Another? When was the last indyref?
In 2014 there was an indyref – that is a referendum on Scottish independence. The vote went in favour of the union by about 55%.but the SNP – the Scottish Nationalist Party – say it’s time for another. Why? Because Britain’s decision to leave the EU changes the situation. Also we have a Conservative government in Westminster when very few Scots voted for them in the last (or any other recent) general election.
Was there a reverse indyref when Scotland joined the UK?
No! In 1603 when Queen Elizabeth I died, King James VI of Scots became James I of England. Foe a century the two countries remained separate but linked. In 1707 they agreed to merge more fully, mainly by merging the two parliaments, but kept separate legal systems. There was no referendum, but the Scottish parliament agreed to the union.
Was Jacobitism a sort of indyref?
Not really. The Jacobites wanted to make James Stewart king of the whole of Britain, not just Scotland. I wrote about that in a recent blog. I don’t think anyone wanted to make him King of Scots only, although Scottish Nationalists sometimes talk as if the deposed Stewarts were Scottish heroes. On the other hand, William Wallace and Robert Bruce did fight to defend Scottish independence, against the ambitions of Kings of England. Not that the English were consulted either.
The Jacobites play a part in both my Highwaypersons noverls
and will be important in the third of the series, Stallion Man, which I am still writing.
But is it time for another indyref now?
There is a good case for it. Even if you believe in the union, as I do, it should be maintained voluntarily. I would not want any part of Britain to be kept in the UK against the wishes of its inhabitants. Let’s argue the case openly and let the people decide. I am certainly not anti-Scottish, nor do I want Scotland to be treated unfavourably in the union or out of it.
So is my answer is ‘Yes, let’s have another indyref now’?
Not quite. I think the timing is wrong. With Brexit still unresolved, people won’t know what they are voting for or against. Oh, you thought it was resolved? Hard luck! We’ve yet to negotiate the future trading arrangements with the EU. The outcome of that could well affect the advantages and disadvantages of remaining in the UK. A customs union, or something similar, could make it more advantageous to stay together. It would also solve the question of Northern Ireland’s borders, a question on which I have written previously. And we won’t know what sort of deal we’ll get until we get it.
Indyref or no, North or South of the Border, I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!