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There is an underlying problem here and that is the Union is not loved North of the boarder, and now with the anti-English devolution and financial settlements its popularity in England is dropping.

We can either renew the Union and provide a structure that doesn't treat the English like they don't exist, but also provide the necessary respect for the other nations of the UK, or we can wait for it to be in Scotland's interests to leave and wave them good bye.

Current Conservative policy here is woefully inadequate.

The worrying implication here is that if Scotland's economy goes under, England will bail them out.

I am a Unionist but I am opposed to subsidies for Scotland.

"There is an underlying problem here and that is the Union is not loved North of the boarder"

Eh! How do you come by that conclusion?

"The worrying implication here is that if Scotland's economy goes under, England will bail them out."

This just gets more hilarious, how do you work that one out? And have you bothered to follow the news about the melt down of the Banking system in countries like America and elsewhere?

"This just gets more hilarious, how do you work that one out?"

Because Goldie is saying that an independent Scotland would be insolvent and therefore in deep trouble.

Therefore to remain in the Union must mean that it will be able to get money from somewhere to solve its problems.

"And have you bothered to follow the news about the melt down of the Banking system in countries like America and elsewhere?"

The difference is that the American government can borrow a lot more than in independent Scottish government.

In regard to Alan Cochrane's article in The Torygraph, Salmond never included Denmark in his 'arc of prosperity' guff.

"The romantic dream of independence" will never be killed off, just as devolution never managed to kill nationalism "stone dead".

What will push Scots towards supporting independence is a predominantly English Tory government at Westminster, with only a people carrier full of Scottish Tory MP's (as pointed out in a recent opinion poll in the Sunday Times).

NEWSFLASH: Scotland comes third in funding arrangements in the UK, after Northern Ireland and London.....do you hear anyone complaining about the rest of the UK'subsidising' Londoners...Anyway, i can see a far better argument for more spending amongst the heather and glens of the highlands, than the stinky streets of a Lambeth ghetto!

I thought it was a particularly 'orrible sort of gloating from Mr Cochrane. Not my sort of Unionist at all!

As to whether current problems will dampen the ardour for independence, maybe I'll await Glenrothes outcome before venturing an opinion. Given the perceived wisdom that a proportion of SNP votes are from Unionists that want to stick two fingers up at Labour, the result could be indicative.

RichardJ I was pointing out the ludicrous nature of your post considering the scale of the economic crisis, and the wide spread nature of it. This is not a Scottish problem, its a UK wide one in the banking system.

Not long ago, David Mundell (Shadow Scottish Secretary) was reported as saying that a Cameron government would work with the Salmond administration in Holyrood. Surely, it is time for the egocentric weasel to be sacked by Cameron.

Are you really sure the dream of Scottish independence has crashed?

I was rather looking forward to voting in a referendum to give them a good send off before launching a campaign for a London referendum on independence - according to this piece on Newsnight, London resident taxpayers are making a net contribution to the national Exchequer of about £18 billion a year:

Remember, the motivation for the Acts of Union of 1706 and 1707 was that the Scottish state was bankrupt at the time and needed a bail-out from England:

We are faced with the SNP calling for independence, blaming the Unionists for holding Scotland back and on the other the traditional Unionist message that implies that Scotland cannot make it's own way.

This is deeply insulting to Scots and simplistic in the extreme. The fact of the matter is that if Scotland became independent, we would thrive. We are Scots, and the Scots have made a huge contribution across the world, punching well above our weight in terms of achievement and influence. Scots the world over have (or at least had) unrivalled reputations as engineers, inventors, soldiers, sailors diplomats and the like. To suggest we can't cut is is complete nonsense.

But that is not the point. I am a Scot and proud of my homeland. I have travelled, I have worked in England and I have come home because I want to make a difference. I am part of the Scottish diaspora that Alex Salmond speaks about when he talks about a homecoming, it's just that unlike him, I see no need for independence

But just because I believe that Scotland can cut it as an independent country doesn't mean that we should. The fact is that we have been part of a successful United Kingdom for thee hundred years and our history and progress is inexorably linked with the rest of the UK. We are at the same time complementary and competitive. We are both friends and rivals, as you might expect from any family. Indeed how many in the UK can say that they do not have relatives who are English, Irish, Welsh and Scots?

