Gie’s A Pint O’ Heavy 91


I have been reading Maggie Craig’s Bare Arsed Banditti, which is a highly revealling collection of personal stories from the ’45. I recommend it. Together with Fitzroy MacLean’s brilliant life of Charles III, it is now my favourite book on the Jacobites.

One thing which Craig brings out very well, with ample documentary evidence (though I deplore her lack of footnotes) is the extremely strong Scottish nationalist aspect of the rebellion and the strong nationalist sentiments expressed by many of the clan leaders and footsoldiers. This is an element which was not just ignored but deliberately falsified in history as it has been taught for generations – I still recall the scoffing at John Prebble. In fact an independent Scotland was almost certainly the desire of most of the Jacobite army, from the evidence available to us. Craig also demolishes the myth that there were as many Scots on the Hanoverian side as on the Stuart side at Culloden. I had known that was a myth, but just how overwhelmingly the Hanoverian army was English I had not fully taken on board.

The truly great Jacobite general, Lord George Murray, knew he was joining a disastrous enterprise, but felt he had to do it. His touching letter is often quoted:

My life, my fortune, my expectations, the happiness of my wife and children, are all at stake (and the chances are against me), and yet my duty to Scotland in which my Honor is too deeply to withdraw —– this matter of principles outweighs everything.

But historians have routinely overlooked the obvious – his duty was to Scotland, not to Britain. Maggie Craig does not quote this letter in her book, but the nationalist sentiment she records pervaded the army to the very top. It was of course true then as now that the ancestors of the New Labour numpties of Strathclyde gave not a fig for anything but cash, but the rebels were nationalist.

Scotland is not unusual. National independence is something which people have been prepared to give up their lives for around the world, for as long as the concept of a nation has existed (and the Declaration of Arbroath is arguably the first documentary assertion of a modern concept of nationality).

It is infinitely better to resove these matters without violence, but the desire for national freedom still ought to stir the blood. Which is why I am puzzled by Alex Salmond’s tactical decision to make independence as boring as possible, in the hope that nobody will be scared of it. It is of course true that independence should not necessitate physical border controls or economic barriers of any kind; it is quite extraordinary that unionists still talk as if independence would necessitate a return to mercantilism and a new effort to colonise Darien. But Salmond’s independence lite, where Scotland keeps the Queen, the pound, the British army to wage illegal wars, and doesn’t even have a proper diplomatic service, is just a further measure of devolution. Why should anybody work for a change on the grounds that nobody will notice it?

Forget independence lite, gie’s a pint of heavy. A republican Scotland where we can jail our own bankers.

Oh, and before anyone points out I was born in Norfolk, let me point out that Robert the Bruce was almost certainly born in Essex. I see no intellectual dilemma in myself being part English and part Scottish and wishing both to enjoy independent nationhood.


91 thoughts on “Gie’s A Pint O’ Heavy

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  • Roderick Russell

    I am not sure that I agree with Craig and Strategist’s interpretation of history. Some of my ancestors who just wanted to be left alone had had a few problems with religious toleration in an earlier period from Charles 1 & 2 and, indeed, from Graham of Claverhouse. They were Covenanters and didn’t find much religious toleration. The Stuarts, when in power, tended to absolutism. Perhaps Bonnie Prince Charlie had he achieved power may have been different from all of his forebears, and would have lived with the constitutional settlement that had come on the succession of William & Mary, but somehow I doubt it. Though I do agree with you that Bonnie Prince Charlie had shown many good characteristics in opposition. I also agree with you about Cumberland who was a revolting royal butcher, though the Stuart’s sidekick Claverhouse (Bonnie Dundee) in an earlier period had been no saint to my ancestors in the South West of Scotland either.

  • Strategist

    Interestingly, one of the few other times in the series Oliver really let his own views come out strongly, was to have a big go at the Covenanters!

    I stress that the series has been brilliant, exemplary and evenhanded throughout, and these expressions of a strongly personal point of view have been few. I have enjoyed it enormously and recommend it to anyone, including you!

