Scotland

by Belle Waring on September 13, 2014

I can remember back when I was just a wee sleekit lass that read the Economist… OK maybe I was also a bit daft, but I got better when I realized it was, in the words of a recent Gawker article, a news aggregator magazine for people who want to pretend their seat in Economy Plus is a chair by the roaring fire in a manor house. Anyway, they always used to talk about Scottish Devolution and I thought it couldn’t possibly ever amount to anything very serious. But now it seems as if maybe really power will devolve to its utmost, since there’s going to be a vote on independence and everything, and the polls are tight. Scottish readers, are ye voting aye or nay? Subjects of HRH* generally, are Scottish subjects going to keep on keeping on being subjects of HRH, or what? Might she have to give back that big castle she’s apparently so fond of? Who gets the, um, nukes? Enlighten me with an open thread about how Scots maun live in the future.

*Commenters In The Sky and ZM have pointed out that the Queen is HM and only lesser royals mere Highnesses.

Now that Francis Spufford has shown up to do the work of knowing things about the subject, which is what open threads are for (i.e. making the readers do the work) I am hoisting his discussion with SF author Ken McLeod against Scottish Independence up here so that you may watch it more easily. John and I only watched the very very beginning, in which it was explained that Francies Spufford has a very posh accent (which he has come by in an honest, middle-class fashion) and that Lanark is important in some way, which has led us to extrapolate that perhaps giant crabs will come up through cracks in the ground if the two nations are divided, an outcome we naturally deplore. When it is not 10:22 at night and roughly two hours after I took the meds that are supposed to be, welp, going to bed for sure now, so it won’t hurt to take these topamax is very…what now? I will listen more fully and contribute intelligently to the debate. Possibly. Though I have my second Japanese lesson tomorrow! I had to learn katakana and hiragana in a week, that was sort of my own fault though. My brain is oozing knowledge at night in a way peculiar to language-acquisition. Like when I was cold at night and thought I had to curl up in the pages of the big Liddell to stay warm (insufficient heating in SF + Greek MA exams.) Thanks Francis!

{ 344 comments }

1

ZM 09.13.14 at 10:01 am

I think since the Queen is a Stuart – she would keep being the Queen of Scotland , separate from her being the Queen of the UK. When we stopped being able to go to the Privy Council in England to get our grievances against our parliament addressed, the Crown of the States and Commonwealth of Australia separated from the Crown of the United Kingdom. It is just a happenstance now that HRH Queen Elizabeth is the Queen of both (and Queen of her other 14 I think Realms also) – the Crowns are no longer formally in a union. This is like the first Stuart King James 1 & 6 was King of Scotland and King of England but the union of the kingdoms was in his person not in the Crowns which were separate until later on.

So I think Scotland would default to having its very own Crown, which would happen to be borne by Queen Elizabeth. I don’t think the separating from England side have offered a thorough legal examination of how separation would affect the Constitution. When the Scottish government surveyed me about devolution (because if you download a government report from their departmental websites you get to be surveyed for your views on Scotland separating from the UK) – I suggested they should look into how this separation would alter the Constitution and thoroughly explain possible alterations to the public.

I’m not really sure of how English and Scottish laws are currently joined – and how separation would affect other laws and jurisprudence in Scotland. Even though we can’t go to the Privy Council for redress any longer (I don’t think the Privy Council is what it used to be now anyhow – since PM Blair changed The Lord High Chancellor’s constitutional role most unfairly without asking the people if they thought this was a good idea and if they understood what it would mean having lots of their laws be conscience laws – but no longer having an institutional role in the upper house of parliament for the Keeper of the King’s Conscience – how are all the people going to know they have lots of conscience (also called equity) laws at their service?) UK jurisprudence is regularly cited in Australian courts. Would this be the same for Scotland now? And what if they separated from the United Kingdoms?

2

Francis Spufford 09.13.14 at 10:56 am

Me and the Scottish SF writer Ken Macleod making a case for No from the left:

3

Collin Street 09.13.14 at 10:57 am

> I’m not really sure of how English and Scottish laws are currently joined

Essentially they aren’t. After the act of union the westminister parliament didn’t make any particular attempt to unify scottish and english laws, and strongly preferred passing england-only and scotland-only legislation to joint/unified approaches.

Makes more sense when you remember that this only happened in 1707.

4

rea 09.13.14 at 10:57 am

I think since the Queen is a Stuart

A mere German pretender. The rightful King is . . Francis Wittelsbach?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz,_Duke_of_Bavaria

5

Francis Spufford 09.13.14 at 11:13 am

It hasn’t really been about the monarch since 1688, when the crown’s powers were largely annexed by Parliament in England. That’s the form that modernity took on the eastern British island: the ‘crowned republic’, with monarchic powers exercised by an assembly, first in England and then in Scotland too after 1707, when the deal with the then Scottish parliament produced a single Union parliament in London containing Scottish members. Since then, discourse about the monarchy has pretty much functioned as a symbolically charged placeholder for discourse about the powers of parliament(s). The nice lady with the hat and corgis has some affective legitimacy in her own right, but it’s secondary, it expresses an underlying arrangement, and it’s hard to imagine it surviving the end of what it expresses. (As I try to say in the video above, the symbolism is also profoundly unhelpful now if you want to talk substantively about the Union. It worked fine in the 18th C to embody a representative constitution in a stout Protestant gentleman from Hanover; less so these days.)

6

ZM 09.13.14 at 11:36 am

rea,

In the DDT thread I showed the family tree of the Stuarts – Elizabeth II is the direct descendent of Elizabeth the daughter of James I and 6 and who became the Winter Queen of Bohemia but before that she was the target of the gunpowder plot. I think I had better not write out the family tree again since I did so so recently.

Francis Spufford,

the Crown still has reserve powers, and the Governor General too. The last time they used them greatly here in Australia was to stand down the Prime Minister in the 1970s – this demonstrates the Crown still has more authority than the Parliament . The parliaments and Prime Ministers these days don’t do their duties about climate change, sustainability, and refugee-convention-keeping etc very well – I hope they get stood down too, and then we might get some people who are dutiful in parliament instead.

7

In the sky 09.13.14 at 12:32 pm

What’s the difference between HRH and HM?

8

ZM 09.13.14 at 12:47 pm

Oops , well spotted in the sky – we have been breaching etiquette. I blame Belle’s influence ;)
“A protocol guide to Forms of Address” states Queen Elizabeth, being the bearer of the Crown, is to be addressed as Her Majesty The Queen, and her consort Prince Philip and younger Princes and Princesses as H/HRH

9

Francis Spufford 09.13.14 at 1:06 pm

ZM, the Crown retains a theoretical power to appoint one party to form a government where there is no clear parliamentary majority, or when a budget cannot be passed. I don’t know much about Australian constitutional history, but a quick bit of Wikipedia reading on the crisis of 1975 reveals that (a) 1975 was not so much ‘the last time’ the crown’s reserve powers were used in Australia as the only time; and that (b) the Governor General in question, Sir John Kerr, was under the influence of Whitlam’s conservative opposition and possibly of the CIA, rather than Buckingham Palace. Asked by Whitlam whether he had consulted the Queen, he apparently replied that he didn’t need to. This sounds like an abuse of a parliamentary system, not a demonstration of its subordination in general to monarchic power.

Meanwhile, since my actual, prosaic country may be dismantled next Thursday, will you forgive me if I say that fart in the general direction of the Winter Queen of Bohemia?

10

Francis Spufford 09.13.14 at 1:16 pm

Sorry, that I… (etc, etc). Excuse the crudity. But it would be great to be able to discuss this as something happening in the political here and now, rather than as an event in the annals of Ruritania.

11

ZM 09.13.14 at 1:34 pm

Just because I am a country person, this is no reason to be dismissive. The Crown is very important as an institution and in laws. I asked above how much would change legally if Scotland leaves the United Kingdoms – Collin Street says the jurisprudence is distinct , but does this mean common law, and conscience/equity laws do not apply? What sort of law do they have -in Scotland if it is completely different jurisprudence from England?

How will land law be affected – in England and Australia the Crown holds all land and people have tenure? What are the obligations of the crown and parliament to the people? Will separation affect these obligations? There are many other questions too – it is not just a matter of Englishness and Scottishness, or Britishness together (I have only watched the start of your clip so far) . Your father wrote a book on the history of the parliament – so you might know how this will affect parliamentary institutions and laws in an independent Scotland (unless Scottish law and parliament is already entirely distinct – but then why would they need devolution?)

On the Crown’s Reserve Powers – From The High Court’s website

“There is a tendency to place the reserve powers in boxes. One might well call them Pandora’s boxes, because there is great trepidation about opening them, for fear of what might be released. In my view, they are better considered in terms of the constitutional principles that underlie them. While this may open up the possibility of reserve powers being used in relation to other subjects, such as the operation of caretaker conventions or the prorogation or summoning of Parliament, this should not be a matter of alarm as long as they are applied in accordance with the relevant constitutional principles to secure responsible constitutional governance, rather than as anomalous exceptions.”

I heard a talk just the other day on conscience law in England and Australia – sometimes this is rhetorically dismissed as being dependent on the size of the chancellor’s shoe. But again – it is discretionary but underpinned by legal principles – so it should not be exercised arbitrarily – but it makes up for the strictness of common law which can result in unfair or unmerciful verdicts.

12

Belle Waring 09.13.14 at 1:52 pm

Ooooh, yeah, she’s Her Majesty, right. I was thinking she was Her Royal Highness but I guess that’s for feebler, less Majestic sorts. I won’t correct it because it would make me look more well-informed than I am and this is meant to be an open thread in which y’all do all the work. [sep: wait, no one after Victoria was an Empress, I vaguely thought, but now that I think on’t, it seems as if they all should have been Imperial types until the Independence of India?] Yay Francis Spufford has shown up to do it! Dsquared, come tell us if Wales will also skip out, afters.

13

Francis Spufford 09.13.14 at 1:57 pm

I didn’t mean to be dismissive. Or rude. I am just very worried about this.

14

Belle Waring 09.13.14 at 2:08 pm

Thanks for showing up to do the work of knowing things about it, Francis! Because I am really extremely ignorant about it. Well, more, I thought polling was so far against for years that I didn’t take the possibility very seriously and then slowly but surely it has come very close but I don’t really know what the arguments are on either side. Maybe I’ll hoist your video into the post if you don’t mind?

15

Belle Waring 09.13.14 at 2:10 pm

Wait, no, I’ll just move it, I can’t think why you’d be unhappy about it. If you are tell me and I’ll take it down again.

16

stevenjohnson 09.13.14 at 2:31 pm

Being a science fiction reader, I tried watching the video. I had to give it up. It’s because I’m a science fiction reader that I prefer my alternate history sold as fiction. The English did not stand up to fascism on any political principle other than perceived national interest in keeping Europe from being controlled by one power. Munich was not some aberration. Remember Ethiopia and Spain? And the military contribution the English made was just not very important, much less somehow responsible for saving human civilization. All that sentimentality is chauvinism and anti-communist brain rot.

And as for the Union being an Enlightenment project? I am a great admirer of the Enlightenment in many respects, but unlike Jonathan Israel I have not managed to fool myself into thinking that there is light without heat. The contributions of the English bourgeoisie were nothing without the Puritan Revolution. The political project of the Enlightenment in England Mr. Spufford adores dedicated itself first of all to taming republicanism, to class collaboration.

But times change. As the capitalist system rots, the bourgeoisie in the weaker links increasingly cannot sustain even the pretense of a national unity that benefits all. The Northern League in Italy, I think Catalonia in Spain, seek to rid themselves of national obligations. In Scotland, the question is not what the Union was at the beginning. You want to dwell on that, shut up and read Walter Scott! The question is whether Scottish independence is the Scottish bourgeoisie wanting to rid themselves of the burden of supporting the backward English, or if they want to support themselves from the burden of supporting the Americans?

The answer suggests that the vote for Union is an unqualified yes vote for imperialism, while a vote for independence is a qualified vote for reformist capitalism. I suppose you could see the latter as a vote for a new weak link in the imperialist chain and the former as a vote to “HOLD THE LINE!” Given Mr. Spufford’s counterrevolutionary commitment, no wonder he’s worried.

17

Francis Spufford 09.13.14 at 2:47 pm

My ‘counterrevolutionary commitments’, eh? I can only admire your telepathic powers; the same ones, presumably, that tell you that ‘the English’ in 1940 had, unanimously and exclusively, the outlook on fascism of Lord Halifax.

18

Phil 09.13.14 at 2:59 pm

Dsquared, come tell us if Wales will also skip out, afters.

Oh please. Wales has never been a united sovereign nation; the country’s called the United Kingdom after the uniting of the realms of Scotland and England-including-Wales. Welsh nationalism is a very separate issue; they may some day get to the point of having a referendum on secession, but I’d put money on it not happening in the next twenty years.

England(-and-Wales) and Scotland had the same royal family before they were united and have had separate legal systems ever since, so neither the crown nor the law is going to be a good way into this question. What we’ve got is a nation-state – the UK – comprised of between two and four historic nations, with its own currency, central bank, partially-devolved public sector, very-partially-devolved taxation system, armed forces, nuclear weapons, membership of NATO and membership of the EU, not to mention large companies doing a lot of business in England, as well as English companies doing a lot of business in Scotland.

What happens to all of those things if the vote goes in favour of secession is anybody’s guess. Some of them (the public sector, e.g. the BBC and NHS) can be carved into ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’ without too much trouble. Others (taxation, the armed forces) would be a bit more complicated but basically possible to work out; nobody seems to have done the maths on taxation relative to public spending, but that’s by the way. But an independent Scotland would not have its own currency and would have to reapply for membership of NATO and of the EU. The EU would be very unlikely to (re-)admit an independent Scotland, partly because of the precedent Scottish independence would set elsewhere in Europe (Spain in particular) but mainly because candidates for EU membership have to have a plan for eventual accession to the euro – and you can’t have a plan for changing your currency if you don’t have a currency to start with.

Meanwhile, either taxation will go up or public spending will go down (the SNP is quite a business-friendly party, so probably the latter). In any case there will be massive uncertainty; businesses with a significant presence on both sides of the border are likely to relocate, and England is likely to look a safer bet than the new Scotland. And Scotland’s immigration system would probably be significantly more humane and realistic than the UK’s; this is a good thing in itself, but does mean we’d end up with frontier posts on the M6. Then there’s the university tuition fees issue – I could go on.

The problem is, Scotland is heading for secession in the teeth of opposition from the rest of the UK, and in a spirit of political opposition to the rest of the UK – a Velvet Divorce it ain’t. There are some huge practical problems ahead; if they’re not solved – and I’m not convinced that some of them can be solved – an independent Scotland is headed for a long and deep economic recession. Meanwhile, the oppositional spirit of the Yes campaign is going to embitter English as well as Scottish politics.

I believe in Scottish independence, but I’ve been hugely disappointed with the Yes campaign (to be fair, the No campaign’s been even worse until very recently), and I’m really alarmed at the prospect of Yes winning on Thursday – and a narrow No win would be little better. I think we need to get to a British federation gradually and by agreement; this doesn’t feel like the right way to do it, or the right time to do it.

There are more reflections on the campaign in the LRB (I recommend John Burnside’s take on it).

19

Bloix 09.13.14 at 3:04 pm

#5- I can understand the impatience of an English historian when faced with the concerns of Americans with monarchical niceties. (OT, may I take the opportunity to tell you how much I learned from (and enjoyed) Red Plenty?)

But trying to understand what will happen to HM the Queen in the event of Scottish independence is one way into a confusing situation.

So here’s what I think I know, and I’m ready to be corrected:

Until 1603, Scotland and England were completely separate countries. (“England” includes Wales, which was legally incorporated into England under Henry VIII.) In 1603, the Scottish King James VI acceded to the English monarchy and became King James I of England while remaining James VI of Scotland. So he was James I & VI.

In 1707, the parliaments of the two countries each enacted an Act of Union, which merged the two kingdoms into a new state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The two existing parliaments – the English Parliament and the Scottish Parliament – ceased to exist, and a new Parliament of Great Britain came into being.

The monarch at the time, Queen Anne, had worn three crowns – she was Queen of England, Queen of Scotland, and Queen of Ireland. After the Acts of Union, she became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, while keeping her separate crown as Queen of Ireland. Luckily, she was the first Queen Anne for either country, so no one had to worry about what number she should have. And the next four kings were all George, a name that had not been used by kings of either Scotland or England, so there was no number problem there.

In 1800, the parliaments of Ireland and Great Britain each passed an Act of Union, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The parliaments of the two countries merged, and the monarch at the time, George III, became king of this new kingdom. He kept his number III, which was fine because he was the third William to be king of Great Britain and also the third William to be king of Ireland.

The number problem didn’t come up until William IV took the throne in 1765. He could have been William I of the UK, or William IV & III of England and Scotland, but decided just to be IV – a tacit assertion that the dominant throne is the English one. That’s been the practice ever since – Elizabeth II is the first Elizabeth to be Queen of the United Kingdom, as the first one was Queen of England, but she uses the II nonetheless.

In 1919, a group of Irish revolutionaries declared the existence of the Irish Republic and formed a government. The Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland never recognized the existence of this entity and went to war to suppress it.

In 1921, a negotiated solution was reached and representatives of the two sides signed a document called the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Its terms were enacted by Parliament in 1992. As a result the union of Ireland and Great Britain was dissolved. The Kingdom recognized Ireland as being a separate “dominion.” The King was represented in the Irish Free State by a Governor-General, and the officials of the State took an oath of loyalty to the King (a fact, btw, that played a significant role in igniting the Irish Civil War).

The northern counties opted out of the Irish Free State and remained part of the United Kingdom. The name of the kingdom was formally changed in 1927 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to acknowledge that most of Ireland had become – like Canada, Australia, etc. – a “dominion,” no longer part of the same country.

The Act of Westminster 1931 recognized the full independence of the Irish Free State and the other dominions, but legally the last vestiges of the monarchy in Ireland were not eliminated until 1948.

In 1997, Parliament passed an act that provided for the establishment of a Scottish parliament if a referendum in Scotland approved. The referendum passed in 1999, and a devolved parliament was created, so that the Scots are represented both in the UK Parliament and in the Scottish parliament. This had no effect on the monarchy.

The Scottish parliament has now unilaterally authorized a referendum on independence. Unlike the 1997 referendum, the current referendum was not authorized by the UK parliament.

Therefore, as I understand it, Scottish independence if authorized by referendum will not be legal under the laws of the United Kingdom, just as the independence of Ireland in 1919 was not legal. Whether it will be legal under international law is an interesting question and any country that wants to recognize an independent Scotland will find a legal ground to do so.

The Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland would be legally within its rights to go to war to suppress Scottish independence, just as the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland did in 1919 against the Irish Republic. But the Scots are safe in assuming that the UK will not go to war to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom and that in a fairly short period of time – much shorter than the equivalent events for Ireland – the Parliaments of both countries will each pass an act that recognizes Scottish independence.

The Scots, presumably, will immediately name their country the Republic of Scotland and their parliament will pass an act abolishing the monarchy. That act will have no effect in the country to the south, which will still be the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland unless and until its parliament changes it.

Presumably HM the Queen will keep her title as monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland until a formal treaty and recognition of the dissolution of the union is passed by the two parliaments. The name of the kingdom will become the United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland, or perhaps England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

20

William Burns 09.13.14 at 3:17 pm

An interesting question following a yes vote is what happens to Northern Ireland, which is culturally closer to Scotland than England. England (and Wales) + Northern Ireland is an odder political unit than Britain + Northern Ireland.

21

William Timberman 09.13.14 at 3:18 pm

I have a friend from Germany who thinks that it would be a fine idea if the various secessionist movements in Europe had their way — Flanders, Catalunya, Euzkadi, Südtirol/Alto Adige, etc. — because they’d get a better deal as separate parts of the EU than they do in their present configurations. Then again, he’s Bavarian, and Bavaria, like California in the U.S., looks a lot more like a viable independent state than, say, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, or Montana. It was interesting to see, in the Writers Together, just how murky this proposition is at present, at least in the view of two people who know a lot more about it than I do.

Anyway, thanks for the link, Francis. I’ve sent it off to my friend, and will see how he responds. Being an American, I naturally agree with you that the continuation of the Enlightenment project ought to be the great unifier, but as we all know, it isn’t now, if it ever really was, and I’m not so sure that its opposite and great rival, nationalism-as-tribalism, is quite the barbarism that, say, a died-in-the-wool Brussels Eurocrat would have us believe. Fairness, justice, respect for our dignity are the underlying issues. Until the political unions which demand our allegiance allow us all our due –not necessarily what we believe is our due, mind you — ethnicity, nationality, religion, seem natural as a last defense against marginalization, and not just to the ignorant and enraged.

22

engels 09.13.14 at 3:33 pm

23

Stephen Austin 09.13.14 at 3:55 pm

The Scots, presumably, will immediately name their country the Republic of Scotland and their parliament will pass an act abolishing the monarchy.

Why would you presume this?

24

Peter K. 09.13.14 at 3:56 pm

@ 2 Francis Spuffford, thanks for sharing the video. I pretty much agree. However I think it is an open question whether Britain, the U.S. or Europe can “negotiate” with capital. Capital maybe be powerful and corrupting enough to subvert these entities from within. See Piketty.

My perspective is coming from the etiolated culture of the stripmall suburbs of Chicago. My grandmother’s family came from the Orkney Islands. During WWII, my grandfather fought in the Pacific as an American while two of his cousins were conscripted into the German army late in the war and sent to the Eastern front never to be heard from again. However most of my friends growing up were Irish Catholic as they were the most fun, rebellious and dangerous in public (government) school. (The really bad ones were sent away to Catholic school to be molested). The other grandparents were mixed, mongrel French Canadian and British, etc. So not much nationalism here except towards the Constitution and notions of inalienable rights and freedoms.

But the more I read and learned, the more radical and internationalist I became. In the U.S. the political culture is sorting itself increasingly into two camps. One is comprised of the male, white, elderly and nationalistic, funded by Capital and the one percent. The other half of the country is comprised of the out groups: women, minorities, the youth (millennials) and cosmopolitans, basically the Obama coalition. And the red state half mostly consider Obama unAmerican and illegitimate. The more sober conservatives try to quiet the yahoos but they’re taking over the Republican party as Eric Cantor was booted even though he was Majority Leader. Now the Republican Party is one hundred percent Christian as well, at least in Congress.

So it looks as if in times of economic stagnation, nationalism is more of problem than a positive thing. The more overtly nationalistic half of the country wants to shut down the government and punish the “takers” or moochers. They’re agitating to go bomb Iraq again and beat their militaristic nationalist chest, and Obama is giving in.

One positive thing from “devolution” might be that you wouldn’t have a Tony Blair being used as a fig leaf for international support for adventures like Bush’s war in Iraq.

25

Abbe Faria 09.13.14 at 4:04 pm

“The Scottish parliament has now unilaterally authorized a referendum on independence. Unlike the 1997 referendum, the current referendum was not authorized by the UK parliament.”

The referendum is authorised by the UK in The Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Schedule 5) Order 2013. If there’s a yes, there’ll be negotiation followed by secession.

However this turns out, it’s one of the most colossal political fuckups ever. It’s hardly good for the UK if close to a majority vote that they want out. It’s strange that this has evolved from such an abstract possibility to something so real. All the unionist plots “the SNP will never get a majority government at holyrood” & “let them have a vote, they’ll lose dramatically and be humbled” have turned to shit very quickly.

26

Barry 09.13.14 at 4:08 pm

Phil: “…but mainly because candidates for EU membership have to have a plan for eventual accession to the euro – and you can’t have a plan for changing your currency if you don’t have a currency to start with.”

Or, it’d make it easier, since there wouldn’t be the problems associated with removing a ‘sovereign’ currency (there’d be others, I’m sure).

27

Abbe Faria 09.13.14 at 4:23 pm

“One positive thing from “devolution” might be that you wouldn’t have a Tony Blair being used as a fig leaf for international support for adventures like Bush’s war in Iraq.”

Dunno. The most recent international impact of Scots MPs is making Cameron lose the Syria vote. That not only stopped the UK intervening on the pro-ISIS anti-Assad side of the civil war, but smashed any hopes of an international coalition, took away the diplomatic cover Obama needed to intervene, and allowed the Russian disarmament plan to take place. God knows where we’d be now if that had gone the other way.

28

Ken MacLeod 09.13.14 at 4:32 pm

Bliox # 19: The Scottish parliament has now unilaterally authorized a referendum on independence. Unlike the 1997 referendum, the current referendum was not authorized by the UK parliament.

Just in case Abbe #25 is not emphatic enough: this is completely mistaken.

29

nnyhav 09.13.14 at 4:53 pm

Are we not true Scotsmen? We are Devo!

30

Tom Hurka 09.13.14 at 5:41 pm

Abbe @25: “It’s hardly good for the UK if close to a majority vote that they want out.” I’m not sure.

In the 1995 Quebec referendum the No won 50.6% to 49.4%, which is pretty damn close, but there hasn’t really been much fuss since. For one thing, the younger generation of Quebecois are much less interested in independence than their parents. I’m curious what the demographics are in Scotland and what they will be in the future.

31

stevenjohnson 09.13.14 at 5:42 pm

Francis Spufford @17 And I can only admire your gall in ignoring the English record on fascism even after I mentioned Ethiopia, Spain and Munich. Alas, I have no telepathic powers, merely functional literacy and ears. You’ve left a record.

engels@22 Nitpicking, it’s the imperial march.

Abbe Faria@25 The negotiations are not a formality, especially if it is decided the new arrangements must themselves be ratified by either the UK parliament or a UK wide referendum. An independence vote would mean that independence is on the agenda, which would be huge politically. But it’s not independence. So far from being a done deal, it just means the dealing really begins.

Abbe Faria@27 Since the US is officially launching an air war against Syria, the great contribution of the Scots MPs, admirable as it may have been, clearly did not save the world from yet another US war.

32

bc 09.13.14 at 5:52 pm

Phil #18, I think you are vastly overstating the certainty that Scotland would find it very difficult to get back into the EU.

Certainly, people like Graham Avery (Honorary Director-General of the European Commission), Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, (the former Deputy Secretary-General of the UN) and Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, (author of a book on EU constitutional law and professor of European law and human rights at Oxford University) all seem to think that Scotland would be admitted in short order.

Spain gets some ridiculous proportion of its sea catch from Scottish waters. Additionally it seems like a tactical no-brainer for the EU to include Scotland and continue to encircle the UK.

There’s also Pat Cox, former President of the European parliament’s opinion.

Now, I’m not saying it is a certainty Scotland would get in. Personally I think it is risky but, on the balance of probabilities, the EU has always been a pretty flexible beast and a way will be found. I just think you are painting an extremely one-sided picture.

Generally, the left case against independence has always seemed to revolve around “solidarity” and fixing things in britain, and at its worst on the idea that England can’t be trusted to govern itself without the somehow moderating influence of Scotland.

Unfortunately I’m not sure how “solidarity” is expressed by sending off a collection of neoliberal MPs to westminster every 5 years, or indeed what it is about solidarity that can’t be felt between the working class of Dublin and Glasgow because they send representatives to different parliaments.

So I’ll be voting “yes”.

33

Igor Belanov 09.13.14 at 6:01 pm

The irony is that, despite all the hysteria that has been whipped up at this stage of the campaign, mostly from the ‘No’ campaign, independence for Scotland would involve very little change except at the superficial legal-political level. The SNP are pledged to keep many of the facets of Union, while all the threats coming from banks and business are unlikely to be put into action, they are just because they like to make clear who is boss in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote.

I am opposed to the principle that national identity has to have its outlet in a fully sovereign, internationally-recognised state, but the state of the campaign at the moment leaves me more resentful than ever against the London-based elites. (I am a Yorkshireman btw)

34

Bloix 09.13.14 at 6:34 pm

#25, #28 – see, this is good! I didn’t know this and I’m sure Belle didn’t either. So I stand corrected and now I know more than when we started out.

