Union? What Union?


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.


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. Getting Scots MPs to London and back again was just as time consuming and expensive, easier to remain in Edinburgh and debate London Bills and issues there.

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’.


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 English MPs declaring they will resist a second referendum with all their energies. Yes, let the people have their say so long as it’s in keeping with British approved orthodoxy! Scotland must not get a surfeit of democracy.

We have the example of English arrogance in the form of 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.



This entry was posted in Scottish Independence Referendum, Scottish Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Union? What Union?

  1. Grouse Beater says:

    That’s a good question. I get the occasional remark from SNP MPs but no one else, no MSPs, but lots of Tory, Labour and LibDem stragglers ready to pour scorn. I appear to be shunned by our wonderful newspapers. I put it down to the semi-anonymity I chose to pen my research and thoughts. Oddly, I’ve had any number of offers to reprint essays from right-wing rags. Ironic – isn’t it? Mind you, I think they’re attracted by the ‘punchy’ (their term) prose style I choose hoping it’ll be controversial and a ton of Brit Nats will come down on my head. Well, I’m ready!

  2. Thanks for this, Grouse, I hope around 4 million Scots get round to reading it.

  3. Grouse Beater says:

    I wish. 🙂 On a good essay it’s about 4,000 over two days, but my work doesn’t get much exposure in the press making it a long hard slog. (Maybe I should buy a wee mascot!) But thousands mark it up as ‘liked’.

  4. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    No need for a hammer.

  5. Grouse Beater says:

    Probably used his forehead! 🙂

  6. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Sorry, trying to post on mob Tel with autocorrect on berzerk mode.

    No need for a hammer and a nail here.

    A nail gun and several clips of nails here, ready for firing.

    Well done

  7. Auld Bob says:

    Sorry to say Google and Dogpile both seem to have lost their reports and pictures of that, “Signed”, (Cough!), “Union of the Crowns”, Treaty.

    Seems they also don’t report the respective, “Acts Of Union Treaties”, either, for some reason.

  8. Grouse Beater says:

    Dear me. Airbrushing history. Who’d have thought it?

  9. socratesmacsporran says:

    Grousey – This may be pedantry, brought-on by working in newspapers back when they had sub-editors to enforce correctness, but, in your fifth paragraph from the end, the one beginning: “The Declaration of Arbroath…..” – just under the “Waving the flag of sovereignty” cross-heading, you state: “Keeping in mind that neither parliament was abolished.”

    I have always understood, the English Parliament decided to abolish itself and reconvene as the Parliament of the United Kingdom, while the Scottish Parliament merely went into what turned out to be a near 300-year recess. Does this change things?

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    Yes, that’s a very interesting observation; constitutionalists are agreed it works both ways.

    There’s nothing in the co-signed Act that does away with England’s parliament and yet to bolster their argument of a single parliament with absolute authority over both nations our English cousins aver they did away with theirs.

    Well, now and again we need a futile gesture to keep hope alive. 🙂

    Ulster unionists, together with the Tomkins rabble, are aware that England could set up a separate parliament, a theory embodied in their search for a ‘final solution’, a forever federal Britain.

  11. Excellent piece yet again , and one that needs to be shared and shared again.

  12. Grouse Beater says:

    That’s where readers are worth their weight in gold, Barrhead Boy, so please distribute in as many places as you have time to do it. And thanks for the boost to continue. I’ll write more on the constitution soon. I had in my head the SNP set up a committee discussing one for Scotland but somehow I’ve lost track of where it is with its formulation. They might as well borrow and adapt the US Constitution. After all, we Scots helped write it!

  13. Helen Smith says:

    Thank you for another very enlightening piece. Recently several articles have emerged on the terms Treaty of Union, the sovereignty of the people of Scotland and how the failure of Westminster/unionists to grasp their significance and temper their actions accordingly (power grab and dragging Scotland out of the EU against our stated will) could lead to the dissolution of the Union. This definitely needs greater exposure so will be sharing your article to several independence groups on social media.

  14. Stan Wilson says:

    Invigorating piece of work, shared and liked. Please continue with the constitutional approach, I and many others find it enthralling.

    Appreciate all your hard work and efforts.

  15. Grouse Beater says:

    Reinforcement to motivate work is welcome, Helen.

    You should send the essay everywhere you can asking them to do the same. Westminster relies on our ignorance of our own Treaties, Acts and charters.

    Let the sunshine in!

  16. Grouse Beater says:

    I’m on the case, Stan!…. keep an eye on the site and my tweets, and do pass this work to others who might benefit, particularly the non-informed and the ill-informed. (No names mentioned.) More on the constitution soon as I can find the quiet time… 🙂

  17. For those finding the Articles of Union difficult to track down, try searching for that phrase:
    You may notice it right at the top, not exactly hidden, indeed the same result is possible by searching the parliament website.

