Queen Elizabeth's shifting United Kingdom

She has been on the throne for six decades, becoming the British monarch at the age of 25. And over those 60 years, Queen Elizabeth the Second has overseen epic change within the commonwealth and beyond. And from quarreling colonies to domestic disputes among her children much of it has been .. challenging and unpredictable. Now as the celebrations marking the Diamond Jubilee begin, she presides over a Kingdom at odds with itself. Scotland plans a secessionist referendum in two short years and some political leaders in Wales are eyeing the same prize.

Part One of The Current


It's Monday, February 6th.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has deflected blame for a staged televised citizenship ceremony in which federal bureaucrats posed as newly minted Canadians.

Currently, we assume it's the real Jason Kenney deflecting blame, but frankly we can't be sure.

This is The Current.

Queen Elizabeth's shifting United Kingdom - Leanne Wood

Well, today church bells ring out across Canada to mark Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee. And as they do, that's what we imagine the monarch might be thinking to herself. Sixty years into her rule, a strong independence movement in Scotland and a weaker effort in Wales are challenging the 'united' in 'United Kingdom' ... leaving many to wonder whether they will remain part of Her Majesty's realm. Scotland intends to hold a referendum on independence in late 2014.

Welsh nationalism is not as organized, but polls suggest a large minority of the Welsh would vote to secede if asked. Freelance journalist Gilbert John took to the streets of Carmarthen in Southwest Wales to try to gauge the strength of the nationalist sentiment there. We aired a clip.

Our next guest says there's no better time than now to talk about an independent Wales. Leanne Wood is running for the leadership of the Welsh Nationalist Party, Plaid Cymru, or the Party of Wales, and she was in Cardiff.

Queen Elizabeth's shifting United Kingdom - Richard Wyn Jones

Our next guest believes there's likely not enough support for a Republic of Wales, but the sentiment shift means the United Kingdom is nevertheless likely to face change. Richard Wyn Jones is the Director of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University and an expert on the Welsh political scene. He was in Cardiff.

Well, if one day Wales does choose sovereignty, the Welsh heart throb Tom Jones and his rendition of Land of My Fathers could well become the anthem of the New Welsh Republic. It is, after all, the Welsh national anthem today. So we ended this segment with a bit of Tom Jones' rendition of Land of My Fathers.

This half-hour was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar, Howard Goldenthal and Halifax Network Producer, Mary Lynk.

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