Tuesday, May 29th, 2007
by Ian Hamilton QC
To identify who you are, to live your life as that person and to see that that person is something worth being, is the duty and joy of everyone and of every nation. Thus when Elizabeth of Windsor came to the throne and called herself Elizabeth Second it diminished my country. There never had been a prior Elizabeth of Scotland. To assert that Elizabeth Tudor was a prior Scottish sovereign revived all the old English claims against which Scotland had fought for so long.
My part in the fight to have Scotland separately recognised as a kingdom was a small one, yet it continued for a long time. John MacCormack and I, in the Queenâ€™s Title Action of 1953, attempted to interdict Elizabeth 11 from taking the numerical title. We had no success. The very next year I was to be called to the Bar and was told that if I did not swear allegiance to Elizabeth Second I could never become an advocate. I stuck it out, a bitter lonely time, until they dropped the numeral and let me in. Ever since then the â€˜loyalâ€™ oath is taken in Scotland without the hated numeral. Down through the years I have fought the House of Windsor and its attempts to dominate Scotland as an English Dynasty. Even its name, chosen in 1916 so that they could hide their German breeding, was taken because it is that of an essentially English town. To Hell with Windsor!
It follows then that I have no loyalty to the Queen or to the House of Windsor. I am insulted that I have to put the letters QC after my name to show that I was good at my job. My contempt for the Royal family is no new thing begot of their silly extravagances. If we are daft enough to give them riches, they would not be human if they refused them. Nor do I condemn the young Windsors for their way with drink and women. Every young woman loves a prince and every young prince loves a drink. Thereâ€™s no big deal there. Instead I confess to a lot of envy. I love ceremonial. I love the Trooping of the Colour. I wish it was held year about in Edinburgh. We take the casualties. We should also take the Colours. I am thus not a republican by conviction, but because I hate this social and political domination by a foreign dynasty about which I could write much more, none of it good.
Yet since last week a great change has come about in my views. We have seen the silly behaviour of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They are democrats so long as democracy delivers the result they want. That petulant loser Gordon Brown goes into a huff and says he will not work with the elected First Minister of the Scottish Government. Tony Blair averts his head in his aeroplane seat and has not lifted a telephone to make contact with the new Scottish Nationalist head of State. They are playing a dangerous game. The great lesson to be learned is not that the SNP is one up in the Scottish Parliament. The lesson is, as a Windsor Prince put it when addressing the General Assembly, the result has â€˜shivered the timbers of the United Kingdomâ€™. Politics will never be the same again. Never again can it be said that a vote for Scotland is a vote wasted. No one can stop the march of a nation, and the Windsors are wise enough not to try. Compare the action of the Queen to the silence of her English Ministers. In a dress, most endearingly looking as if it had been made out of an old curtain, she clambered at the age of eighty-one into a helicopter and came to Holyrood to greet Alex Salmond.
Do not underestimate the importance of this gesture. It was not done on the advice of her Prime Minister. There will be fury in No 10 and No 11. What we have here is an acknowledgement by the Head of State that a break-up of the United Kingdom is not merely possible, but is an event to be prepared for. I give credit to Betty Windsor, to Queen Elizabeth. She has her eye on the main chance. She does not want to lose Scotland, and she has a clearer view of the future than any of her English Ministers. When the break-up of the United Kingdom comes she is determined to see that it will be a gentle parting and a realignment among â€˜her peopleâ€™.
No doubt after independence I will vote for a Scottish Republic. That is for the future. Last week Elizabeth of Windsor acted as a worthy Queen of Scots. I never thought I would write these words.
God Save the Queen.