As I understand the UK constitution, no Parliament can bind any future Parliament, so after the referendum (assuming a majority votes for independence) the UK parliament will still need to vote to dissolve the union in order for the dissolution to be accepted in the UK. Is that your understanding?

35

Bloix 09.13.14 at 6:36 pm

“independence for Scotland would involve very little change except at the superficial legal-political level.”

I don’t see how this can be so.
(1) North Sea Oil
(2) Borders
(3) currency and monetary policy
(see, e.g., http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/maastricht-in-a-kilt/?_php=true&_type=blogs&module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body&_r=0

36

William Burns 09.13.14 at 6:36 pm

Steven Johnson,

Scottish independence, whether it happens or not, is not retroactive; the “English record on fascism” in the 30’s is equally the “Scottish record on fascism.”

37

Bloix 09.13.14 at 6:45 pm

Oh, and Scotland would have a much more social democratic government than it does now, while the country to the south, without the 40 Labour and 11 Lib-Dem MP’s from Scotland, would have a much more free market conservative government.

Hard to predict how this would play out – e.g., if Scotland keeps the pound and leaves monetary policy in the hands of England, it could have a round of austerity much more challenging than what it’s seen to date, no matter how hard its government tries to reflate the economy using fiscal policy. But if it leaves the pound, it may lose a big chunk of its financial sector and face very steep inflation, at least in the short term.

Or maybe not. I don’t think you can say that nothing will happen.

38

Peter Hovde 09.13.14 at 6:57 pm

Thanks Belle for the post, and Francis for the video.

39

Rich Puchalsky 09.13.14 at 7:03 pm

I watched the “Writers Together” video, and I’m struck by the degree to which science fiction has become the version of the imaginary that encompasses the future, even the political future. The video starts with _Lanark_ and ends with “if only Iain Banks were here”. Even the link to the man hounding the Labour MPs would not have featured the Imperial March if it wasn’t for Star Wars.

Is that purely a selection effect created because Francis Spufford and Ken McLeod are both writers, or is e.g Alasdair Gray really a force within the population in general? I remember that when I wrote some kind of fannish thing about _Lanark_ I was contacted by school kids who wanted to use something about it for a school project, and realized that the book was assigned very widely.

One thing that the video reminded me of, in connection with Ken’s comments about immigration and London: the bit in Adam Roberts’ _New Model Army_ in Chapter 7 where the reader has just found out that the war is about Scottish independence and the narrator is giving his potted history of past events:

“Then immigration — a classical source of national wealth, and one that has been previously spread around the whole country — dried up; indeed, it reversed in many areas. Such immigration into the island as still occurred (for historical reasons this was mostly from south-central Asia and Eastern Europe) tended to concentrate in the south-east, because that was where most of the wealth was still pooled.” (pg. 63)

40

Bloix 09.13.14 at 7:14 pm

#23 – Good question. They might have a separate referendum.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/scottish-independence-yes-campaign-victory-could-mean-referendum-on-keeping-the-queen-snp-minister-says-9211026.html

Do you think the question of the monarchy will play a role in the independence referendum?

41

Mike Schilling 09.13.14 at 7:31 pm

George III, became king of this new kingdom. He kept his number III, which was fine because he was the third William to be king of Great Britain and also the third William to be king of Ireland

Dinsdale!

42

mud man 09.13.14 at 7:40 pm

It seems to me that in the globalist economic present, unified markets mainly expose the folks to rapacious behavior of the center, ie “London and New York”. The argument for freedom of movement is a better one.

43

melissa 09.13.14 at 7:45 pm

Melissa,

My friend in Yorkshire is worried that Scottish independence would kill the Labour party in Parliament. They depend on the Scottish vote.

Obviously this isn’t the Scots’ concern, but it is a big issue for the English left.

44

Bloix 09.13.14 at 8:02 pm

#41 – oops. Need to proof-read better. George III was the third George for GB and also for Ireland. Obviously a George couldn’t be a William.

45

Abbe Faria 09.13.14 at 8:02 pm

“As I understand the UK constitution, no Parliament can bind any future Parliament, so after the referendum (assuming a majority votes for independence) the UK parliament will still need to vote to dissolve the union in order for the dissolution to be accepted in the UK. Is that your understanding?”

Effectively, Yes. (There is an arcane but partially relevant debate as parliamentary sovereignty dates to the Bill of Rights 1689 which is English law, while Scots law has a separate tradition of popular sovereignty dating from the Declaration of Arbroath 1320).

But, I can’t see independence not happening if the vote is a yes. Parliament could ignore it, but the current government has stated they’ll accept the result and the moral force of the result will make it difficult to ignore a vote. Maybe if negotiations drag on and you get majority pro-union Governments in both Westminster 2015 and Holyrood 2016?

46

Igor Belanov 09.13.14 at 8:17 pm

@37

The ‘much more social democratic nature’ of Scotland is over-exaggerated. The country certainly votes well left-of-centre and has evolved an extremely anti-Conservative political culture, but this has not always been true, and attitudes might swing again in the event of independence and the separation between an Edinburgh right-wing and the Westminster oriented one.

The nature of the SNP is also rather inconsistent. They are sensible enough to realise the political capital in defending the NHS and parts of the welfare state, but it is not a long time since Salmond was lauding the economic trajectories of Ireland and Iceland, and advocating deregulation of an independent Scotland’s financial sector in imitation. Like most nationalist parties, the SNP are essentially opportunist, concerned most about the trappings of statehood. They would call the political shots at least in the short to medium term post-independence, but this wouldn’t necessary mean anything particularly left-wing.

47

Glen Tomkins 09.13.14 at 8:25 pm

Secession is rather like divorce in that there are all sorts of community property and other entanglements to sort out and sever. Unlike divorce, there are no courts to impose any particular terms of separation on the two parties. They have to reach agreement among themselves.

A Yes vote will just be the beginning of a process of separation. Because there is no divorce court to dictate terms, Scotland and the UK (the Scots would be very foolish to withdraw their MPs from the Parliament in Westminster until Westminster signs a deal) will have to reach a mutually agreeable settlement through negotiations, war, or some blend of the two. War may be unthinkable now, but wait until we see what various parties within each entity, Scotland and the UK, want and need out of the final settlement before you rule out any possible negotiating tactics.

48

Bloix 09.13.14 at 8:37 pm

#46 – “The Scots would be very foolish to withdraw their MPs from the Parliament in Westminster until Westminster signs a deal”

Mr Google tells me, I think, that this may not be up to the Scots:

“However, were the people of Scotland to vote in favour of independence, then the ability of Scottish MPs to hold the rest of the UK negotiators to account would be questioned… If it was accepted that Scottish MPs should not participate in holding the rest of the UK negotiators to account, nor in any ratifying vote, the question would be how to achieve this. One option would be legislation; another would be for the Commons to pass a standing order or a resolution preventing their participation; a third would be an informal arrangement whereby MPs absent themselves.”

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldselect/ldconst/188/18807.htm

This implies that rUK MP’s could prevent the Scottish ones from participating.

49

Glen Tomkins 09.13.14 at 9:18 pm

Bloix,

This would be just one of the many, many points of contention that would arise between a Yes vote next week, and an actual Act of Devolution. Process issues such as the one you raise could well end up being the most difficult to sort out. The Scots will argue that as long as the UK exists, as long as the UK is the partner it has to reach agreement with on the terms of devolution, the Scottish part of the UK must have its representation in the UK Parliament.

50

Bloix 09.13.14 at 9:18 pm

Shorter Ken McLeod:

51

Phil 09.13.14 at 9:26 pm

the country to the south, without the 40 Labour and 11 Lib-Dem MP’s from Scotland, would have a much more free market conservative government.

Doesn’t really work like that. It’s a Tory/Lib Dem coalition with the Tories dominating; having fewer Lib Dem or Labour MPs in the Commons wouldn’t make any difference to that. As for the electoral arithmetic after the first general election after independence (not the next general election), the loss of the Scottish seats would make it harder for Labour to get a majority, but not that much harder.

bc:

Generally, the left case against independence has always seemed to revolve around “solidarity” and fixing things in britain, and at its worst on the idea that England can’t be trusted to govern itself without the somehow moderating influence of Scotland.

Well, the left case against secession is that it wouldn’t help the working class and/or that it would help capital, and I think either of those is arguable. But I’m not making a left case; I’m making a “not wanting to see you people f*ck up horribly by misjudging the situation and charging on regardless” case. For Scottish independence, just not like this.

52

Abbe Faria 09.13.14 at 9:31 pm

The moral force of the referendum will secure independence. It will just be difficult for politicians to ignore. The default position of negotiations going badly will be totally appalling for everyone; the rUK economy wrecked by inheriting the national debt, the Scots economy ruined by not having control of currency. Negotiation will just be trying to improve on a mutually shitty situation. Considering the best alternative to a negotiated agreement is awful, I imagine both parties will be under considerable presure to be constructive.

53

Glen Tomkins 09.13.14 at 9:39 pm

51,

The problem with moral force is that everyone imagines that it dictates their favored solution in all matters. Let’s hope moral force plays little part in this matter, or it will not end well.

54

Abbe Faria 09.13.14 at 9:40 pm

“Doesn’t really work like that. It’s a Tory/Lib Dem coalition with the Tories dominating; having fewer Lib Dem or Labour MPs in the Commons wouldn’t make any difference to that.”

Tories have 304/650 seats, Lib Dems 59/650, if you get rid of the 59 Scots seats (1 of which is Tory, 11 Lib Dem) you get a Tory majority.

55

hix 09.13.14 at 10:00 pm

Considering the all important question who gets the nukes, ive read that the attitude is the opposit one – who has to keep the nukes. Scotland doesnt want nukes, and the nuclear submarines stationed in Scotland would require an expensive new home.

56

Bloix 09.13.14 at 10:13 pm

“the first general election after independence”

The next general election must be held no later than May 7, 2015. Could a resolution be put to a vote in Parliament in 7 1/2 months?

And wouldn’t the Tories be wise to call a general election sooner – both to make sure that the Parliament has legitimacy, and also because the Tories would be likely to win a smashing majority? I know the English are a reasonable, even phlegmatic, people (look how Mr. Spufford reacted when his ordinary accent was called “posh”). But even the English, I would think, will resent a Yes vote and the Tories would be better placed to capitalize on that feeling than Labour, wouldn’t they?

These are genuine questions, not rhetorical ones.

57

Phil 09.13.14 at 10:47 pm

This government passed a fixed-term parliament act; absent a vote of no confidence, the next election will take place in May 2015, no sooner and no later.

Talking about subtracting the Scottish MPs and redoing the arithmetic doesn’t work: the referendum, if it goes through, will give the Scottish government a mandate to start independence negotiations with the London government. Nobody expects those negotiations to reach the point of actual secession till long after next May. Presumably there would then be another election in the rest of the UK.

58

Glen Tomkins 09.13.14 at 10:56 pm

Bloix,

If we follow your line of reasoning, even Tories who might be inclined to reach an agreement with Scotland on devolution, might have that inclination overridden by the political calculation that dragging out negotiations indefinitely keeps a winning issue alive for them. They keep raising objections over specific terms that their voters and swing voters will find plausible, so that a vote is never held, while still being able to claim that of course they favor allowing the Scots to do whatever they want — just not run roughshod over the interests of the rest of the UK in fixing the terms of devolution.

59

Bloix 09.13.14 at 11:02 pm

” a fixed-term parliament act”
You learn something new every day – or every ten minutes, if you start from a sufficient baseline of ignorance.

But do you think that the Tories will have an upper hand in the election if Scotland votes Yes?

I’m assuming that the Tories would be tougher negotiators than Labour on the terms of the dissolution. Maybe that’s not right.

60

Bloix 09.13.14 at 11:10 pm

#57 – You’re well past my limited competence. Every few months I go to London on business and I read the papers for a week so I can talk to my clients – that’s my knowledge base.

But I do remember the anger bubbling up in English-speaking Canada in anticipation of a yes vote in Quebec in 1995. I don’t know if there could be anything like that in this case.

61

TheSophist 09.14.14 at 12:16 am

I was born in Scotland (in Selkirk, a beautiful small town in the Borders) and my family moved to the US when I was 13. I visited for a month this summer, and spent a lot of time talking about independence with family, friends, and various people I met in trains or pubs. Here’s a brief precis of the major arguments that I heard:

Pro:
Scots are more compassionate than the English. In an independent Scotland society’s least well off will be better taken care of. This was passionately expressed by the man I talked to in the “Yes” office in Inverness, and is, I think, a widely held sentiment.

Westminster frequently makes decisions based upon the needs of the English, even where the needs of Scots may diverge. (Empirical evidence for both this and the previous point can clearly be seen in various Thatcher era policies – the poll tax and various industrial closures being the best examples.)

A Scottish parliament will better recognize the needs of the Scottish people. (This is a soft form of the previous argument, suggesting ignorance rather than malevolence or power imbalance as the cause for Scotland’s neglect.)

The EU: Scots are firm supporters of the European project. The rise of UKIP has some people worried that the UK might pull out of the EU. They believe that the Scots would be easily admitted to the EU (despite Spanish opposition) and would reap the benefits thereof.

No arguments:

Britain: Interestingly, I didn’t hear much about the Braveheartish reasons for Independence, but I did hear emotional appeals to the nature of Britishness from the No side. My godparents, a Scottish man married to an English woman in Edinburgh, were particularly upset about the idea that they might be citizens of different countries.

The money: Scotland receives more revenue from Westminster than it pays in taxes. There is concern that an independent Scotland would be unable to continue spending on (eg) the NHS at current levels. In parts of Scotland the military is a major employer – almost certainly this couldn’t continue.

These are the arguments that I was actually hearing from people. I wasn’t hearing about the currency issue (unless I specifically asked), which I think is a question to which there is no good answer, or about Trident.

Random independence-related anecdote: A few years ago I had the opportunity to talk to Ian Rankin (author of the Rebus books) about independence. A few months later the next Rebus book came out, and our conversation is reproduced between two minor characters in a police station cafeteria.

Random first-hand celebrity data: Rankin’s a no, as also is Denise Mina, who was kind enough to visit my school on her recent US book tour. When I saw Mogwai in the spring, they had Yes stickers on their guitars.

If I had a vote, I would vote no.

62

Thornton Hall 09.14.14 at 12:22 am

@60 Interesting to compare and contrast the US, where there isn’t a real secessionist movement, but still…

The South and Scotland are both “secessionist” and yet both get more money from the national government than they pay in taxes.

The South and Scotland are opposite in that the South (sort of) wants to stop helping the poor whereas the Scots (some of them) seem to want to help the poor more.

The more consistent approach, the Southern US, is the one that is definitely not going to happen.

63

bob mcmanus 09.14.14 at 1:00 am

21, Timberman: I have a friend from Germany who thinks that it would be a fine idea if the various secessionist movements in Europe had their way — Flanders, Catalunya, Euzkadi, Südtirol/Alto Adige, etc. — because they’d get a better deal as separate parts of the EU than they do in their present configurations. Then again, he’s Bavarian, and Bavaria, like California in the U.S., looks a lot more like a viable independent state than, say, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, or Montana.

60: “Pros”, 61: I did spend a little time thinking about possible common factors among the places in Timberman’s list, adding on my own Kiev/Novyrussia and maybe ISIS.

Educated creative-class/petty bourgeois elites? Successful when they can find merchant and agricultural class support via imaginary nations?

64

Cahokia 09.14.14 at 1:34 am

Here is a fun video. It spoofs a Gaga song as a sarcastic pitch for voting no.
Lady Alba – Bad Romance (Gaga for Indy)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SvdecwnYJ4
(da hook with that accent is gold)

65

William Timberman 09.14.14 at 2:00 am

bob mcmanus @ 62

I myself believe that the popular will should be respected, if it exists, and if it can be determined to the satisfaction of more than a mere majority of concerned members of the region seeking independence — I’m thinking now of the mixed marriage misgivings referred to by TheSophist, and thinking even more so of the Ukraine, where entire regions can’t decide whether or not they’re actually married, or just co-habiting.

That said, I still feel some hesitancy about the consequences. The Black Madonna of Częstochowa waving above a march for workers’ rights is one thing; the Stars and Bars waving above a cavalry charge in defense of the right to own other human beings is quite another. I mean, there you are, bob, bravely striding forward, singing the Internationale at the top of your lungs, and when you turn around, you’ve got a bunch of pieces parts whacking each other with clubs. That’s if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you get to re-stage WWI.

66

ZM 09.14.14 at 4:29 am

Law in Scotland seems to be very mixed – I don’t know how many old laws continue from the days of it being its own kingdom, but then there are laws from when it was unified into the United Kingdoms and the UK parliament legislated laws for Scotland, and then there seems to have been a Scotland Parliament introduced in the 1990s who could make some laws while the UK parliament would make others and so on.

The current constitution would seem to be the mostly unwritten (with some written bits) UK constitution plus some constitutional law specific to Scotland having a parliament of its own (England does not have its own parliament) – plus maybe some pre-UK constitutional law still exists? – some one told me there is no law of trespass in Scotland , if you feel like having a wander around you can just go as your fancy takes you, whether onto public or private land – this is likely a pre-UK law I would think? The Scottish government would like not to continue with the mostly unwritten English constitution – but make a codified constitution to replace it.

I am not sure replacing the mostly unwritten constitution with a codified constitution is a good idea – I have heard it said that some rarely used laws are like spare wheels or tyres – you never know when one of your wheels or tyres of your bicycle or stagecoach of State (II know it is normally a ship – but this does not work with a wheel metaphor) will get a puncture – so if you have a spare wheel or tyre this is very helpful and you can carry on . You would have to talk through the whole mostly unwritten constitution (and who knows how long talking through a mostly unwritten constitution would take?) to know what parts might need changing .

Law schools in Scotland have set up this site discussing legal implications, and there have been public forums on matters of law too

http://www.scottishconstitutionalfutures.org/OpinionandAnalysis/tabid/1652/Default.aspx

There is an interesting article about the current limits of the Scottish parliament – relating to tobacco legislation and a court case brought by a tobacco company against the Scottish government for legislative overreach

“The background to Imperial Tobacco is that the Scottish Parliament enacted laws to ban tobacco displays in shops and tobacco vending machines (sections 1 and 9 of the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010). Imperial Tobacco argued that the Scottish Parliament did not have legislative power to do this.

The way the Scotland Act 1998 works is that the Scottish legislature is given powers to make laws, subject to a list of restrictions on those powers. One of those restrictions is that laws cannot ‘relate to’ matters reserved to the UK Parliament. There is a long Schedule setting out the reserved matters. (The Supreme Court in Imperial Tobacco described the areas which are currently reserved to Westminster as having a common theme: “matters in which the United Kingdom as a whole has an interest should continue to be the responsibility of the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster”).

If courts take an approach to the concept “relates to” so that remote effects on reserved matters push laws outside competence, or if courts construe reserved matters widely, the area of legislative power for the Scottish Parliament lessens, and the area reserved to Westminster increases. But Imperial Tobacco indicates that the Supreme Court is not taking this type of restrictive approach to the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

First, the court says that “One of the purposes of the 1998 Act was to enable the Parliament to make such laws within the powers given to it by section 28 as it thought fit. It was intended, within carefully defined limits, to be a generous settlement of legislative authority” (bold added). The court unsurprisingly finds: legislative competence of the Scottish legislature is subject to limits; that the limits are determined by rules in the Act; and these rules are subject to normal principles of statutory interpretation. But the court also finds that any case about the application of these rules is to be decided in a context that a ‘generous’ amount of legislative power is intended to be devolved. “
http://www.scottishconstitutionalfutures.org/OpinionandAnalysis/ViewBlogPost/tabid/1767/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/817/Anna-Poole-The-Powers-of-the-Scottish-Parliament.aspx

67

Belle Waring 09.14.14 at 5:18 am

Thanks all, for both the information and the speculative questioning which drew it forth! I learned quite a bit.

68

P.M.Lawrence 09.14.14 at 5:36 am

ZM: Scots Law has a quirk that English Law has not, “desuetude”. If a law is not used or in some way re-asserted, it lapses under Scots Law. I have sometimes wondered if the Scottish Act of Union would lapse in this way, if Scotland merely kept trying for independence for some years but Westminster did not enact anything to implement it.

69

ZM 09.14.14 at 5:57 am

That is interesting P M Lawrence. It looks like the English introduced that legal concept into Scots law after the union – likely to increase their control of Scots law and discourage the use of the pre-UK Scots law traditions. It would be interesting to see if desuetude would continue after independence? Scots might like to reintroduce some of their older laws or legal principles? I do not know anything about pre-UK scots law though.

In Australia a similar concept is applied in Native Title law – for indigenous societies to have their claim to Native Title recognised by the Crown’s courts – they have to be able to show a continuous connection with the land and continuous practice of their culture. This can be hard for some indigenous claimants – because previous governments had assimilationist policies , including taking children away – these children are called the Stolen Generations. An indigenous elder in town here has written about how as a young child he would run inside the house and his mother and aunties would all stop their chatter – alone they would chatter in their own language, and talk about their culture – but they never did this in front of the children out of fear the children would be taken away by the government. This meant a lot of language and culture was lost – the elder has learned a lot about the culture since assimilationist policies ceased, and he has said it is very important to him to pass on as much of their traditions as possible to the young – since the governments’policies denied him the chance as a young person, and some culture is lost.

I think this is where the emphasis on Enlightenment values others have pointed to is very problematic. The alliance or relationship between Enlightenment figures and powerful political/economic figures did cause a lot of harms to people. Not only in Colonies ‘made new worlds’ and looted as Francis Spufford says – but Even in the British Isles – Enlightenment rhetoric about natural laws and property was used to justify enclosures of common land. I read on a socialist website an article about how some of the Stuart Kings tried to reverse enclosures and return land to the commons – but this was a reason why the property-owning parliaments were so against the Stuarts, and beheaded them and pretended they abdicated.

70

Uday 09.14.14 at 9:07 am

For those interested, this is an op-ed style piece I wrote on the question: http://nationalcollective.com/2014/09/04/uday-jain-student-yes-scotland/

Tl;dr: The UK status quo is absolutely wrecked (James Meek’s recent work on privatisation brings this up forcefully: here’s a good example http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n01/james-meek/where-will-we-live), while the grass-roots mass movement in the Yes campaign has politicised a large swathe of a previously unengaged public and has the potential to give voice to a wide array of Leftist, environmental, and feminist voters. It’s unlikely that Scotland will vote Yes however, but I hope that the new generation of “Yes” idealists press on in pushing for a more sane alternative to the largely neoliberal, status quo SNP, Labour, and Tory parties.

If Scotland votes yes, it is entirely likely that the Scottish party system will splinter (the SNP is really an unsustainable compromise formation between fairly right-wing economists and left-wing social democrats), and a strong Green, or even socialist left could only be welcomed. Lots of uncertainty though. Big week ahead.

I think I just missed the point of “tl;dr”!

71

Collin Street 09.14.14 at 12:40 pm

> likely to increase their control of Scots law and discourage the use of the pre-UK Scots law traditions.

No, it’s because scotland couldn’t afford or justify the meticulous record-keeping the english had [record-keeping was/is expensive and england pretty wealthy]. Easier just to come to some new suboptimal-but-good-enough decision than to keep the records for the next time a goat explodes after eating stolen basking shark.

72

ZM 09.14.14 at 1:10 pm

I am unconvinced – it is more likely that the English parliament did not want to be obliged to adhere to old Scots written and unwritten laws and the old Scots constitution. Also they wanted to enclose all the common land away from the clans, and legislate against people wearing traditional dress , and make landless people in trousers work in industry, try to stop any one from being catholic etc

Wikipedia says “The doctrine has been applied in regard to acts of the pre-1707 Scottish Parliament. “

Sir John Newport in the parliamentary debates in May 1818 argued dusuetude was important, because the Scots should know what the laws of the land were, and they could only know them if they were written in the English parliament’s statute book , he goes on to mention how this should be applied to all countries in the far flung empire – so you can see it is just a way for the English parliament to get out of being obliged to follow customary laws. So it can make laws for all the people unfortunate enough to get captured into the Empire. Other people in the debates made other remarks – one other reason the parliament like d dusuetude was because judges might inconveniently make rulings from old laws the parliament did not want followed anymore – so it took power away from judges and gave more to the parliament. This still happens today.

73

djr 09.14.14 at 1:15 pm

ZM @ 65:

“there seems to have been a Scotland Parliament introduced in the 1990s”

Yes. It made the news and everything, it even has its own wikipedia article.

I’m with Francis Spufford in this: my country is considering taking itself to pieces next week, for reasons which have nothing whatsoever to do with the Stuart monarchs or the role of the Lord Chancellor. I’ve learned a lot from CT over the years, and I’d love to read the views of a lot of the commentators here on Scottish independence, but this thread seems to be completely missing the point.

74

Ronan(rf) 09.14.14 at 1:50 pm

I’m mainly indifferent to the question of Scottish independence (primarily out of ignorance, no stake in the result etc) but as a question for people with more knowledge..what do people think is primarily driving this situation ? My impression (simple, and prob wrong) is that there wasn’t a huge amount of pressure for Scottish independence and initially the call from Scottish nationalists was for greater devolution(which developed into calls for independence due to Tory mishandling), and it seems the polls have shifted over the last few months from no to yes ( rather than there being a groundswell of support for independence initially.) So is this something everyone has stumbled into ?
My impression from polling and news reports is that a lot of the support seems economic (poorer regions with higher unemployment supporting independence) So is a lot of this support in Scotland a reaction to recession and unemployment, and how strong is Scottish nationalism in society as a whole ?
I wonder as well about the economics of it (aside from the currency issues and EU accession) Would an independent Scottish parliament be better able to handle Scottish economic development ? Are the aguments that nationalists make(about underdevelopment and unemployment in some parts being attributable to unresponsive westminister governments) a legitimate argument ? What do people see as the medium/long term(economic, political) prospects for an independent Scotland, removed from all the hyperbole and worst case scenariosing (but being realistic about the challenges) ? And how prevelant is Scottish nationalism in society, has there been a shift in recent years to becoming more nationalistic, how does that nationalism manifest itself ? (I think we often caricature ‘nationalism’ as something always destructive or negative (and certainly the english political class do) but how do people in Scotland on the ground feel about it ?)
I’d note as well that *all* the bookies have the no side pretty strong favourites, for whatever that’s worth.

75

Thornton Hall 09.14.14 at 3:29 pm

@73 During my semester in Edinburgh a long time ago one of my professors, apropos of nothing, explained to the 7 Americans in his class on “Theories of Existence”: “You see, it all goes back to the Romans. Because Scotland was never conquered, they were never truly Christianized and remain essentially heathens to this day. They celebrate Christmas here, but the real holiday is New Years when they gather on the High Street and burn the English monarch in effigy.”

Now, Christianity came to Scotland and England from Ireland before it came from the Romans, I believe. But between the professors comments and the fact that strangers in pubs would routinely discuss current events with reference to 500 year old incidents, made me realize that the United States is an outlier when it comes to the vintage of our national identity. Very old events fuel very strong prejudices in the minds of very well regarded philosophy professors at the very best University. Lord knows what gets said in the working class pubs of Glasgow.

In some ways it may be that the rise of the Tea Party represents the first time Americans have had to deal with something Europeans have seen over and over again: the conflicts that arise when historical myths and legends are faced off against the practical requirements of the present.

76

Thornton Hall 09.14.14 at 3:30 pm

@74, I meant to say, the professor was an Englishman.

77

stevenjohnson 09.14.14 at 3:45 pm

William Burns @36
Is it? Isn’t that kind of the question, whether “Scotland” is part of the Empire? Perhaps you and Spufford are right but I was being cautious about prejudging.

