We need to talk about future of the monarchy - Lorna Slater
“I believe the Scottish people to be sovereign,” I said before delivering my oath. It was a small but defiant gesture that, for me, sums up the conflict and contradiction at the heart of our system.
Are the people sovereign or do we serve the sovereign? With the coronation of a new King mere days away, there are more of us challenging the pomp and pageantry and asking if this is really the form of governance that we want in the 21st century.
The polls are showing a widespread indifference to the whole event, and nowhere is that more apparent than here in Scotland.
According to YouGov, almost three quarters of us don’t intend to watch any of it. It’s easy to see why enthusiasm is so low.
We are in the worst cost of living crisis for decades, with people having to contend with sky-high inflation, soaring interest rates and ever-increasing food prices.
It certainly doesn’t feel like the time for tens of millions of pounds to be spent on lavish celebrations and extravagant golden carriages.
How can we have a system that allows one family to enjoy so much unearned wealth and privilege at a time when millions of people have so little?
It is a ridiculous and badly dated notion that fundamentally undermines the basic tenets of our democracy. But the debate we need to have is not just about the cost of the spectacle, or even about the family itself.
Fundamentally, it is about power, accountability and the future we want for our country.
Representation matters, and I want every child growing up in Scotland to know that they can aspire to the highest office, regardless of which family they come from. That’s why, on Sunday I was delighted to host a public debate about the Monarchy at Summerhall.
It was a positive and optimistic discussion about our vision of a modern and independent republic.
The fairer, greener Scotland that we want to build is one where power lies with the people rather than with increasingly archaic and dated institutions.
It is one where the vast public wealth that is currently held by the crown, including the land and palaces, is used for the common good.
There will be protests happening across the United Kingdom, including one held by Our Republic that I will be addressing on Calton Hill, here in Edinburgh, on May 6.
All over the Commonwealth there are people and parliaments having these debates and reconsidering their relationship with Monarchy.
Over the days and weeks ahead I hope that Scotland will take the chance to do the same.
Lorna Slater is the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity