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On another point, re the Act of Union. No matter what the Act says, that bit in Article 1 about both Scotland and England dropping their name and calling themselves by a new, invented one, wasn’t accepted by either population. I find that very impressive in light of the notion of popular sovereignty. Those individual who signed the Act(s) of Union thought it a great whizz, but both the people of England and the people of Scotland thoroughly rejected it, and still do. Both then and now, English people generally think of their country as England just as Scots generally think of their as Scotland.
If you don’t believe me, besides reading the Press, just watch the football. Especially if England wins the European Nations Cup.
Even the vast majority of those in favour of the Union always tended to see the Union – whether termed the UK or Great Britain or whatever – as an umbrella thing on top of the underlying reality, in which they identified themselves first and foremost as belonging to their own nation. That was certainly true of most Scots and most English, as well as most Welsh people. Northern Ireland might be more complicated, but insofar as it is, it is the exception, not the rule, and Irish History obviously developed very differently from the rest.
They had the advantage of being an island – how I envy them! But that is another story. The point I want to make here is that the sovereignty of the people, despite being in its 14th Century origins a peculiarly Scottish understanding of political reality, has universal leverage. Fundamentally, what the Scots affirmed in the 14th Century has become accepted throughout the world BECAUSE it is simply the truth. It is the people who give governments their power to rule over them. That is simply the reality.
The Scottish doctrine was simply stating the reality, as it exists in the nature of things (and not just in some legal or quasi-legal text). And although rulers will frequently attempt to undermine (i.e. SUBVERT) and indeed OVER-RULE that basic, underlying reality, peoples have ways of asserting it. And in point of fact, English people DO assert it: they know very well that they are English. And that being English is different from being Scots or Welsh or Irish. And no matter what any Act of Union or of Parliament says, they know where England ends. For them, no less than for us, the border with Scotland is real (and presumably with Wales too).
The problem arises from a certain tendency among SOME English people to see England as a superior people, with a right to colonise and thus supposedly ‘civilise’ other peoples. This did not begin with the Elizabethan expansion into America, or the later expansions into India and then Africa and various other parts of the world. No! It has a longer history than all of that.
In a way, that history begins with the Norman Conquest of England – 1066 and all that – although it really only begins to succeed as a specifically ‘English colonial project’ in the 13th Century. Most notably with Edward I’s imposition of his rule on Wales, and all the mighty castles he built there to subdue and control the Welsh populace, besides eliminating their leaders.
Then the same Edward tried to do the same thing in Scotland, but ultimately failed, on account of the Bruce resistance.
Sure, Edward’s ancestors for more than 100 years beforehand had made their own efforts in the same direction, but with less evident success. Even in Ireland where they did sometimes seem to gain a significant foothold they were often defeated (as in the reign of King John, 1199-1216, who basically lost all the Irish ‘possessions; his father had ‘bequeathed’ to him).
Even when John’s father, Henry II, defeated Scotland’s William the Lion in battle round about 1174, and forced him to submit, John’s elder brother, Richard I (the Lionheart) could not maintain any position of power over Scotland or its monarch. Richard very clearly rescinded all claim to Scotland at some point during his ten-year reign, in the 1190s.
It is to state the obvious to say that the main reasons for Scottish independence are specifically Scottish. At the same time, it will also render a service to the English nation, helping it to rid itself of the remnants of its superiority complex and its illusion about itself as having a civilizing, and therefore domineering mission to fulfil in the world. This is the nonsense that prevents England from modernising, and taking the properly constructive place it could and should take in the concert of contemporary modern nations.
The Union is the English people’s last bastion of all that nonsense, which is now holding them back, and preventing them from growing up. The best service Scots can do to the English is to pull that bastion down once and for all. It is better for them, as for everyone, and indeed for the whole world, to be liberated from illusions and face reality.
The same is true for us Scots. Reality liberates – illusion enslaves peoples to a false image of themselves, full of lies and deception. One of the best things about independence is that we too will have to grow up.
Which is another reason why there is no possibility whatsoever of a person like Nicola Sturgeon ever achieving it. She is far too immature to be up to such a serious job. Far too deluded, and far too selfish for such a thing. She’ll never go for it because she knows she can’t handle it.
There must be someone out there who can. And will. Let’s hope so, for everyone’s ultimate benefit. That of Scots and Scotland, but also that of the English people and nation as well.