Nicola Sturgeon: Scottish independence is ‘in clear sight’
Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party (SNP)’s frosty response to William and Kate arriving in Scotland for their Royal Train tour yesterday has reignited discussion over the tension between the monarchy and those who support Scottish independence. As Queen of the whole UK and Commonwealth realms, the 94-year-old monarch is believed to want to keep the country united, but is bound to stay impartial publicly. However, Her Majesty made a comment just days before the referendum that Scottish people should “think very carefully” about their decision in what was seen as a rare departure from political neutrality.
However, this was reportedly not a spur of the moment comment in response to a question, but a “carefully” orchestrated plot to try and discourage people to vote for independence.
In fact, former Prime Minister David Cameron even admitted he had asked the Queen to make such an intervention.
He explained that he was in a “panic” that it might swing “the wrong way” and that was when he decided to make his royal request.
What’s more, Prince Andrew reportedly knew about it ahead of time.
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Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, former and current SNP leaders, urged voters to vote ‘Yes’
As the Queen left Crathie Kirk near the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire following the morning service on the Sunday before the referendum in 2014, she said a carefully worded message to a well-wisher.
In response to someone joking that they were not going to mention the vote, the monarch said: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.”
Lionel Barber, a Financial Times former editor, claimed the Duke of York told him of the plan a week before polling day.
In his diaries published this week Mr Barber told how the Queen’s son gave him “a nod and a wink” and some “pretty b***** amazing” comments about how the Queen would intervene, according to The Times.
The Queen’s Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire
He wrote: “There is this scene where I am at Buckingham Palace, invited by the roguish Duke of York to lunch with the Chinese foreign minister, and Andrew suddenly half lets loose that the Queen is going to intervene on the Sunday.
“That was interesting. They had clearly planned it. It was very artfully done. Andrew knew about it.”
The Queen’s comments provoked a certain amount of criticism as she is supposed to remain impartial on all political matters.
It is considered an important part of a constitutional monarchy and the Royal Family’s website emphasises that the head of state is politically neutral.
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Scotland voted to remain in the Union in 2014
A Buckingham Palace statement at the time denied that the Queen was trying to influence the outcome of the referendum with her words.
It read: “A sovereign’s constitutional impartiality is an established principle of our democracy and one which the Queen has demonstrated throughout her reign.
“As such, the monarch is above politics and those in political office have a duty to ensure this remains the case.
“Any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the current referendum campaign is categorically wrong.
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“Her Majesty is simply of the view this is a matter for the people of Scotland.”
Nevertheless, Mr Cameron has confessed he asked the Queen’s private secretary for Her Majesty to make a subtle comment on the Unionists’ side.
He said he was not asking for anything that would be “improper or unconstitutional, but just a raising of the eyebrow even you know, a quarter of an inch”.
He admitted that the Yes campaign was doing better than expected and one particular opinion poll put the nationalists in the lead.
Kate and William visiting the Scottish Ambulance Service
After seeing the poll, it was “like a blow to the solar plexus”.
He also revealed the Queen “purred down the line” when she heard the news that the Unionists had won the referendum.
Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are now pushing for a second referendum in the wake of the 2016 Brexit vote.
Ms Sturgeon refused to answer questions about whether she attempted to stop the Cambridges’ visit and one of her key scientific advisers, Professor Devi Sridhar, appeared to criticise it.
Royal reporter Robert Jobson claimed the SNP tried to keep the Duke and Duchess out of Scotland, warning that it may breach the travel ban.
Eventually, a statement was released which read: “The First Minister welcomes the support shown by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for Scotland’s NHS.”
Royal correspondent Rebecca English tweeted that it was not exactly “welcome to Scotland”.