The thing is, if you and Spufford are right about Scotland really being part of a genuinely united kingdom, as much a part of the Enlightenment as support for benevolent despotism? It emphasizes that the referendum is about nothing but an unqualified endorsement of imperialism versus an endorsement of an unspecified reformist capitalism. Shameless evil versus hypocritical evil I suppose you could say. Boycotting both sides is a political nightmare, which is precisely why the referendum was staged in the first place: A loaded question. I am vaguely pleased that the imperialist masters are stunned to find so many people willing to contemplate buying a pig in a poke in preference to them.

Abbe Faria @51
Moral force is easy to ignore. Thatcherism prides itself on ignoring moral force. Bobby Sands etc. Thatcherism is no more gone from the UK than “McCarthyism’s” repression of the left is gone in the US.

Masses of people in the streets, not so easy to ignore. I don’t know if people in Scotland en masse have illusions about how ruthless the rulers truly are and are prepared for the real consequences or not.

78

roger gathman 09.14.14 at 3:57 pm

I, too, wonder what the wave of successionist feeling not only in Scotland but all over Europe is about. I can’t help but feeling that this wouldn’t be happening in a Europe that had decisively pulled itself out of the slump, instead of a Europe – and a UK – that has taken the opportunity to impose austerity and “reform”. Next up is surely Catalonia, with a regional government that is completely at odds with the conservative national government. It seems to me that the politics of this depression are following, more mildly, the kind of turmoil produced by the Great depression, which was also characterized by a brain dead austerianism adhered to by the technocratic elite). The No vote campaign seems to me to amount to telling Scotland it is in a trap. If it declares independence, it will experience an economic depression, and if it stays, it will be subject to the austerity and privatization that is the core belief of both parties.

People don’t like traps.

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Abbe Faria 09.14.14 at 5:20 pm

It’s certainly odd. Cameron’s austerity is hated by the Scots. As much as I agree, for it to push Scotland into the hands of Salmond – who was arguing adoption of the Euro and the Irish/Icelandic model of banking deregulation in the not too recent past – seems ironic.

80

praisegod barebones 09.14.14 at 6:07 pm

Thornton Hall @ 74: at the risk of further irritating Francis Spufford, I suspect that the curious position of Christmas in Scotland has more to do with Calvinism than paganism. Too much Christianity rather than too little.

81

dsquared 09.14.14 at 6:47 pm

Dsquared, come tell us if Wales will also skip out, afters.

Basically, unlikely. I don’t agree with Phil that there isn’t any historic conception of nationhood (IMO this is a very Welsh Labour view which relies on yaddayaddaing such things as Owen Glendower). But it’s true to say that Wales was conquered by the English quite a long time before nation states were really a thing and so Wales really didn’t build up independent institutions.

But really, the issue is that welsh nationalists are cultural, not political nationalists. Plaid Cymru developed alongside Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society). This meant that straight out of the box, the party limited its appeal to the 25-33% (depending on how you measure competence) of the population of Wales who speak the language. It also made Plaid into a regional party rather than a national one in Wales.

This approach has worked, though. Wales has kept its language, unlike Scotland or Ireland, has a television channel etc. It was a successful approach for cultural nationalists to take, but it’s not one that puts you on a path leading to independence.

Worth remembering in context that the last line of the Welsh national anthem is “ O bydded y heniaith parhau” – not anything about independence, nation out freedom, but “the old language will endure”. It’s a very different politics which even English people find alien and IME most foreigners, even from other Celtic minority nations, don’t understand at all.

82

Jim Buck 09.14.14 at 6:47 pm

83

nnyhav 09.14.14 at 11:00 pm

84

L.M. Dorsey 09.14.14 at 11:48 pm

Independence is but prelude: to re-formalizing the Auld Alliance, invading the south, crushing the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and shattering their collaborators — magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo! Or not. Depending.

85

Phil 09.14.14 at 11:59 pm

I don’t agree with Phil that there isn’t any historic conception of nationhood

I didn’t say this. Glyndwr is interesting – I think Robert the Bruce could have gone the way of OG if the dice had fallen differently, which would have had big implications for the idea of Scotland. Whether Glyndwr could ever have gone the way of R the B (with equally big implications for Wales) is another matter – I think you’re talking double sixes and then some.

But it’s true to say that Wales was conquered by the English quite a long time before nation states were really a thing and so Wales really didn’t build up independent institutions.

I did say this.

The PC/Cymdeithas yr Iaith overlap is a really interesting point. I lived in Wales long enough (and/or at an early enough age) to feel it makes perfect sense – that just is how you do nationalism – but that assumption clearly isn’t universal. I wonder if it goes back to that very early experience of conquest – as if to say that rolling back external political control just isn’t on the table, but we can keep some sort of nation alive on the cultural level.

It’s not a small thing, either. I once, rather unwisely, teased a friend of mine whose email signature described him as a Uwch Dadansoddwr Systemau, asking him how often he was referred to as such (as opposed to being called a Senior Systems Analyst). He said that he’d grown up speaking Welsh at home and most of his colleagues had done too; all in all, Uwch Dadansoddwr Systemau wasn’t the translation of his job title, it was his job title. That was me told.

Other than that, I’d just like to restate my impression that, wrt Scotland, questions of constitutional law are just not interesting or relevant. There’s nothing Westminster and Holyrood can do that can’t be done, in the immortal words of John Lennon. The politics are the killer – which makes it bizarre that nobody’s discussing the politics, beyond the sentimental soup of “we’re better together” vs “we can decide for ourselves”.

86

Eli Rabett 09.15.14 at 12:03 am

BBC Alba has exciting sheep trials in Gaelic and some good music FWIW.

To be clear, never has there been such an exercise in wishful thinking as the YES campaign. They forgot to get their ducks in a row on such minor items as the currancy, the EU and NATO

And, FWIW it’s Shetland oil not Scots oil and the Shetlanders prefer the union with the rest of the UK and if not that to go back to Norway.

87

ZM 09.15.14 at 12:05 am

LM Dorsey,

Alex Salmond is very fond of our Queen, likely because she is a Stuart and he wants to go back to having a Queen of Scots. Having the Queen be the Queen of England as well as the Queen of Scots bodes very well, because it is unlikely the Queen of England would sanction harm against the Queen of Scots (being the same person now) as in what unfortunately befell the last Queen of Scots poor Mary (Although Queen Elizabeth I did write in a letter to the young James VI that it was not really her decision, but instead that the people who engaged in court intrigue and politicking were responsible )

“Salmond had earlier moved to reassure traditionalists when he said the “Queen and her successors” would remain as head of state in an independent Scotland. He told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1: “We want to see Her Majesty the Queen as Queen of the Scots. That is a fantastic title and a fantastic prospect.”

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L.M. Dorsey 09.15.14 at 12:19 am

@74 TH

the conflicts that arise when historical myths and legends are faced off against the practical requirements of the present.

I think I would put this differently. The myths are legends are how the practicalities of the present are met. By everyone everywhere always. The “conflicts” arising are the glory, the honor, and the fun.

The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past, saith Wm Faulkner.

89

js. 09.15.14 at 12:33 am

As someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion (a rare event!) about the referendum, I found the Spufford/MacLeod video less than entirely convincing. The point about the possibilities inherent in a civic (national) identity is extremely well taken (and it’s probably why I would instinctively incline towards ‘No’), but ultimately it’s a fairly abstract point. And as regards the possibilities of—what they were calling—the British project in particular, I found the discussion to be far too rosy/a bit weak on substance. I don’t know, “The British system of parliamentary sovereignty is exceptional and uniquely receptive to progressive change” is just not cutting it for me. And the point about Britain being able to stand up to global capital seemed even weaker. (On the other hand, I found this Ken McLeod post to be considerably more helpful.)

But I am really open to the case and would like to see a good hard political-economic case made for the No side. (Or for that matter for the Yes side, I suppose.)

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Glen Tomkins 09.15.14 at 12:35 am

ZM,

Which queen is a Stuart?

91

L.M. Dorsey 09.15.14 at 12:37 am

@86 ZM
In lieu of a genealogy, I’m calling on shenanigans on the “Elizabeth II Alexandra Mary Windsor is a Stuart” meme. (Happy to be proved wrong, actually, but I’m getting bored trolling through wacky google results relating her to King David and Julius Caesar and all whatnot — pfft.)

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ZM 09.15.14 at 12:53 am

LM Dorsey,

You just have remember that surnames and House names are very sexist in English – so Stuart women had to take their House names from their husbands when they married – but the royal bloodline is a continuation of the Stuart Royal bloodline. I will copy down the previous family tree I wrote up – you also have to remember it was not Elizabeth Stuart, Winter Queen of Bohemia, or her children and grand and great grandchildren who had anything to do with the parliament pretending James 2&7 abdicated with the help of Mary Stuart who was unfilial but died without heirs.

“. I will now take you through the Stuart lineage of our Royal family, and it is this lineage that is the royal lineage, not any of the other houses – they just got their names in because Stuart women married them as I mentioned.

James Stuart (VI) of Scotland became James I of England after Elizabeth I (House of Tudor ) died without heir

… I will leave out everything with parliament beheading King Charles and go to mention that the parliament and John Locke then connived to say James VII and II abdicated despite him not having abdicated and did the irregular thing of saying there were two monarchs on the throne William of Orange and his wife the unfilial daughter of the King, Mary Stuart. They died without heirs, the other King’s daughter became Queen Anne. She died without heirs too. The parliament was unfairly anti-Catholic, because they preferred an Anglican Church they could lord it over, so they searched around mightily for another non-catholic heir, which was quite difficult since the Stuart’s were quite a Catholic family overall.

Now we come to George I – his royal bloodline comes from his mother Sophia, who got her royal bloodline from her mother, Elizabeth Stuart of Scotland, Winter Queen of Bohemia, and daughter of James Stuart, VI of Scotland and I of England. As I mentioned, they had different house names because they had to take their husband’s names upon marriage because in a country where the parliament beheads and fakes abdications of kings patriarchy runs much stronger than monarchism.

After George I was his son George II – so the royal blood went by the male line and no house name changes were needed due to sexism. George IIs son Frederick died before him, and upon the King’s death his grandson, son of Frederick, became King George III. He became Ill and his son became regent then King George IV, upon his death his brother became King William IV. all this royalty is still from the Stuart bloodline, as you can tell.

Now we get to a woman again, Queen Victoria became Queen after the death of KingWilliam IV. She was the daughter of Edward, another son of George III. Her son became King Edward VII, then he abdicated, then her other son became King George V.

After his death his daughter became Queen Elizabeth II who is our current Queen, descended from James Stuart VI and I through his daughter Elizabeth who was the target of the gunpowder plotters, remembered on bonfire night, who hoped to assassinate her father and make her a young Queen and bring her up Catholic.”

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ckc (not kc) 09.15.14 at 1:08 am

Now we get to a woman again, Queen Victoria became Queen after the death of KingWilliam IV. She was the daughter of Edward, another son of George III. Her son became King Edward VII, then he abdicated, then her other son became King George V.

…some I’s and V’s (not to mention Edwards and Georges) are missing here.

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Glen Tomkins 09.15.14 at 1:13 am

ZM,

So, the current Queen of England is also a Plantagenet, right? And a Capet as well, right? Is there any royal family she isn’t? Is there any commoner family name she isn’t?

Go far enough back, in a system where you keep all of your ancestors’ family names (a system that varies quite markedly from the naming conventions the rest of us use), and we’re all Smiths and Stuarts and Snopeses, etc,, etc., so, sure, Elizabeth is a Stuart.

95

ZM 09.15.14 at 1:15 am

Who have I missed out?

96

ckc (not kc) 09.15.14 at 1:18 am

Edward VIII (abdicated), George VI (ER’s dad)

97

L.M. Dorsey 09.15.14 at 1:24 am

@91 ZM
Thank you kindly for your efforts. I begin to see, I think. The succession to Anne was a real crisis, and set the stage for Colloden. Nonetheless Georg Ludwig’s claim was defensible, as you say, and the Hanoverian succession prevailed.

98

jwl 09.15.14 at 1:29 am

I’m really wondering what will happen. As a non-British person, it doesn’t greatly matter to me, but I don’t really understand why it gets to Francis Spufford so much. I get the feeling that he is somewhat concerned at being stuck with the English even more dominant in one country without the Scots. (It is interesting how Northern Ireland hasn’t come up much in the discussions. They are following this closely on slugger o’toole, and a number of the unionists seem pretty worried.) The United Kingdom is inextricably linked with the British Empire, and I found his stirring rendition of “standing against fascism” to be utter bunk, especially considering how much the Soviet Union and United States (once they entered the war with Germany/Italy) contributed while the British were letting a million people starve to death in Bengal.

It’s clear that the Scots have gotten a raw deal from Westminster for a long time. (So has Northern England.) Voting in New Labour didn’t help, since they were “intensely relaxed” about continued dominance by the City of London. Since the British Empire is dead and gone, there doesn’t seem any real reason for Scotland to remain with people who largely ignore or despise them. (The cultural contempt that English people feel for the other nations of the UK is hard to miss. It’s most galling for the Welsh of course, since many English people don’t even recognize their existence as a separate cultural space or nation.)

I find the argument that it will guarantee Tory dominance in England forever unconvincing. There are a lot of people who don’t like the Tories in England too, and the loss of Scotland under a Tory prime minister has to be a serious blow to them in the medium to long term.

I think austerity is contributing to the increase in nationalist movements in Europe, but all the ones mentioned predate it, sometimes by centuries. The Basque nationalists were in the forefront of resistance to Franco, for example, and much of the bitterness there comes directly from that. Something similar is true in Catalonia.

It looks like no will win, but it will be a squeaker. I can’t help thinking that Scotland will be better off in the long run with a yes vote, as a small quasi-Scandinavian, non-nuclear weapon country. (See Charles Stross on this.)

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P.M.Lawrence 09.15.14 at 1:47 am

ZM wrote:-

Now we get to a woman again, Queen Victoria became Queen after the death of KingWilliam IV. She was the daughter of Edward, another son of George III. Her son became King Edward VII, then he abdicated, then her other son became King George V.

That bit is what’s wrong. The last sentence should become these sentences:-

Her son became King Edward VI. His elder son predeceased him, so his second son became King George V. George V’s son became King Edward VII, then he abdicated, then his second son [not “other son” – there were other brothers] became King George VI.

I don’t recall, but George V may have had more than one brother, too.

Glen Tomkins wrote:-

So, the current Queen of England is also a Plantagenet, right?

No, because that does run in the male line (and it’s not “Queen of England”, not since Queen Anne before 1707). There are no legitimate Plantagenets left (Shakespeare has a lament for the passing of many noble houses in the Wars of the Roses, and caps it with “where is Plantagenet?” [from memory]).

The only known Plantagenets left, after going the wrong side of the blanket a time or two but then being legitimised, are the Duke of Beaufort and his relatives in that line. That line only just survived, as the last Duke left no direct heirs and there were no others in the male line any nearer than a fairly distant cousin.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s a stretch to claim that the Stuarts don’t run in the male line, but obviously that one is arguable.

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P.M.Lawrence 09.15.14 at 2:09 am

What I’ve fundamentally got against the current Scottish Nationalist thrust for independence is just precisely that it is disregarding the whole cultural identity thing that shows up among the Welsh (and Irish) – and that’s even before looking at the certain cost and the doubtful benefit, which should never be counted among the reasons for or against but should always be reckoned as to whether they allow achieving ends that are desired. Traditionally, Celts get their identity from connection and affiliation, not from location like England and continental Europe (e.g. only Yorkshiremen born could play cricket for Yorkshire, for a very long time); hence Buchanan’s work on Scots Law being described as “… regni apud [emphasis added] Scotos”, “… of the kingdom among the Scots”, and why it was “Mary Queen of [emphasis added] Scots” but “Queen Elizabeth of England”. (That is also why, despite my being born in London to an Irish mother and a Scottish father, my mother could say that she was proud I was British and not English.) There is the odd quirk that, although union never fused the lower and middle classes, the upper classes of Britain and Ireland really did merge – though that of the latter was never truly accepted as their own by the Irish, the Ascendancy being “English to the Irish and Irish to the English” on the back of affinity versus location ways of looking at things; ironically, the Duke of Wellington’s rebuttal to an Englishman who called him Irish was “Jesus Christ may have been born in a stable but that didn’t make him a horse”, something which struck me as so natural a way of looking at things that it took me years to realise that it was an Irish point of view that Wellington held, and not an English one at all. This fusion may deceive outsiders into not realising that about half of the British Prime Ministers of the last century were Scots of this fused sort (Campbell-Bannerman, Balfour, Macmillan, Douglas Home, Blair and Cameron) as well as a couple of more obvious Scots (Keir Hardie, Brown); the union has not short changed Scotland, nor will it for so long as it does not dissolve Scottishness.

But Salmond’s effort is not only geographically based, omitting Scots in England (or here in Australia), who are more likely to have self selected according to the other, greater whole, approach; it is also likely to manufacture an identity along non-Celtic lines, a right little, tight little Scotland analogous to the goals of the “little Englanders” of a century ago. It has no place for George MacDonald Fraser – or for the Scottish Nationalism of Sir Compton Mackenzie, since each was English by that shrivelled reckoning. In due time, that independence would dissolve Scottishness.

There is an irony: polling suggests that support for this independence is weaker among the old and among the young; it is not a case of “tomorrow belongs to us” unless the Salmonds of today can seize the day and manufacture that tomorrow. But they can only do it on the back of a manufactured people; where politicians mostly elect a new people by instalments by promoting immigration, that old fish is more likely to do it in Scotland by promoting the leaving of those who follow a different banner, with the methods of Mayor Cooley of Boston. Scotland will be made poorer, and the Scots as a whole will too, but those who remain within the newer, smaller land will be more and more concentrated and perhaps even better off per fewer head, like raisins shrivelled into sweetness by losing the full fruit; non regnum apud Scotos sed terra Scotulorum. Look around; has not Salmond already pushed abroad more and more Scots who were not of his persuasion?

So, yes, there should be a Scottish independence – but not this independence which is a mere mockery of English ways and so much less than Scots, but rather there should be something of fuller flower, quite possibly within a larger, fairer and confederal Britain.

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Glen Tomkins 09.15.14 at 2:16 am

PM Lawrence,

You and ZM messing with me, right? Some family names, like the Plantagenets, pass only in the male line (and are extinct in the male line or a Plantagenet would still be the monarch), but some, like the Stuarts, at least arguably pass in both the female and male line? The current monarch is descended from both families, isn’t she, whether or not somebody or others naming system says her name is one, both or neither? She’s the monarch because the Act of Succession says she is, not because of anyone’s theory of what her last name might or might not be — right?

That said, perhaps all of you lot are in on it. No wonder you have so many Scots flustered.

102

ckc (not kc) 09.15.14 at 2:35 am

That bit is what’s wrong. The last sentence should become these sentences:-

Her son became King Edward VI. His elder son predeceased him, so his second son became King George V. George V’s son became King Edward VII, then he abdicated, then his second son [not “other son” – there were other brothers] became King George VI.

I don’t recall, but George V may have had more than one brother, too.

..not that it really matters, but George V was the son of Edward VII (who died) – his elder son, Edward VIII, abdicated – his younger son, George VI (Elizabeth II’s father) then became king – you could look it up :)

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P.M.Lawrence 09.15.14 at 2:59 am

Damn, I wrote the numbering down wrong, too. Edward VII was George V’s father, and it was George V’s son Edward VIII who abdicated. Put it down to copying and pasting Edward VII into the wrong position, and then subtracting from him without paying enough attention.

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ZM 09.15.14 at 3:33 am

Glen Tomkins,

The Stuarts can run in the female line – you can see this through HM Elizabeth II – she did not take the name of her consort HRH Prince Philip’s House – the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

Therefore it was just earlier English sexism that the other Stuart women had to take their husband’s House names and the children had to inherit their father’s non-royal House names rather than their mother’s royal house names. If young Prince George has an eldest daughter, she will become Queen – what would happen if she married a commoner following your male line reasoning? She would lose her House altogether and be a Houseless Queen in your logic?

Also, in any case, if Queen Elizabeth becomes the Queen of Scots, come an independent Scotland – she would not be a Plantagenet – because the Plantagenets were not the Scots Kings and Queens.

105

Rich Puchalsky 09.15.14 at 5:10 am

Rich @ 39: “s e.g Alasdair Gray really a force within the population in general? “

Good question! Since tracing back monarchical connections is the busy part of this thread, I’ll have to have this conversation with myself. I looked back at Ken MacLeod’s post linked in #88. A quote:

“How are artists likely to fare under such a government? Well, if you look forward to being dependent on the goodwill of a nationalist cultural apparatus in a small country where everybody knows everybody and memories are long, an SNP hegemony might be just the thing. If you relish the relentless polarization of every last issue of culture and society and nature and beauty along the axis of the national question, go for it. And if the pro-independence artists and creatives protest, as my friends here surely will, that this is not what they want at all, I would respectfully suggest that calling themselves National Collective and Bella Caledonia is not the way to reassure us. If you thrill to the vision of the future that these names evoke, knock yourself out. “

Bella Caledonia? Here’s Ken’s first comment to that post:
“Fun though twitting them may be, the name Bella Caledonia obviously means ‘Beautiful Scotland’ and is taken from a character in Alastair Gray’s novel Poor Things – hence the lassie in the logo.”

So there it is. To continue the twitting, I’ll note that Bella Caledonia links to Alasdair Gray in their culture section, but it’s the *wrong Alasdair Gray*.

So — which Alasdair Gray novel should be considered as contributing most to a potential Yes vote? _Lanark_, obviously, which is also mysteriously listed for its illustrations only (?) in the Guardian’s list of the top 10 masterpieces of Scottish art as of 3 days ago. All right then, is _Poor Things_ #2? I thought the scenes in _1982 Janine_ where the main character laments what his dead friend (and by extension, Scotland, and himself) could have been were much more affecting.

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Glen Tomkins 09.15.14 at 5:49 am

ZM,

It seems to me that their are several quite distinct issues here.

One is a matter of family names. I have no idea if royals in GB use such. If they do, surely the current monarch does not have Stuart as her family name, and didn’t have that family name either before marrying her husband. She may not have taken his name, if his family even uses family names, but she wasn’t named Stuart even before marriage.

Then there’s descent. The current monarch is a Stuart in the sense that one or more of her ancestors was a Stuart, even if she cannot trace back in the direct (which I take to mean, not via collateral branches), male line. GB is probably majority Stuart in that very loose sense, as well as majority Plantagenet. Go back far enough, and some Stuart had younger siblings who stopped counting for succession after older brother had an heir, and I’m probably descended (in a “hope for every ape in Africa” kind of way) from at least one such collateral line.

Then there’s this matter of houses and dynasties. I assume that this is just historical accounting, an artificial concept designed to help reduce history to some sort of order, but doesn’t have any legal standing. I can’t fathom in what sense the current monarch can be considered to belong to some House of Stuart. She has ancestors from that family, but not in the direct line, and therefore, by the usual rules in force for succession, not a member of that house for dynastic purposes. I probably have such collateral branch ancestors (way, way collateral), and no one would say that I am of the House of Stuart, or some such.

And finally there’s what counts for succession, what the Act of Succession says. I suppose that, with notable exceptions, the same rules have been followed in fixing the succession as apply to succession of lesser titles that don’t have acts of Parliament governing them. But the bottom line is that the heir is whoever the Act says is the heir. Everything else is hot air. I haven’t read the thing, and if it talks at all about Houses and the monarch being a Stuart, well, I have quire a bit of verbiage to eat.

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P.M.Lawrence 09.15.14 at 6:48 am

Glen Tomkins, “what counts for succession” isn’t “what the Act of Succession says”. It’s subtler than that. What counts for succession is who the Council of Accession (a special ad hoc sitting of the Privy Council, ultimately going back to the Witanagemot) elects, just as cathedral chapters elect Anglican diocesan bishops. But, just as cathedral chapters elect who they are told to by the Cabinet, or else, so also the Council of Accession must elect the monarch specified by current law, or else. However, on the one hand that law has varied – it was Henry VIII’s last will and testament, for several reigns after him – and on the other hand, if a monarch is otherwise elected then the law will soon be changed to match (which is usually what happens with a change of dynasties, as when the Stuarts came into England despite the specifications of Henry VIII’s will, and is how the present Act of Succession came about when the Hanoverians came in).

So, yes, ultimately the Act of Succession does determine all this – but only until it doesn’t.

This indirect accession machinery, also used in the Papacy and in the U.S.A., does have a useful reason: it allows for bending to realpolitik, Hayes/Tilden fashion, and ensures that anyone strong enough to sway that level will thereafter have enough added strength from that support along with his (it’s usually “he”) own strength to stay on top – so few are tempted to overthrow the whole system, particularly if “reigns” are likely to come around frequently enough to allow the hope of further attempts by the losers (Nixon, la Clinton…). Attempts to lock in, deem away or outright eliminate “faithless electors” are sitting on a safety valve which is there for a reason: to allow bending to realpolitik without breaking the principle on which things are set up, which would only ruin legitimacy down the track once the current storm had passed.

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ZM 09.15.14 at 7:05 am

Glen Tomkins,

” surely the current monarch does not have Stuart as her family name, and didn’t have that family name either before marrying her husband. She may not have taken his name, if his family even uses family names, but she wasn’t named Stuart even before marriage.”

No HM Queen Elizabeth’s nominal House is Windsor , but as I have shown, this is due to sexism where all previous Stuart women had to take the House if their husband upon marriage. Thanks to the great strides made since the 17th towards women’s equality Queen Elizabeth II did not have to take her husband’s House name. But the English are so anti-Stuart – even Francis Spufford in his clip rails against the Stuarts even though he is a socialist and the Stuart kings tried to stand up against the enclosure of the commons and England never ever had a period of Absolute Monarchy – that I do not think she would go back to the Stuart House name, but the Stuart bloodline is the current Royal bloodline – as shown by the family tree (with appropriate corrections made by other commenters, thank you for that!) . Perhaps a future King of Queen will rehabilitate the Stuart reputation .

I have only traced the family tree back so far as James I & IV . I have looked at another longer family tree – this does not stop at Plantagenet – it stops at the House of Wessex – the kingdom of Wessex was founded by the man who was named the House of Wessex – his father is a potential historical figure for King Arthur, but the father was not a king and did not have a House – so the House of Wessex is the furthest back (the English kingdoms were unified by King Alfred King of Wessex of the House of Wessex)..

However – I have not thoroughly worked out what I think are the principles of Houses – if the House changes by war, or by infertility – maybe the House might change. So I will stick with just tracing back to the Stuarts until I work out the principles of Houses.

I think your claim to a crown somewhere in the world seems rather thin :(

The Queen is a direct descendant, as shown from the family tree, through Elizabeth Stuart his daughter , of James I&VI first Stuart King of England.

I am pretty doubtful you are a direct descendent of James I&VI – you need to show your family tree if you want us to accept that.

The parliament cannot just settle the Crown on anyone through an Act of Succession – that would be extremely unconstitutional.

Rich Puchalsky,

Your discussion amongst yourself Los quite interesting, but I have not read the books in question. Do you think Unthank refers to the Enlightenment, or Empire, or Modernism , or Capitalism – or something else?

109

Phil 09.15.14 at 8:30 am

ZM and others: three very simple points.

1. NOBODY IN EITHER CAMPAIGN IS TALKING ABOUT THE INSTITUTION OF THE MONARCHY

This is presumably because
2. SECESSION WILL HAVE NO EFFECT ON THE INSTITUTION OF THE MONARCHY

but also because
3. THE INSTITUTION OF THE MONARCHY DOES NOT MATTER AND IS OF NO INTEREST TO ANYONE BUT TOURISTS (AND HISTORIANS OF PERIODS WHEN IT DID MATTER)

Could we get back to talking about things that do matter in the present day and will be effected by Scottish secession?

js. I am really open to the case and would like to see a good hard political-economic case made for the No side

Try Gavyn Davies, Adam Tomkins and Frances Coppola, for starters.

110

Phil 09.15.14 at 8:37 am

Will be affected, obviously. Ugh – I smite forehead with hand-heel.

111

ZM 09.15.14 at 8:50 am

“Could we get back to talking about things that do matter in the present day and will be effected by Scottish secession?”

The commenters who are interested in aspects other than the monarchy etc need to make their interesting comments on other areas. I did mention possible law issues, and criticized aspects of the pro-Enlightenment views among unionists other things, but discussions of monarchy proved more interesting than those topics.

I saw papers on possible affects on welfare and the environment – I might read them on the train , if welfare and environment discussions are of interest?

112

P.M.Lawrence 09.15.14 at 9:08 am

Phil, you are almost completely mistaken, except that your conclusion – your first point – oddly enough also follows from the reverse of your other two points (your basis). So let’s take them in reverse order:-

3. It is asserted that: THE INSTITUTION OF THE MONARCHY DOES NOT MATTER AND IS OF NO INTEREST TO ANYONE BUT TOURISTS (AND HISTORIANS OF PERIODS WHEN IT DID MATTER).

Here in Australia in the late ’90s, we had a republican movement that failed. During that, it became quite clear that it mattered a very great deal to most people at one level or another, though there was much disagreement about what was important and what wasn’t and about whether change would be a good thing or not. Even though many people thought as you did at the beginning, by the end nearly everybody thought that there was a lot of important stuff in there, despite disagreeing about just what. If you like, I can point you at some research I did at the time, as it brings out broader and deeper stuff than merely narrowly topical Australian material. And, of course, clearly some people commenting here have a personal interest for motives of their own.

2. It is asserted that: SECESSION WILL HAVE NO EFFECT ON THE INSTITUTION OF THE MONARCHY.

That turns out not to be true; though space does not permit me to go into it here, I can refer you to various other resources that bring it out as well as to the material of mine I mentioned. But it’s a huge can of worms that few on either side of the Scottish independence case are willing to open, very possibly because it could backfire for either side.

1. It is asserted that: NOBODY IN EITHER CAMPAIGN IS TALKING ABOUT THE INSTITUTION OF THE MONARCHY.

This is perfectly true – but you should see that it also follows if your basis is wrong.

113

ZM 09.15.14 at 9:37 am

P M Lawrence,

You are quite right about the republican referendum in Australia. In retrospect (I was only fairly young at the time) – what seems curious to me is we had so much discussion of that preamble – and not much discussion on any legal or parliamentary powers ramifications etc

I did quote Alex Salmond above talking about a monarchy, because he said he wants a Queen of Scots again

114

Phil 09.15.14 at 9:49 am

The point is that nobody’s talking about a Scottish republic as a foreseeable consequence of secession; everyone, on both sides of the debate, is assuming that the monarch would be the (largely ceremonial) Head of State of the secessionist state as well as the successor state. I don’t doubt that it’s potentially a huge can of constitutional worms, but you could say as much of the accession of William of Orange – and don’t get me started on Richard III and Henry Tudor. Cans of worms which nobody wants to open (except a few hobbyists and obsessives) tend to remain closed.

The currency, OTOH, isn’t so much a can of worms as a timebomb – and one with huge practical consequences.

115

Phil 09.15.14 at 9:56 am

For clarity, I think a British republican movement would be a wonderful thing, and if the Yes campaign were proposing to found a Scottish republic* it’d be a very different campaign and one much more worth supporting. But they aren’t.

*Or to leave NATO, or to make Scottish waters nuclear-free, or…

116

Phil 09.15.14 at 10:27 am

This piece by Adam Tomkins (from February) is well worth reading.

The SNP’s entire approach to independence is to do as if, having voting Yes, Scotland will breezily and unilaterally be able to cherry-pick exactly which bits of the old British state it wishes to keep and which bits it wishes now to discard. The currency is just one of several bits that the SNP want to keep. But they present this as if it is a policy that poses no problems: the mere fact that they want it will be enough.

117

Sasha Clarkson 09.15.14 at 10:54 am

ZM: it is not defensible to say that the queen is a Stuart just because there is a male Stuart somewhere back in the female line: someone from whom there may be no genetic contribution whatsoever, not even mitochondrial DNA. By that line of reasoning, she is also a Tudor, etc etc; it’s equally meaningless.

This simply highlights the ridiculousness of having traditional inheritance as a qualification for any kind of public office. The adoption practiced in both ancient and imperial Rome made much more sense: a true republic, in my view of the Swiss type which avoids a single figurehead, would make much more sense.

This should be irrelevant to any rational independence debate: it isn’t of course, because of the (at least perceived) emotional attachments, and I suppose to an extent the aversions, to the House of Windsor amongst the Scots electorate.

118

Phil 09.15.14 at 11:13 am

This should be irrelevant to any rational independence debate: it isn’t of course, because of the (at least perceived) emotional attachments, and I suppose to an extent the aversions, to the House of Windsor amongst the Scots electorate.

It’s relevant in the sense that Salmond is going out of his way not to challenge Scots’ attachment to the monarchy; it’s one of the (many) things which, if we believe the Yes campaign, won’t have to change at all. It’s not relevant in the sense of being in dispute, or posing any questions which will need to be decided.

119

Dave Heasman 09.15.14 at 11:34 am

pml @ 100 on Prime Ministers – “couple of more obvious Scots (Keir Hardie, Brown)”

I think you mean Ramsey MacDonald. no?

120

P.M.Lawrence 09.15.14 at 11:40 am

Damn, yes. That’s what comes of trying to blitz things. (I should have put “century or so” too, since Campbell-Bannerman doesn’t quite make the century cut.)

121

ZM 09.15.14 at 11:41 am

Sasha Clarkson,

May I ask how much of the original person called Clarkson you have in your DNA?

122

Francis Spufford 09.15.14 at 11:57 am

Phil: yes. Oh God, yes.

P M Lawrence: but in the Scottish situation, we’re not talking about a situation in which two separate and sovereign states are linked by sharing a constitutional monarch. We’re talking about one integrated sovereign state that is considering a split in which the fate of the monarchy will be an afterthought, and not (I do assure you) a motivating political factor.

Ronan, Roger Gathman, Abbe Faria: my sense of where this comes from, fwiw, is that we’re seeing another of the long-run institution-shredding consequences of Thatcherism. She was very good at melting solid things into air, and the final thing dissolved may turn out to be the British state itself. Before 1979, there was a lively nationalist current in Scots politics, feeding off the continuing vitality of a much more widely shared pride in Scots identity, culture and history. The SNP could win by-elections – it was a home for a traditionalist protest vote out in the Hebrides, for example – and it drew support from romantics, both of the nostalgic right and of the utopian left. But there was no presenting grievance for it to mobilise more than a fraction of Scots political opinion around. Most Scots up to the 1970s took positions in a class-based Union-wide politics. There were differences in the Scots political landscape – it was the only place in the UK that the Conservatives thought it advisable to campaign as ‘the Progressives’ – but it was integrated. That changed once a radical Tory government in London which Scotland had not voted for pushed Britain, with maximum acrimony, off the social-democratic and egalitarian trajectory it had been moving in since 1945, and onto a new neoliberal path; and when, after 1997, a Labour government which Scotland had voted for, failed to reverse this process and instead deepened it, confining its pay-back to its supporters to gestures like banning fox-hunting… or creating a Scottish parliament. This was supposed to safely damp Scottish anger. Instead, in the first of a series of miscalculation leading right up to David Cameron’s insistence on an all-or-nothing question for this week’s referendum, it provided an arena for it, and a gradually more and more legitimate-seeming alternative to the Union parliament. Since most of this history is profoundly embarrassing to the political class in London, both Tory and Labour, it has been hard to make a case for the Union that acknowledges it. Hence, in my opinion, the dependence of the ‘No’ campaign on pathetic (and patronising) attempts to scare Scots voters.

jwl: why do I care about this? Because, in line with my above reading of the history of the last forty years, it seems like yet another victory for a politics in which shared possessions (the National Health Service, a public sector in the economy, a more-than-national citizenship, 300 years of history) are splintered, financialised, privatised, discarded. Because I feel about the potential departure of Scotland the way that a liberal Democrat in North Carolina would feel about Massachusetts buggering off out of the Union of the United States, and taking its electoral college votes with it, forever. Because Scotland – which I certainly do not regard with contempt – contributes a tough, undeferential, vinegary, self-sufficient, Puritan, civic, hardscrabble, emphasis to our shared British politics and culture, without which it would be very noticeably more dominated by smooth looters and PR-people. Because I don’t want Alasdair Gray or Ken Macleod to be foreigners.

steven johnson: given your insistence on treating the place I live as a cartoonish embodiment of evil, and its political divisions as choices between flavours of evil, there’s not a lot of point in engaging with you. Yes, yes, you’re quite right. With , Britain never resisted fascism…

123

Francis Spufford 09.15.14 at 11:58 am

Bollocks. I can’t work the HTML. I meant, with notably rare exceptions, Britain never resisted fascism…

124

P.M.Lawrence 09.15.14 at 12:24 pm

Francis Spufford wrote:-

P M Lawrence: but in the Scottish situation, we’re not talking about a situation in which two separate and sovereign states are linked by sharing a constitutional monarch.

That’s true but irrelevant. My own researches, like those of others, looked into a wide range of comparison cases and not ones narrowly tailored to the Australian case, just so as to head off any rebuttal based on “but Australia is different” if I only brought out one or two cases that could have been cherry picked. That makes those researches more broadly applicable, just as I pointed out above – and they are available for today’s case too. (I once challenged an Australian republican to name any two current republics with more than a few generations of stability, other than Switzerland and the U.S.A., bearing in mind that there were several such constitutional monarchies; she replied that Sweden and Canada were, which gave me an opening.)

We’re talking about one integrated sovereign state that is considering a split in which the fate of the monarchy will be an afterthought, and not (I do assure you) a motivating political factor.

And I too acknowledged that it is not a motivating factor – now. I merely point out that it, like other incidental matters, could well arise further down the track as it has in so many other times and places, which means that it is a material area to bear in mind as we look two turns further down the road. It’s not motives today but aftermaths that make it matter.

125

ZM 09.15.14 at 1:03 pm

Francis Spufford,

“She was very good at melting solid things into air, and the final thing dissolved may turn out to be the British state itself. Before 1979, there was a lively nationalist current in Scots politics, feeding off the continuing vitality of a much more widely shared pride in Scots identity, culture and history… But there was no presenting grievance for it to mobilise more than a fraction of Scots political opinion around. Most Scots up to the 1970s took positions in a class-based Union-wide politics. “

I don’t think you can attribute that to Thatcher (much as I [and reportedly the Queen]) dislike her. The resurgence of interest in tradition and related ideas of cultural authenticity happened around the world from maybe the 1960s (?) – it is one of the hallmarks of culture afternoon the failure of the Modernist [Enlightenment] project is how it’s normally described

P M Lawrence,

Did you ever read Don Watson’s (speech writer to Paul Keating) book on the Scots in Gippsland – Caledonia Australis? I have not yet been able to finish as some of my forbears settled in that part, and the idea of Scots leaving home after poor treatment by the English parliament, then so awfully treating indigenous people in Australia as they tried to remake their old land and carry traditions here is most unsettling and sad – and the almost extinguishing of both languages by English

126

Ronan(rf) 09.15.14 at 1:12 pm

The idea that the results of Thatcherism shifted politics in Scotland is interesting(and I think something I read somewhere as well) , does that mean that the SNP picked up the Scottish Tory votes over the lst 30 years ? Also one of the links above (can’t remember at the minute, though I think the McLeod or Stross one) say that nationalist support is consistent at 25-30% of population (going from memory) so what are the demographics of the 20%+ who seem willing to shift ? Is it mainly poorer areas with higher unemployment ?(which is something I read somewhere, I think) Also does the Catholic/Protestant divide still exist ? My impression is that Catholics(as a generality) were historically wary of independence due to the possibility of being dominated by a Protestant state ?

127

Stephen 09.15.14 at 1:17 pm

ZM@72: when you write “the English parliament … wanted to enclose all the common land away from the clans, and legislate against people wearing traditional dress , and make landless people in trousers work in industry, try to stop any one from being catholic” you have an idiosyncratic approach to Scottish history: which is not a simple matter of Evil English oppressing Virtuous Scots.

The Highland clearances, which are what I suppose you mean by taking common land away from the clans, were not done by acts of the UK parliament (by the time they happened, there had been no English parliament for a long time). They were done by Scottish landlords, many of them clan chiefs themselves, who evicted their tenants.

Also the laws against Highland dress – it was specifically Highland dress that was prohibited, lowlanders were free to keep to their traditional costumes – in the wake of the great Jacobite rebellion was not a particularly English matter. Lowlanders and English were both mostly in favour: you do realise that very many lowlanders opposed the ’45, don’t you?

And as for being anti-catholic: you do know that the Church of Scotland is Presbyterian?

128

hix 09.15.14 at 1:19 pm

Stupid question, what will happen if Scots vote yes? Did the major parties declare that they would accept such a vote in the first place? Even if they do, could it be just the opening for a renegotiation of the union arangement? Or will it just be over then and Scotland will be an independent country for good? Seems so surreal.

129

ZM 09.15.14 at 1:47 pm

Stephen,

That is because wealthy lowland Scots colluded with the wealthy English and parliament. The highlanders were sort of catholic plus folk religion until the Calvinists went missioning in.

My view is the standard left-centreleft-or catholic view in Australua. This was written by the Prime Minister’s speechwriter – so it is very standard

“Fifty years after the union of the English and Scottish parliaments (1707) internal and overseas trade in cattle, linen, and tobacco was laying the financial basis for Scotland’s industrial revolution. Now linked by a common crown [from Scotland’s royal family and which the parliament beheaded or pretended they abdicated betimes as it suited them] , a common parliament, by trade in goods, technology and ideas, and by religions different on denomination but singularly favourable to commerce, England and the Lowlands of Scotland advanced into the Age of Improvement in the same happy partnership in which, increasingly, they advanced into European and colonial wars.

The generosity which the leaders of the Kirk applied to themselves was not extended quite so amply to the common people, and not at all on the evangelical frontiers. For those who did not profit from business activity the Kirk provided an efficient education system (for children were not born innocent, but ignorant of Godliness) and a strict code of moral conduct based on scripture. These were weapons against Satan… They were also weapons against social disorder and rebelliousness , for they armed the State with Divine vengeance.

… Even by the end if the eighteenth century a visitor [to the highlands] found to his astonishment that ‘Protestants and Papists, so often pronounced to be eternally inimical, live here In charity and brotherhood’…

…Samuel Johnson noted the change [in the highlanders] during his visit in 1773:
“There was , perhaps , never any change of national manners so quick, so great, and so general, as that which operated in the Highlands by the last conquest, and the subsequent laws. … Of what they had before the late conquest of their country , their remain only their language and their poverty.”

The late conquest was of course the defeat of the Jacobite forces in Culloden in 1745. The British campaign had been inspired by strategic considerations: it was intolerable that a region of Britain, however wild and barren, should be a stronghold of French and Jacobite ambitions. By the time Johnson wrote, however, it was apparent that the military assault had been but a prelude to the destruction of Highland society by legislative means”

Don Watson , Caledonia Australis

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Phil 09.15.14 at 2:07 pm

The referendum doesn’t automatically change anything: it’s a declarative statement of what the Scottish people want. A Yes vote will give the Scottish government the best possible mandate to pursue secession. What that actually means is another matter. The day after a Yes vote, the Scottish government could conceivably declare independence and instruct every business with both English and Scottish clients, everyone employed by a UK-wide institution and every UK-wide political party to decide which side (of the border) they were on. They won’t, because the result would be chaos. What they will do if Yes wins is initiate negotiations over a host of things – the currency, the EU and NATO being at or near the top of the list; at the end of those negotiations, which are expected to take years rather than months, independence could be declared.

There’s an odd mismatch between the Yes campaign’s rhetoric and what they’re actually proposing. To listen to the Yes campaign, Scotland is being ruled from England (‘the English state’, ‘the English upper classes’ or just ‘English rule’) and now has the chance to shake it off. What happens in England and Wales is of no interest – Scotland is going its own way and that’s it. But the actual proposals are for a break so timid and so gradual that it might as well not be a break at all – if everything goes to Salmond’s plan, Scotland will negotiate with the rUK for two to three years and emerge at the end of it with the same head of state, the same international commitments, the same currency, the same public sector institutions (with slightly different names) and the same big businesses.

I think what underlies this is the lack of any comparable radical mobilisation in the rest of the UK. There’s no popular appetite in the UK for republicanism, nationalisation of big businesses or the devolution of power to the regions; if the new Scotland went too far in any of those directions they’d get squelched by their new major trading partner. So the nationalists aim low – and, because politics here is so torpid, they haven’t got any potential allies south of the border to alienate, so they talk loud and aggressive.

131

H.P. Loveshack 09.15.14 at 2:08 pm

I’m pretty sure that the present political leadership of the UK gives even less of a flying fuck about Scotland’s grievances than Canadian federalists do about Quebec’s. Therefore, I strongly urge Scots to vote yes.

Don’t be fooled. Learn from our mistakes.

A letter from Quebec: http://wingsoverscotland.com/a-letter-from-quebec/#more-57418

132

Phil 09.15.14 at 2:14 pm

wealthy lowland Scots colluded with the wealthy English and parliament

The trouble with this formulation is that it essentialises a unified Scotland and pathologises a normal and well-established pattern of behaviour; this kind of ‘collusion’ went back to Edward I’s time. The flipside of the “regnum apud Scotos” philosophy is that Scottish kings ruled over those Scots who rallied to them, and not those who didn’t. It probably took 1745 to kill this off.

133

Tom Slee 09.15.14 at 2:22 pm

Phil: thanks for a really informative set of comments — some of the best and fairest guidance I’ve read about what is and is not at stake.

134

jwl 09.15.14 at 2:22 pm

Francis,

Thanks for explaining your position more fully. The mere fact that there is a vote on Scottish independence is a sign of the failure of not just Westminster leadership (which you rightly point out), but also a failure of English leftism. Everyone knows that even if Labour gets back into power it is still committed to austerity-lite and the City of London. There is nothing the English left can offer Scotland besides history. The UK might even leave the EU because of English voters, and Scotland doesn’t even have enough voters to stop it.

Your analogy with the US is wrong. There is no liberal movement to secede and there never has been. US secession movements are started by conservative (typically slave-power or their descendants) states that have high inequality, poor civic rights, and poor populations to avoid federal standards. They are right-wing, which Scottish independence is manifestly not.

I think everyone would be better off if English leftists stopped relying on Scotland and actually worked on building support in England for their policies.

135

ZM 09.15.14 at 2:29 pm

“normal and well-established pattern of behaviour”

Is this normal and well-established pattern of behaviour the English parliament’s policies of conquests and colonizing etc in the British Isles and around the world in pursuit of trade and power for several centuries, until after 2 world wars they backed away (apart from Suez, etc)?

136

eddie 09.15.14 at 2:36 pm

This is very good:

http://occupylondon.org.uk/scotland-the-brave/

It’s sad that ken mcleod supports empire and claims it’s from solidarity with the english working class, when the english working class id cheering the scots independence movement on.

137

Peter K. 09.15.14 at 2:40 pm

@134

It’s obvious to me he wasn’t asserting that there’s a liberal movement to secede in the U.S. Analogies don’t have to be true. It’s a hypothetical “as if.”

“There is nothing the English left can offer Scotland besides history. “

I don’t know about that. Krugman, Wren-Lewis and others suggest Scotland could be in for a painful transition, more or less-so depending on the quantity of oil reserves. This may be a second order consideration as it appears to be for Charlie Stross. Getting rid of nukes and getting the UK out of the empire business would be good things. I don’t know if Stross is right that many small nations would be better.

If they vote yes we’ll find out. I could easily see Scotland repeating the experience of the periphery of Europe during the recent crises. Monetary policy set somewhere else is too tight while local fiscal policy is under a straightjacket and is insufficient. So for example Spain has 20 percent unemployment. Maybe Stross is right and they’ll sort it out and get their own currency or something.

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Phil 09.15.14 at 2:44 pm

Is this normal and well-established pattern of behaviour the English parliament’s policies of conquests and colonizing etc

No, it’s Scottish landowners’ tendency to rally behind whoever could give them the best deal irrespective of ‘national’ labels, as they’d been doing at least from the time of Edward I. As I said.

eddie: if Occupy London represented ‘the English working class’ we’d be in a very different world – see my comment at #130.

139

Stephen Frug 09.15.14 at 2:48 pm

Perhaps the update to the original post misspells the name of Mr. Spufford’s video partner? On his books (and his own comment above) it’s Ken MacLeod, not Ken McLeod. Unless they are considered equivalent, with one an abbreviation?

140

js. 09.15.14 at 2:51 pm

@Phil,

Thanks for the links above, and also for talking some good sense.

141

jwl 09.15.14 at 2:51 pm

Peter K,

It’s a hypothetical “as if” that has no chance of happening and would require a huge set of cultural, political, and economic changes that aren’t in view. It’s about as likely as there being a mass religious revival in Northern Ireland that causes the Unionist population to become Roman Catholic, teach their children in Irish, and break off from the UK to form a united Ireland. (That last could happen anyway, but not through mass Unionist conversion.)

Scotland is already enduring a painful transition, or didn’t you notice that the UK in the last few years has done worse than it did in the Great Depression? Ireland’s experiences with the euro show it can be worse, but I don’t expect Scotland to end up with the pound – it will have to get its own currency, at least for a while. Also note here I said the English left. Since when has the English left had any influence over the British pound?

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stevenjohnson 09.15.14 at 3:18 pm

Francis Spufford @122
Whining because someone stated simple facts about who fought fascism is disgraceful. It was the Soviet Union. The place where I live did no better but I’m not wrecked by the truth.

143

jwl 09.15.14 at 3:58 pm

stevenjohnson,

The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty with Nazi Germany and then committed a war of aggression against Poland, Finland, Romania, and the Baltic states. It actively colluded with fascism to liquidate the Polish army leadership and intellectual class and only turned against fascism when Nazi Germany and its allies invaded it in 1941.

The Soviet Union played a key role in enabling Nazi Germany’s intial victories by selling materials, allowing German training on its territory, and colluding with it to destroy Poland.

Portraying the Soviet Union as the only state fighting fascism is bad history.

144

Niall McAuley 09.15.14 at 4:03 pm

Ken’s book covers usually spell his name either KEN MACLEOD or ken macleod, but I have seen at least one Ken Macleod as well as the way he spells it himself above.

This is all just camouflage to disguise the fact that he’s a cowboy who lives and works in New York. He even has a horse.

They fight crime!

145

Ronan(rf) 09.15.14 at 4:14 pm

Here’s what I’d seen on class differences in Scotland on voting for independence (fwiw)

http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2014/08/22/scottish-independence-the-class-issue

146

Ronan(rf) 09.15.14 at 4:17 pm

jwl – I took stevenjohnson to be arguing that Joseph Stalin was the moral equivalent of Nye Bevan .

147

stevenjohnson 09.15.14 at 4:24 pm

German-Soviet military cooperation ended with Hitler’s seizure of power.

Nazi Germany’s initial victories included remilitarization of the Rhineland, intervention in Spain, the Anschluss and the Munich partition of Czechoslovakia by Germany and Poland, all of which were accomplished by Nazi/British/French/US cooperation in one form or another, against Soviet opposition.

The atrocity at Katyn didn’t have any Nazi input, which is why it was one of the few atrocities the Nazis and the movie Enigma had no problem condemning.

Most of all, actually winning the battles that beat the Nazis back to Berlin earns the real credit, not beating the Nazis back from Alexandria and Algeria. I think Kesselring’s army was eight divisions. Not exactly nothing but no, putting the Nazis on the defensive in Italy wasn’t the fight that mattered. The wars in north Africa, Italy, Greece were diversions aimed at mundane interests at the expense of really going after the Nazis.

148

Francis Spufford 09.15.14 at 4:28 pm

It wasn’t only the Soviet Union, and it wasn’t the Soviet Union at all until Hitler unilaterally rescinded his alliance with Stalin. I am reasonably well-informed about Soviet history, thanks; and I have no desire to minimise the monstrous scale of the sacrifice made the Russian people. But in 1940-1, after the fall of France and before Barbarossa, it is another ‘simple fact’ that no-one was fighting the Nazis but Britain, at a point when it would probably have been possible to make a separate peace. Instead Britain deliberately burnt through the financial reserves that would have kept its empire viable in the future, and kept going.

149

jwl 09.15.14 at 4:43 pm

stevenjohnson,

So the near-simultaneous invasions of Poland were not an example of German-Soviet military cooperation? It also seems to me the massacre at Katyn wouldn’t have been possible without an agreement with Nazi Germany to divide up Poland. The Soviet Union made sure that Nazi Germany would conquer most of Poland by grabbing the rest.

The Soviet Union gets credit for winning the battles back to Berlin, but loses credit for the purges of the military, ethnic cleansing and mass killings of the Borderlands, and criminal lack of preparation for a German invasion that meant it lost so many battles in 1941-2.

I’ll also note that the other Allies provided critical support and supplies to the Soviet Union all through WWII. Tanks, trucks, and radios were critical components, for example.

I think actively colluding with fascists to invade and annex other countries doesn’t count as “fighting fascism”. Are fascists ok to work with from 1939-1941, but one must fight them from 1941-1945? If so, then the US supported the fascists much less than the Soviet Union (if at all) from 1939-1941, and fought them from 1941-1945. It put a lot more effort into fighting the Japanese Empire in particular for that period. I’m surprised why the US gets no credit, and Britain gets demerits, considering it opposed Nazi Germany from 1939 on.

150

Ronan(rf) 09.15.14 at 4:45 pm

Not that it’s my business, but should we not get stuck down this stevenjohnson rabbit hole ? Which is completly irrelevant to the question at hand ..

151

jwl 09.15.14 at 4:53 pm

One extra notice. Francis Spufford makes a little slip that I wish to rectify. The Russian people and the Soviet Union are not synonymous, and a number of other ethnicities in the Soviet Union endured much greater suffering than the Russians. Belarussians, Ukrainians, Jews, Chechens, Ingush, Crimean Tatars, Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians (after their forced annexation by the Soviet Union) all suffered more than the Russians. It’s spitting on the graves of all the non-Russian Soviet soldiers, and I wish people would stop it.

To bring it back to the present topic. It’s an interesting Freudian slip, much like when English people talk about “England” when they really mean “Britain”. It’s a slip I expect much more coming from English people than Scottish, for example. It nicely encapsulates the contempt that many English people have toward non-English subjects of the UK.

152

Francis Spufford 09.15.14 at 4:53 pm

Agreed. No more from me in that direction.

153

MPAVictoria 09.15.14 at 4:58 pm

“To bring it back to the present topic. It’s an interesting Freudian slip, much like when English people talk about “England” when they really mean “Britain”. It’s a slip I expect much more coming from English people than Scottish, for example. It nicely encapsulates the contempt that many English people have toward non-English subjects of the UK.”

Oh for Christ sakes. The Scots are no more “subjects” of the English then Quebecers’s are “subjects” of Canadians.

154

jwl 09.15.14 at 5:19 pm

MPAVictoria,

Everyone in the UK is a subject, since it is a monarchy. I’m happy to rewrite the sentence to be “It nicely encapsulates the contempt that many English people have toward non-English citizens of the UK” if that makes you happy.

155

Plume 09.15.14 at 5:20 pm

This is open for debate, of course, but if we’re going to get picky, the “English” were really the Angles, and might loosely include the Saxon and Jute invaders from Germanic lands as well.

The pre-English were Celtic peoples at the time of the Anglo-Saxon-Jute invasions, though the use of the word “Celtic” is sometimes disputed these days. Not so much in the past. A very, very rough estimate of Celtic concentration in Britain puts the start around 500BC. Modern humans are thought to go back some 41,000 years on the island, while their ancestors go back hundreds of thousands of years before that.

The Germanic invasions were in the 5th and 6th centuries — though there were raids before then. It’s not very accurate to call Britain “England” until then, and only part of it at that. One could make a case that Wales and Scotland are “British,” not “English,” even today.

156

Rich Puchalsky 09.15.14 at 5:20 pm

So from monarchs we’ve gone to “who really really fought the Nazis.” Ick.

I remain more interested in finding out something useful about Scottish left SF writers and their influence. Since my last comment to myself, Charles Stross and J.K. Rowling (indirectly, via link in #131) have also been cited as people whose opinions are relevant and influential on this question. Again, I expect a selection effect from the context here, but this seems unusual even so.

eddie @ 136: “It’s sad that ken mcleod supports empire”

Have you read even one of his books? Or his blog? Maybe you should think twice about that.

ZM @ 108: “Your discussion amongst yourself Los quite interesting, but I have not read the books in question. Do you think Unthank refers to the Enlightenment, or Empire, or Modernism , or Capitalism – or something else?”

I’m a little bit surprised that _Lanark_ is to go-to Gray book that people think of in this context. Maybe it’s because _1982 Janine_ isn’t assignable in school classes presumably. I thought it was quite interesting that Francis Spufford started out his remarks with something that to me looked like “the SF that I read at 13 is the SF that’s really had a lasting effect on me.” But from what I remember about Unthank, I thought it figured squarely as a surreal version of Scotland under British control, with each person’s energies unable to be turned towards anything, and becoming their disease.

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Rich Puchalsky 09.15.14 at 5:26 pm

Sorry to double comment, but I left this off:

“Do you think Unthank refers to the Enlightenment, or Empire, or Modernism , or Capitalism – or something else?”

I think the answer may be “Yes”, but more seriously, some mixture of Empire and Capitalism.

158

Francis Spufford 09.15.14 at 5:36 pm

It’s also in the most literal sense a necropolis, populated by those who like the protagonist Duncan Thaw have died in the un-surreal Glasgow to which it is the surreal counterpart. It’s hellish, but not a hell; more a purgatory. Thaw/Lanark learns there the lessons of love that have evaded him in his lifetime, avoids the diseases that are also Dantesque judgements, and participates in a refracted redemption of Scottish history. It’s a Ulysses or a Divine Comedy as much as it is SF.

159

MPAVictoria 09.15.14 at 5:43 pm

jwl- I am just going to admit that I misread what you wrote as implying that the Scots were “Subjects” of the English. My complete apology.

/Though from my experience with the British I don’t think that the average English person views the Scots with contempt.

160

Tom Slee 09.15.14 at 5:46 pm

@jwl #151 [The use of ‘England’ instead of ‘Britain’] nicely encapsulates the contempt that many English people have toward non-English citizens of the UK

When I first came to Canada I commonly used “America” to refer to the whole continent. I probably called some Canadians “Americans”. I don’t know what you mean by “encapsulates” but reading “contempt” into this kind of slip, rather than ignorance or sloppy adoption of bad habits, seems to me just looking for facts that might, from a certain angle and squinting, bolster your already-formed viewpoint.

161

jwl 09.15.14 at 5:58 pm

Tom Slee,

It’s one thing when talking about other countries. It’s a different thing when English people casually talk about “England” when they mean Britain. (Margaret Thatcher, among others, was famous for it.) Not knowing the components of your own country is a much bigger sin.

162

Igor Belanov 09.15.14 at 6:30 pm

I think a more appropriate question than ‘Who fought most/hardest/longest against the Nazis?’ is ‘What the hell does the fact that the British Empire fought against Nazi Germany have to do with the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014??????’

I thought it was only the Daily Mail and The Sun that kept banging on about Dunkirk.

163

Plume 09.15.14 at 6:34 pm

jwl,

Makes sense.

“Britain” is used to mean the whole, not one or two parts. “England” is more properly a part. But it’s interesting, at least to me, that the word (Britain) really means the Celtic component of the island, and the “English” actually ended up defeating most of the Celts, who had been, before that, brutally crushed by the Romans . . . . though not as badly as in Gaul. The Romans engaged in near-genocide of the Celts there, before moving onto Britain.

The Celts being my own “people.”

IOW, the “English” later dominated the island, defeating most of the “British,” but the entire island is now called Britain. A kind of linguistic revenge for the Celts. And, later, of course, the Normans defeated the English, but didn’t leave the same kind of mark, and may be said to have reintroduced Gaulish Celts back into the flow. For a time, Britain could have been called New Normandy . . . .

Britain, then England, then New Normandy, perhaps.

An excerpt from a wiki article on genetics in Britain:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_history_of_the_British_Isles

Germanic & Scandinavian genetics

Another subject in the literature which has been widely discussed is whether genetics can show signs of Germanic invasions particularly in England. In a widely cited article through DNA testing, Weale et al. (2002) argued that the Y DNA data showed signs of a racial “apartheid” in Anglo-Saxon England. The clear signs of Germanic influx all over Britain is now widely accepted and has been shown in other studies such as Capelli et al. (2003). The Capelli study made two important observations: the English, Frisian, and Dutch samples were indistinguishable from each other – and North German/Danish genetic frequences were indistinguishable, thus precluding any ability to distinguish between the genetic influence of the Anglo-Saxon source populations and the later, and better documented, influx of Danish Vikings.[8]

A study into the Norwegian Viking ancestry of British people found that there is evidence of particular concentrations in several areas; especially in Lowland and Eastern Scotland – and the north sea islands Shetland and Orkney, Western Scotland and the Western Isles including Skye in Scotland, Anglesey in Wales, the Isle of Man, and the Wirral, Mid-Cheshire, West Lancashire and Cumbria in England.[9][10][11][12]

164

Stephen 09.15.14 at 6:37 pm

ZM@125, 129

Thank you for making your perspective clear. You are a leftish Australian Catholic (does that mean Irish?) so it is not surprising that your view of Scots history is a little unusual.

If I may try to make clear some of your grosser deviations from reality:-

You quote an Australian politician as a definitive source on Scots history. Did you never ask yourself: when a politician says such-and-such, is he more concerned with telling the truth or with what will appeal to his potential voters?

You write of “Scots leaving home after poor treatment by the English parliament”. There was no English parliament during the colonisation of Australia, and Scots who went forcibly there were sent on their way more by other Scots than by the English. You do know that Scotland has always had a completely separate legal system, don’t you?

You write of the “almost extinguishing” of the Scots language by English. Actually, a form of English, more or less mutually intelligible, has been the main language in Scotland for centuries, and it’s not extinguished yet. Do you believe that Gaelic was the main language of Scotland?

You quote your man Watson as saying “it was intolerable that a region of Britain, however wild and barren, should be a stronghold of French and Jacobite ambitions”. You seem to think that was a bad thing. Bear in mind that the 1745 Jacobite rebellion involved the third invasion of England by Scots armies intent on overthrowing the English government in less than a century; that the most enterprising of these had come within nearly 100 miles of London; and that the Jacobite and French interests (in absolute monarchy, the extinguishing of Parliament, and the triumph of the Catholic church) were not exactly desirable, from most English and lowland Scots points of view.

You are confused about Lowland/Highland relationships. May I suggest
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_The_First_Helandman_of_God_Was_Maid
for a more accurate perspective: NB that this was written long, long before the union of the crowns, let alone of the countries.

165

Stephen 09.15.14 at 6:47 pm

Plume@155

“Modern humans are thought to go back some 41,000 years on the island”

If you have a reference for that, I would be extremely interested to know it.

166

Stephen 09.15.14 at 6:52 pm

stevenjohnson @147
“German-Soviet military cooperation ended with Hitler’s seizure of power”

Agains strong competition, I think that wins the prize for Statement on this Thread most thoroughly Divorced fro Reality

167

Plume 09.15.14 at 7:02 pm

Stephen,

I found the reference to that date in a wiki article but will switch to another source here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15540464

The finds in the Grotta del Cavallo, Apulia, and Kents Cavern, Devon, have been confirmed as the earliest known remains of Homo sapiens in Europe.

Careful dating suggests they are more than 41,000 years old, and perhaps as much as 45,000 years old in the case of the Italian “baby teeth”.

The details are in the journal Nature.

The results fit with stone tool discoveries that had suggested modern people were in Europe more than 40,000 years ago. Now, scientists have the direct physical remains of Homo sapiens to prove it.

168

stevenjohnson 09.15.14 at 7:29 pm

Igor Belanov @162
Click on the link to Spufford’s talk further up in the thread. It’s Spufford’s idea that Nazis are relevant and it’s his rathole.

jwl@149
Nonsense. Neither Poland, UK nor France were interested in joining with the USSR to fight the Nazis in 1939. You’re just bitter that the Soviets didn’t go to war by themselves and get beaten much more thoroughly, that is permanently, than in 1941.

169

J Thomas 09.15.14 at 7:32 pm

#166

stevenjohnson @147
“German-Soviet military cooperation ended with Hitler’s seizure of power”

Agains strong competition, I think that wins the prize for Statement on this Thread most thoroughly Divorced fro Reality

Somehow I didn’t read that closely. I imagined he meant that their military cooperation ended when Hitler seized Minsk.

170

Peter K. 09.15.14 at 9:02 pm

@ jwl 141

“It’s a hypothetical “as if” that has no chance of happening “

I don’t see why that matters if it’s an analogy.

“Scotland is already enduring a painful transition, or didn’t you notice that the UK in the last few years has done worse than it did in the Great Depression?”

Again, doesn’t really matter. It could get much worse. But seeing as Niall Ferguson has come out on the No side, I’ll get off the fence and hope for Yes to win. Although I could see things getting really bad economically for Scotland.

171

J Thomas 09.15.14 at 9:44 pm

#151

A very, very rough estimate of Celtic concentration in Britain puts the start around 500BC. Modern humans are thought to go back some 41,000 years on the island, while their ancestors go back hundreds of thousands of years before that.

Most of britain was covered by glaciers 40,000 years ago. And that wasn’t the last glacial surge there. It’s possible that there were humans there then, who all left one way or another and were later replaced by other humans.

172

guthrie 09.15.14 at 10:22 pm

ZM #129 – that’s an extraordinarily weird and narrow view of the Highlands, their inhabitants and the 18th century that you have.

As for ‘Celts’, last I knew the point was that Scotland and Ireland especially, were populated by peoples who had mostly come over 5 or 6 thousand years ago, hence the gene for red hair being that old and concentrated in those geographical areas. The ‘celts’ from the continent, not to be confused with ‘Celtic’ culture and language, although they overlapped, were not necessarily so related to the people from 5 or 6 thousand years ago.
As for earlier occupations, I am sure I read about ones before the last ice age, and this natural history museum map shows some sites from 400,000 years ago and earlier: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/human-origins/humans-in-britain/map/index.html

173

ZM 09.15.14 at 11:33 pm

Rich Puchalsky,

“But from what I remember about Unthank, I thought it figured squarely as a surreal version of Scotland under British control, with each person’s energies unable to be turned towards anything, and becoming their disease.

“Do you think Unthank refers to the Enlightenment, or Empire, or Modernism , or Capitalism – or something else?” – I think the answer may be “Yes”, but more seriously, some mixture of Empire and Capitalism.”

It is quite interesting the paralleles with indigenous people here in Australia – they had a culture much more based on social duties to one another and the courtesies of thankfulness – so they generally thought if they were kind to the new white visitors – the new white visitors would be kind to them. Indigenous people also thought white people would keep their wordif they made pledges , they were oft disappointed. The local protector of aboriginals wrote to the governor that their honesty was distinct from the dishonesty of the settlers (my paraphrasing, do not have the book with me).

Francis Spufford 09.15.14 at 5:36 pm
“It’s also in the most literal sense a necropolis, populated by those who like the protagonist Duncan Thaw have died in the un-surreal Glasgow to which it is the surreal counterpart. “

That reminds me of the realm of the Elf king in Sir Orfeo a bit

174

ZM 09.15.14 at 11:56 pm

“Stephen

“Thank you for making your perspective clear. You are a leftish Australian Catholic (does that mean Irish?) so it is not surprising that your view of Scots history is a little unusual.”

I am about half Scottish and half Irish, so one side of the family was Presbyterian (except my grandfather Jock didn’t go to Church after being a soldier in World War 2 and stayed home to cook family lunch on Sunday’s instead). I was not baptised, so I am not any denomination , I go to church sometimes but we have a number of good churches to go to here. I did go to a catholic university for my undergraduate degree, which was more social justice oriented than the sandstones – so history was mostly taught as social history , history from below, and post-colonial history etc

Since you think some one’s view is formed by their nationality, ancestry, and religion, would you be so kind as to tell us your own?

“You quote an Australian politician as a definitive source on Scots history. Did you never ask yourself: when a politician says such-and-such, is he more concerned with telling the truth or with what will appeal to his potential voters?”

Don Watson was not a politician – I made quite clear he was a speechwriter to a former Prime Minister. He also has written many books and articles. He is primarily a writer . He and the Prime Minister had a great falling out over who wrote what .

Can you tell us where you get your pro-English parliament views from?

“You write of “Scots leaving home after poor treatment by the English parliament”. There was no English parliament during the colonisation of Australia, and Scots who went forcibly there were sent on their way more by other Scots than by the English.”

The parliament’s location was in England. How many Scottish people were in the parliament at the time , how many English? Poor people and women could not vote. maybe the English moved into Scotland like transmigrasi?

“You do know that Scotland has always had a completely separate legal system, don’t you?”

No I don’t . Someone already mentioned this so I did a cursory search. It looks to me like the (predominantly) English parliament legislated for Scotland since the early 18th c until the 1990s – when they devolved some legislative powers to the new Scottish parliament. I already sourced parliamentary debates on how the English used the Roman legal concept of Desuetude to abolish Scots law made prior to English domination.

Please back up your claims about Scotland’s independent legal system, rather than just making an assertion.

“You write of the “almost extinguishing” of the Scots language by English. Actually, a form of English, more or less mutually intelligible, has been the main language in Scotland for centuries, and it’s not extinguished yet. Do you believe that Gaelic was the main language of Scotland?”

It was the main language of the highlands. When exactly did Scots English start being the main language of the lowlands? And under what social and political circumstances?

“You quote your man Watson as saying “it was intolerable that a region of Britain, however wild and barren, should be a stronghold of French and Jacobite ambitions”. You seem to think that was a bad thing. Bear in mind that the 1745 Jacobite rebellion involved the third invasion of England by Scots armies intent on overthrowing the English government in less than a century; that the most enterprising of these had come within nearly 100 miles of London; and that the Jacobite and French interests (in absolute monarchy, the extinguishing of Parliament, and the triumph of the Catholic church) were not exactly desirable, from most English and lowland Scots points of view.”

The English parliament with its history of empire and colonisation and enclosing common land and harsh punishment and transportation if people convicted of minor crimes to The Southern Hemisphere. Is not really a great beacon of fairness and light in the world – so I think it a shame it did not get overturned before causing 2 world wars (with other European empires). Common people and women didn’t even get the vote! Let alone the far flung foreign subjects if Empire.

“You are confused about Lowland/Highland relationships. May I suggest
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_The_First_Helandman_of_God_Was_Maid
for a more accurate perspective: NB that this was written long, long before the union of the crowns, let alone of the countries.””

I might read that later.

175

MPAVictoria 09.16.14 at 12:16 am

“The English parliament with its history of empire and colonisation and enclosing common land and harsh punishment and transportation if people convicted of minor crimes to The Southern Hemisphere. Is not really a great beacon of fairness and light in the world – so I think it a shame it did not get overturned before causing 2 world wars (with other European empires). Common people and women didn’t even get the vote! Let alone the far flung foreign subjects if Empire.”

I really, really disagree with all of this. Some democracy is better than none, that parliament allowed for eventual peaceful transition to full democracy and blaming the UK for the WWs is crazy with a capital C.

176

ZM 09.16.14 at 12:39 am

MPAVictoria,
“history of empire and colonisation and enclosing common land and harsh punishment and transportation if people convicted of minor crimes to The Southern Hemisphere.”

Which of these do you disagree happened? Or which ones do you think we’re a good thing?

‘Blaming the UK for the WWs is crazy’
European imperialism is a fairly standard explanation for the WWs happening. England had an enormous and strategically placed empire. The Anglo speaking remnants of which since ww2 have made up 5 eyes.

177

The Temporary Name 09.16.14 at 12:41 am

European imperialism is a fairly standard explanation for the WWs happening. England had an enormous and strategically placed empire. The Anglo speaking remnants of which since ww2 have made up 5 eyes.

I dunno if “That pie was sitting on the windowsill begging to be eaten” is what people mean when they talk about imperialism starting the war.

178

MPAVictoria 09.16.14 at 12:45 am

“Which of these do you disagree happened? Or which ones do you think we’re a good thing?”

And being ruled by an incompetent absolute monarch would be better? Less bad is less bad.

179

ZM 09.16.14 at 12:51 am

England never had a system of absolute monarchy to my knowledge. Can you point to a period of absolute rule by a king or queen there?

180

ZM 09.16.14 at 12:54 am

The Temporary Name,

“I dunno if “That pie was sitting on the windowsill begging to be eaten” is what people mean when they talk about imperialism starting the war.”

What do you mean? I don’t understand.

181

MPAVictoria 09.16.14 at 1:00 am

182

ZM 09.16.14 at 1:09 am

Um, pointing to an article on jacobitsm is not the same as pointing to a historical period when England/Britain had absolute rule by kings or queens.

Have you looked at what the English parliament were actually undertaking in Britain and abroad during the Jacobite uprisings? Next you’ll denounce the peasant’s revolt for monarchism (they wanted to go back to the parliament being in Winchester and the pre-Norman laws)

183

MPAVictoria 09.16.14 at 1:11 am

Wait so you are claiming that the Jacobites did not want to install an absolute monarch?

184

ZM 09.16.14 at 1:17 am

I would argue that like the peasant’s revolt they wanted the crown to reassert the proper obligations of lawmakers to the groups – poor peoples whose commons were enclosed, ethnic or religious groups who were being mistreated and having property taken away etc – they were oppressing. Similarly – I think the crown or the high court should be recalling the greedy parliaments now to their obligations of not wrecking the future with climate change etc Parliaments are beholden to legislate under principles – not arbitrarily . The same applies to the Crown.

185

MPAVictoria 09.16.14 at 1:48 am

Wow. Okay I am bowing out of this one ZM.

186

Meredith 09.16.14 at 5:24 am

Yesterday I viewed the Lincoln Cathedral’s Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence ( a first “edition”), George Mason’s draft (with his marginalia) of the U.S. constitution, the Declaration of the Rights of Man (I am looking forward to a lecture soon on the rights of women in the context of this document), and (a “first” printing of) Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (freeing slaves in the states that were aiming to secede — not in the other states, notably the border states — but “grandfathered” slaves in the North would still be slaves), all in a single room maybe 30×40 feet. Kind of amazing. My inclination is: go federal, which is to say, don’t secede. On the other hand, in the museum shop was a book about the “English” origins of everything I’d just been viewing. And I thought, WTF? Was there no SCOTTISH Enlightenment?

I dunno. The English and Scots, and not the English and the Irish, or even the Cornish and the Welsh. The English and Scots have a history, as the U.S. American North and South do, more together than apart, which is why the two sides fight so hard. They belong together, to continue fighting, as family, in the end, not just friends (one hopes for the other pairings that they/we be friends).

Belle, I share LSJ-type memories. Mine mediated by a summer as an undergrad spent typing music catalogues (in variable type, on glossy paper with corrections made in elaborate ways involving removing glue — I could go on, still). As I prepared for qualifiers (as we at my grad school called those language tests), my sleeping brain would spell Greek words, letter by letter, as if I were typing out those music catalogues (at minimum wage, then under $1/hours)….

187

Watson Ladd 09.16.14 at 5:47 am

There was a Scottish Enlightenment, but no Scottish Revolution, and certainly in the 18th century the battle between Whigs and Tories would take place in Edinburgh as easily as London. Should we complain that the Dutch invented Parliamentary supremacy and are unacknowledged for it, as well as providing William III?

188

ZM 09.16.14 at 6:31 am

“English and Scots have a history, as the U.S. American North and South do, more together than apart, which is why the two sides fight so hard.

But the American North and South have such a history because the English started colonizing the land and killing or driving westwards the inhabitants. The English interventions in Scotland and the ‘new world’ we’re not benign.

189

Francis Spufford 09.16.14 at 7:43 am

ZM, as many people have struggled to explain to you, there has been no ”English parliament” since 1707, Scotland is not a colony, and the British (not English) empire was a joint Anglo-Scots project, with full enthusiastic Scottish participation. They are partners, not victims.

190

ZM 09.16.14 at 7:48 am

“Robert Burns’ claim that the Union of England and Scotland (and hence the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament) was brought about by the Scots members being “bought and sold for English gold” was largely accurate—bribery and parliamentary division combined with wider economic imperatives, partly arising from the disaster of the Darien Scheme, enabling the Crown to incorporate a Union with England in the Acts of Union 1707 which brought into existence the Parliament of Great Britain.”

From Wikipedia. If you want me to have to look up proper sources please build at least a scanty sort of case that the population of Scotland were happy to be in a union with England .

191

ZM 09.16.14 at 8:05 am

I will now answer my own question from before about how many members of the British parliament were from Scotland since everyone complains when I call it the English Parliament.

From the parliament of 1708

“The new Parliament of Great Britain was essentially a continuation of the English parliament elected in 1705, with the addition of 45 Scottish Members to the Commons”
This is out of a total of 558 members all together!

“and sixteen Scottish Representative peers to the Lords.” I can’t find out how many peers there were altogether in 1708, I’ll try again later.

192

djr 09.16.14 at 8:27 am

ZM, the current ratio of population is about 10:1. Admittedly it was probably closer to 5:1 in 1707, but nobody would claim that any parliament in 1707 was representative of the whole people, representative democracy just wasn’t a thing then.

It is a thing now. Within the UK, the project of getting from there to here has been a joint enterprise, English, Scottish and others together.

193

ZM 09.16.14 at 8:35 am

“Within the UK, the project of getting from there to here has been a joint enterprise”

It was not – lots of people oppressed others. There was not a joint project that progressed along happily getting from there to here at all – this is just post hoc-ery.

And exactly how does the fact that the parliament was not representational as well as not having a proportionate number of Scots members support the odd unjustifiable argument that the union was fair and good?

194

Francis Spufford 09.16.14 at 8:46 am

ZM, proving anything about public opinion in early modern Europe is tricky, given that even representative models of government, as in the Netherlands or England/Scotland, were pre-democratic, and aggregated the opinions and interests of local elites primarily, with only a sluggish and intermittent attention to the rest of the population. This of course is just as true of the Scottish parliament that ceased to operate in 1707 as it is of the English one – probably a bit more so, in fact, given that chunks of Scotland (especially in the Highlands) essentially operated as private feudal fiefdoms, until the suppression of ‘hereditary jurisdictions’ in 1746. Chicanery was certainly involved in persuading Scottish legislators into the Union in 1707, oiling it as it oiled almost all 18th c public life, but the biggest bribe of all was the deal to add Scotland’s unserviceable public debt to am eminently serviceable National Debt for the Union, this restoring the viability of Scottish credit. Judging, at least, by the very limited Lowland support for the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite risings, most of the Presbyterian farmers and merchants populating the Lowland belt – where the mass of the Scottish population is, and where they have been speaking their own branch of the Germanic language known as ‘English’ for as long as people in England have – felt they had more in common with the Protestant English than they did with the papist, frightening Highlanders. And as you would expect, these cash-poor, education-rich Scots from a countryside of not-very-lush farmland, were among the most eager participants in the British imperial grab at lusher regions of the globe. Scots settled the north of Ireland, and then took that toolkit of skills onward to the New World, cheerfully expropriating and where necessary massacring indigenes as they went. Why do you think the Appalachians are filled with people with Mac- surnames? Why does Canada contain more people of Scots ancestry than Scotland does? Why were the 19th c Royal Navy’s officers and petty officers Scottish out of all proportion to the Scottish share of the British population? Why have six British prime ministers of the past century been of Scots ancestry? And so on. Of course this history was full of conflict and exploitation, but it wasn’t conflict or exploitation along neat ‘national’ lines. Only by a gross and un-historical act of projection can this past be seen as one in which the wicked English conquer the world, and the innocent Scots belong in a category with the Algonquins and the Aborigines. Significantly, the Yes campaign is not claiming anything like that.

195

Francis Spufford 09.16.14 at 8:56 am

ZM – have a look at this: http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1690-1715/parliament/1708

The new Scottish contingent in the Commons managed to (a) create a solid Whig majority, with consequent powers of leverage for themselves, and (b) to quash an attempt to extend English treason laws to Scotland, as being contrary to the terms of the Union. Not bad for poor shivering victims of English oppression.

And now I’m going to go from anxious citizen to irony-loving writer, and go and start work. Bye!

196

Harald K 09.16.14 at 9:12 am

Francis Spufford @122: “Because Scotland – which I certainly do not regard with contempt – contributes a tough, undeferential, vinegary, self-sufficient, Puritan, civic, hardscrabble, emphasis to our shared British politics and culture, without which it would be very noticeably more dominated by smooth looters and PR-people.”

An UK without Scotland would be a slightly smaller UK, perhaps slightly more able to resist smooth looters and PR-people on its own. There’s something to be said for government closer to the people.

197

djr 09.16.14 at 9:17 am

Lots of people oppressed others, but the division of oppressing vs being oppressed was not England vs Scotland. Winning democracy for the UK wasn’t unopposed and didn’t progress happily at all times, but people from all parts of the UK were on both sides of the struggle.

198

William Burns 09.16.14 at 9:32 am

I wouldn’t exactly say that Scotland is entirely opposed to “smooth looters and PR-people” considering the birthplace of Tony Blair.

199

Phil 09.16.14 at 9:55 am

Meanwhile back in the twenty-first century…

FactCheck Scotland: 10 facts you need to know before you vote

And a handy primer on the contemporary cultural background:

If Scotland Goes Independent
(A beer blog – starts from the question What would change for beer drinkers, if Scotland were to vote on Thursday to become independent? but looks much further afield.)

200

ZM 09.16.14 at 10:22 am

I am still dubious that Scots were in favour of a union with England. I have now found a helpful book with an account of England trying to capture Scotland starting with the Romans and the Saxons by battle – this always failing and especially with Egbert losing his life – Edward 1 developed a plot to acquire Scotland by marriage , thus for centuries after followed much romantic political intrigue culminating in the greatest of scheming by Henry VIII. Henry VIII sent Hertford to make a great attack – and the Rubinstein of many abbeys still testify today to ‘the vindictive thoroughness by which the Earl performed his task”.

This terrible earl Hereford was made Protector of England and offered Scotland then a treaty of union – containing much of the provisions of the act of union of 1707, but at a much earlier date – such as the name Great Britain and that there would be free trade between them.

Scotland did not like this idea from the awful Earl and allied more strongly with France and Mary was married to the dauphin.

This book was written a long time ago in England so it does not mention the execution of Mary Queen of Scots by the English and skips lightly ahead to James I&VI inheriting the Crown of England and calls him despotic and vainglorious although it has gone on so long about England trying to capture Scotland for centuries by war and marriage. How funny that when Scotland captures England by inheritance the English decided the King is despotic and vainglorious….

201

ZM 09.16.14 at 10:25 am

Um, the Rubinstein of many abbeys , should read the ruins of many abbeys

202

engels 09.16.14 at 10:46 am

203

Phil 09.16.14 at 11:04 am

ZM, you admit yourself that you’re learning this stuff as you go along. As well as being ill-informed (and hence inviting correction), your comments are uniformly tendentious (inviting counter-argument); more importantly, they’re irrelevant to the topic of the thread. In short, you’re derailing the thread and I think you should stop.

204

Val 09.16.14 at 11:32 am

Well if being “tendentious (inviting counter-argument)” is a problem, then I guess we’d all better stop commenting. I’ve never seen a long comments thread that wasn’t characterised by argument and counter-argument.

In short Phil, you’re being patronising and I think you should stop.

205

ZM 09.16.14 at 11:32 am

“(inviting counter-argument “

I think this is how I get the most out of commenting – i make one comment, someone makes a counter comment, and so on, checking for more sources. Then I learn quite a bit about topics.

I am not very fond of how there are so many comments in this thread glossing over things the English parliament etc did. You can just skip reading my comments if they vex you. I have provided quite a lot of sources as evidence – just because you don’t like it is not really a reason I should stop commenting – think of all the learning I would miss out on.

206

ZM 09.16.14 at 11:39 am

engels,

In fairness , the Queen’s comment is quite fair and sensible. It is not her fault the anti-independence side say it favours them – it is quite a little comment and does not favour them

“The comments by the Queen came as she left Crathie Kirk near her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire after the Sunday morning service. The Queen told a well-wisher: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future””

I did read about some people in England wanting to break the union of the English kingdoms into one England – and go back to the previous kingdoms before King Alfred’s unification . They might have been from Mercia?

207

Val 09.16.14 at 11:45 am

Phil, I invite you to cast your eye over this, from Francis Spufford

“ZM, … the British (not English) empire was a joint Anglo-Scots project, with full enthusiastic Scottish participation. They are partners, not victims.”

Pretty tendentious, I suggest. In particular, raises the question, if they were so damned enthusiastic about this wonderful completely equal partnership, why are so many of them trying to break up?

208

Phil 09.16.14 at 11:52 am

I think this is how I get the most out of commenting – i make one comment, someone makes a counter comment, and so on, checking for more sources. Then I learn quite a bit about topics.

Me too, but when I’m doing it I try to avoid making my comments in extreme, tendentious, coat-trailing form. I also try to interpret other people’s comments as saying something I might agree with and learn from.

I am not very fond of how there are so many comments in this thread glossing over things the English parliament etc did.

I’m not going to correct your history (again), because this post & thread isn’t about what happened 300+ years ago – it’s about the imminent Scottish referendum, about the issues that involves here and now and its implications for the future of the UK.

209

Ronan(rf) 09.16.14 at 11:55 am

I don’t know the history well enough, but the idea of the Scottish being victims of the English does seem odd. My impression is that the Scottish (at least in recent history) were willing participants in the Union (and the British Empire) and this reduction of ‘history to morality play’ with the English forever stamping on the face of the Scots doesnt make a huge amount of sense(afaict) (it doesnt even make sense solely as an explanation for the Irish relationship with the Union, which was far more oppositional, but still not easily reduced to such a caricature – admittedly it can’t be reduced to Stephen’s revisionist nonsense either, but that’s a different story)

210

engels 09.16.14 at 12:02 pm

Kim Jong Un urges Scots to vote ‘Yes’:

http://m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/5803802

211

Phil 09.16.14 at 12:06 pm

At least, comments 20-90 (roughly) were about the imminent Scottish referendum – just about everything before and after those points has been excursions into history, largely initiated by ZM (34 comments and 23 direct replies on this thread; I’m up to 17 and 9, and I’ve been pretty garrulous).

ZM, if you’re not trying to derail this thread and make it harder for a discussion on the referendum to develop, please consider that your interventions may be having that effect.

212

ZM 09.16.14 at 12:23 pm

Phil,

I am not trying to derail the thread. As part of the Scots diaspora I am making comments about the things I am interested in. I did also write about possible legal and constitutional issues in the current day. And mentioned there seems to be potential environmental law (Tweed governance in particular) and welfare issues.

You can write your other interesting comments as much as you want and people can reply to them as they please.

213

ZM 09.16.14 at 1:02 pm

I have read further in the history of the union book now , and have come across Sir Francis Bacon (master of torture, utopian new world science fiction writer etc) being involved , in support of union.

“Although the King had declared that the Englishman “who doth not love the Scotchman as his brother is a traitor to God and the King” [the English Parliament] was not prepared , in the imperative profession of its affection, to surrender the national patrimony. James had striven in vain to reassure them on the score of Scottish preferments to English posts of State. “I shall never be that greedie of Scottishmen’s preferment” , wrote he to Lord Cranborne, “as to prefer any by whom occasion might be given to the least discontent of the people here.” Sir Francis Bacon, the solicitor general, seconded his master in a lengthy speech in which he answered the objections and showed the groundlessness if the fears of the [English parliament’s] anti-unionists. But the current of English jealousy of naturalization was too strong to be over borne by arguments in favor of the benefit of the union, conceived in the most telling language. The discussion went no further than a debate, tending to show that, though England might be willing to adopt Scotland as a province under her laws, she was not prepared to share her privileges with her, on terms of equality.”

214

Rich Puchalsky 09.16.14 at 1:20 pm

Many of the arguments here are touched on in this FT book review, which treats Alasdair Gray and Gordon Brown as pretty much equal disputants.

215

Anonymous Coward 09.16.14 at 1:22 pm

ZM, your most recent source is over 100 years old; what bearing does it have on Trident? On a post-independence currency? On the BBC or the NHS in Scotland? This is why other people are suggesting your posts are less than helpful.

From a contemporary review: “[James MacKinnon] writes as a Scot even to the extent of dropping into an occasional Scotticism, and makes the Scottish side of the case the more prominent throughout” http://www.jstor.org/stable/1833631.

216

Val 09.16.14 at 1:28 pm

Phil #208 to ZM
“this post & thread isn’t about what happened 300+ years ago … “

I’m not really buying into the debate about Scotland, but I do object to your attitudes to history.

At the moment in Australia we are having a discussion about whether we should amend our constitution to recognise Indigenous people/ First Nations people. In doing so we are discussing a constitution that goes back over a hundred years, an invasion that began over 200 years ago, and people who have lived here over 60,000 years.

In the wonderful words of Margaret Atwood:
“Where to start is the problem, because nothing begins when it begins and nothing’s over when it’s over, and everything needs a preface: a preface, a postscript, a chart of simultaneous events.”

217

Ronan(rf) 09.16.14 at 1:37 pm

But the Scottish relationship to the UK is not the equivalent of the indigenous people to Australia.

218

Phil 09.16.14 at 1:56 pm

Yes, of course, history is relevant to the referendum debate – you only need to think of Darien or the history of the pound Scots, or the Victorian fashion for terms like ‘North Britain’. I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone not to bring history into a discussion of the referendum. But there’s a world of difference between drawing on the historical background to the referendum debate and ignoring the debate altogether in favour of vague speculation about half-understood versions of the historical background drawn from randomly-selected sources.

219

Phil 09.16.14 at 1:58 pm

Rich – thanks, good spot.

One of the authors of this pair of books is a dyspeptic Scottish socialist prone to exaggeration. The other is Gordon Brown.

220

ZM 09.16.14 at 2:24 pm

” historical background drawn from randomly-selected sources.”

I did not happen to randomly pick from a lucky dip the history of the union book , and, oh what a coincidence , it just happened to be about the topic here. What a silly idea.

Reading these comments would be more interesting if you stopped complaining and made some remarks on Scotland. This is like at the start of the comment thread you complain about the Yes campaign not campaigning as you want them to.

221

jwl 09.16.14 at 2:34 pm

I’m ok with ZM keeping going. Interesting things have come up that I didn’t know about.

To everyone else,

What do you think about the increasing talk from Westminster parties of new powers if Scotland votes no? What precisely are they offering? It’s hard to figure out details from the news reports, which makes me a little suspicious that the parties themselves don’t agree on what they are willing to devolve to the Scots.

222

Phil 09.16.14 at 2:40 pm

Here you go.

Currently, Scotland creates its own laws regarding: agriculture, forestry and fisheries, education and training, environment, health and social services, housing, law and order, local government, sport and the arts, tourism and economic development, and many aspects of transport.

Meanwhile, Westminster retained the powers to decide upon: benefits and social security, immigration, defence, foreign policy, employment, broadcasting, trade and industry, nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity, consumer rights, data protection, and the Constitution.

Put simply, devo-max – also known as maximum devolution – would give Holyrood the power over most reserved matters, except defence and foreign affairs.

All the three main pro-union parties – Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – have pledged to offer a version of devo-max if Scotland votes no in Thursday’s referendum.

223

Phil 09.16.14 at 2:41 pm

Ugh – italics fail. That whole post is a quote from the linked story (which I found by searching for ‘devo max’).

224

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 09.16.14 at 2:58 pm

“And, in the end, that’s what it comes down to: a small act of beautiful, responsible and confident faith in your own good, inner self, one that can have great, caring and lasting effect for others.

With your passionate hearts and with your independent minds, say Yes.”

– John Hilley
——-
~

225

Rich Puchalsky 09.16.14 at 3:26 pm

After reading all of this, the most influential piece for me is the one linked to by H.P. Loveshack @131: this one.

I’d wondered what happened to Canada in the last couple of decades. “post-referendum syndrome” is a good phrase. It seems apparent to me that, given their attachment to neoliberalism, the promises made by Britain to Scotland for what will happen if they stay united are worthless. Nor will it be easy to get another referendum if this one comes close but fails, because this time the political class will be on guard from the first to oppose it.

I don’t think any of the claims of political-economic benefits from either union or disunion are particularly convincing. Yes, Scotland would have to find its own money and alliances, etc., but those problems will be worked through. I don’t think anyone can predict the future well enough to know whether Scotland would end up better or worse off. Therefore, this becomes largely about risk calculation.

Once you make the question about risk, the safe answer presents itself as “keep the status quo.” But you can’t go back to the status quo ante, not at this stage. You either go to an independent Scotland, struggling with huckster politicians and having a make national institutions, or to an area of the U.K. that has seen a risky chance ahead of it and has given up that chance quite possibly for our lifetimes, afterwards getting nothing but scorn and broken promises in return. If my kids were Scottish, I wouldn’t want to do that to them.

Better to flounder out of Britain, and if the whole thing goes down the tubes, flounder back in. It’s not like the geographic connection is going to go away.

226

William Timberman 09.16.14 at 3:38 pm

The arguments in the U.S. over states’ rights, which early on seem to have been quite similar to those mentioned here in the context of Scottish devolution, appeared to have been settled in the Constitution in favor of the Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists. As it turned out, that was something of an illusion, as Appomattox, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and the political party realignments which followed the passage of the Civil Rights Act amply demonstrated.

A special case unique to the U.S., I suppose it would be fair to argue, but the fights over the interpretation and application of the Commerce Clause by the Federal judicial and executive branches seem much less so, being at least superficially similar to the fights over EU environmental and labor regulation, and their threat, real or imagined, to national sovereignty. I do wonder, given the potential arguments over the currency, foreign policy, defense, and oil revenues, whether or not something similar won’t plague the relations between England and an independent Scotland. Perhaps, given what I’ve been reading here, they already are, and that’s what all the fuss is really about.

227

Bruce Wilder 09.16.14 at 3:42 pm

RP: “I don’t think anyone can predict the future well enough to know whether Scotland would end up better or worse off. Therefore, this becomes largely about risk calculation.”

Classic! Probably no one else will find this funny, but I laughed.

228

djr 09.16.14 at 3:45 pm

If you start from the premise that “the promises made by Britain to Scotland for what will happen if they stay united are worthless” then you will doubtless come to the conclusion that Scotland should vote yes, as nobody should vote to be part of a political union that they fundamentally can’t trust.

229

djr 09.16.14 at 3:46 pm

(That was a response to Rich Puchalsky @ 224.)

230

Phil 09.16.14 at 4:11 pm

I don’t think there’s any evidence that devo max won’t happen, or that it’ll happen but then be clawed back, or whatever Rich is suggesting. After the last vote for greater Scottish self-government a Scottish Parliament was established with powers to rule on “agriculture, forestry and fisheries, education and training, environment, health and social services” and the rest of the list @221, and that’s pretty much what they do. If Westminster agrees to transfer more powers to Holyrood, those powers will stay transferred.

I’m in a similar space to Francis and Ken politically (perhaps midway between) but I don’t think the positive Left case for a No vote is the key thing here. I’m more of a “heart says Yes, brain says No” – or rather, “heart says Yes, brain says What, now? Like this? Are you insane?

231

Rich Puchalsky 09.16.14 at 4:15 pm

“Probably no one else will find this funny, but I laughed.”

I did mean it to be kind of drily funny, but in all seriousness, dealing with estimation of risks despite lack of knowledge is a big part of risk calculation.

“nobody should vote to be part of a political union that they fundamentally can’t trust”

The un-trustworthiness of neoliberal political promises is an observable fact, not merely assumed.

I don’t think Scottish people can trust SNP politicians either. There is no likely solution that I see that results in promises being kept, on either side.

232

TM 09.16.14 at 4:15 pm

Bloix 19, enjoyed the history. Since nobody mentioned this, isn’t it the case that English/British kings kept claiming the title of King of France until quite recently? It would be hilarious if Scots opt for an independent Republic and the Queen continued to officially be Queen of Scotland.

233

Jake 09.16.14 at 4:34 pm

“We can’t know the effect of this hugely disruptive change. But how much worse than the current state of affairs can it really be? My opponents say it will be really bad, but it might be awesome! You wouldn’t want to tell your kids you had the chance to do something awesome and didn’t. Besides, now that we threatened it we have to follow through or else no one will take us seriously in the future.”

World War I makes a lot more sense now.

234

Barry 09.16.14 at 4:37 pm

Rich Puchalsky 09.16.14 at 3:26 pm

“I’d wondered what happened to Canada in the last couple of decades. “post-referendum syndrome” is a good phrase. It seems apparent to me that, given their attachment to neoliberalism, the promises made by Britain to Scotland for what will happen if they stay united are worthless. Nor will it be easy to get another referendum if this one comes close but fails, because this time the political class will be on guard from the first to oppose it.”

Seconding this. Whether or not it’s best to vote ‘no’ or ‘yes’, I would not bet any money I couldn’t afford to lose on London keeping its promise on any real powers.

235

Rich Puchalsky 09.16.14 at 4:43 pm

Jake: “We can’t know the effect of this hugely disruptive change.”

It’s not a decision to go to war. There are good reasons for flatly opposing those, in all but true cases of invasion. And I really was saying that going back to status quo would be safest — I just don’t think it’s possible.

236

TM 09.16.14 at 4:47 pm

21: “I have a friend from Germany who thinks that it would be a fine idea if the various secessionist movements in Europe had their way”

Germany of course has a long history of fomenting secessionism in neighboring countries (e.g. Croatia, Slovakia, even Ukraine in fact). The break-up of UK, Spain, Italy etc. would all help cement German hegemony in the EU, just as the break-up of Yugoslavia, Czekoslovakia the Soviet Union did – conversely, Germany isn’t in the least danger of breaking up and of course has done the opposite not long ago.

That is not to suggest that your German friend has German hegemony consciously in mind – that is almost certainly not the case. But these political traditions are deeply ingrained and German diplomacy has in recent decades actively supported secessionist movements. There used to be a lot more awareness of that on the left but it seems to just have faded away.

237

Barry 09.16.14 at 4:48 pm

I went and read the article Rich mentions. JK Rowlings makes the arguement that a Scotland which votes ‘no’ will be in the same position as a spouse who *almost* leaves the marriage. However, she thinks that the spouse is in a *better* position, which tells me that as an adviser she’s an excellent writer of fantasy.

238

Phil 09.16.14 at 4:49 pm

Barry – why? Has the history of Holyrood been marred by broken promises & British encroachments on devolved matters? Genuine question – I believe the answer is No but I’m willing to be corrected.

TM – LMGTFY The formal claim was renounced by George III; not sure if you’d call that ‘quite recently’.

239

TM 09.16.14 at 5:04 pm

For those interested, George Monbiot, whom I respect greatly, has weighed in pro Scottish independence.

Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm
http://www.monbiot.com/2014/09/02/someone-elses-story/

The rest of the UK doesn’t need to be rescued by Scottish votes: independence could inspire transformation everywhere
http://www.monbiot.com/2014/09/09/england-the-brave/

240

hix 09.16.14 at 5:20 pm

A Bavarian indendence movement supporter is supconciously working on a geopolitical masterplan for Germany to dominate the EU? Hilarious.

241

Barry 09.16.14 at 5:37 pm

Phil 09.16.14 at 4:49 pm
“Barry – why? Has the history of Holyrood been marred by broken promises & British encroachments on devolved matters? Genuine question – I believe the answer is No but I’m willing to be corrected.”

This is speaking from limited knowledge, but I believe that Thatcher serves as a recent example, one which the Tories would like to repeat.

In general, my argument is that Rowling is so full of it she could fertilize a field. Threatening to leave, putting your stuff in the van, and then changing your mind is more likely to make the other person stop taking you seriously, because you’ve shown that you won’t do it. As somebody in the thread over there said, Rowling should visit a battered woman’s shelter.

242

William Timberman 09.16.14 at 5:49 pm

hix is right. My friend is both a (sentimental) Bavarian nationalist and a (sentimental) Marxist. Although he spends months every year in Europe, he’s been domiciled in the U.S. for almost 50 years. He’s also married to a Dutch woman, and speaks Dutch in his home. Not surprisingly, German hegemony per se doesn’t interest him in the slightest, although he often wonders out loud why German cultural values aren’t more respected in places like Italy, Greece, and France. Sometimes I think of him — fondly — as Gore Vidal in reverse, although he’d be appalled at the comparison.

The long and the short of it: he’s not the institutionalist that Bruce Wilder is. He thinks that modernity has failed us, and that ethnocentricity and the secessionist impulse, while hardly compatible with a socialist utopia, will at least push back against the neoliberal tendency to view human beings as functional units in some grand mechanistic — and inhuman — plan.

Mind you, this is just my interpretation. He’d no doubt find it patronizing, perhaps with good reason. All I can say is that he seems to be but one example of the principle that the world — even familiar parts of it — is a lot more complex than can usually be included in our political calculations.

243

Stephen Austin 09.16.14 at 5:53 pm

@240: The Scottish Parliament was established in 1999. Thatcher left office in 1990. How exactly is she a recent example of Holyrood’s suffering “broken promises & British encroachments on devolved matters”?

244

Barry 09.16.14 at 6:00 pm

Here’s the thread referenced over the, with a ‘letter from Quebec’:

http://wingsoverscotland.com/a-letter-from-quebec/#more-57418

245

Stephen 09.16.14 at 6:09 pm

Plume@167

Very interesting. Many thanks.

246

Barry 09.16.14 at 6:10 pm

Stephen Austin 09.16.14 at 5:53 pm
“@240: The Scottish Parliament was established in 1999. Thatcher left office in 1990. How exactly is she a recent example of Holyrood’s suffering “broken promises & British encroachments on devolved matters”?”

I hadn’t realized that it was established so recently (which might be a weighting on my reliability). I was thinking more of the lines that Thatcher yanked a lot of power which had devolved, and Scotland suffered a lot of cuts, with no power to do anything about them.

247

Stephen 09.16.14 at 6:15 pm

ZM@174:

“Please back up your claims about Scotland’s independent legal system, rather than just making an assertion.”

Even rudimentary knowledge about Scottish law might have helped you, but try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scots_law

248

Igor Belanov 09.16.14 at 6:18 pm

I don’t recall many disputes or instances of bad feeling between Westminster and Holyrood since 1999. In the case of Thatcher she was never going to offer the Scots anything that might be taken away later.

249

TM 09.16.14 at 6:22 pm

hix 239, I know you are joking, but for those confused about Bavarian lederhosens: There is no Bavarian independence movement. The Bavarian independence party (Bayernpartei) recently got all of 2% of the state vote, and that was its highest in almost 50 years (well maybe the movement is just about to take off). You may arguably identify an equivalent of cultural nationalism in Bavaria but no political aspirations at all. There is not the remotest interest to hold a referendum on Bavarian independence. For those really into these things, Bavaria as a political entity has a long history but in its present borders is a product of Napoleon, who allowed Bavaria to annex Franconia (to this day a region with a very distinct identity). (Full disclosure: Ich bin aus Franken). A few years ago there was actually a movement for Franconian independence (from Bavaria, not Germany). It was not implausible but got nowhere.

A few years ago, when the Bavarian PM (Stoiber) visited Quebec, it was interesting to observe that Quebec nationalists felt an affinity with the supposedly independence-minded Bavarians. They assumed that the desire for national independence came naturally. It just doesn’t. Bavarians like to exhibit their cultural distinctness (often jokingly) and they do keep a mock consulate in Quebec (http://www.baviere-quebec.org/office/mission/index.php.de) but the state of Bavaria has far fewer powers than the province of Quebec. Qubeckers also misunderstood the significance of the Bavarian official designation as “Freistaat” (there’s nothing in the name, it just historically so happened). The Quebec PM was actually criticized by the opposition for not using that designation when he greeted Stoiber but he had just followed protocol, as the Bavarian representative clarified.

Didn’t mean to distract from the much more important question at hand…

250

Stephen 09.16.14 at 6:25 pm

ZM@174
“[Gaelic] was the main language of the highlands. When exactly did Scots English start being the main language of the lowlands? And under what social and political circumstances?”

Oh dear God, give me strength.

Gaelic as far as can be made out became the main language of the Highlands after the Scottish [Gaelic-speaking Irish] invasion and conquest of the North and West of what is now Scotland, with the extermination of the previous Brythonic [ie Welsh] and Pictish [who can say?] rulers of those parts.

English of a sort has been the main language of the Scots Lowlands since the formation of the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria, the remnants of which after the Viking invasion became the most populous part of what is now Scotland.

Are you answered?

251

Stephen 09.16.14 at 6:31 pm

ZM@174: re “How the first Hielanman was maid”

“I might read that later.”

Do so. If you have an open mind, it might persuade you that the, shall we say, cultural incompatibilities between Highland and Lowland go back to a time when Scotland was a separate kingdom, and both were Catholic.

Or if not, not.

252

guthrie 09.16.14 at 6:39 pm

ZM @200 – the key point you are struggling with is that populations change, as do ideas and people’s situations. There was no uniform “Scotsman” in 1707, 1757 or now; the rich and aristocratic were generally in favour of the Union, helped by some bribery, but many of the ordinary folk weren’t, enough to raise many riotous mobs.
Nevertheless, 50 years later, lots of Scots were, as has been pointed out, happy to travel about the world empire building on behalf of the United Kingdom. They had found the union wasn’t quite as bad as people thought it might be, and there were other opportunities available.
Nobody here is claiming that the majority of Scots were in favour of the union, and oddly enough, since democracy was a pretty shallow idea at the time, that didn’t matter, so is a red herring.

253

Stephen 09.16.14 at 6:50 pm

ZM@179

“England never had a system of absolute monarchy to my knowledge. Can you point to a period of absolute rule by a king or queen there?”

No, but it wasn’t for want of trying by Scots kings who by dynastic fluke found themselves on the throne of England.

James VI and I wrote extensively in praise of the Divine Right of Kings, a French idea which seemed possibly appropriate to Scotland but did not go down well in England (as the ghosts of Edward II, Richard II and Henry VI might have warned him). He had the sense not to push this further.

His son Charles I, in an eleven year period of personal, parliament-free rule, did his best, before it collapsed into what the English call the Civil War but was far more complex (Scots v. English, English v. English, English and Scots v. English, Scots v. Scots, Scots and Irish v. Scots, English and Irish v. Scots, English and Irish v. English, Welsh and English v. English, Welsh and English v. Irish, Cornish and English v. English … I’m not sure there wasn’t an Irish v. Irish somewhere. There usually is).

His son James VII and II made a final effort, in alliance with the French king Louis XVI, a really Catholic and absolute monarch, to establish an absolute and Catholic monarchy in England – the decisive power, I think, was of “dispensing’, which means that if statute or common law says A, the King can declare that it means not-A – but was sorted out by the invitation of many Englishmen to Dutch Billy, his son-in-law.

After which absolute monarchy in Britain was finished: not, alas, in France.

254

guthrie 09.16.14 at 7:00 pm

Basically, the HIghlands of Scotland were on a separate trajectory from the lowlands since the lowlands were conquered by Saxons etc, and the other half was occupied by the BRitons of Strathclyde, meanwhile the Picts formed a large, two part kingdome based around the Moray firth in the north and the Perthshire/ Angus area in the south. This is around 7-9th centuries AD. The Picts were absorbed politically by the Scots, by marriages and a battle or two, and the sum total eventually took over the Britons in SW SCotland and pushed the Saxons etc out of the Lothians, which culminated in the 11th century or so in Scotland’s southern border being south of Cumbria and Northumberland.

Meanwhile Scots Gaelic was the language of basically Perth and highland areas northwards, but surviving saxon roots etc formed a sort of proto-scots which persists to this day, although I suppose in a way it is dying out under the onslaught of modern culture. This Scots grew and developed into a vibrant language itself, with its own poets and suchlike by the 14/15th centuries, and was spoken by people in Angus, Fife, Lothians and borders, Strathclyde and other places, except for some immigrant gaels in the SW of Scotland who caused trouble all the way through the 13/14th centuries.

Meanwhile, the HIghlands, speaking and writing in gaelic, had their own vibrant culture of poetry, song and stories, and well trained medical men who wrote works in gaelic about the usual medical things they had learnt in their medical training. At this point, by the late medieval period, the parts of Scotland were different yet similar. James IV was the last monarch who could speak gaelic, and it is at this time that the paths diverge.

The lowlands became more developed and anglicised, the highlands less so, differences grew slowly but surely, until by the 17/18th centuries the highlands even had distinctively different dress forms (The plaid is probably a 16th century invention, derived from various earlier sorts of clothing which were more Irish in form and not used so much in the lowlands). But by the 18th century of course things had changed all over, and one of the reasons the clearances took place, (well after the tacksmen, who played the part of minor gentry in the highlands had left to seek better life elsewhere) was a combination of the needs of the clan chiefs, living the life of a man of means in London, which was after all the political centre, and the difficulties of actually raising enough money in a period in which wealth in gold mattered, not wealth in manpower.

Hmm, where was I going with this? Suffice to say, what i have typed is probably not completely correct, but a broad summary of my own learning from lots of books over the years and the helpful fact that actually being scottish in SCotland I have better access to the places, people and information.
So my message to ZM is go and do lots of reading, because at the moment you don’t understand the complexities of Scottish history at all.

255

guthrie 09.16.14 at 7:01 pm

It could be argued that Henry VII was basically trying to be an absolute monarch on the line that was developed then (I understand the concept itself was a rather early modern idea, not a medieval one) and he succeeded rather well at being one, don’t you think?

256

guthrie 09.16.14 at 7:10 pm

oops, I meant Henry VIII. But yes, James VI/I and his descendants were very keen on the idea of an absolute monarchy, although what tipped it all over the edge was the Catholicism.

257

Val 09.16.14 at 7:58 pm

Ronan @217 I wasn’t trying to make a parallel (actually I think that’s pretty obvious), I was talking about history and how contemporary issues often have long historical antecedents.

Also on the subject of history, perhaps I can use another example: I studied Australian history for many years, but if there was a contemporary Australian issue that was generating widespread interest, and a person from another country showed a genuine interest in the history of that issue, I hope I would treat them with more respect than some people (eg Phil, Guthrie, Stephen at times) here treat ZM.

Patronising people does not demonstrate your superior knowledge or intellect, rather the opposite.

However I would also acknowledge that ZM could be more succinct, and use quotes from secondary sources more sparingly. Go for the brief quote that’s punchy, and summarise the rest.

258

LFC 09.16.14 at 8:14 pm

Engels @210
Kim Jong Un urges Scots to vote ‘Yes’

I hope this Kim Jong Un thing is a joke; alas, it probably isn’t.

I listened yesterday (or was it the day before?) to the first eight minutes of Francis Spufford’s and Ken Mcleod’s video. Stopped when I got to Francis S.’s “we defeated feudalism [!] and absolute monarchy together at Culloden.” If someone could summarize the rest for me in one short paragraph, that wd be nice. (Actually I don’t expect anyone to.)

