So, Alex Salmond met the Queen yesterday. What's all the fuss about? 'He's a nationalist', they say. 'So what?', I say!
SNP policy is to retain the monarch as the Head of State, and give the people of an independent Scotland a say over this state of affairs in a democratic referendum. If they decide that they want the Queen and her successors to remain as Head of State in an independent Scotland, then that is the democratic will of the people. If they don't, then Scotland will have to decide on an alternative.
As a democrat, I believe that is the only fair way to decide this issue.
Personally, however, I hope that the people of Scotland reject this particular status quo. As a democrat, I do not believe that some one should inherit the right to a position of authority - this is something that should be earned. Power should be a privilege and not a right arbitrarily conferred on those with a certain gene pool.
We all know that the Queen's role is now largely symbolic, but that again is a bone of contention. What exactly does her role in the political structure symbolise? Well, it certainly symbolises the inequalities that permeate our society. The idea that somehow some people are better than others and that's the natural state of affairs, is the kind of thinking that leads to the acceptance of poverty and the growing gap between rich and poor.
The SNP approach to the monarchy, which distinguishes between the SNP's quest for political independence for Scotland, and other historic, cultural and societal links between Scotland and England, is the right one. Just because we seek political independence for Scotland does not mean we want to sever other links with our larger neighbour.
In a future referendum on the monarchy, I will campaign to remove the monarchy from any constitutional and political role in Scotland. The SNP will give me that opportunity - the choice.
I was pleased that Alex Salmond confirmed at the 'Swearing In' of the new MSPs that the SNP's loyalty is to the Scottish people. Frankly, after campaigning in the recent elections to serve their constituents in the Scottish Parliament, it seemed absurd to see the elected representatives of Scotland swearing allegiance to the Queen! Their loyalty is to the citizens of Scotland who elected them and to the institution in which they now serve on behalf of those citizens, the Scottish Parliament.