  • writerman

    Golly, now we leave the broad and well-lit path of ‘historical truth’ and move into the murky bushes of… military strategy in the 18th C, and what might have been, gipping stuff, when seen in a contemporary perspective I’m sure.

    As we know communications weren’t that good in 1745, so one can hardly criticize military leaders for not having all the relevant information they required to make the right tactical decisions. As far as I remember wasn’t there something close to panic in London with the Hanovers ready to flee, the army collapsing, and London in reality more or less wide open.

    Then there’s the vexed question of whether taking to the hills and adopting guerilla tactics was a realistic option for the Scotts. What would have happened to their families, farms and estates with the men gone? I seem to recall that in this kind of asymetric warfare, things get very, very, nasty, especially for the unprotected civilian population, who the occupying army usual takes it out on with relish. Guerilla warfare isn’t romantic at all. It’s probably the worste kind of warfare, not something one would choose, rather something one is forced into, so one can see how almost any alternative might seem better. Cumberland’s treatment of the Scotts after their surrender was bad enough, one call only imagine what it would have been like in an asymetric conflict.

  • mike cobley

    Latest poll puts support for independence at 29%, while 57% say they will actively vote against it.

    Beyond dubious sentimentality, just what hard-headed practical solutions would independence provide? And if these solutions are desperately needed, why would other people living on the other side of a line on a map be denied them?

  • Roderick Russell

    As I live in Canada I am not able to follow Strategists recommendation and view Oliver’s program. I can’t therefor comment on it, though it does seem to me that “historical truth” in Scotland varies from region to region, and it also changes from generation to generation to suit what is fashionable at the time. That’s why I put the comment in about Bonnie Dundee since he is a great hero to some though not to others. Bonnie Prince Charlie is a hero to all now since the songs and scenery are so good; though he was not everybody’s hero in Scotland at the time.

    I am reluctant to get so immeshed in history with so many experts around who have viewed Oliver’s program (whatever it is) but not all Scots supported Bonnie Prince Charlie. During the 2nd World War, my father served with 2 Scots Regiments, both of whom had fought on the Hanoverian side at Culloden.

  • Traquir

    “just what hard-headed practical solutions would independence provide? ”

    Hmm, well it would allow our nation to choose how it wants to be governed and subsequently determine all of the policies that that entails which focus on the best interests of the Scottish people first and foremost.

    In the current situation Scotland gets an England imposed Conservative Government whenever England feels like lurching to the right, irregardless of how the Scottish people vote. The second chamber of the British ‘democracy’ is an unelected set of nobility appointees for life and the governing party of Scotland the SNP has ZERO representation !!

    So what are some the benefits of independence for our nation- the ability to elect a government which represents the wishes and aspirations of the Scottish people first and foremost, dump an expensive an archaic house of Lords, avoid British imperialistic wars like Iraq, dump war toys/WMD like Trident. One other interesting benefit is that we would also leverage our own natural resources for the benefit of the Scottish people first and foremost – wind, tidal, coal, oil, gas, hydro, fishing, carbon capture with our the fear of theft from England as happened with the first 30 years or our Oil and Gas.

    Not a bad initial list of benefits ? But there are many more , the Scottish people just need to open their eyes and minds to see what is possible. Will it be a Nirvana no – like any other nations we will face challenges, but the key difference is we will tackle them with the interests of Scots first and foremost rather than some supposed superior British interest.

  • JimmyGiro

    “No, we need to live in social bodies to provide the rule of law, to stop large armed men from stealing our stuff and raping us. So society needs laws and institutions to enforce them, and the nation is for a whole variety of reasons the best level to agree those laws and found thise institutions.”

    The trouble here is that the law itself undermines society. Consider our ‘nation’, which is one of the most litigious in the world, and in its present history; yet we are by any standards at our least social, regarding nation and community.

    If we build nations to defeat ‘bogeymen’, then those enshrined laws of the nation will entrap the people with perpetual fear of the bogeymen; which as sure as night follows day, will lead to citizens creating bogeymen from clay, just to perpetuate their own righteous national state of ‘being’.

