The Great Debate UK

from John Lloyd:

No Union, please, we’re English

The opinions expressed are his own.

In France, it is les Anglais. In Germany, die Engländer. In Italy, gli Inglesi. In Russia, Anglichane.

The peoples of the United Kingdom, for most other peoples, are habitually “English.”

Not unnaturally. The English part of the UK accounts for close to 90 per cent of the country’s population; the language is English; the capital is London, long the English capital; the accents heard are overwhelmingly English; the long-held stereotype of the country is an upper-class English gent, snobbish, prudish and insular.

This suits at least some of the English, who often do the same as foreigners when referring to their nation state.  Frequently, without any malice, they have assumed that Britain is co-terminus with England (until recently, England supporters waved the Union Jack—which represents all of the British nations--at international football matches). Once, years ago, when speaking to a former senior Royal courtier, I mildly corrected his use of “England” to “Britain.” He wagged a humorous finger at me (a Scot) and said: “Now now, none of that Scots nationalism!” – which is, when you think of it as an answer to my objection, incomprehensible, except in terms of a certain English mindset. Yet, though illogical, it was also thoughtlessly generous: the English nation had dissolved itself into the state, and by waving the Union Jack, gave an implicit invitation to the other nations of the British state to do likewise – though only the Northern Irish did.

Is Scotland heading towards independence?

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By Paul Henderson Scott

The result of the Elections for the Scottish Parliament of May 5 has been widely described as historic. The Scottish National Party (SNP), which was created to gain independence, won an overall majority, something no other party has achieved in the devolved Scottish Parliament. In fact, the electoral system was designed by a previous UK Labour Government especially to make such a result unlikely, if not impossible. Labour, LibDem and the Conservatives all lost seats: Labour even in areas in and around Glasgow which they have held for decades. There is now  a mood of optimism and confidence in Scotland, and the SNP is committed to holding a referendum on independence in mid-term.

Scotland is one of oldest nation states in Europe and we resisted English invasion for centuries. In 1603 the Scottish King, James VI, whose grandmother was an English princess, succeeded to the English throne. After the failure of the Darien scheme which the English Government did their best to disrupt, the Scottish Parliament in 1703 passed a bill to restore full independence on the death of Queen Anne by electing a separate Scottish monarch on her death. The English Government responded by first threatening invasion and then offering negotiations. The Scottish delegation was appointed by Queen Anne and during the talks the English side refused to discuss any proposal except their own. This led to a draft Treaty for the Union of the two kingdoms. The consent of the Scottish Parliament was achieved by the heavy bribery of some members. At that time the Scottish Parliament, like others, consisted almost entirely of the aristocracy and representatives of the landowners. The people of Scotland declared their opposition to the union in a flood of messages, but they were ignored.

The Disunited Kingdom

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- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party. The opinions expressed are his own -

BRITAIN SCOTLANDThe recent election has revealed more clearly than before the profound divide between Scottish and English opinion. The Conservatives have 297 seats in England but only one in Scotland (plus eight in Wales). As Joyce McMillan said in The Scotsman, “Our pattern of voting increasingly marks us out as a nation apart”.

Leaders’ debates highlight need for Scottish independence

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- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party. The opinions expressed are his own -

The television coverage of the forthcoming election has hardly mentioned Scottish issues and Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), which forms the Scottish government, has not been included in the televised leaders’ debates.

To satisfy its aspirations, Scotland needs independence

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paulscott1- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party (SNP). The opinions expressed are his own -

My most recent book of essays had the title, ‘The Age of Liberation’, because many of them considered the transformation of the world by the recent dissolution of all the empires and most of the multi-national states into their component parts. So far Scotland has been left behind.

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