Union? What Union?

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Turner’s study of Scots parliamentarians – Lord Provost’s banquet.

Glancing through some intelligent and some not so bright posts on a social website I noticed one irritant who had only one argument: Scotland lost it sovereignty on signing the Union of the Crowns. This is arrant nonsense.

Post after post banged the same nail with a sledgehammer. I groped for the mouse on my desk and clicked it to ‘Thinking Enabled’. I have no idea what makes people say such stupid things but whatever it is, it works.

A double bed

Unionist politicians who declare Scotland a basket case, yet are useless at economics because they can’t count with their shoes on, should start to feel insecure right now. Why? The Act of Union is not an entrenched ‘forever’ binding, branded on the forehead contract. It’s a statement of co-operation, negotiable and renewable, now so out-dated and one-sided it demands a new accord but England the colonial state dislikes equality.

As English politicians constantly demonstrate, its clauses and conditions can be whittled away by the party with the greatest number of seats at Westminster – England’s MPs, and when in the minority, by bunging a couple of billion pounds of taxpayer money to the DUP – not their struggling NHS – but to another minority party with no morals or honesty.

English votes for English laws hacks a large chunk out of the Act. And though he was told it was constitutionally illegitimate, former prime minister David Cameron got away with it by sheer number of MPs. Then again, Cameron followed by Theresa May are born ignoramuses and have been losing ground ever since.

Westminster is regarded by English MPs as England’s parliament, one that happens to put up with, some say suffer, the participation of Scottish MPs. Scottish MPs who gain cabinet office are not dedicated to Scotland’s interests, but to an English political and economic agenda sold as good for the United Kingdom.

Scotlandshire

To hear one arrogant English MP declare she would not give powers to the Scottish Parliament that she would not give to an English shire is evidence of the colonial mentality alive and kicking.

During the Scottish referendum members of the House of Lords spent days telling Scots they would not be welcomed back if they ever discovered they had made a terrible error of judgment, reinforcing the assumption Westminster is England’s seat of government.

Incidentally, that rejection runs counter to the one given by the European Union telling the United Kingdom it could return if it changes its mind over dumping Europe.

Scotching the myth

The myth persists: 1707 installed a ‘Union of Parliaments’. Completely false. Article 3 of the Treaty of Union is a clause that can be altered at any time. What Article 3 did was to establish a completely new legislature, one that allowed continuation of the Scottish parliament. England dissolved its parliament to accommodate the new legislature.

English earls had no anxiety about doing it; by sheer number of parliamentarians it remained in body, spirit and ambition the English parliament. It retained the winning hand, an agreement blocking Scottish MPs attaining power over England.

Scottish MPs did continue with our parliament, as Turner’s unfinished study – see above – shows. It took days and nights to get papers dispatched to Edinburgh by coach and  horses. In time, Scots grew weary of duplicating debates and discussions held at Westminster. We voluntarily sent our earls and clergy now MPs to London. Westminster as an umbrella parliament makes nonsense of the guff reiterated by malicious troll and ignorant town councillor claiming the Scottish Parliament was abolished, or as one gloriously inept historian put it, ‘exterminated’.

Sovereignty

This brings me to the subject of sovereignty. England’s sovereignty lies in its Parliament, thanks to Cromwell’s intense dislike of poncy kings in fancy wigs and garters who thought God the only person above them in authority. That is why English politicians are wont to say Westminster holds all power over Scotland’s Parliament with the exception of a few powers not reserved, which, they assert, can be taken away again.

There’s the abhorrent sight of Jeremy Corbyn, man of the people just not quite for all the people, declaring he will resist a second referendum with all his failing energies. Yes, let the people have their say so long as it’s in keeping with British approved orthodoxy!

We have the example of English arrogance in who broadcasts what and why. Former Minister Margot James said that a state broadcaster is “the sort of thing which brings the union together and it will remain a reserved power.” BBC, the British state broadcaster, sticking rigidly to English mores and culture, geographically landlocked, has illuminated the vast rift that separates Scotland’s place in the world in comparison to England.

Stumped by anything childproof

England’s sovereignty rests with Westminster. Scotland’s sovereignty rests with the people. The principle of the sovereignty of the people is as old as Scotland itself. Those who have studied Scotland’s history – you know, that thing unionists tell us is bunkum, romantic nonsense – know all about the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath.

The Declaration established the unassailable principle that the Community of the Realm of Scotland is permanently, and in perpetuity, sovereign over any head of state and executive. It has the right to depose a ruler who defies the will of the people. And since Labour and Tory are England’s ambassadors we’ve had to depose any number of them, banished to the ermine locker. The ‘people’ are the indigenous and the enfranchised citizens of Scotland and its Islands.

People power is the foundation of a democracy. Scotland was first to institute it by constitutional law. We should be proud of that, but moreover, we should exercise it often in the face of Westminster obduracy and deceit. Our inertia is the weakness Westminster plays on and exploits. Our resolve is what they hate and try to weaken.

The Declaration of Arbroath specifically refers to ‘Our Kingdom’, not any land owner’s kingdom, not any corporation or institution’s kingdom, not a grand car park or a stadium. All we elect and all who are given temporary law making authority over us can be deposed by us – the people.

Keeping in mind that our parliament was not abolished, Westminster cannot dismiss the Document’s overriding constitutional legitimacy.

United Nations

The Declaration of Arbroath is recognised by the United Nations. It fits snugly into the UN definition of a nation: a national entity with a shared history, a long association with a territory, and singular characteristics.

Sure, we share a common humanity with all other nations, but that won’t keep ours safe and free. It only keeps us friendly. What unionist politicians rely on is our ignorance of our history, of our rights, and an unquestioning faith in Westminster as the supreme law giver and the ultimate taker away of powers.