259

TheSophist 09.16.14 at 8:14 pm

I feel guilty even trying to disagree with Francis Spufford, but when he claims it to be false that Scotland was ever a colony, he runs afoul of the immortal words of Mark Renton: “Some hate the English. I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. Can’t even find a decent culture to be colonized by.”

If you can’t trust as authoritative the word of a fictional Edinburgh junkie who grew up to be Obi-Wan, then who can you trust?

260

Val 09.16.14 at 8:14 pm

Guthrie @ 252
If a majority of Scots were not in favour of the union, that is in no way a red herring, regardless of the status of democracy. It’s an historical antecedent. Those people may not have been able to vote, but they were able to talk with their neighbours, to pass on ideas to their descendants, and so on.

In history we talk about continuities and discontinuities, rather than assuming that everything changes. If there is a historical precedent of opposing the union, as you say, it seems to me likely that that is relevant to the widespread desire to withdraw from the union today. I don’t claim to be an expert in Scottish history, but rather to understand something about history in general.

I think your apparent desire to patronise ZM may be leading you astray.

261

TheSophist 09.16.14 at 8:22 pm

Just for purposes of clarification – although we share a last name, I am not the “guthrie” on this thread.

262

William Timberman 09.16.14 at 8:22 pm

TM @ 249

Just for the record, there’s no discernible independence movement in California either, although during the lamentable Enron/rolling blackout debacle, some of us (I was then an ardent, if adopted Californian) did advocate declaring war on Texas and Oklahoma . What did we get instead? Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One doesn’t actually have to look back to the Plantagenets for the ironies of history; most of us are already swimming in them, even if we’re unaware of the fact. Anyway, my original reference to Bavaria, and to California (@21) wasn’t intended to be as serious as some of the Scotland-the-Brave advocates are about an independent Scotland, but I certainly didn’t intend to make light of their concerns, or to derail the thread.

263

Ronan(rf) 09.16.14 at 8:36 pm

“Patronising people does not demonstrate your superior knowledge or intellect, rather the opposite.”

Who is patronishing whom ? Am I patronising ZM ? I couldnt care less about the correct lineage of the British royals or the relationship between the lowland and highland Scots, so I skipped that part and didnt say nought; but people can debate it to their hearts content as far as I’m concerned.
I think people have the right to correct others misconceptions, or to complain if they’re going off topic. Of course the person complained at doesn’t have to listen. That’s hardly ‘patronising’so much as having a conversation.

264

jwl 09.16.14 at 8:39 pm

Why should we believe that Scotland will get devo max if it votes no? The Tory backbenchers hate the idea and want to punish Scotland, not help it.

265

Ronan(rf) 09.16.14 at 8:50 pm

..just to add, I’d (personally) assume the factors driving independence are far more rooted in the present day (primarily economic failure) than ancient grudges and remembered grievances. IMO *that* would be a more relevant avenue for explaining why they are where they are.

266

Phil 09.16.14 at 8:51 pm

jwl – for two reasons: because all three of the main UK-wide parties have promised it, and because both sides of the referendum can claim to be a vote for it (Yes is obviously a vote for devo max and much more). If the Tories renege on the deal Labour will get it through with Lib Dem (and rebel Tory) support. I’m not starry-eyed about politicians and promises, but this one is not going to go away – if only because of the pressure Salmond could exert, backed as he would be by approximately 100% of the Scottish electorate.

267

Ronan(rf) 09.16.14 at 8:54 pm

“and a person from another country showed a genuine interest in the history of that issue, I hope I would treat them with more respect than some people (eg Phil, Guthrie, Stephen at times) here treat ZM.”

Although, sorry missed this part due to reading on a phone. That seems fair enough (although I havent really picked up that tone from Phil or Guthrie..Ill leave it there though.

268

Phil 09.16.14 at 8:54 pm

Ronan – the link to the beer blog I gave earlier is surprisingly good on the history of Scottish attitudes to the union, for in-living-memory values of ‘history’. Which, I agree, is probably the kind of history we should start with.

269

Phil 09.16.14 at 9:00 pm

This just in: Flying Rodent has decided which way he’s voting, and written about it. And it’s excellent.

Up against the solid example of an actually-operating system, Yes Scotland have deployed a wondrous vision of an optimistic, creative, self-confident nation that can do whatever the fuck it likes without having to face any serious consequences at all.

If you’ve paid attention, you’ll notice that we’re being offered a caringly socialist business-friendly independent country of huge financial innovation that exploits its petro-chemical wealth to the full to create an environmentally-responsible future, while retaining all that’s best about Britain.

That’s not the best bit by any means. Oh hell, I’ll quote some more:

I’m going to vote no for the same reasons why I don’t take e.g. the libertarians seriously – because I don’t trust people who publicly proclaim that one thing and one thing only is the magical cure for almost everything that ails the nation. There’s something a little creepy about movements that can be succinctly summarised with only one word and one flag.

I’m voting no because repeated experience has taught me that people who propose theoretically simple schemes for the enrichment of the people, but then get ridiculously aggressive when you ask straightforward questions, are probably attempting to pull the wool over our eyes about something or other.

Excellent stuff – read it all.

270

ZM 09.16.14 at 9:02 pm

“Some resent Scottish Gaelic being promoted in the Lowlands, although it was once spoken everywhere in Scotland except the extreme south-east (that part of Scotland which was originally Northumbria) and the extreme north-east (part of Caithness).”
Fromwikipedia

271

TM 09.16.14 at 9:07 pm

262: I assumed that any references to Bavarian independence were joking but I also, as explained in 249, experienced some misconceptions that I thought worthwhile to preemptively address.

Btw my 236 wasn’t a joke.

272

ZM 09.16.14 at 9:13 pm

Phil,

“Currently, Scotland creates its own laws regarding: agriculture, forestry and fisheries, education and training, environment, health and social services, housing, law and order, local government, sport and the arts, tourism and economic development, and many aspects of transport.”

Yes , but since Scotland was only allowed to have its own parliament in 1998 between union and 1998 there was not a separate legislative parliament for Scotland.

And as I following another commenter mentioned above, upon the English taking over and allowing minimal and only wealthy Scottish representation in parliament – the parliament in England used the roman legal concept of desuetude to abolish old scots laws.

This is hardly an argument for ‘Scotland has always had a separate legal system” methinks.

273

ZM 09.16.14 at 9:15 pm

Also, currently – some lawmaking is devolved to the Scots parliament – and other lawmaking is still done in Westminster

274

TheSophist 09.16.14 at 9:23 pm

Again relying on anecdotage (conversations during a month in Scotland in the summer) rather than data – every single No voter whom I asked about it would vote for devomax were it an option on the ballot

275

ZM 09.16.14 at 9:32 pm

Oh, sorry Phil, I realise now I misinterpreted your comment quoted above – I though you were arguing like others that Scotland has always had a separate legal system. Sorry about that.

Stephen,

““Please back up your claims about Scotland’s independent legal system, rather than just making an assertion.” Even rudimentary knowledge about Scottish law might have helped you, but try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scots_law

Did you read the rudimentary source you recommend? For it does not seem to indicate Sctots law was so separate, since laws were made in the parliament in England after union. Possibly our definitions of separate /independent differ?

“Under the terms of the Act of Union, Scotland retained its own systems of law and education separately from the rest of the country.
The Parliament of Great Britain otherwise was not restricted in altering laws concerning public right, policy and civil government, but concerning private right, only alterations for the evident utility of the subjects within Scotland were permitted. The Scottish Enlightenment then reinvigorated Scots law as a university-taught discipline. The transfer of legislative power to London and the introduction of appeal to the House of Lords (now, by appeal to the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom) brought further English influence. Acts of the Parliament began to create unified legal statutes applying in both England and Scotland, particularly when conformity was seen as necessary for pragmatic reasons (such as the Sale of Goods Act 1893″

276

guthrie 09.16.14 at 9:34 pm

Except Scotland still has a separate legal system…
If I could be bothered I’d try and rope in the judge I know who works in that system, but I don’t think you’d believe an actual expert on the topic.

Now it is important to note that the Scottish legal system has been updated and changed over the centuries, sometimes in response to political pressures from down south or from the rich and powerful, and more recently to integrate the EU stuff about human rights etc. Nevertheless, the survival of things like the “Not proven” verdict are merely small parts of the truth that Scotland has always had a separate legal system.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_criminal_law

277

ZM 09.16.14 at 9:38 pm

Stephen,

“Gaelic as far as can be made out became the main language of the Highlands after the Scottish [Gaelic-speaking Irish] invasion and conquest of the North and West of what is now Scotland, with the extermination of the previous Brythonic [ie Welsh] and Pictish [who can say?] rulers of those parts.”

The language question is quite interesting , see @270 – Wikipedia says Garlic was spoken almost all over Scotland except in two small areas.

Also – Can you add dates for this – it seems maybe from an older period than I am thinking of. I fear you seem to have attributed to me an odd sort of argument that the England pushed the English language into Scotland before it was spoken in England.

278

William Timberman 09.16.14 at 9:39 pm

TM @ 271

Btw my 236 wasn’t a joke.

No, I didn’t suppose it was. I do wonder though, what you’d make of Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik. It doesn’t seem to fit in with your general thesis, but then not being German, I’m probably ignorant of the finer points of German foreign policy since the reunification.

279

Sasha Clarkson 09.16.14 at 9:39 pm

Just to dot a couple of “i”s

The term “Scot” originally meant a Gaelic/Goidelic invader from Ireland. Gaelic was not native to Scotland.

The “Brythonic” Kingdom of Strathclyde spoke a language akin to modern Welsh and Breton. “Aberdeen” is like Welsh for “The mouth of the Dee”, but “Inverness” is Gaelic for “the mouth of the Ness”. Both Welsh and Gaelic are Celtic languages, but of different strands: Q-Celtic and P-Celtic. The Pictish language is a mystery, and there is no agreement that it was even Celtic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aber_and_Inver_%28placename_elements%29

The Kingdom of Northumbria was Angle rather than Saxon: that is, the language originated in Angeln in Schleswig (part of southern Jutland). Saxon originated further south.

Just because people spoke a Celtic or Germanic language, does not mean that they were racially Celtic/Germanic or whatever. Fashions and rulers changed, but there is little evidence for ethnic cleansing in most of Britain, although there was certainly immigration. The British Isles were populated long before the Celts arrived, and much of the original genetic stock remains. A significant part of the gene pool in Scotland, and even more in Wales, is similar to parts of the Iberian penninsula. If someone unfamiliar with Britain was shown a photo of Alex Salmond and told it was the Prime Minister of Portugal, he would look the part.

There are plenty of Celtic genes in England, even though the language changed.

Most people in most parts of Britain speak not the language of their ancestors, but the (evolving) language of those who conquered their ancestors – physically or culturally.

In fact, the original Scots were always a minority in Scotland, just as Angles (and even Saxons) were always a minority in England.

280

guthrie 09.16.14 at 9:40 pm

Val #260 – except that there isn’t a direct link between the opposition in 1707 and the desire now for independence. Yes it shows that there has been such opposition before, but I can’t even recall why the topic was brought up, perhaps you can remind me? Moreover, pointing out the many, many ways in which ZM is wrong about Scotland and it’s history is hardly patronising. Necessary perhaps.

JWL #264- as long as there is a Scottish parliament with various party’s, including one devoted to an independent Scotland, the Tories will have to be careful about actually doing anything to ‘punish’ the scots, because if they do, that will give the separatists ammunition to use. Now I’ve seen someone suggest that Cameron et al are happy to see Scotland depart the union, to get rid of the labour folk up here.
Of course that doesn’t guarantee that Scotland would get devo max, but it surely adds weight to the idea.

281

William Timberman 09.16.14 at 9:42 pm

On second thought, never mind. I keep neglecting the obvious, that this thread is about the Scottish independence vote, not about separatist movements in general. Apologies to Francis and Ken.

282

guthrie 09.16.14 at 9:46 pm

ZM #277- Gaelic was spoken over a lot of Scotland for the period of roughly the 9th to 11th centuries, give or take a decade. Which is why using it for place names in the central belt or east lothian is a bit odd, given that many areas there either had english type names because of centuries dominance of germanic invaders, i.e. they were in charge for longer than gaelic folk, or else, as Sasha pointed out, the Brythonic people who didn’t speak gaelic were in charge.
In fact the wikipedia article on Scottish gaelic makes this all clear, including dates, please read it in full.

283

William Timberman 09.16.14 at 9:46 pm

…and to Belle, of course.

284

Stephen Austin 09.16.14 at 9:57 pm

@250: Oh dear God, give me strength.

I wholeheartedly endorse this comment. This is absolutely the worst, the most drearily depressing and disappointing CT thread I can recall.

285

Phil 09.16.14 at 10:05 pm

Having a separate legal system is different from having its own legislature. Scotland has always had its own legal system, and would continue to do so if an Act of Parliament abolished the Holyrood assembly (which won’t happen).

If you say that Scotland didn’t have its own legal system in the years when no laws were made in Scotland, you are using the phrase “legal system” to mean something different from what lawyers mean by it, and the discussion isn’t going to go far.

Any other thoughts on the referendum? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

286

guthrie 09.16.14 at 10:15 pm

Stephen and Phil – I understand that the Yes campaign has at least energised a great many youngsters, who might put their energy into more interesting newer attempts at politics in the future, even if the vote goes No.
And my experience of campaigners matches many other people’s – today in Edinburgh I saw some cyclists with ‘no’ signs and balloons, a pretty dour lot, who didn’t seem sure which way to turn at the bottom of one of the Meadows paths. The Yes campaign had a table sat at a junction of paths, with lots of enthusiastic people handing out flyers but not being pushy when I merely ignored them.

287

Phil 09.16.14 at 10:17 pm

“every single No voter whom I asked about it would vote for devomax were it an option on the ballot”

The absence of DM from the ballot paper is a curious bit of politics – it seems it was the one thing on which Alex and David concurred, but why – at least, why Cameron went for.it – is unclear. Perhaps it was just agamble on No beating Yes and thus saving the status quo with minimal effort. I wonder also if Cameron was worried about vote-splitting – a putative 65% Unionist bloc splitting 50-50 and letting the 35% definite Yessers carry the day. Either way it’s backfired – DM is on the ballot paper now, written between the lines of the No option.

288

TM 09.16.14 at 10:21 pm

278, my “general thesis” is that secessionism in other countries strengthens German hegemony. I don’t see how your question about Brandt is even related to that. German support for secessionist movements especially in (but not restricted to) Yugoslavia is hardly a “fine point”, at the time it was widely understood to have had a significant impact on the war in that country.

289

Sasha Clarkson 09.16.14 at 10:45 pm

ZM @270 If Wikipedia says that “Gaelic … was once spoken everywhere in Scotland except the extreme south-east”, then Wikipedia is talking oblate spheroids. It is simply untrue. Unfortunately many Wiki articles connected to Scotland have been vandalised by those trying to rewrite history. Britannica is more reliable, if old fashioned; (remember that its founder, William Smellie, was also a Scot – in the modern sense – not an Irish invader!! ;) ).

Your comments on the (alleged lack of a) separate Scots legal system are incredibly uninformed: they would offend the overwhelming majority Scots – in both Yes and NO camps. Many Scots institutions are very different from those in England and Wales. Recognising this, even after the Act of Union, the UK parliament often enacted separate legislation for England and Wales and for Scotland.

This not only affected civil and criminal law, but also such things as local government, the education system and, of course, religion.

For example, the famous Butler Education Act of 1944 only applied to England and Wales; there was a separate Education (Scotland) Act 1945 to deal with the different system which had evolved there under the aegis of the elected Scots local authorities.

290

guthrie 09.16.14 at 10:57 pm

Hah, Sasha clearly knows more about some aspects of my country than I do!

Mind you the comment re. education systems reminds me, today I purchased an old chemistry textbook, aimed at O level students. That is, the old Scottish equivalent of what are called GCSE’s in England. For many many decades Scotland used 1 year Highers rather than 2 year A levels to educate pupils and decide upon college and university entrance, but, importantly, you did 5 highers (these days they somehow often fit 6 or 7 in, which was just not allowed in my day) in a year, whereas in England you do 3 A levels.
I.e. it wasn’t a myth that the Scottish education system was broader than the English one.

This sort of difference is replicated throughout many aspects of life.

291

guthrie 09.16.14 at 11:02 pm

An interesting thing in Scots law you don’t get in English ones anymore is Hamesucken:
http://www.scotslanguage.com/word/Aug-2008

I first encountered it in a John Buchan book.

292

Ronan(rf) 09.16.14 at 11:05 pm

Phil @268. Interesting link, thanks. Also, hilarious link at 269.

293

ZM 09.16.14 at 11:36 pm

Sasha Clarkson and Stephen,

It would be handy if when you give an overview of the language changes you provided so sort of dates. You seem to be going back to the 500s and earlier with your hypotheses of a Gaelic invasion from Ireland.

But this hypothesis seems now to be contested , as it seems to have been based on only a slim amount of history written from the 10th c (which is 500 years after the event)

“The Gaels gave Scotland its name from ‘Scoti’, a racially derogatory term used by the Romans to describe the Gaelic-speaking ‘pirates’ who raided Britannia in the 3rd and 4th centuries. They called themselves ‘Goidi l’, modernised today as Gaels, and later called Scotland ‘Alba’….
Recently archaeologists have challenged this idea. If the Gaels did invade from Ireland then new objects and differing types of building style could be expected to appear. What archaeologists point to is the continuity in building styles of crannogs and forts found in Argyll and Ireland, suggesting the Gaels had lived in Argyll for many centuries before Fergus Mor and shared a common Gaelic culture with Ireland.” from the BBC website

Ewan Campbell seems to be the most famous of the archaeologists challenging the Gaelic invaders thesis. He writes that the thesis became fixed in the public mind during 18th and 19th c debates in the origins and authenticity of the Scots:

“After a period of virulent sectarian debate on the origins of the Scots in the 18th and 19th centuries (Ferguson 1998), the idea of a migra­tion of the Scots to Argyll has become fixed as a fact in both the popular and academic mind for at least a century.

Exactly why colonialist explanations should have survived in the ‘Celtic West’ while being hotly debated in eastern Britain is of con­siderable interest, but not the purpose of this paper, which is to provide a critical examina­tion of the archaeological, historical and lin­guistic evidence for a Scottic migration, and provide a new explanation for the origins of Dal Riata.

I suggest that the people inhabiting Argyll maintained a regional identity from at least the Iron Age through to the medieval period and that throughout this period they were Gaelic speakers. In this maritime province, sea communications dominated, and allowed a shared archaic language to be maintained, isolated from linguistic developments which were taking place in the areas of Britain to the east of the Highland massif in the Late Roman period,.”
http://www.electricscotland.com/history/articles/scotsirish.htm

294

hix 09.16.14 at 11:39 pm

Its a common law vs roman law thing. Explicit seperate legislation from the same parliament for different regions should be a minor side issue. The key to develop significant differences is case law/legal tradition, not different paragraphs written by the same parliament.

295

ZM 09.16.14 at 11:46 pm

Sasha Clarkson,

“Your comments on the (alleged lack of a) separate Scots legal system are incredibly uninformed: they would offend the overwhelming majority Scots – in both Yes and NO camps. Many Scots institutions are very different from those in England and Wales. Recognising this, even after the Act of Union, the UK parliament often enacted separate legislation for England and Wales and for Scotland.”

I am pretty sure no one in Scotland would be offended at me asking how the legal system of Scotland is completely separate as claimed – when the lawmaking from 1707- to 1998 was done in Westminster, and some is still done in Westminster now in 2014. Making laws is part of the legal system one would presume?

In Australia we had our own parliaments over a century earlier in the 19th c, and all oversight from Westminster was completely stopped in the 1980s – but – our legal system is still not separate from the the English legal system – we get lots of enduring laws and legal principles, types of law like common and conscience, and constitutional things etc from English law and English case law is still used in court cases.

Claims of a totally separate Scottish jurisprudence seem quite unlikely – and no one has provided any decent sources showing the independent legal system if Scotland. Someone provided Wikipedia – which noted Westminster made laws :/

296

ZM 09.17.14 at 12:00 am

guthrie

“Nevertheless, the survival of things like the “Not proven” verdict are merely small parts of the truth that Scotland has always had a separate legal system.”

I have not argued anywhere that there are not some aspects of Scots law that are distinctively Scottish. I mentioned this much earlier – that was how the discussion of desuetude came about. I just do not think from what I have read thus far that it is justifiable to argue Scotland has a completely separate legal system from England/UK.

297

ZM 09.17.14 at 12:17 am

Stephen,

““England never had a system of absolute monarchy to my knowledge. Can you point to a period of absolute rule by a king or queen there?”

No, but it wasn’t for want of trying by Scots kings who by dynastic fluke found themselves on the throne of England.
….
After which absolute monarchy in Britain was finished”

So it was finished without ever having happened – how logical an argument indeed my good fellow! By such reasoning all sorts of imaginary events can be said to be historically concluded without ever having eventuated !

I congratulate your ingenuity on making such an original sort of historical argument .

298

ZM 09.17.14 at 12:33 am

As well as the book on the history of the union – which has a lot of detail but was written some time ago – I have now found a helpful book on England’s internal colonisationof Wales and Scotland. This says English motives for union at the time were somewhat distinct from the motives of previous centuries’ attempts at capturing Scitkand – because the early 18th c some European countries like England were becoming European powers and co nquesting abroad and competing with one another

“The Union was finally won – though the English were not above bribing and trucking key members of the Edinburgh parliament – and afterwards there was little concern with the fate of Scotland within it . The immediate cause of the union was to neutralize the possibility of an independent Scotland which might align herself with a foreign power and therefore become a staging ground for the conquest of England”
From – Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development, 1536-1966

299

jwl 09.17.14 at 3:16 am

The idea of invading Irish displacing true Scotsmen cannot be divorced from truly horrific sectarianism in Scotland toward Irish Catholic immigrants during the period when these historical theories were proposed.

300

Tyrone Slothrop 09.17.14 at 4:19 am

@277 Wikipedia says Garlic was spoken almost all over Scotland except in two small areas.

That would have been from the influence of the Transpadane Celts (whose culinary skill with spherical doughy bases allowed Scotland to put forth a [highly contested] claim as the birthplace of pizza). It was a pungent language, and rather easily pushed out, almost crushed, one might say, by the more dilly varieties of English what ruthlessly poured forth over the Cheviots.

301

Meredith 09.17.14 at 5:02 am

Just saying that, to fight properly, you have to stay together. For the sake of the children! We children in the U.S. and Canada and Australia and New Zealand (why no NZ voices at CT?) and Hong Kong and South Africa and and and…. I gather many Scots married to English are upset about all this. Well, think of how we far-flung chillins feel! We, for whom the whole Scots-English thing (via Scotch-Irish, often), feel! We are far away, but we are both. (And in all the discussions of language and invasion and such, I do appreciate especially the posts that stress that language is not biological DNA. I’m waiting for the Danes to weigh in here at some point, along with the experts on the Norman “French,” who were, well, part Viking, no?) It’s a wonderful mess, like any family. Home is where you have to hang your hat, said the poet (I never should have quoted Frost to my mother, once. I live with the pain of having done so.)

I sound like an echt colonialist, perhaps. But no, I am for reparations to native and black Americans. (Hell, if it could work, Massachusetts would return to the Neponsets and the Wampanoags, and to the Mahicans who work in my local Stop ‘n Shop — if they wanted it, which I don’t think they do, not in the terms being argued here. The Mahicans had to give tribute to the Mohawks, after all. Really? Mass paying tribute to NY? Unthinkable. I’d really like to know what Ta-Nehisi Coates makes of all this.)

The orientation (ah, the rising sun! origin!) should be argued forward — future from the past, not as hold but as ballistic. Forward from a present that engages rather than denies that past. But then, all this, not my decision to make. Child as I am, I can only look on and hope.

302

ZM 09.17.14 at 5:59 am

Meredith,

“But no, I am for reparations to native and black Americans. (Hell, if it could work, Massachusetts would return to the Neponsets and the Wampanoags, and to the Mahicans who work in my local Stop ‘n Shop — if they wanted it, which I don’t think they do, not in the terms being argued here.”

Our local indigenous families together with the rest of the dja dja wurrung in the area were recently awarded native title to a substantial amount of land hereabouts. I think this means in future crown land (the bush) will be managed together by the dja dja wurrung and parks Victoria (the parks department) , and some indigenous land management techniques will be reintroduced. Some have already been working with parks Victoria for some time.

303

Phil 09.17.14 at 7:56 am

I am pretty sure no one in Scotland would be offended at me asking how the legal system of Scotland is completely separate as claimed,

I am quite sure that most Scots would indeed be offended – not by the question but by your persistence in denying the answer. The distinctness of the Scottish legal system is a very basic and widely known fact, and being sceptical of it makes you look silly – all the more so when you’re being sceptical on grounds you have already been told aren’t good grounds for scepticism (lack of a legislature). As I said earlier, if you say that Scotland didn’t have its own legal system in the years when no laws were made in Scotland, you are using the phrase “legal system” to mean something different from what lawyers mean by it.

You’re talking about subjects you admit you know very little about, and challenging detailed statements made by people who do know about those subjects. You’re also talking about subjects (e.g. the original spread of the Gaelic language) which have no, I repeat no, connection with the topic of the thread, which is a really important and interesting topic – a referendum on the break-up of the United Kingdom, happening tomorrow. If you’re not actually trying to disrupt this thread, please give it a rest.

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Phil 09.17.14 at 8:16 am

Meanwhile in referendum news…

Polling. Three separate opinion polls give a 48/52 Yes/No split, suggesting a relatively comfortable win for No. Statistically, how likely is it that they’re all wrong in the same way? Psephologically, how likely is it that people are lying to them/not replying to them in the same ways? Politically, how likely is it that the publication of those results will affect the vote itself – and in what way?

The Yes campaign has a nasty side; see also tweets like these two. What’s the atmosphere going to be like if No wins?

The armed forces say No (predictably, perhaps, but the arguments are interesting)

Another blogger says No, and why not

And this from the Scottish Daily Mail (sorry!) is interesting, particularly on the ‘aftermath’ question I raised above.

Remember that old SNP narrative of a pluralist, open, tolerant Scotland that would be a comfortable home for all its citizens, regardless of their preferences? Ask the average No voter – excluded by Mr Salmond from ‘Team Scotland’ in his disgusting rhetoric last week – how they see that working out.

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Phil 09.17.14 at 8:17 am

PS A comment which is in moderation (because of links) suggests some more interesting and relevant things to talk about.

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ZM 09.17.14 at 8:28 am

Phil,

“The distinctness of the Scottish legal system is a very basic and widely known fact, and being sceptical of it makes you look silly – all the more so when you’re being sceptical on grounds you have already been told aren’t good grounds for scepticism (lack of a legislature).”

You have not given any sort of a description of the distinct scots law system . All you have done is point to a Wikipedia article which says from 1707-1998 laws were made entirely in Westminster, and are still partly made in Westminster , lots of laws are made for Scotland and England together etc. you do not seem to know anything about the distinctiveness of the scots law system – you just state the same point over again which I have already objected to. I have not at any stage said there were not some laws that were distinct to Scotland.

If the referendum will not have any effect on the ‘completely separate scots law system’ – how come the law schools of Scotland have set up a website with articles and arranged conferences – on the implications of the referendum on scots law?

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P.M.Lawrence 09.17.14 at 9:21 am

ZM wrote:-

If the referendum will not have any effect on the ‘completely separate scots law system’ – how come the law schools of Scotland have set up a website with articles and arranged conferences – on the implications of the referendum on scots law?

Go back and look at those again, once you appreciate the material distinction between the questions “what is law?” and “what is the law?”. (By the way, desuetude was not an English tool to control the Scots that was thrust upon them, and a law among the Scots does not require an action at Westminster to prevent it from lapsing the way sunsetting or grandfathering did for the Mutiny Acts etc., it only needs to be in – possibly implied – use.)