    Consider our police, armed as if for war; even though our society has been denuded of criminals, as witnessed by our over-crowded prisons.

    Law should not be shackled to the psychological neuroses of nationhood, but based on the universal needs of the world citizen. And to ensure that national law does not overwhelm international law, the universal principles of justice must be kept to the strictest minimum.

    Only in times of war should we invoke ‘national’ law.

    Finally, I believe that law will fail to preserve the individual from the bogeyman, but will protect the institutions from synthetic society. I believe that natural society would rarely grow beyond the village clan. Hence when law preserves itself, it has outgrown its primary function towards its host, and becomes the host, as in fascism.

  • writerman

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if Scottish independence really led to all the good things people believe, and hope it will, or could?

    I wonder how an independent Scotland would have faired when it’s banks failed last year? Would Scotland even have a banking system today, or an economy, if London, and that great Scott, Gordon Brown, hadn’t bailed them out?

    I know one can argue that Scotland could, in theory, have one of the strongest currancies in Europe, if it was independent and if it controlled it’s oil, and if it could re-negotiate all the contracts and revenue rates, and the Shetlands didn’t follow the mainland’s lead and opt for independence…

    Then there’s the American bases in Scotland, will Scotland choose to assert its right to become nuclear free? How will the Americans react to that I wonder?

    Then there’s Britain’s collosal national debt, how much is Scotland’s fair share of that particular mountain? Has Scotland the resources and tax base to pay it off after independence?

    It’s not that I’m against the idea of Scottish independence in principle. Only I wonder, when one pulls the romantic veil aside, what will reality look like?

  • Traquir

    Writerman not sure where you come up with ‘romantic veil’ – I provided you a list of facts nothing more nothing less. All of these would be the minimum we would get anyway.

    In terms of some or your other points which all interestingly appear to be rather negative –

    . In terms of the Banks failing – perhaps they would not have failed had they been properly regulated. Certainly the banks could have hardly done any worse under and independent Scotland than they did another the British system under which they failed. Having a massively centralized FSA based almost exclusively in London is a huge part of the problem. It was a problem created under a British system so bailed out by it also – seems fair enough.

    . Strongest currencies in Europe – certainly that was what the British Government concluded for Scotland in the 1970’s and that the Scottish people would be 30% better off than their England counterpart. But rather than share this openly with the Scottish people it was hidden and marked secret. This is not type of Government Scotland needs to be represented by.

    . In terms of Shetland you will find it is part of Scottish territory and there is no significant independence, but if one arose then Shetland self-determinatin could not be denied. However even for this the British showed how low they are and whilst they tried to surpress nationalism in Scotland they tried concoct it in Shetland –

    “Plan to hive off Orkney and Shetland”

    see – tinyurl.com/bmjhlz

    . Contingency plan to shift the Scottish Border to

    move one third of Scottish Oil fields to England.

    see – tinyurl.com/bmjhlz

    . “American bases in Scotland, will Scotland choose to assert its right to become nuclear free?” – Yep the Scottish people and our parliament has made it clear that WMDs are not wanted on our soil. No doubt the billions ‘invested’ in these WMDs go be much more postively invested in Scottish industry to more than offset the loss of some American bases.

    . ‘Britain’s collosal national debt’ – hmm so Britain is so bankrupt we can afford to leave – hardly a positive argument. Negotations would need to take place to divide up the various assets and liabilities. In terms of resources you will find that Scotland has an embarassement of resources for a country of 5 million many more in fact than most of the 50% of existing countries of similar size or less, and they all seem to survive quite fine with no clamouring to give up their independence.

    “It’s not that I’m against the idea of Scottish independence in principle”

    Your posting certainly don’t read that way at all – seems very against. I already gave you a number of significant benefits which you then seemed to dismiss as some romantic viel ?

    I interesting site that you might want to read is http://www.realmofscotland.com which provides some more background on the potential of Scotland.

