Blog post

Towards a "Republican Monarchy"? Tom Nairn extract in The Scotsman

Leo Goretti 9 December 2011

The Scotsman has published an extract from the new edition of The Enchanted Glass: Britain and Its Monarchy, the acclaimed dissection of Britain's relationship with its monarchy, by the foremost historian of nationalism Tom Nairn. In the extract, Nairn discusses the idea of a "Republican Monarchy":

The term appears self-contradictory, and yet nothing else corresponds to what may be emerging right now, following the decisive SNP victory in the Scottish Parliamentary election. There will be a referendum on Scottish independence quite soon, and Premier Alex Salmond has repeatedly made it clear he does not want outright republicanism to be part of the bid. The future envisaged is therefore one of statehood equality over the former United Kingdom, in which a crowned head of state will remain, as the symbol of partnership and good will, established social and personal relations, and the historic closeness derived from 1688. It should also change and probably moderate the "surrogacy" mentioned earlier, through which English national identity has been transmuted into an adulatory obsession with royalty. One way the English have avoided "little England" (the country on its own) has been the curiously amplified elevation of a regal family dynasty described in this book, informally shared by the peripheral countries. A formal agreement between the periphery and the core-majority, by contrast, could include the acceptance of monarchy in a spirit different from what has so far prevailed. In effect, the replacement of "enchantment" and emotionality by a straightforward calculation of joint benefits and their costs.

Visit the Scotsman to read the extract in full.

Filed under: articles