Gorrie argues the case for the following motion to SSP conference.

Conference notes that the unelected First Secretary of State, Lord Mandelson, recently announced the Government’s plans to have an additional bank holiday in 2012 to allow the public to show their “pride and affection” for our unelected monarch on her Golden Jubilee.

Conference recognises our unique call for an Independent Socialist Republic and therefore calls on the Executive Committee to arrange for an event styled on “the Declaration of Calton Hill” to take place on the proposed Bank Holiday.

At the beginning of the year the unelected First Secretary of State, Lord Mandelson, announced the Government’s plans to have an additional bank holiday in 2012. This is, according to him, to allow the public to show their “pride and affection” for our unelected monarch on her Diamond Jubilee. However, Dundee West SSP branch have tabled a motion to the party’s conference to suggest this day is used more creatively, as a celebration of Republicanism.

It has been suggested that an event similar to the successful Declaration of Calton Hill should be staged. Held on 9th October 2004, at the time the Queen officially opened the Scottish Parliament building elsewhere in the city, the Declaration was attended by around five hundred people and took the form of a petition and set out the aims for a future independent socialist Scotland. The Declaration remains online and signatories can be viewed

A similar gathering would serve two purposes. It would be a visible demonstration against the monarchy while acting as a reminder of the SSP’s unique call for an independent socialist republic. Unlike others, we realise that independence will not allow us to achieve everything we hope for. For that, a different type of society is required.

The original declaration called for “an independent Scottish republic built on the principles of liberty, equality, diversity and solidarity.” and realised that these aims could not be achieved in “the hierarchical and anti-democratic institutions of the British State.” Neither could they be realised in an independent Scotland with the same system. It also realises that regardless of what a country is called, the people should be sovereign, stating that, “ We believe that sovereignty rests in the people and vow to fight for the right to govern ourselves for the benefit of all those living in Scotland today, tomorrow and in future times. The Government of a country is servant to the people, not master of the people.”

According to the Government, the Queen has had a “near-perfect” time as sovereign. This despite inequality between rich and poor continuing to rise and many of the Declaration’s aims regarding war and imperialism remaining as relevant as ever. The document states, “We vow to fight for the power to refuse to send our sons and daughters to kill and die in unjust wars in foreign lands” and, “We vow to fight for the power to banish nuclear weapons of mass destruction from our land”. It is unlikely that many on the hill that sunny autumn day would have thought that we would still be involved in the same senseless wars many years and incomprehensible numbers of deaths later. This only highlights why we need to publicly restate the Declarations aims.

Despite claiming that, “People across the whole country will want the chance to recognise this remarkable achievement”, one of the many ironies of the Government’s proposal is that they do not have the power to grant a public holiday in Scotland. However, keen to make sure that we will not miss out on the flag waving, Mandleson has promised “to ensure that people across the United Kingdom can celebrate the jubilee together”.

We have a better idea. Instead of watching the proposed horse races or faded rock stars attempting to boost their careers by playing on the roof of Buckingham Palace, let us use this time to unite with our comrades from across these isles, and further afield, in a colourful carnival of republicanism. Publicly and proudly proclaiming why an unelected monarchy has no place in the new Scotland we seek to achieve.