Within Britain, 76% of the people support constitutional monarchy, and a further 75% believe the Monarchy has an important role to play in the future of the United Kingdom. The case for monarchy is well defined and supported; the Monarch firmly positioned as the figurehead of union between England and Scotland, and our neighbours north of the border continuously looking to shed the securities of financial stability, the protection of property, business and personal rights, as well as the long-term focus and benefits associated with The Crown - a grave concern for unionists on both sides of the England/Scotland border. Such worries also extend to the Caribbean in the case of Her Majesty’s Realm of Barbados, with Her government’s drive towards a republic by November 2021.
Moral duty, positive influence, soft power advantage, trustworthy motives, positive economic volatility, transparency, and important social and national causes, are all able to be highlighted in abundance with the existence of the British Crown. The same cannot be said with the installation of a politician at the top of a nation’s power structure.
Since 2014, Nicola Sturgeon and her republican dissidents have refused to accept the will of the people, have doubled-down on their efforts to divorce England, Northern Ireland & Wales, and have further shown their intense desire to withdraw Scotland form the three hundred year-old Act of Union. Her party openly advocates for the abolition of Scotland’s ancient Crown, all actions that are not in the spirit of unity, prosperity, or the conservative security enjoyed through tradition and history, which has provided a fruitful platform for Scots-Brits to enjoy around the world.
“Freedom wears a Crown”, supported in both practise and truth throughout three centuries of our shared history, is not a Conservative statement, nor one of political affiliation, it is raw truth. The prosperous union between England and Scotland is indeed the world’s longest and most successful peace treaty in history. With this Union, and the placement of The Crown at the top of our brotherly relationship, a 2018 study titled, Symbolic Unity, Dynastic Continuity, and Countervailing Power: Monarchies, Republics, and the Economy, was conducted by Management Professor, Mauro Guillen, of the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. The study proves what monarchists have known all along, that monarchies benefit the economy and the people.
Disunion and the abolition of monarchy reverse important and specific economic attributes of prosperity when unions, and in fact monarchies, are denied to the people in favour of individual power and political party agendas.
The purpose of the study was to understand whether monarchies have a reason to exist today. The findings support that they do. Monarchies are not to be assumed as being backwards when in fact they are delivering good results. It was found that monarchies should be allowed to prevail if they are in fact delivering for the people. Guillen supported that some monarchies perform quite well economically in the modern world, and an existing monarchy that works well for the people should not be abolished if it is producing high standards of living. Guillen was surprised by his findings and did not expect monarchies to perform positively in delivering such standards for the people. He concluded that there is something special about monarchies; their ability to economically deliver in performance.
This something “special” transcends even the most ardent republican theologies, including that of Cuba’s senior Marxist, Socialist, and Leninist revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro. Castro was not in favour of the abolition of Caribbean Realms of which Her Majesty, the Queen is Monarch, asking Sir Lester Bird, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, in 1994, “Why” he planned to make the island nation a republic. Castro continued, “Does she interfere with your Government?”, Sir Lester explained that she did not. Castro replied, “In which case, you might consider remaining as you are. The Queen doesn’t interfere with your Government and she provides to foreign investors and others a level of confidence in the constitutional arrangements of your state.” Highlighting the positive economic impacts of the monarchy on a nation, Fidel Castro understood the practical purposes and good uses of the institution of monarchy for the people collective.
Former Bank of England rate-setter, Tim Besley also supports the existence of constitutional monarchy in a paper suggesting that countries with ‘weak executive constraints’ that went from a non-hereditary leader to a hereditary leader (i.e. a Monarchy) increases the annual average economic growth of the country by 1.03% per year – an extremely positive and above average increase. Nations with monarchies also ‘do pretty well in terms of their economic framework’, as evidenced with the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, which highlights five of the top ten nations on their chart are monarchies: New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, the UK and Australia.
Business and economics cannot be ignored when evaluating the function of The British Monarchy, to which the Royal family contributes £1.155 billion into the economy through their influence and intrigue, providing £535 million in tourism throughout 2015.
Guillen’s study supports the statement expressed by Fidel Castro, the works undertaken by British monarchists to defend the institution, and the positive financial economic impact associated with the monarchy’s existence. With data including the observations of 137 countries, including republics and dictatorships, between 1900 and 2010, monarchies have a better record than republics in protecting property rights of businesses and individuals, and have a better chance of “reducing internal conflict and put limits on politicians and prime ministers that want to abuse their powers”. The study concluded that there is no reason for the people, within a democratic constitutional monarchy, to abolish their Crown as they often deliver a more sound and better standard of living.
Monarchies focus on the future, a strategy creating a stable feeling for the protection of rights, for business, for property and for the individual. Guillen asserted that a monarchy is more likely to support term limits on politicians that would otherwise abuse their power. Her Majesty, The Queen was cited in the study as a higher power to keep a nation’s Prime Minister in check when they have overextended their reach. Prime Ministers are often kept at bay from abusing their powers when knowing there is a higher power and authority above, vested in a figurehead such as a king or queen. This conscious limitation on one’s own political power, as experienced by UK Prime Ministers’, is known as a “Psychological Mechanism”.
Despite the positive findings of Guillen’s study, there is north of the border, a near majority to scrap our successful and peaceful union, in favour of disunion and Scottish national independent autonomy. It is expected that if Scotland were to proceed with a divorce from England, and dissolve this great union, The Crown of Scotland would also face eventual abolition. Scotland would be without a shared living history in practice, and without its faithful and prudent Crown which has looked after the nation’s interests since the Crowns of England and Scotland were united.
Such losses would devastate vastly differing sectors of the Scottish economy, with great respect to the Barnett Formula, as well as social construct.
Historically it was England’s Parliament that rejected political incorporation with Scotland, in 1607 and again in 1670, with Scottish moves towards commercial union instigated in 1664 - rebuffed in 1668. The Union has since come a long way since then, and as it stands, Scotland’s finances are topped up every year due to union and is well protected and defended due to union. Scotland is even more represented, and its traditions bolstered by the Monarch because of union.
With the loss of Union and The Crown, what will be left for our family north of the border to benefit from?
The agreement for Union is due vastly to the contributions of a successive line of Monarchs, starting with the accession of Scotland’s James VI to the throne of England, thus known as the Union of The Crowns of 1603. From the initial point of union to the formal Act of Union in 1707, and its reaffirmation in 1800, Royal deference to the Crown itself has contributed the enduring legacy of union, and to the very success and fruitful bounty Scotland has enjoyed under the distinctive perpetual care of its Monarchs. Since James VI (I of England) united the Crowns, his work in countering the aggressive, yet traditional beliefs and practices of England’s overlordship of Scotland has carried through the centuries. Elizabeth II continues to advance the Union’s position after 68 years on the throne, and promote Scottish identity with her continued love, care, and concern for her people, as well as the traditions that she actively engages in as part of Scotland’s national identity.
The uninterrupted line of Royal duty and perpetual care shown by the Union’s Sovereigns provide a sense of unity which is the very glue that holds together this United Kingdom. One Monarch, one banner, one island, one people – this is what Britishness means. The union as originally constructed was partly designed as a protection of Royal prerogative powers, a role that Queen Anne personally shaped, as she sought to keep the will of her heir as their own. Royal proactivity has led to the fundamental basis of union and its continued success over the past three plus centuries. Challenges to Royal succession and the Jacobite rebellions put great stress on the cause for deeper unity within the Act of Union of 1707, so much so that the Act was revised in 1800. For Scotland, union with England has not changed the legal system, or the way local governments operate. The fundamental basis of the Kirk was not altered, and Her Majesty plays a vastly different role in Scottish religious life than in England.
Despite intervention of the state becoming the normal, rather than the expected, Scotland benefits from its own Crown, its own Parliament, and an economic partnership which has historically secured Scotland’s place within the British Empire. A move which further resulted in Scotland’s commitment to full political incorporation within the Act of Union.
The Act of Union is seeded in the Union of Crowns, giving historic legitimacy to its existence and usefulness in the modern age. It is strengthened as an institution within itself, supported by the powers and legitimacy of The Crown which exists to serve and protect the people.
In its right, The Crown supports the people through investment in services by way of Crown Estate profits, and further underwrites a majority of its expense through the operations of The Crown Estate (TCE). Members of the Royal family are supported by grants drawn from Crown Estate funds, or through private land portfolios and investments such as with respect to the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall. Operating costs of the British monarchy, 2018-2019, amounted to £82.2m, including the reservicing of Buckingham Palace, £32.9m, with direct expense of operations at £43.9m. This cost is met by the Sovereign Support Grant, paid from HM Treasury (HMT) after a deposit from TCE has been made. The payment made by TCE to HMT in the same fiscal year was £343.5m, leaving £261.3m within HMT for the public good after Royal expenditure was paid. A full explanation of Royal expense, finance and tax, please read Red Pennies: Who Really Pays the Royal Bills?
The Crown and the Union are both economic and social assets to Scotland. The Queen as a central figurehead represents the people collective, and as such, she steers the nation and her through the hardest of times as seen recently with the current health crisis.
A politician can not and does not fulfil this important role for the people.
As with the Nicola Sturgeon, politicians are often said to be untrustworthy with many pushing a one-party agenda, making promises before an election, then going back on those same promises afterwards, thus using the people as a tool to power. Polls show that now, more than ever, most politicians are not considered to be trustworthy, but the Queen is. With the Union supported by Elizabeth II, a majority within England, and just over the tipping point in Scotland, our once secure and widely supported relationship is now in a precariously grim situation. It is only through education, the understanding of our shared history, and the positive aspects of union being conveyed to those who need it most, that the positive attributes of union will not be lost for our Scottish brethren.
Should Scotland vote to quit this historic relationship built on economic dependency, British identity, political union, and its traditional Royal roots, the tables will then be well turned from where they were three hundred years ago, now with Scotland pressing against union and England wishing to preserve it.
It is in the best interest of all the inhabitants of these ancient islands that British brother-ship endures, and our Union remains intact.
Thomas Mace Archer-Mills, Founder of the British Monarchists Society