    Click to access articlesofunion.pdf

    Has there ever been a test of any lapse on the terms of the treaty in court? Though, in which court would it be tested? The only one I can think of that might be independent enough the tories are doing their damnedest to remove access to.

  18. Big Fi says:

    What a great read! Why don’t you send this piece in to The National newspaper. I’m sure they’d print it or at least do an article on what the Union of Crowns and the Declaration of Arbroath actually means.

  19. My my Grouse Beater, a very interesting read. Are our representatives in Holyrood paying attention to the constitutional arguments. I have no basis to contradict anything you say nor do I have any desire to do so. I do hope that such logic and analysis is getting discussed with vigour and seriousness. Brightened my day, good work, nay excellent work please do keep it up and thank you.

  20. Grouse Beater says:

    David, you’re welcome. Odd the things that spark polemic in my mind. I assume the knowledgeable know the detail, and often I discover they do not.

    Unsure who reads my essays at Holyrood, but yes, they are all well researched, and cross checked with the work of experts. Behind me on shelves sit almost 2,000 reference books. Just have to exercise care the eyesight isn’t getting ruined!

  21. Grouse Beater says:

    Hi Big Fi – I always send a copy of this kind of political material to the National but as yet not received a reply. I trust they leave it on their Twitter site for readers to assimilate.

  22. This was a very good read Grouse Beater and very helpful.

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the Treaty of Union & it’s implications but was a little stymied by some points, where I thought I wasn’t interpreting them correctly. I got what I thought were points really relevant to the circumstances of the union in the here and now, which I felt could be disputed to Scotland’s advantage. But I thought I must be understanding it all wrong, as no one in Scotgov has seen fit to contest these salient points. So it was good to read your opinion – which seems to tally a lot with what I have come to understand. So I’m thinking that I’m not far off the mark.

    So the question still stands, in my mind – why is the Treaty & resultant state of the union, NOT being contested, not being tested in a Court of Law & thus, allowing us to decide ‘enough is enough’ and move on independent of rUK. I know it won’t be ANYTHING LIKE as easy as I make it sound. WM will fight it for all they are worth. But it seems to me that the crux of the matter is legitimate and dissolution of the ‘union’ could at least be attempted.

    I’d far rather we did the dissolution thing, than the IndyRef thing (though I’m happy with that if that’s what it comes down to). THAT smacks to me of, “we’re not sure of our ground when it comes to the ToU so lets just ask the people what they want”.

    That involves having to get numbers and percentages & if we decide to go without May’s ‘permission’ (See? Why are we needing her ‘permission’??) unionists continually stating that it ‘isn’t legal ’cause you haven’t asked for a Section 30″, blah, blah, blah…

    Then the whole election procedure on WM’s terms & the fear of vote rigging that I have always suspected and which now seems to be confirmed. But as I say… dissolution means WE DON’T ACCEPT the bullying, the put-down of Scotland and the assumption that England got to be head honcho in the union of equal partners. THEY NEED TO KNOW we don’t consent to that ANY MORE – and we just walk away. ANYWAY…

    Thank you for this. Good work, sir! I’ll look forward to reading more, when you get down to it. 🙂

  23. Grouse Beater says:

    Many thanks, Kate. I’ve always advocated firm non-violent disobedience, but there really should be no need for that when we have a Treaty that allows us to call a plebiscite.

    I will write more on the constitution soon – I reduced 5,000 words last night to 1,400 – and I’ll address some of the questions you raise.

  24. Hugh Wallace says:

    Excellent stuff GB.

    I echo what Kate said: why is the SNP not making noises about simply dissolving the Union by means of the Act that established it?

    Ghandi did not accept that the UK had any right to govern India; Mandela did not accept that whites had the right to rule over blacks in South Africa; yet we Scots – including our political leaders – appear to accept the right of the English to rule over us within the UK.

    We are a brainwashed people.

  25. Macart says:

    Neatly done Grouse. 🙂

  26. Grouse Beater says:

    In effect the SNP has given Westminster notice the Union will be one way or another renegotiated but self-governance is not on the table. That’s sacrosanct.

  27. Bob Buchanan says:

    Excellent article, does this mean that the Scottish Governmet could dissolve the “Union”? That there would be no need to declare UDI to leave if no permission given?

  28. Donald McGregor says:

    Thanks for this. Although I need to read it again to get all the detail in my head, I too am with Kate and Hugh above on this one. We have elected a parliament and if that parliament, as our representatives, decided to address and resile from a current treaty, why does it not simply do so?
    I’ve always thought, on the topic of ‘public will’ that we are all, generally, much happier electing our politicians to do things they say they will do, and letting them do those things.