Guthrie, thank you for your well informed contributions. I would merely have preferred it, as a matter of style, if you had written “James IV was the last monarch who had the Gaelic …” rather than “James IV was the last monarch who could speak gaelic …”.

As, when, and if I have time, I may chip in more on this background, possibly with links, but I do want to keep it as very necessary background to this thread’s theme rather than digression. But here’s one digression, free and for nothing: I myself have the Dalriada gene.

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Sasha Clarkson 09.17.14 at 9:52 am

One interesting, though relatively trivial, example of the separate legal status of Scotland, despite the Union, is the tradition of Gretna Green marriages.

Another is the fascinating quirk that Scots juries uniquely have the option to choose a “not proven” as well as a “not guilty” verdict in criminal trials. In fact, the three verdict system only evolved AFTER the Act of Union: another demonstration of the independence of the Scots legal system from London control.

Basically ZM, when you’re in a hole, stop digging!

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guthrie 09.17.14 at 10:01 am

ZM- completely separate is something you’ll have to define, but to all intents and purposes it still does, despite what you have said. I’m afraid there’s no way I can persuade you to understand that, short of your going and reading a textbook on the history of the Scottish legal system.
Which is actually a weak point in my personal library, I’m going to have to go and get some books.

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Limericky Dicky 09.17.14 at 10:59 am

Is he trolling? Well, even if not: mirabile dictu, guess what? See the Brits here, they’re right and he’s full o’ shite, this ersatz, Mel-Gibson-styled Scot.

ZM’s accusations are blustery. This isn’t aboot his cod-hustory. Scots rightly resent the Deep South’s right-wing bent. This is clear; there is really nae mustery.

But their plan is strategically shitty. They cannot escape from the City by running away; it’s less bad to stay. The best shot’s ‘Red Ed’, more’s the pity.

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Sasha Clarkson 09.17.14 at 11:13 am

Well done LD @ 310 :)

And now for some light relief: I’m not sure whether proud is the right word, but I’m very happy to have grown up in a UK which made this artist a star, and this “poet” a national institution. Long may this cultural richness continue!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opCGFmPKiE0

What’s amusing is that if you google “Alas, I am very sorry to say”, the top results refer to McGonagall.

For rather less subtle amusement, google Mayor of Fishguard”

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ZM 09.17.14 at 11:37 am

Limericky,

I am female actually. I am not trolling. I have actually cited sources – other commenters have been pretty blustery, wouldn’t you say? The history of the deeds of the parliament in England is actually pretty terrible I think. I have no idea why people here insist that England has had a parliament that is a model of benevolence and goodness in its approach to the world. Or that it was so fond of Scotland it made an exception and behaved benevolently there.

You could at least make a limerick that responded to an actual statement I have made that you think is inaccurate. Your limerick is pretty blustery – why not show off your correct superior knowledge of the relations between Scotland and England in limerick form?

Why is it less bad to stay with the City? At this point in the early 21st century after 5 centuries of colonialism and private acquisition with many wars and two world wars then cold war and the ongoing threat of nuclear war we are now heading to devastate the climate and most of what remains of nature. Former countries of European empire, after 5 centuries of looting countries through colonisation and free trade, are steadfastly refusing to modify their production and consumption in any sort of way that is requisite and would be timely enough.

In the following comment I will quote from an law article on the English influence on Scots law before 1707. It seems it wasn’t even completely separate from English law before union funnily enough. I will then find an article or two on the influence of England and English law on Scots law after 1707.

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ZM 09.17.14 at 11:45 am

Quotes From – “Scots Law: Mixed from the Very Beginning? A Tale of Two Receptions”
By W D H Sellar

“Large and unjustified claims have sometimes been made as to the extent to which Scots law is based on Roman law. In fact, from the time of its emergence in the Middle Ages, the common law of Scotland has been open to influence from both the common law and the Civilian tradition. It has been a “mixed” system from the very beginning.”

“The model for the emerging Scottish common law was undoubtedly the Common Law of England, to such a degree that it is legitimate, I believe, to speak of a Reception. This early Reception of the English Common Law, so integral to the emergence of Scots law as a separate system, was sharply focused, both as regards time and substantive legal content, to the extent that by the end of the thirteenth century both could be subsumed, with some colour of truth, under the description lex anglicana.
However, the common law of Scotland and the Common Law of England were never the same, and came increasingly to diverge, a process already well under way before the end of the thirteenth century and the Wars of Independence.”

[I would like to ] focus for a time on the years between 1500 and 1700, and explain what I had in mind when we wrote that Scots law was always open to English influence, even during this period.

I would suggest that there are at least three ways in which substantial English influence can be measured, and shall deal with each in turn. The first lies in the continuing legacy of the Scoto-Norman law; the second in further occasional direct borrowing from England (although I certainly would not wish to contend that such borrowings amount to a further Reception); and the third in the views of contemporary writers, particularly towards the close of the sixteenth century, on the relationship between Scots and English law.

It would seem then that we cannot say that Roman law was ever in itself
authoritative in Scotland. We cannot point to any narrow band of time and say that this was the period of the Reception of Roman law. We cannot assert that Roman law has been the major influence in shaping most of the areas of our substantive law-certainly not if we leave the canon law out of account. This Reception then, the Reception of Roman law, was not like the earlier Reception of English law. It was not specific as regards time or substantive legal content. Its character was entirely different. This Reception lay not so much in the adoption of one piece of Roman law or another, at any particular time; it lay in the gradual acceptance of a vision of law as a dynamic whole, as an intellectually coherent entity, as set out first by Gaius and Justinian and refined by the jurists of the medieval ius commune.60 It lay in the recognition of the law as a system, and an understanding of the relationship of the parts of that system to the whole; in the acceptance also of legal categories and terms of art such as “obligations””

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Phil 09.17.14 at 12:16 pm

I will then find an article or two on the influence of England and English law on Scots law after 1707.

Please don’t waste your and our time. Nobody has denied that the English system influenced the Scottish – why would we? You denied that there *was* a Scottish system. You were wrong – end of story.

Anything to say about the referendum? No? Thought not.

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ZM 09.17.14 at 12:32 pm

Now I have found an article on the crisis in Scots law in contemporary times. This author – a scholar of Scots law – states – upsettingly for the proud experts on the separateness and independence of Scots law – that Scots law is not self-sustained . Oh great heavens above! And – Oh dear me! – he does mention that the Act of Union in 1707 changed Scots law – and even goes so far to mention some specific changes introduced like appeals to the House of Lords.

Also – take a deep breath and steady yourselves – this scholar happens to mention that a legislature is indeed a part of a legal system, – great heavens above! – something that has been disputed many a time now by experts on the ever-independent Scots legal system in this thread. The relevant quote being that before 1998 “the most obvious gap in a legal system in Scotland [was] the absence of a legislature dedicated exclusively to its maintenance and development…”

Quotes from: “Invincible or Just a Flesh Wound? The Holy Grail of Scots Law” by Hector MacQueen (2014) [FYI the title refers to Monty Python – with Scots Law being the Black Knight…]

“On what basis might it be said that a legal system which has operated for around a thousand years is in crisis? After all, its existence is guaranteed by no less than two of the 25 articles of the 1707 Union between Scotland and England & Wales,2 while there is no suggestion in the relevant Treaties that the “ever-closer union” envisaged for Europe entails the removal of the domestic legal systems within Member States.

The starting (or perhaps scratching) point might however be said to begin with that guarantee of 1707. It is not always realised that discussions of, and, indeed, negotiation towards, voluntary Anglo-Scottish Union had taken place on numerous occasions since the late thir- teenth century.4 These usually involved marriages between heirs of the English and Scottish royal houses which would in course of time produce a single heir to both Crowns; which would thereafter be unified. In such negotiations prior to the ones that led to the 1707 Union, however, the Scots always maintained the separ- ate-ness of their law and legal system even after such a unification, with a particular point always being the exclu- sion of any appeal from Scotland to any court sitting in England. In the 1707 Union, however, the Scots aban- doned this traditional negotiating position.
In Article XVIII of the Union Agreement of 1707 we find the idea that “public right” is henceforth malleable to make it the same throughout the new United Kingdom, whereas “private rights” are to be changed only where that is for the “evident utility of the subjects within Scotland”.5 There was a vital contrast here: change to Scots law was envisaged, albeit with public law more susceptible to alteration than private law; indeed, Article XVIII itself authorized immediate Anglicisation in that “the Laws con- cerning Regulation of Trade, Customs, and . . . Excises . . . [was to] be the same in Scotland, from and after the Union as in England”. Further, while the courts of both Scotland and England were expressly to retain their separ- ate jurisdictions under Article XIX, nothing was said ( probably deliberately) to prevent appeals from the Scottish courts to the House of Lords; and these quickly became established practice in civil cases, to the extent indeed that there were more House of Lords appeals from Scotland than from England by the end of the eighteenth century.

These provisions for change to Scots law by the legis- lature sowed the seeds from which grew much legal development that was not so much actively hostile to the Scottish legal system as simply by-passed it.8 From the nineteenth century on legislation sought to deal with pressing social issues to which traditional legal analysis of any kind, Scottish or English, seemed quite irrelevant if not inimical – notably social and welfare law, but also the taxation which provided the resources with which to tackle these problems. The rise of the welfare state was the rise of the British state, not of distinct English and Scottish ones. Likewise the growth of commerce within the single market that now existed in the United Kingdom did not respect and was indeed rather im- patient with jurisdictional divides, and the Westminster Parliament responded with measures which, while some- times recognising Scottish differences, tended to treat them as peculiarities rather than as affecting the funda- mentals of unifying schemes.9 Commerce also threw up new ideas – corporations, insurance, intellectual prop- erty, consumer protection – which seemed to require new law altogether; and there also seemed to be little point in spending time devising distinct legal responses that would accord with either English or Scottish legal traditions.

But other great matters of state by and large fell to be played out elsewhere than in Scotland or the Scottish courts, and the big books on the subject were mostly written and published south of the border, only rarely considering the Scottish dimension or indeed the Union of 1707 unless to dismiss it or minim- ise its significance. Dicey’s characterisation of the Act of Union as merely another statute which the Westminster Parliament could amend or repeal in the simple exercise of its own absolute sovereignty is the best-known example.

In the relatively recent past, the process of legal inte- gration in social and commercial matters has been renewed by the processes of “Europeanisation” following the United Kingdom’s accession to what is now the European Union on 1 January 1973. This affects English as much as Scots law, and it may give the historically aware Scots lawyer a certain Schadenfreude to hear the cries of protest emanating from English lawyers against European Union proposals for changes to the law.

Some of the enthusiasm [for the European Convention on Human Rights] faded, however, as it became clear, not only that criminal law and procedure, hitherto one of the main bastions of Scottish legal autonomy, was subject to review for consistency with Convention rights, but also that for most purposes, the final say on these matters lay, not in the High Court of Justiciary as hither- to, but in either the European Court of Human Rights or, more concerningly, in Westminster, in the form of the House of Lords, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, or, after 1 October 2009, the new UK Supreme Court. The culmination of this was the Supreme Court’s decision in the Cadder case, handed down on 26 October 2010,15 that the Scottish legislation which allowed the prosecution to rely on confessions made by a suspect without access to legal advice during police interviews was contrary to that individual’s right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the ECHR as authoritatively defined by the European Court on Human Rights in Salduz v Turkey.16 This not only over-ruled the High Court’s view of the question, but also led instantly to a significant legislative reform of Scots criminal procedure in the form of the Criminal Procedure (Legal Assistance, Detention and Appeals) (Scotland) Act,

The Black Knight dismisses the loss of his left arm as but a scratch, and goes on fighting. The autonomy of Scots law and the Scottish legal system is certainly less than it was; but the essentially external factors just dis- cussed have simply forced upon the players within the system the need to change approach rather than give up the game altogether. Many of the same factors impact upon other legal systems in similar ways. Patched up, and with some rehabilitative treatment, the Scottish version can continue to perform in a useful way, even to the extent of using its limited but none the less still real autonomy to influence those wielding the power of final decision-making, whether legislative, executive or judicial. ‘It’s just a flesh wound!’ Things become progressively more difficult for the Black Knight, however, as one by one his limbs are severed; and however much he may dismiss each of his losses as just flesh wounds, the reality is that they eventually deprive him of any capacity to guard the bridge. Is there any reason to think that Scots law and the Scottish legal system are on their way to a parallel fate?”

There is much more – but I better not quote the whole article so extensively, because that would be too much quoting. It does however mention that if people voted for independence there would be a new constitution, and also various other changes to the law etc.

I might look at more law in the morning. Please do not be such rude people again overnight. You don’t seem to have any better than a flimsy grasp of Scots law yourselves, yet you have been so rude to me and my questions about what the legal implications of independence would be.

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Limericky Dicky 09.17.14 at 12:40 pm

I am female actually

Well, yes, that had occurred to me
but in verse, I cannot ramble.
Explanatory apology:
being terse, I took a gamble.

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Val 09.17.14 at 12:42 pm

I’m incredibly tired, but I just think you vote no people are wrong.

ZM may ramble on a lot but I think there’s some truths there. I’m a child of Empire, like Meredith says (literally my mother was English, although her mother was Irish Catholic, so that’s a whole nother road I won’t go down at present), but living in Australia, if you have any sensitivity, you can’t help but be aware of the legacy of a genocidal imperial invasion.

The logic is
England was the centre of the Empire (even if some Scots came along for the ride and what they could get out of it)
The empire did some evil things
I’ve never really seen the English admit that, including on this thread.

So maybe ‘perfidious Albion’ is right, and Scotland is better off leaving? Not everything’s about money.

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Val 09.17.14 at 12:47 pm

But oh please ZM – try for some brevity

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Val 09.17.14 at 12:49 pm

Model yourself upon Limericky Dicky, that mistress of words

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Daniel 09.17.14 at 1:07 pm

ZM – I agree that this thread has a rare and very unpleasant lack of civility. However, bear in mind that the adverb ‘completely’ in reference to the ‘separate legal system’ in Scotland was introduced by yourself. In Scotland (& the UK, generally) there is a wide acknowledgement that the system is separate and independent. Obviously they share some conventions (stretching back through pre-UK Angle-Saxon legal norms to influences from Roman law) and are not utterly distinct systems (I wonder whether any legal systems on Earth could make this claim) but the Scottish legal system has always been separate to – not perfectly distinct from or free from influence by – the English or broader UK legal system. This is true regardless of the fact that a single parliament may have legislated for Scotland and the entire UK at times – because ‘legal system’ denotes more than just the parliament, as has been repeatedly mentioned with the example given of the ‘Not Proven’ verdict.

With reference to the OP: independence in my eyes ought to mean more representative, ergo more responsible and accountable, government. However, being part of the UK and a member of the EU grants Scotland a great deal of security – economic, legal, military, etc. – and for those of us with any investment in the country, either outcome gives cause to worry. My feelings currently, Belle, are fairly forlorn – neither movement has won me, but neither fails to tug at my heart, either. My brain, cynic that it is, suggests that the least-bad option is a ‘No’ vote – but only when I remember, “better the devil you know.” :(

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Salem 09.17.14 at 1:24 pm

Claims of a separate Scottish jurisprudence seem quite unlikely

It is always hilarious when someone is wrong at the top of their voice.

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Salem 09.17.14 at 1:25 pm

It’s also hilarious when someone gets the html wrong. The above was a quote from ZM.

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Daniel 09.17.14 at 1:36 pm

Apologies, ZM – the phrase ‘completely separate legal system’ was from Stephen – however I think you are still conflating ‘completely separate’ with ‘completely different’. The two are, and have always been, separate (“complete separate-ness” seems to me a pointless phrase) but share influences and are clearly not completely different.

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Anonymous Coward 09.17.14 at 2:20 pm

Val@317: Your logic is flawed. The concentration of Britain into England and then London mostly happened quite recently. Glasgow was an extremely important city to the Empire. The fact that there have been several books fairly recently that have been a backlash against the idea that the Empire was entirely bad suggests that there are a goodly number of English people who admit that bad things did indeed occur. This still doesn’t have a great deal of relevance to the vote tomorrow.

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Sasha Clarkson 09.17.14 at 2:52 pm

ZM: Appeals to the House of Lords were allowed in civil cases but never in criminal cases; etc etc. The best you can come up with are half truths. You started off pontificating about something you knew nothing about, and then set yourself upon the path of trawling the internet, not to learn or to understand, but to find (inevitably out of context) quotes to back up your initial uniformed opinion and save your face.

To make an analogy, I feel its as if I am being lectured from the other side of the world that it can’t be sunny outside here in wet Wales, and furthermore that if I think I can see the sun, then I must be mistaken.

VAL – the big difference between Scotland and Ireland is that its ruling class was local. The truth is that Scotland had a constitutionally privileged position in the UK between 1750 ish and 1979. Then the Conservative party abandoned both one-nation Conservatism and the post-war economic and social consensus. That is why, in the 30 years following, the Tories went from being the biggest party in Scotland to being a contemptible rump (just asking to be kicked!!). If Scotland as a whole hadn’t done well out of the Union, the Tories wouldn’t have been so popular after universal suffrage – especially as its education system was better than England’s.

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Limericky Dicky 09.17.14 at 3:11 pm

England was the centre of the Empire (even if some Scots came along for the ride and what they could get out of it)

To say that ‘some Scots came along’
Is so understated, it’s wrong.
Though formally, Garter
Is senior partner
The Thistle, in Empire, was strong.

The equal of poms in their bravery,
Scots nobly got rich from the slavery
And proud subjugation
Of many a nation,
And gloried in Albion’s knavery.

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Val 09.17.14 at 3:28 pm

AC @322
Ha. I thought somebody would fall into my trap and tell me it was irrelevant. I really have to go to sleep, but saying it’s irrelevant is evidence for what I’m saying. Sorry really too tired to say anything more right now.

Damn can’t go to sleep. Ok. I’m not a voter, but if I were, and I were making a choice to vote yes as I considered England to be a country that had acted badly in the past, and refused to acknowledge it or apologise for it, and you (as an advocate for the no cause) said to me “that’s not relevant”, you are not really telling me what’s relevant to my vote, because that’s up to me to decide, you are implicitly saying: “I don’t want you to vote on those grounds because I can’t effectively defend England on those grounds”. It’s a ‘look over there’ tactic.

Providing evidence is ok, but I think your evidence is a bit weak. Anyway it’s effectively undermined by the irrelevance claim.

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Limericky Dicky 09.17.14 at 3:40 pm

And Sasha – I don’t mean to gang up on Aussies (that’s cowardly), but still I should add: you’re spot on in your vivid analogy.

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Val 09.17.14 at 3:44 pm

Ok SC and LD, so is it like, Scotland’s just as guilty as England about being imperialists so they should stay together?

And even, they are as bad as each other, so should be guided by pragmatic self-interest only? (I know you didn’t say that but does it follow?)

And do you think maybe the Scots who are planning to vote yes don’t actually agree that Scotland is as bad as England re the imperialist history? (I know you might say they don’t care about it – that it really is irrelevant – but if you asked them?).

Anyway there were a lot of Scots settled and did well from dispossessing the Indigenous population here in Victoria, I grant you (v diff from Irish).

But my sense is that the yes voters are influenced by some sense of comparative moral worth (I freely admit I don’t know much about it). If so, do you think that would have a historical component or just be about comparatively recent social justice issues (eg)? I mean they do have a better record on social justice don’t they?

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guthrie 09.17.14 at 3:51 pm

Well, I don’t recall comparative moral worth coming up in conversations, and given I’m Scottish, living in Scotland, I happen to have some experience of the matter.
The closest you get is the consideration that the British ruling class, centred in London, is morally bankrupt and bad and dangerous.
Now, it would be a childish error to mistake the ruling class, especially Westminsnter politicians, for the entirety of England, and most people I have met don’t make that mistake.

As for social justice, so far the Scottish parliament has a better record than the Tories, indeed that is one reason people want to vote yes.

331

Val 09.17.14 at 3:54 pm

Oh man I really must go to sleep, but I am not trying to tell anyone what their weather is. I’m just attacking the English for being unrepentant imperialists. You tell me I should attack the Scots as well, you may well be right, but I still think they may not exactly be the victim but surely they were at least the weaker partner.

And there are are degrees in all this – I’m not really following it all but I get the impression some people (Highland crofters or such?) really were victims. And regardless of someone telling me a while back that that was irrelevant because they couldn’t vote (definitely wrong, voting ability is not required for cultural tradition), I think that sort of stuff matters. Anyway enough, I’m going to sleep. It’s very late here and I definitely can’t see the sun, so don’t try to tell me otherwise.

I did learn some British history as a young undergraduate, but of course it was forced down my throat and I have forgotten it as act against cultural imperialism.

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Val 09.17.14 at 4:02 pm

People don’t talk about comparative moral worth in conversations usually. However, I for example, do feel The Greens or the Socialist Alliance have more moral worth than Labor or the Libs, though I wouldn’t usually give that as a reason for voting.

Anyway I would like the yes vote to win, although I am no longer emotionally identifying the Scots with my particular passions about anti-imperialism etc. (well not so much). It would still be a victory against England. (I don’t hate the English truly I don’t … You’re great sorry)

Thanks for the education

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engels 09.17.14 at 4:11 pm

Anyway I would like the yes vote to win, although I am no longer emotionally identifying the Scots with my particular passions about anti-imperialism etc. (well not so much). It would still be a victory against England. (I don’t hate the English truly I don’t … You’re great sorry)

Glad you’ve cleared that up.

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guthrie 09.17.14 at 4:42 pm

There’s a simple solution, Val – separate the populace in general from the ruling clique. For instance, the Iraq war- largest public demonstrations against in a generation, but the politicians still went for it. The party in charge has suffered ever since, although there are some that woudl argue we are all still morally culpable since we didn’t chuck them out immediately in some way or another.

As for the Scots, many, especially the lowlanders, did well enough straight away out of the union. THe highlands though were too much of a backwater, not because of opression by the English or whoevver, but because of their geographical location and lack of resources. The highland clearances everyone hears about started decades before, except they were the rich and well connected part of the populace leaving, and the actual violent clearances were getting rid of the poor who had nowhere else to go and no money to go with (Rather like nowadays). If they were victims of anything it was the unequal highly stratified class and economy based system, which is something that a lot of modern yes and no voters would like to see killed. They just disagree about the best way to do it and whether we would be better placed to do it in an independent Scotland or not.

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Stephen 09.17.14 at 5:16 pm

ZM@277: “I fear you seem to have attributed to me an odd sort of argument that the England pushed the English language into Scotland before it was spoken in England.”

As many others have said, this is getting a long way off the topic of the independence referendum, but in the interests of factual accuracy: no, that is not at all the argument I was stating. What I was trying to get across was that the Anglian kingdom of Northumberland, in which at least some people spoke an Anglo-Saxon language, at one time covered most of Lowland Scotland; at a time when similar languages were spoken in most of what is now England. Look up the Ruthwell Cross.

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TM 09.17.14 at 5:21 pm

It is certainly counterintutive for a politically highly centralized state to tolerate separate legal systems in different of its territories, while denying local political control (*). It is also counterintuituve that Scotland for more than a century has had a national soccer team but no parliament of its own. Now Scotland and Wales have their own parliaments but England doesn’t. It seems that the UK is just weird by everybody else’s standards… See also the suggestion for a federal UK (http://crookedtimber.org/2014/09/17/ein-bundesrepublik-britannien/)

(*) Quebec also has kept its separate legal system after British conquest (stated as one of George’s crimes in the Declaration of American). Of course Quebec has had a continuous parliament since 1867.

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ZM 09.17.14 at 10:52 pm

Sasha Clarkson,

Can you leave off with the patronizing rude insultingness please? I am genuinely interested in the topic of English laws (more because of their legacy in Australia) – and your replies have consistently been rude rather than helpful and your statements have not been especially detailed on either Gaelic in Scotland or law.

“ZM: Appeals to the House of Lords were allowed in civil cases but never in criminal cases; etc etc. The best you can come up with are half truths. “

It is not a half truth that appeals were able to go to the House of Lords. Appeals did go to the House of Lords.

“You started off pontificating about something you knew nothing about, and then set yourself upon the path of trawling the internet, not to learn or to understand, but to find (inevitably out of context) quotes to back up your initial uniformed opinion and save your face.”

I thought it was unlikely Scots law is separate from English law – because Australian law is not separate from English law and we do not even have the parliament in England making laws for us. We get many old laws from England and English case law is used at court. I actually do like to learn on threads , and usually do reading.

Please tell me what I have quoted out of context?

338

Phil 09.17.14 at 11:01 pm

The referendum is tomorrow. Weirdly, I can’t help sharing some of the elation so apparent in the Yes campaign, even though I think a Yes victory would be a disaster. But a close No result, with the inevitability of some form of further devolution, will be good for Scotland and good for redefining the nations of the UK’s relations with one another – and we couldn’t have got to a close No without the Yes campaign giving it all they had. If No wins, devo max will be their victory; I hope they can see it in that light.

339

ZM 09.17.14 at 11:06 pm

Sasha Clarkson and Limericky Dicky ,

I am not telling you anything about the weather over there.

I am discussing whether Scots law can be said to be separate from English law – when Westminster made all the laws from 1707 to 1998 and still makes some law now.

And you seem to think you will just like to keep maintaining the separateness – no matter what evidence I provide – so as you can keep insulting me for not being an expert on Scots law – But you yourselves only provide generalizations and don’t source your claims

340

Rich Puchalsky 09.17.14 at 11:08 pm

“But a close No result, with the inevitability of some form of further devolution, will be good for Scotland “

If a No results occurs, and I’m correct that in that case the promise of deco max will be broken and there will be no short-term forms of further devolution (i.e. in the next decade or so), will you reconsider any of your political assumptions?

I’ll reconsider some of mine if it happens.

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Rich Puchalsky 09.17.14 at 11:09 pm

Should be “devo max” above. Not deco max. Overactive spellchecker.

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Val 09.17.14 at 11:57 pm

Engels @ 333
Welcome to Ambivalence, the state I’m in.

I had it in that poor old thing that passes for my mind these days that The Band played a song called the state I’m in – they didn’t of course, I was running two songs together. But here they are anyway (the Band, not the real song) http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=knF5Nis1K3c

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Phil 09.18.14 at 8:35 am

I’ll say again, I just don’t see how the promises of greater devolution can be broken at this stage. Nationally(!) we’ve got what’s effectively a Tory minority government propped up by a Lib Dem party which needs to assert itself before the next elections, opposed by a Labour party currently on track to get a small overall majority. All three have promised to implement devo max after the next UK election in 2015, and at least two of the three have very strong motivations for doing so. Whichever party forms the government, they’ll need to deliver if they’re not going to be wiped out in Scotland at the subsequent UK election – and, perhaps more importantly, at the next Scottish Parliament election in 2016.

The only government I can imagine reneging outright – or offering reforms so trivial as to amount to the same thing – is a Tory majority government; they’ve got very little to lose in Scotland and UKIP to fend off on the reactionary right. Fortunately that situation’s not likely to arise. But even if that did happen, can you imagine the mood in Scotland? We’d be looking at Referendum II by 2020 and Yes would get 80%. Even the Tories don’t want that – although they are, perhaps, just stupid enough to bring it about.

As for Labour and the Lib Dems, it’s in their interests to maintain the Union, it’s in their interests not to throw away their Scottish support, and they’re not led by idiots. Holyrood happened; the devolution of powers over health, transport etc happened and hasn’t been clawed back. If No wins, and as long as the Tories don’t win in 2015, devo max is on.

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guthrie 09.18.14 at 9:42 am

ZM – how about this link:
http://www.rlclaw.co.uk/advice/history-scots-law/

WHich maintains that Scots and English law are different, and specifically states that the treaty of union would maintain a separate scots legal system.

Other things for you to read to bolster our point that SCots law is separate from English law, even with the parliament being in England, and of course with some english and later EU influence, as is unavoidable are:
http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/elr.2002.6.3.406

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