CHRISTMAS is on the approach, and tis very much the season for the annual traditions of Yuletide we’ve come to expect in Scotland: trees going up in November, paying £8 for a small mug of mulled wine in Edinburgh and a new movie in the secret Netflix Christmas Universe. Yes, Netflix has a cinematic universe for the holiday period, linking together A Christmas Prince, The Princess Switch and many more of its seasonal offerings.

However it’s not just a shared world that connects these movies, but a whimsical representation of royalty that runs counter to history. While the fictional monarchs of Aldovia and Belgravia stand ready to hand out steaming hot chocolate to their freezing subjects, our own monarch has been more concerned with redirecting state poverty funding to instead heat her giant palace.

These movies are fun romps in a Christmas-driven world and while I wouldn’t call them royalist propaganda by any means, their benign portrayal of royalty doesn’t sit quite right with me – particularly as our own monarch allegedly prepares to spend millions fighting the sex abuse allegations made against her son Prince Andrew.

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To get down to brass tacks, the reign of Queen Elizabeth is rapidly coming to a close – and while the royal spinners have claimed that the old monarch “has entered a new phase” – a statement that conjures images of the monarch having finally shed her fake human skin – the reality is that time works against us all.

Lizzie has been a permanent fixture in most of our lives from the day that we were born and her relatively steady hand, along with the Union’s fetish for glorious subservience to our supposed betters, has broadly stymied any serious movement toward republicanism in Britain.

But with change on the horizon comes the opportunity to challenge that centuries-old grip that a single family has had on the political direction of Scotland and the rest of the UK. And with a second independence referendum in the future, I believe that it’s important we start a discussion now on just who the head of state of our newly independent nation will be.

The National: Queen Elizabeth has been the head of the UK's constitutional monarchy since the middle of last century

Nation-building, as we are setting off to do, comes with the radical reshaping of government and state institutions required to take our own path. It is with that in mind that it seems odd to me that the role of the monarch would go unchallenged until AFTER those structures are already in place. The difficulty of disentangling the meddling Windsors will only be worsened if we let them take root in the fertile soil of our forming nation.

What role could an elected head of state hold in this future Scotland? The options are fascinating. It could be ceremonial. It could be that the head of government and head of state are one and the same. We could be like Ireland, where the President’s role is to act as a representative of the Irish state and a guardian of its constitution. Gasp. Imagine a constitution of our own to protect. Whatever direction it may go, however, I see no place for a monarch in a modern Scotland.

Those advocating for adopting the Queen, or possibly a new king, without question may as well be advocating for an independent Scotland to continue growing our oil and gas industry. It’s a notion whose time has passed, and the future of our planet depends on fresh ideas along with the decentralisation of power from the grasping hands of our contemporary elites.

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What better time to start building the foundations of that future than now. The royal family has already used its influence and power to wriggle out of being bound by Scottish legislation in the past, something that our own Parliament was only too willing to immediately taste the royal boot and acquiesce to. How easily will they find it to wriggle and wrap their interests into the laws and legislations of our burgeoning nation if they de facto become our head of state?

Independence is about more than just having the ability to make our own laws and to bring power closer to home, it’s a statement of intent too. If we simply transfer the problems and idiosyncrasies of the British state to our new nation, I’m left wondering what the point of going our own way even is.

Independence must be a definitive rejection of the British state and its legacy of empire – a legacy that our country is as guilty of as any other part of the UK. It is that guilt which separates Barbados’s decision to break ties with the British royal family this week from any future path that Scotland takes.

Scotland is not Barbados. For a start, the weather here is generally worse. But above that, the British Empire is something that happened to Barbados. Regardless of how we may have found ourselves involved, Scotland did choose to participate in the Empire in a way that other countries did not and as such our challenge is different.

Unlike Barbados, I believe that our rejection of the British state, and the family that pressed its bloody influence across the globe, is a necessary step in addressing our own shameful role in the Empire.

To move forward, we must address our past.

Without a doubt, I believe that Scotland should be a republic from day one of its journey out and into the world – not only to ensure that the foundations of a new Scotland are built on the principles of democracy, but also as a means of beginning to address our own murky history.