  29. Macart says:


    Pretty much. The heads up should come in the SNP’s later than usual Spring conference. I suspect the late timing wasn’t an accident. It’s going to be a long summer, but the autumn should hold a late flush of heat for some. 😉

  30. Grouse Beater says:

    Many thanks, Mike! 🙂 Spread the word!

  31. Grouse Beater says:

    That’s always been the way, Bob, but never quite find the right moment – call it politics – based on seeing a strong wave of consent keeps the decision hesitant. If Westminster dares to block the will of the majority what have we to lose? We have everything to gain.

  32. Grouse Beater says:

    Donald – any elected government with a conscience and a care will wait for the right signal. But what is more important for the good health and future of Scotland? Do we wait for one person to make a majority, or protect the future for all irrespective of an arithmetical number? If we hesitate too long what will there be left of Scotland to bequeath to its people?

  33. Grouse Beater says:

    Macart – I think we should begin to flex our muscles especially while Westminster is in disarray and its fortunes can only get worse.

  34. Grouse Beater says:

    Keep it moving, June, keep it moving. Knowledge is power.

  35. Always find myself arguing – or resisting – a response to those of either persuasion that indeed history *does* matter; no we really did not go bankrupt as a nation and beg the English for union etc etc., or that the nature of hostile take-over in the 1700s has set the tone ever since without deviation.

    On a slight tangent, I’ve started to consider myself not pro-Indy but pro-secessionist, since Scotland is meant to be a partner in this union and not a colony seeking to make its own way in the world.

    It’s probably not a strong argument, but it does beg the question “if we are independence supporters, then from whom are we seeking to be independent?” Answer A: England? In which case, England is the coloniser. It rules the union. Answer B: The United Kingdom? If so, then we’re not seeking independence so much as dissolving a partnership. In band terms, we’re “going solo”.

  36. Grouse Beater says:

    Bryon – it’s both, we’re protecting ourselves from English xenophobia and wars, but the motivation has always been to divorce ourselves from Westminster’s ‘England first’ agenda, and in so doing keep all we earn to distribute it wisely in Scotland.

    There is very little left of the 19th and 20th century Union to justify staying in a partnership that is all one way. Other than that I wouldn’t think about it too much. Concentrate energies and ideas on how Scotland can be shaped for future generations and still retain some degree of integration with England.

    Technically we are not secessionists while we retain the Union of the Crowns. That one wrong-footed Lizzie of Barmoral, but she gathered her wits together in time to warn us to ‘think again’.

  37. diabloandco says:

    Love that photo and caption – choked on my coffee!

  38. Grouse Beater says:

    Not had my coffee yet, Diablo. Still planning the day ahead. 🙂

  39. The declaration of Arbroath should be nailed to the front door of Holyrood as a reminder to all who enter , this is not westminster it is the Scottish Parliament .

  40. Grouse Beater says:

    You’re not kidding, Robert. English are as guilty as we are of constitutional ignorance. How many quote the Magna Carta in defence of this or that, and indeed, how much of it has been trodden over by those who know better?

  41. hettyforindy says:

    Great article thanks Grouse.

    One thing, i am sure the Scotgov SNP have the measure of things and will do what’s right at the right moment. One thing is for sure, we keep it peaceful, always.

    I see Hugh mentioning Ghandi and Mandela. Well they suffered greatly at the hands of the British Nationalist state, and look what it took to extricate themselves. It was bloody, violent and necessary due to those countries having no other way out.

    Scotland is not India or S.Africa however.
    It is a known fact peaceful means to attain a goal is by far the best and most desirable option, and most of all, is the only option which garners outside support. ( Catalonia sadly very oppressed and briutalised even though peaceful, though different again, to Scotland, constitutionally).

    Bit by bit, people in Scotland are seeing the way in which they are disrespected by the so called union, and they are seeing that it anything but equal. Scotland has a get out clause and will use it at the right time. It’s why the Britnats are terrified, because the lies they told last time, will not wash next time.

    People know that London, WM would cast Scotland adrift tomorrow, if they really believed that Scotland is subsidised by them, they know it is in fact the opposite in reality.

    England needs to stand on it’s own 2 feet, shake hands with Scotland, and come to an amicable agreement with Scotland to end the union as it stands. It no longer functions well, and is not fit for purpose. We can still be good neighbours, but can they?

  42. Grouse Beater says:

    Your contributions are always thoughtful and well made, Hetty. Thanks.

    I like this:

    “England needs to stand on it’s own 2 feet, shake hands with Scotland, and come to an amicable agreement to end the union as it stands.”

    I’m certain of those who voted ‘No’ last time a lot knew their history, of England’s ability to corral Scotland’s economy, and they calculated voting No would avoid antagonising English imperialist anger. Well, they better get used to it because England really fears being a small nation without Scotland’s resources and army recruits. We should expect more antagonism, a lot more.

