Can the Royal Baby Save the Union?

royal baby

La semaine dernière, Buckingham Palace a annoncé que la duchesse Kate Middleton et son mari, le prince William, attendaient un nouvel enfant. Cet heureux événement pour la famille royale intervient alors que la Grande-Bretagne est dans une situation de grave crise économique, sociale et politique. Dès lors, on peut se questionner quant aux possibles conséquences de cette nouvelle naissance sur le futur du Royaume-Uni, qui semble aujourd’hui bien incertain…

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Last year, on July, 22nd, the UK witnessed the birth of the first of Prince William’s children, George Alexander Louis Windsor. The enthusiasm it generated was huge and it made many Britons forget about the problems their nation was (and still is) facing, at least for some time. Now that another baby is on the way, one could wonder what the effects of this birth will be.

First of all, a new baby in the royal family is always good news for business. Any event involving the royal family always creates huge opportunities as far as goodies marketing is concerned. For example: the birth of Kate and William’s first baby represented 300 million euros in goodies like tobacco, teabags or dishes. Also, it gave the UK’s tourism industry a 10% boost in comparison to 2012 figures.

What some pundits argue about is whether or not this upcoming baby could bring about an even stronger phenomenon and touch broader parts of the economy, beyond only sales, tourism and bets.

But the thing is that many Britons (and Scots in particular) find the timing of the birth’s announcement  too perfect to be true, given the current political situation in Scotland. And since a birth in the royal family is a federating event, some people have started to think that it could give the unionists in Scotland the little push they just need to “win” the referendum.

For many obvious reasons, among them its longevity, the Royal Family is a symbol of unity and this birth could touch Scots and remind them of the bonds they share with the UK. But can the birth of another heir to the throne really be regarded as a political argument for unionists? If it can, it won’t be a smoking gun, that’s for sure.

Actually, this birth could turn out to have the opposite effect as a majority of  Scots seem not to care that much about the Royal family. For example, only 40% of  Yes voters in Scotland would want to keep the Queen as their head of state, which means that Scots are mostly in favour of a republic. And if you want to go even further, a recent poll produced some very interesting results: one in  four Scots thinks that the MI5 is somehow involved in this  “providential” birth. Conspiracy theories are stronger than one might imagine…

So even though the birth of another royal baby would almost surely help the recovering UK economy, it is not quite the solution to the political crisis the Kingdom is currently going through. However, in case Scotland becomes independent, the remaining Britons will be able to find consolation in a new royal infant. 

Nathan DUFOUR & Louise LAVAUD

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