Section 45: Parallels with 18th Century Scotland

Alasdair Galloway

Some may remember I posted my reaction to the Westminster response to the well supported ‘gie’s a section 45 order”. This response can be found below.  

However the petitions people were unhappy with that response as it failed to directly address the petition’s proposition. You can have a look at their second attempt here:

Not much point in going into much depth here. For one thing the response has as much depth as a puddle after a few drops of rain. However, essentially their case is ‘we believe in the Union’, though this claim is never justified.

The second part of the claim is that Westminster is focused on delivery of a successful economy, an effective NHS for the whole of the UK. You’ll be familiar with this nonsense.

Having a bit more time than usual on my hands, I’ve been reading Tom Devine’s book, “Independence or Union”. Devine discusses situations where England acts in ways indicating indifference to Scotland, her needs and expectations.

There are though a good many relevant parallels  between then and now.

1 First – and bearing in mind the SNP’s current problems – the most significant opposition was the street. There were demonstrations and riots in many Scottish towns against Union.

The reason for this was the weakness of the main opposition – the Country Party which was a loose alliance of members of inconsistent and sometimes conflicting views, led by the Duke of Hamilton, a man whose commitment to independence was highly questionable.

2. There was a perception among Scots that the extra tax demanded by England, ended up in London, whether or not this was true (Devine insists it wasn’t).

3 That the much vaunted “union economic miracle” had never materialised.

4 Events suggested that neither Scots nor English embraced, or had much sense of, Britishness. Westminster was  founded on English nationalism and took its cue from that. Indeed there was appreciation among Scots that with the relative numbers of English and Scottish members, this was how it would be.

  1. Looping this back to Westminster’s response a straight line could be drawn to the Court Party whose policy was driven by the wishes of the monarch
  2. The same suspicions of bias, preference and anti- Scottish sentiment.

There’s very few things which are new, and this isn’t one of them. Instead we should be looking to learn for today the lessons relevant today


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