The Scottish Referendum debate so far has focused on the economic arguments. Both camps the “Yes” and “No” want to convince the Scots that the future economic landscape would be better if they heeded their particular forecasts. So far the economic arguments have only produced a stalemate: a cigarette paper exists between the two sides. The good people of Scotland need something more concrete to crystalize their views and voting intentions.
There is nothing new under the sun. This perspective highlights the importance of history. History and the common cultural ties that bind us all on these Isles are a much better basis to make an informed decision. It is also worth considering the possible backlash from the remainder of the UK if Scotland voted “Yes”. Mr Salmond is deluded if he thinks a “yes” vote would be widely welcomed in the rest of the UK.
Has Scotland ever been independent, if so how successful was it? What role did our European neighbours play? Was Scotland better when independent or as part of UK plc? An understanding of that history is both essential and illuminating. A broad interpretation debunks the old enmities and destroys the arguments of those who may vote with hatred in their hearts.
The Scottish like the English are a mongrel people. No one single race provides a single identity. Britain is a melting pot; one set in a fortunate island fortress. From 1066 Scotland like England was influenced and taken over by the minority Normans. 250 years after Hastings in 1314 Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II at Bannockburn. Bruce like his “English” counterpart was of Norman stock. These Norman dynasties were only interested in power. Mr Salmond and the SNP are no different: a power grab to create a socialist utopia and cement an SNP elite into office.
After Bruce’s victory, the reality was that Scotland continued as a vassal state; if not to the English then to the French. The SNP vision: Scotland would keep the Queen, the pound and of course continue to enjoy the free movement of trade and people on the Island. Should these aspects of the vision not transpire then Mr Salmond would rely on EU support by using the Euro. The European alternative lends credence to an independent Scotland but at the expense of the British Union. History appears to be repeating.
Any reliance on the EU would be reminiscent of the “Auld Alliance”. Scotland defended its independence by having an alliance with the French. This alliance was put to the test in 1513 when Henry VIII was faced with a French pincer movement: the French in the South and the Scots attacking England in the North. The Scottish were defeated at Flodden, 1513 Northumberland. This was a particular disaster for Scotland as not only did the King (James IV) perish but also a number of his closest noblemen. The French were foiled and the most successful years of Scotland’s independence were coming to an end. In 1603 (Union of Crowns) King James VI of Scotland became James I of Great Britain. This pragmatic step laid the foundations of unity.
From 1603 Scotland retained its Parliament and economic control of its finances. With the failure to compete in the race for Empire (Darien expedition 1698), Scotland managed to bankrupt itself. In 1707 Scotland signed the Act of Union. The British nations united, borders secure forged ahead.
The Jacobite Rebellions of 1715, 1719 and 1745 must not be seen as a Scottish versus English war. These Rebellions were an attempt by the House of Stuart to restore a Catholic King to the British throne by replacing the Protestant Hanoverian George. The French were the backers of these Highland Rebellions, designed to stir up old hatreds. Many Scots remained loyal to King George(s).
The success of Great Britain from 1700 onwards was largely due to the whole country being better unified. To ensure the freedom to chase and benefit from global opportunities, it was imperative to control continental Europe. Keeping other European country’s aspirations in check and removing the various dictators that arose from time to time was vital.
Britain had to endure a number of wars to maintain its interests:
- The Wars of Spanish Succession (1701 – 1714) – Duke of Marlborough leads allied campaign to defeat France and its potential domination of Europe
- Seven Years War (1756 – 1763) – Britain defeats France to protect its Empire. Royal Navy dominates the oceans.
- US Wars of Independence (1775 – 1782 & 1812) – supported by the French.
- Napoleonic Wars (1799 – 1815) – French bid to rule Europe and the World. Defeated by Britain and its allies. Dictator removed
- WW1 (1914 -1918) – German attempt to dominate Europe and further its claims to Empire. Dictators removed
- WW2 (1939 – 1945) – Like WW1 but with really nasty racism thrown in. Dictator destroyed.
France and Germany were our foremost and most belligerent competitors. Scottish steadfast representation in all aspects of life showed how effective it was and still can be in affecting and protecting British interests.
The creation of the EU signalled a new chapter in the stormy British relationship with Europe. With the Franco-German pact at its centre, alarm bells should have sounded. Throughout history a united Britain had greatly influenced European affairs by defeating and dividing. Now our two major competitors France and Germany were in league. Could Britain trust this new partnership?
To exercise power a United States of Europe needs to emasculate the Nation State. The policies of devolution, city Mayors and regionalisation are part of this process. Taking power away from National Parliaments is a European credo. Many pro – European politicians in the UK have obviously connived in this process. A “Yes” vote in the Scottish Referendum will further an element of the federalisation of Britain. At a stroke we could lose 400+ years of blood sweat and toil and be thrown back before 1603. Regardless of its outcome the Scottish Referendum is a manifestation of a dreadful deceit by Euro fanatical politicians.
The galling aspect is that post 1945, Britain still had at its disposal a vast English speaking Commonwealth. Yet the opportunity to develop the Commonwealth dimension was spurned in preference to Europe. By stealth Europe wishes to dissipate UK sovereignty and drive regionalisation all at the expense of the UK taxpayer. The choice was and is irrational. Britain capitulated.
The “No” campaign should heed history. It shows Scotland has always been better off integrated with the rest of the UK. To help bind Scotland and the other parts of the UK including England, the idea of Britain as an independent, self- confident country that looks outwards needs to be reinvigorated. Politicians have led us to this current predicament. Many still agree with the EU direction that implicitly encourages the breakup of the UK. The people need to know who these politicians are. Even if the vote is “No” to Scottish independence it would be wrong to complacently ignore the wider issue. This boil needs to be lanced.
Only one UK party, UKIP is aware of the peril. The debate needs to be broadened across the whole of the UK and not just within Scotland. The Scottish Referendum is an ideal opportunity for us all to discuss and reshape Britain’s future. One way to do this is to give us all a say with a Referendum on the EU.