The supremacy of Westminster does not apply to Scotland. It never did. We have the internationally guaranteed right to decide our constitutional future. Once you perceive that and acknowledge it exists a whole new world opens up.

 

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62 Responses to Union? What Union?

  1. Once again Grouse you have lanced the boil with skill, superb !

  2. Iain McCord says:

    Alistair Darling picked a quote in his debate with Salmond. On the face of it it was paraphrase of something Cromwell said.

    On the other hand it was a bit more menacing if you knew it was from a letter to the commanders of the Scots Army before he ordered the invasion. Fairly obviously Darling wasn’t hinting at the use of force to prevent independence. Given the cheerleading and near masturbatory relish at Spain’s pursuit of Caletan exiles by some unionists on social media I’m not so sure there aren’t those that would be opposed to it.

    The other implication is that somehow that invasion put paid to Scotland’s independence and we were from then on a conquest of England and never truly free. Just as Ireland may have had a vassal “Parliament”. Contrary to historical evidence but there you go.

  3. Grouse Beater says:

    Considering the number of placement running Scotland’s institutions, it would not be difficult to paralyse a large section of our infrastructure.

  4. My father was a Flight Engineer in Bombers during WWII (though was in 148 Special Duties Sqdn most of it – dropping supplies to the resistance, dropping British agents into the field, picking them up again… Stuff like that. As he put it – he was defending Britain from German occupation but his main thought was protecting his family. He remained in the RAF for 8 years after the war, then we moved to Canada, where he lived for 20 years, but he came home to retire & look after his Scottish Mom.

    From the moment he put his foot on Scottish soil again, he voted SNP! I didn’t know that, but we were out shopping one day and I mentioned – a little tentatively, as he was a man with stout principles – that I was considering voting SNP. I was STUNNED when he said, “I’m very proud of you for making that choice, choosing to fight for independence, without any input from me.” That’s when he told me he too supported them. I was quite taken aback. But I knew that if that’s how he saw things, I’d made the right decision.

    This man fought a very hard, and very dangerous war – and when he came back, he wanted to live in an independent country that worked for the people, not a country that was subservient. So as far as I am concerned, that old chestnut ‘How DARE you vote SNP! Our forefathers all fought together for Britain, blah, blah, blah’ is a load of old hokum! My father fought – to keep his FAMILY safe. He had no illusions about Westminster! PS: He HATED Churchill.

  5. Grouse Beater says:

    I really enjoyed your contribution, Kate. If I find the opportunity I might quote from it one day. That’s the sort of anecdotal evidence that carries weight. Thank you.

  6. Alan Gordon says:

    Thank you Grouse, very apt (continuity bill) and interesting, will be sharing. Would like to pass on some info on the Turner image. My missus, after reading out your essay wanted to see the Turner image. Her response, “that is an unfinished study from 1822, probably commissioned by Scott. It is the Lord Provost’s banquet in Parliament House, held for George iv.”
    Thanks again for the essay.

  7. Grouse Beater says:

    Yes, one of a few studies by Turner which I mention in the text but should have added to the title. Somebody asked how did I know our parliamentarians worked from home for the most part, so to speak, and I answered, it was a three day coach trip to London.

  8. Peter Curran says:

    Your post is interesting and informative. But I would like to know your view on exactly how, when and where the claimed sovereignty of the Scottish people has ever been exercised, or could, or would ever be exercised. My belief is that Scotland is totally the creature of Westminster and the State of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Scotland Act, and in no practical sense has it any sovereignty whatsoever. It seems to me that events following the Brexit vote in 2016 have demonstrated that at every stage of Nicola’s foredoomed attempts to forestall Brexit, in the process she has de facto said that independence was tradable (or would be indefinitely postponed) for a soft Brexit, e.g. free trade and customs union. The reality is that constitutional disputes are resolved by either political bargaining or by unilateral action, e.g. UDI, velvet or otherwise – or by force. The law only comes into play after the event to tidy up the bargain reached. The Ius Naturale may be the only remedy. My belief is that Scots need a stiff dose of reality allied to some realpolitik on independence – and soon – if we are to avoid being totally neutered post-Brexit. Please cheer me up and tell me I’m wrong – I do want independence.

  9. Grouse Beater says:

    We are registered at the UN by the UK government as a separate nation. The UK Parliament did that because it is not an English parliament, though it has been able to pursue purely English interests domestically and internationally by dint of voting numbers. England acts in a colonial manner only because we have allowed it to happen until recently.

    Had Cameron the power to ignore the clamour for self-governance he would have turned his back and there would never have been the promise of extra-powers if we toed the Westminster line. He knew he could not, for a treaty is a renegotiable document. The UN would have denounced Westminster. Europe too. The same constraints on unfettered domination hold true next time around.

  10. Karen Allan says:

    “Toed the line”, it’s a Navy term!

  11. Grouse Beater says:

    That’s true. Shiver me timbers! Tons of navy terms issuing from Britannia’s days of ruling the ways.

  12. iaingrimston says:

    Excellent. And in addition the version of Westminster Sovereignty usually quoted was last rejigged in these terms during the ridiculously named ‘Glorious Revolution’. But that was in 1688. We didn’t join until 1707 and this notion of sovereignty doesn’t apply. But even so these ideas are all overly legalistic. The principle of Sovereignty is that we are all individuals pooling our individual sovereignty under an agreement. That agreement may be ongoing but it can never be binding. We have no superiors. We are not to be coerced into positions against our will. That would be tyranny and can be part of no honourable political philosophy whatsoever. A noble heart may have no ease if freedom fails.

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