    One more interesting sites worth looking through which explores potential directions for Scotland is –

    scottishdemocraticalliance.org

  • Curious in Canada

    Craig,

    Does it not sometimes strike you as an interesting fact that your advocacy of nationalism, your opposition to wars of conquest in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., you inclination, I believe, to see Blair and Bush sent to the Hague, and many of your other beliefs bear striking parallels with the asserted principles of the BNP? (see this for example:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smo8QAN3JWY).

    It would be truly interesting to see your comment on these parallels — Maybe you should join the BNP! If nothing else, it would raise the the average IQ of the membership and aid the party move nearer to the center as it must if it is to grow.

  • mike cobley

    In my original post I said, “Beyond dubious sentimentality, just what hard-headed practical solutions would independence provide? And if these solutions are desperately needed, why would other people living on the other side of a line on a map be denied them?”

    It is interesting that Traquir chose to ignore the second part of the paragraph above. Because to do so, he/she would have ha other’s Scottish legacy and her father’s Irish legacy. I feel that I have a right to it all, that they have value, that they have something to say to me. And the very core of that union of antecendents is the strength of unity, the feeling that there is no difference between a poor unemployed family in Dundee and one in Burnley, or Dungannon, or Cardiff, in the essentials.

    That is not the Nationalist position. For them, Scottish needs are preeminent and must come first. I reject this utterly, because I know that I am stronger when I’m working with my English, Welsh and Irish brothers and sisters against the fist of authority. Goodness, how terribly naive, eh?

    OK, Traquir, you have my permission to make some insular, self-serving remark (oh, yes, that was meant to prod you, sorry).

  • Traquir

    ‘OK, Traquir, you have my permission to make some insular, self-serving remark (oh, yes, that was meant to prod you, sorry).’

    No need pal, like most Unionists you have done my job for me. Interesting how you went from a closet to be convinced supporter of Scottish independence to an ardent Unionist within a very small space of time 🙂

  • Rob Lewis

    It’s a very English thing, I think, to take it as criticism when a person simply doesn’t want to be English.

  • mike cobley

    Well, of course, what a despicable, vile thing it is to be in favour of working with people from other parts of this fairly small island in northern europe. How contemptible, to want to work against imperialists and corporate thugs alongside those Inglish folk…

    After all, its all worthless, innit, that entire Westminster circus, corrupt and unfixable. So lets cut adrift from England and let it slide towards Toryism and right-wing-nuttery. I mean, cannae see how that could have a downside, eh? And of course, there’ll be a few poxy Unionist/Loyalist nutters who might think it worthwhile to start setting off bombs and the like, but hey, it’ll be worth it. Especially when Donald Trump brings his billionaire pals over to invest in Scotland, out of love for us, of course.

  • Traquir

    Sorry Mr Cobley,

    I can’t take you seriously when you can’t get basic facts correct.

    “this fairly small island in northern europe”

    You will find the UK is 22nd largest out of the 223 countries in the world hardly small. And in fact an independent Scotland will rank about 113th.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population

    In addition to that you inadvertently highlight a particular English rather than a Scottish problem, namely overpopulation including massive immigration.

    “Within two years, England will overtake Holland as the most populous major country – and it will get progressively worse.”

    see – tinyurl.com/5h9yvh

    You will also note that England has 2 BNP MEPS and dozens of BNP councillors , whilst Scotland has 0 BNP MEPS and 0 BNP Councillors.

    It is rather typically British to assume we all share the same problems, challenges and indeed aspirations, but that is just frankly condescending twaddle. England and Scotland have separate challenges and aspirations best delt with by their respective peoples of their nations.

    England lurching to the right is yet another England only problem, and you have my best wishes in solving it, we in Scotland have our own challenges to face. I suggest you stand up and face England only problems, rather than denying Scotland her independence to help try and mitigate some English problem.

    If the British Nationalists, Unionist etc take up bombs then frankly that says more about them than us, and stands in contrast to the completely peaceful and democratic nationalist movement in Scotland.