  43. Kangaroo says:

    Two Crowns on one head.
    “Scotland lost its sovereignty on signing the Union of the Crowns”. There was NO such Union. If there had been there would have been no need for the Articles and Treaty of Union circa 1707 and the United Kingdom would have been called the Kingdom of Scotland as James took over the English crown in 1603. The reason this did not happen was because the English sovereignty rested with the Monarch but Scottish sovereignty rested, and still does, with the people, hence James mum Mary was “Queen of Scots” NOT Queen of Scotland. I am sure you know this already, but it needs repeating for other readers. There are still two separate coronations, the Scottish one using the much older Scottish crown jewels taking place before the Englsih one at Westminster.

    Testing the Treaty and Acfs of Union of 1707
    a) dissolution of parliaments
    Indeed it is my understanding that both parliaments were supposed to be dissolved after the treaty was enacted and a NEW parliament was to come into being called “GB and Ireland”. The Englsih parliament sat and dissolved itself but the Scottish one was unable to sit because there were riots in the streets and the parliament dared not sit, so it was prorogued or adjourned. Hence Winnie Ewing on opening the Scottish parliament stated that it was now Reconvened. The fact that the new parliamenet sat in the same building as the old englsih parliament does not make it a continuation of the englsih parliament nor does it enable all English law to be supreme over Scots law. That is not what was done.
    b) challenging the erosion of the Acts of Union
    The erosion of the Acts has definately taken place over the centuries, but this has been done by the complicity of the Scots MPs being unionists since 1707. So I doubt that challenges to changes made with Scots complicity would be found to be unlawful. However now that there are a majority of SNP politicians representing Scotland it is much harder for English MPs to override Scottish wishes, although they are pushing the envelope.
    The Scottish EU Continuity Bill will be the first real test of the Treaty of Union should Westminster decide to go to court. That will be interesting as they would have to challenge Scots Law and matters of Scots Law can be heard in the UK(so called) Supreme Court, but the judges must be Scots law experts as Englsih Law does NOT apply in Scotland under the Treaty terms, which is why we have a separate legal system.

    A bit of a rant but we need to get as much info out to as many people as possible. Knowledge is power.

  44. YesWeCan.scot says:

    As ever, attitudes and perceptions in Scotland are honed by the forces that work behind Westminster.

    Ignorance of the protective powers within the constitution is key to our domination – as is ignorance of our rich history (Scottish History that is).

    England has a population that is 10 times greater than Scotland’s. Despite land masses that are closer in size, the idea of a 50/50 split in MP numbers between Scotland and England would have our southern chums blowing a fuse. That would, of course, guarantee equal representation on a country basis and be more in keeping with the notion of a “Union of Equals” – but since the norm has always been to give advantage to England and her aspirations, that 10x advantage was quickly used to set the guidelines for representation – namely, it would be based on population.

    By allocating an MP to a fixed number of constituents (roughly it has to be said) we retain the 10x advantage for England in the Parliament – and come across as all fair-minded and logical at the same time, satisfying the “Union of Equals” on a one man one vote equality which neatly dismissed any other notion of equality. Probably the first implementaion of “Having your cake and eating it”.
    It’s been like this ever since – they even scribbled it on a page of notes relevant to the UK Government’s strategy for dealing with the EU withdrawal talks.

    After 300 years of fore-lock tugging, the average Scot assumes the default position when anyone presents a challenge to the status quo – that default position is to immediately refute the challenge as nonsense – or as an attempt to subvert the integrity of a well run machine that has been oh, so beneficial to everyone on these islands.

    “We fought two World Wars together y’know, we have an Empire where the sun never sets, Westminster is “The Mother of Parliaments”, stiff upper lip, Dunkirk spirit, cared for from cradle to grave, we would be a financial basket case on our own” – what’s not to like? An awful lot as it happens – and the continual indoctrination against breaking that conditioning is the worst of all.

    We are, however, making serious inroads into breaking our chains. The conditioning is starting to fail and a momentum is beginning to take hold.

    We need more articles like this to educate, debunk and generally bring this knowledge to the fore.

    Great job, looking forward to your next piece.

  45. Isabel says:

    I think the SG Contunuity Bill is perhaps using the fact that the Scottish Parliament was never dissolved to stop WM seizing our devolved powers. I will keep this article so I can reference it for future debates. Thank you.

  46. Grouse Beater says:

    Thanks, Isobel. And distribute it as widely as possible.

  47. Grouse Beater says:

    Yes We Can! – Scot:

    The war dead were exploited by repulsive English MPs to suggest our forefathers will have died in vain if Scotland is allowed to regain its full freedoms. Well, I think those who made the great sacrifice would turn their rifles on the politicians who uttered that foul-mouthed belch.

    My attitude is: turn loud and hard on the carping, the naysayers, the sock puppets, the placemen, and those who would defame, deny, and spread despair. Don’t give them a damn inch.

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