Did the Scots rebel in 1715?
Not all Scots did. Many, probably most, accepted the rule of George the First. The rebels, called ‘Jacobites’, wanted to make James Stewart king. Religion, clan loyalties and personal ambitions all affected which side you were on. As I showed in my novel Highwaypersons, Book I, Debts and Duties, not all Jacobites were Scottish. Some were from the North of England, some from Wales and there were even a few in Oxford. Many people were dissatisfied for all kinds of reasons and placed their hopes in King James the Third.
Are the Scots making trouble today?
Some would say the trouble is being made in Westminster. I was interested in a remark by Nicola Sturgeon in the recent Question Time special. She said many of the issues facing Scotland are also present in much of England. She blamed Westminster politicians, who seem to be too focused on London and the South East and are out of touch with the reality of life in the provinces as well as in Scotland. She advocated more decentralisation among other things.
Do the Scots need special treatment?
You could say they already have it. They have their own parliament. Does not the North need special treatment? And the Westcountry? And East Anglia? In fact, if Westminster was more in touch with the rest of Britain, allowed more devolution and addressed regional inequalities, perhaps there would be less pressure for Scottish independence. The issues are there across the country, as in 1715.
What’s the lesson from the Scots?
If Westminster politicians were to listen to Nicola Sturgeon, perhaps the English could benefit as well as the Scots.I do wish they would. I want to be loyal to both, just as the old city of Monmouth declared itself loyal to England and Wales.