    In terms of Donald Trump you will note he is half Scottish (certainly much more than your good self) and is one of an extensive Scottish diaspora throughout the world that an independent Scotland looks forward to reengaging with both for their benefit and that of the Scottish nation.

  • Michael Hamilton

    Quote:

    Where can I trade in my Brit passport for a Scottish one !

    Posted by: Frazer at December 3, 2009 2:37 PM

    Answer – see SDA web site where we are forming an alliance of pro-independence people who are willing to do the hard work on developing Scotland’s future framework – nationality and citizenship policy is under consideration at present – no need to join but lets have some useful contributions.

    http://www.scottishdemocraticalliance.org

    More than 100,000 hits in the past three months.

    Best regards,

    Michael Hamilton (PS. I was in Dunbar and Belhaven this afternoon – in Melrose now.)

  • Craig

    Curious in Canada,

    As I don’t give a damn about race and favour immigration, I doubt that the BNP would see me as an attractive recruit!

  • mike cobley

    Dearest Traquir – the corrosiveness of your hauteur is almost bracing. Although I feel I should correct you on a minor point or two. Yes, I said fairly small island without, you’ll notice, making reference to the population which, you cheeky monkey, you chose to focus on. And of course, you will know that those pesky BNP meps and councillors were almost certainly voted in based on voter turnouts in the 30-odd percent range. BNP representation is a consequence of many factors, though not apathy I would suggest.

    But these are minor points. What strikes me is the chilling despite you clearly harbour for England and, well, any English person. Erm, did you know that any nation – like any city – is essentially a patchwork of communities and regional cultures, even subcultures? This means that the range of cultures and opinions and feelings and political stances is actually very wide, in Scotland as well as England. It would be very wrong for either you or I to try and characterise either the Scots or the English as some kind of homogenous mass, wrong and insulting.

    So this contempt for anything English betrays a certain irrationality, not to mention a lack of basic human empathy. Aye, sounds like I’m getting into a bit of pocket-psych but your single-mindedness demands an explanation. Ultimately, I guess, your Nationalism would see England as just another country, like Belgium or Italy. Never mind all the cultural and family and historical links – England? Pah, just another country.

    And as for each having separate challenges to approach in their own ways – er, climate change? International corporate greed? But then that may not bother you too much, given your eagerness to welcome the poisonous Trump to these shores.

    God, its late. I know there’s zero chance of affecting your opinion, but your narrow, ignoble aspirations should be shown up for what they are. But hey – maybe Craig’s had enough of us yacking away at each other. For the now, I bid you good night.

  • Dougie

    I spent many years in England, and as a good Reiver I brought back an English bride. I do not hate the English. Unfortunately however, on occasion I have found the reverse to be true. Let me give you a small example of just what it is like. My eldest, while serving in the RN, came across a group of matelots engaged in the racial baiting of a coloured colleague. My son used his rank to disperse them, and said to the victim “I’m sorry. Things like that shouldn’t happen. Are you OK?” To which the reply was “I am OK thanks, but don’t worry about me. You are a Jock. Worry about yourself. You experience much more racial hatred than I ever get!”

    So, Mr Cobley, take the beam out of your eye, and the chip off your shoulder, and start looking at the world as it is. And when you see the faults generated by English attitudes, start thinking sensibly about what we can do to improve things – for everyone

  • Vronsky

    writerman’s ‘romantic veil’ is in fact wound many times around the Union. I have never heard a rational defence of the Union, and I am therefore left to assume that there is none.

    Concerning nationalism generally, it is interesting that the word is so often (by a certain type of person) used pejoratively – usually qualified as ‘narrow nationalism’. I think the aim is to drive the word into the same territory occupied by the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’, meaning an hypothesis too ludicrous to warrant serious discussion – a useful taboo if the hypothesis happens to be true.

