DURING lockdown, some social media users swapped ideas about the monarchy. Now they’ve founded a determined campaign for a Scottish republic – and they want you to join them.

Our Republic’s founders and committee come from “three parties and none” and have roots in Scotland, England, Ireland, Canada, the US and Lithuania.

All are united by their belief in abolishing the constitutional monarchy and creating a fully democratic state with Crown Estate assets transferring into public hands.

Convener Tristan Gray says that it is achievable with the help of a member-led campaign that operates along the principles it promotes – equality, democracy, transparency and accountability.

“The people of Scotland deserve to vote for our head of state,” the campaign states. “No-one should hold power through nothing more than the merit of their birth. All power should be accountable to democracy.

“Authority can only be just when it is accountable. Leadership can only be legitimate when it is democratic. Power must always be shared and must never be absolute.”

Gray, a software engineer, is one of several Scottish Greens in the campaign, along with several prominent figures from pro-indy Twitter, including Welfare Scotland chair Rob McDowall and SNP campaigner Kat Cary.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Why the monarchy should have no place in Scotland post-independence

Meanwhile, polling expert Allan Faulds, the political whizz behind the respected Ballot Box Scotland account, is on its committee, as is pro-Union Labour activist Gwen Wall.

“It started as a Twitter chat that ended up growing arms and legs,” Gray says. “Everyone was much keener than expected in the middle of an election campaign.”

That online chat revolved around enduring issues like class, rights and transparency, but also took in recent royal scandals like the allegations that a trafficked underage girl was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew and “Megxit”, the decision by Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle to “step back as ‘senior’ members” of the royal family and set up home abroad.

Their March tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey was highly controversial and ignited international commentary.

Our Republic says it is time to take that commentary away from personalities and onto the principles the royal system stands for.

“We believe it is fundamentally undemocratic for Scotland’s people not to have a say in who their head of state is,” it says. “Becoming a republic would improve democracy and encourage greater participation in our politics.

“The existence of inherited and unaccountable power is toxic to our society. It teaches people that we’re not actually equal and all in this together, that you can be less powerful than others just through bad luck. That’s not a social message we should support.

“The monarchy’s real power over our laws, but the inability to use them or face them being stripped away, results in there being no real check on the power of a Prime Minister who also controls the House of Commons. Unchecked power corrupts, and an elected Head of State could provide this necessary check in the future.

“In addition, Scotland’s international image would no longer be tarnished by royal scandals and the perception that we are governed by an outdated system.”

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie raises Prince Philip's 'extreme privilege' in Holyrood tribute

THE Winfrey interview “brought this to the fore” for founders, Gray says. “We unanimously agree we are not especially interested in the royal family as individuals and won’t focus on that. We don’t intend to run any campaign adverts on Prince Andrew or anything like that, but the arguments around that reflect the fact that we don’t get to choose who the royal family are. They could be anyone.

“The Queen, who generally is well-liked, isn’t the royal family, she’s just one member of it.

“Who comes next and next after that could be anyone. That takes away from the safety blanket politics of ‘at least the Queen is nice’.”

While royal assent is required to formalise the adoption of new legislation in the UK, convention dictates that the Queen remains apolitical.

Secrecy laws mean there is little known about what transpires between the palace and the Prime Minister, and government documents relating to correspondence with the monarch or the next two in line for the throne – as well as palace officials acting for them – are exempt from release under Freedom of Information or by Westminster archives until at least five years after the death of the relevant royal.

In November, former Financial Times editor Lionel Barber claimed Prince Andrew had “let loose” at a private dinner in 2014 that the Queen was going to intervene over the independence referendum.

After that dinner, she told a member of the public at Crathie Kirk, near her Balmoral residence, that she hoped Scots would “think very carefully about the future”. Polling showed Yes on the rise at the time.

READ MORE: 'Down in London they panicked': Queen was prepared to intervene in 2014 indyref

Barber said: “They had clearly planned it ... it was very artfully done.

“I bet, and I can’t prove it, that he made a desperate SOS call to Buckingham Palace to set that Sunday thing up ... Andrew knew about it.”

AND in February The Guardian exposed documents from 1973 which revealed how the Queen’s personal solicitor lobbied for a change to a proposed law in order to prevent the public or companies from finding out about her shareholdings in the UK.

Our Republic has pledged to be member-led and democratic and is asking other to join it at a cost of £1-£10 per month, with a range of options available on its Patreon page. It will make membership numbers and finances transparent, it says.

It delayed some activities out of respect after the death of Prince Philip, whose state funeral was held in London last week.

The BBC’s comprehensive coverage of his death saw it clear its schedules and led to more than 100,000 complaints, making this the most complained about piece of programming in the corporation’s history.

“The idea of everyone being equal is something the vast majority of people in Scotland care about,” says Gray, who sees the royal family as being “part of a culture of Etonians who were in the same boys’ club, went to the same unis and worked in the same sectors, then end up being prime ministers and feel like they are owed that”.

“Why wouldn’t they see themselves as being more than equal?” Gray asks. “Our institutions already say that they are. It’s a powerful idea that most Scots will pull away from.”

It’s the same system that allows the Queen’s Balmoral estate to pay less tax than the local primary school, Gray reminds.

He adds: “The more people are reminded of that, the less they are going to like it.

“Recent polling suggests there’s quite clear separation between how the royal family is perceived in England and in Scotland.

“It almost dramatically changes as soon as you hit the Scottish Border. The general consensus in Scotland is ambivalence.

“The growth of English patriotism means the monarchy there is likely to last for a while.

“Over the next five, ten years we are likely to see more stories talking about ‘do we really want a royal family?’, particularly in Scotland.”

More information can be found at ourrepublic.scot.