Break up of the UK more likely now Queen is gone, journalist Andrew Neil says
The break up of the UK is now more likely now that the Queen is gone, journalist Andrew Neil has said.
Writing in the Daily Mail he said that she was “the glue” that held the Union together and that without her there was a risk of it “becoming unstuck and falling apart”.
“It is concerning that the Union is probably in more jeopardy now she is gone,” he said.
“King Charles will love Scotland just as much as the Queen. But he simply doesn’t have her authority.”
He added that she was particularly key in maintaining support for the union in Scotland.
“The Scottish Nationalists were never sure how to handle the Queen in their bid to break up the Union,” he said.
“They eventually affected to ditch their republicanism and settled on giving her the title Queen of Scots, implying that she would remain Scotland’s head of state even after independence.
“Anybody who knew the rabidly republican SNP realised this was just a subterfuge to get through the 2014 independence referendum and that, if Scotland did vote to separate, the Queen would not long remain head of state north of the border.
“The Nationalists will never forgive her for warning just before the 2014 vote that people should ‘think very carefully’ before casting their ballots. The Scots did think very carefully — and voted to remain in the Union.
“The Queen is more Scottish than English. It is fitting that she has died in her beloved Balmoral.”
In an article for the Times, journalist Alex Massie also expressed his concern that the Queen’s death would be the end of Unionism.
“Everything else about [Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s] career points to her preference for a republican future for Scotland,” he said.
“Whether the country agrees with that is something to be revealed in due course. Nevertheless, Her Majesty’s death is the end of one story and might yet be seen as the starting point for another.”
The Queen had previously made her support for the Union clear while staying away from frontline politics.
In a speech to both Houses of Parliament marking her silver jubilee in 1977, she said said: “I cannot forget that I was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“Perhaps this jubilee is a time to remind ourselves of the benefits which Union has conferred . . . on the inhabitants of all parts of this United Kingdom.”
Before the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, she said that voters should “think carefully” before making their decision.
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