    My own support for nationalism is from comparison with its principle opponent – imperialism. Imperialism would be so much easier if the bloody natives would abandon their narrow nationalism and stop shooting back, the bastards. It was grimly amusing last night to hear a BBC ‘news’ announcer reporting that British troops could not be withdrawn from Afghanistan until the violence of the natives had been contained – it reminded me of that story about the notice board which says only ‘it is forbidden to throw stones at this notice’.

    The British body politic is in a very sick state. Perhaps it always was, and we have just begun to notice. Scottish secession from the Union (I always prefer to describe myself as a separatist on the grounds that it is more explanatory) would certainly help Scotland, but I believe it would also help England by pulling away one of the major supports of its hopelessly corrupt political system – its delusion of grandeur.

    I agree with Craig the SNP could and should declare a more radical agenda – the party must generate excitement to fuel a ‘yes’ vote. That it does not is in part explained by anxiety about the question which would appear on a referendum ballot. The experience of others* (and the dictates of logic) show that a simple question has the best chance of success: the more ideas that are conflated or implied, the less likely that there will be a positive result. This stands in tension with the points Craig raises – simplicity easily becomes blandness.

    ~~

    * For example: Do you agree that Quebec should become sovereign after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new economic and political partnership within the scope of the bill respecting the future of Quebec and of the agreement signed on June 12, 1995?

  • writerman

    I still think that nationalism is a form of romantic veil that has the purpose of diverting and disquising other, more important and fundamental social/economic relationships in society. For example, ones relating to class, and disparities of wealth and power.

    Why do people, or a ‘volk’ believe that national self-determination will solve their problems, when there is so much historical evidence that, at the very least, points in the other direction?

    Is this because, nationalism is an appeal to the emotions, the heart, often using symbols and language that stir the blood and the heart?

    I know from the experience of my own family that they were an international family, with branches and substantial economic interests spread around europe. In each country they were well integrated, and apparently assimilated. They were part of the ruling-class. People with a real stake in the countries the resided in. However, I also know, I’ve read their correspondence, that at the same time they regarded their adopted countries, mostly as cash-cows, when one pulls aside the veil of nationalism.

    In reality people like us have no country, or at least we pick and choose our country like investing in an enterprise. We have no permanent loyatly to any state, but we do have a permanent loyalty to our economic interests, and we are ‘loyal’ to the nation, or state, that best serves them. When doesn’t, we move on to greener pastures.

    I know for a fact that one branch invested large sums building what ammounted to a private army based on nationalist rhetoric with the sole purpose of creating a bulwark against what we perceived as a threat to our position coming from the Left.

    For us, nationalism was, and still is, a useful conceit, another tool in our box of tricks to keep power for ourselves, we can turn it on and turn it off. Of all our tools, the myth of the nation and the ‘volk’ has probably been the most useful to us.

    Perhaps I’m being far too honest here? Only this nationalist thing, has also proved to be a two edge sword for us. We have aruguably lost more than we gained, on balance, others disagree. After all, despite all the destruction, cost, and bloodshed, ‘we’ are still in charge and others are not.

  • writerman

    A final word. Then I’ll shut up. One course one can make a rational argument for the Union. To state that one has never heard such a defence, a ‘rational’ defence, as Vronsky states so boldly, is in my opinion absurd, a ‘irrational’.

    The Union made Great Britain possible. The Scottish ruling-class, the aristocracy sold their stake in Scotland for a price, saw that their was more potential in creating and being part of an expanding imperial power, and never looked back. The Scottish and English aristocracy became fully, well, more or less, integrated with each other. It was about creating a stonger state, where there was more power to be had and therefore money to be made. That is a perfectly understandable goal and fully rational.

    Also the Scotts, like the Irish, were a very useful addition to the British army, which was so important in the expansion of British economic interests around the world.

    The Scottish ruling elite, after the Union, did very well out of the deal, as they were now part of a successful and very profitable world empire that was expanding. There were real opportunities, far more than in a small and not particularly significant country on the edge of europe called Scotland.

  • Vronsky

    Craig –

    Off topic, sorry. Any thoughts on the high number of Nat blogs that have been shut down over the past week or two? Coincidence is starting to look thin as an explanation. Have you experienced any new presures?

