hour and I felt something of an interloper to begin with, but soon was drawn into careful listening to an interview with the new leader of the Welsh National Party, Plaid Cymru. I probably do not share many of her political views, but when she was described as a radical, feminist republican, she was more than happy to accept these labels, explaining what each of them meant to her. Though republican, she had nothing personal against the Royal family and would treat them with respect as individuals. It is with the monarchy as an institution that she has a problem. I guess that the older I get the more I sympathise with her views at this point, but the main thing that struck me was the consistency of her policies, and how differently I perceive her Scottish counterparts.
One might have thought that the SNP had been in existence long enough to have ‘off the shelf’ policies on the main issues around independence. Apparently not so. Not only that, but the independence being pursued seems to me to be ‘Independence Lite’ that seems little different to ‘Devo Max.’
Shall we keep Sterling? Apparently, although one might have thought an independent country would have its own currency, or the Euro, rather than the currency of the country from which we want to separate.
Surely we won’t still be linked to the Bank of England as bank of last resort? Apparently we will, with the fiscal constraints that will mean for our monetary policy.
Will we be a republic? Apparently not. The Queen will still be Queen rather than having our own President a la the Irish Republic.
In other words, major institutions that one might assume would be ditched or changed will, in fact be retained. In what sense, then, will Scotland be independent if it votes ‘Yes’ in the coming referendum? It is hard to know, and even harder to understand why a party whose prime aim throughout its existence has been withdrawal from the UK wants to keep these institutions of the Union.