Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland Decides

For many centuries Scotland fought hard to maintain its independence against the interference of its more powerful English neighbour; from the heroics of William Wallace at Stirling Bridge, to the triumph of Robert the Bruce over the army of Edward II on the banks of the Bannockburn, and the issue in April 1320, of the stirring and defiant Declaration of Arbroath:

" . . . for as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any condition be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honour that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with his life."

On 24 March 1603, Scotland became part of a Dual Monarchy when its King, James VI, was also crowned James I of England.

It was his ambition to make the Island of Britain one but this would not materialise for another hundred years when following in the wake of the disastrous Darien Expedition to Panama that had taken up a full-third of Scotland's liquid capital and had been an economic catastrophe for the country the English Parliament, sensing its vulnerability, sought to incorporate into a political union.

On the pledge that those who had lost money in the Darien Expedition would be recompensed and that in future Scotland's national debt would be shared on 1 May 1707, against the will of its people (there were riots in many towns and cities) representatives of the Scottish Parliament signed the Act of Union with England.

It was a deed that led the poet Robert Burns to bitterly remark:

"We were bought and sold for English gold."

Over the next two centuries Scotland, along with the rest of Britain, would stand at the forefront of the Enlightenment, drive forward the Industrial Revolution, create an Empire of conquest and free-trade of unparalleled breadth and scope, and prosper as never before.

But was it a success bought at too higher price?

On September 18, in a Referendum the people of Scotland decided - No.

Extracts from Prisoners of Eternity Newsletter No 1 10-9-14:

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