  • Rob Lewis

    As an aside, why do I feel (instinctively) that Scottish independence is a valid political movement but not Quebecois seperatism?

    Anybody help me out here?

  • Rob Lewis

    Oh hang on, I got there in the end: because I think that Quebecois seperatism is fuelled by some bollocks French supra-nationalism rather than part of a sincere desire for the realisation of a true, indigenous identity.

  • writerman

    What was the first modern, nation state? I mean it’s not as if they’ve always been around is it?

    I suppose we can agree that the concept of the nation really didn’t pertain in the Middle Ages, in a fuedal type society. It Italy and Germany, for example, I would argue they didn’t really become ‘nations’ and a ‘volk’ until relatively recently, around 150 years ago, when nationalism, and the centralized state got a grip on things.

    I think one can argue that France was arguably the first of the new, nation states, with all the trappings, which includes cultural appendages; why? This massively complex, subject and highly controversial, but I believe it had a lot to do with the logistics of putting a really massive army in the field. To do that it was necessarily to mobilize the entire country for war, and one of principle ways was to whip up patriotic fervor to defend the motherland and our ‘uniqueness’ from possible ‘oppression’ from abroad. Britain seems to have become a kind of ‘mirror image’ of France in this period, only instead of revolutionary fervour, the opposite was whipped up.

    This, I think, started the nationalist ball rolling all over the place, and we all know where it led in the end don’t we?

  • Roderick Russell

    On Writerman’s comment of December 4, 2009 10:03 AM

    Writerman comments that Scottish elites benefited economically from the Act of Union. I would suggest that the economic benefits associated with Union went far beyond just the elites of 1707. Glasgow went on to develop the first modern high tech industry (Shipbuilding & Engineering). The West of Scotland became a sort of “Silicon Valley” of the 19th and 18th centuries and this was reflected in increasing living standards.

    I think it hard to argue that the Union did not benefit Scots until 1914. But then something went economically very wrong. I read somewhere that whereas in 1912 Glasgow’s working class had the highest average pay in the world, that by the 1970’s (within 60 years) their standard of living had declined to the 2nd lowest in Europe after Naples.

    Today this great high tech engineering centre, that once was Glasgow, is only history. Economically I think it hard to argue that the Union did not benefit Scotland for 200 years, but it may be equally hard to argue that the Union economically benefits Scotland today.

  • Dougie

    This post is by Dougie (aka Craig?)

    “Nobody knows for sure, but in the year before he was born his parents were at the Bruce estate in Thurrock near Dagenham.”

    Kind of watery explanation, don’t you think? If I happened to be in England a year before my son was born, would that mean he wasn’t born in Scotland?

    Bruce’s Cave and Bruce’s Well are both to be found high on the slopes of Hadyard Hill in the South Ayrshire village of Dailly. For Bruce, an ideal hiding place. Further along the hill, on a shoulder above him was an old iron age fort where he could meet followers. Above the cave was a spring with the most beautiful water supply, and behind him to his right, a cashel or similar with monks who could feed him. It is still possible to find traces of their orchard. But best of all, from the cave he had a panoramic view of anything which moved almost over the whole of South Ayrshire. Almost impossible to be taken by surprise. And how did he know the cave was there? (You can only see it when you are actually standing in front of it) It is within the old Turnberry Castle’s hunting grounds, where he would have roamed as a child.

  • Craig

    Dougie

    Nobody is doubting that Bruce was in Scotland in later life! But they weren’t just visiting Essex, they lived there. The Bruces had greater estates in England than in Scotland, as did many of the Scots Norman aristocracy(accurately reflected in Braveheart, incidentally).

  • Mr M

    Interestingly, these aversions to “union” is always started by economic hardship. The Basques had no problems when they were making money from Spanish conquests, yet some now regret it.

    So when the British Empire unfolded after WWII along with the loss of ship building trade to USA, Scottish independence was back on the agenda.

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