I am a unionist, not because I don't believe in Scotland, far from it.

I believe, and if, ever the Scottish people decide to go our separate way, then I will work to make it a success. No, I believe that we can be greater, stronger and more fulfilled as a part of the United Kingdom.

Bob B, remember how timely Oil and Gas coming on stream was for the Thatcher government?

And also remember that London's contributions to the Exchequer might take a dive for the foreseeable future, we have the London Olympics to pay for and its seems that private investment is starting to dry up in the present economic climate.

Stewart, calm down! I am listening to my favourite Runrig compilation as I type, but even I am struggling to find that level of rhetoric in the lyrics!

The reality of living in a civilised society, for any responsible and mature right-of-centre party like us, must be held firmly in mind. Particularly for those who want to lob off parts of the UK that they view as being a burden.

If these people ever got near the tiller of the nation, would we have ever liberated the Falklands? Would they have defended Ulster? Would they help out the North, or even anywhere outwith Greater London, simply because the capital generates the wealth of the nation and everywhere else puts a drain on that?

Whoever decided that it would be clever to start compiling profit and loss accounts for the regions and nations of the United Kingdom has made a serious mistake. A nation is greater than the sum of the parts. In every nation, the capital will generate the most wealth, and the capital will have to expend that wealth on the provinces, satellite cities and poorer regions. Without that expenditure, the capital cannot maintain the prestiege that made it rich in the first place.

If everyone adopted this narrow-minded perspective, the Roman Empire would never have got off the ground. Now the British Empire is finished, is this the best the English have to offer? Cut off their horizons, even within the Union they helped to concoct?

Taking the current economic crisis as an example, the contribution by RBOS and RBS to the British, yes, the BRITISH economy, is beyond measure. Those two institutions are Scottish companies, if you want to start being picky about the specific nations within the UK. Yes, it is British taxpayers that are contributing towards those two companies this time around.

Let's remember why that is though... it is not to give Scotland a subsidy. It is not to do-over the English - it is to preserve the banking system, not for the benefit of Scots, heck not even just the British - but as part of a contribution to save the economy of the Western world.

Alex Salmond is now looking incredibly exposed in his position. I will be honest, as a Conservative, a Unionist, and a Scot, that Scotland in this instance could not have saved these two mammoth institutions as an independent nation. We needed the UK to do this, and without the UK, we couldn't. We would be another Iceland.

As for the oil fund Alex Salmond talks about - the fund that would pay for the future after the oil is all dried up - that would be worth beans now. Each small nation he referred to as an example for an independent Scotland is on it's knees now.

As for the mentality of EngDems, UKIP'pers, and even the English Nationalists still lurking around in the Tory party, all I can say is some elements of English society must be getting a rather big chip on their shoulder since the British Empire has came to an end.

ChrisD | October 14, 2008 at 17:53 -
I base my comments on:

1) Reading the Scottish press ( The Herald and Scotsman - everyone should do that who wants to understand where we really are here ).
2) I've live in Scotland in 3 different locations for over 4 years.
3) I've married into a Scottish family ( who are wonderful ), and visit regularly.

Much as the Scottish Conservative party has wonderful people, they do not command anything near majority support or represent mainstream Scottish opinion to the rest of the party. ( This may be what makes the party in part blind to the real situation and the risks that tactics like the Clarke fudge and Cameron going on about little Englanders take.)

"This is deeply insulting to Scots and simplistic in the extreme. The fact of the matter is that if Scotland became independent, we would thrive."

Of course, among other things, recent events blow up the comforting delusion that the Scots have a special talent for managing banks - both RBS and HBOS have headquarters in Edinburgh.

Just look at the facts:

"The men at the top of Scotland's two big banks are to go, after the government announced a £37bn bail-out. RBS chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin has stepped down and RBS chairman Tom McKillop is to retire. HBOS chief executive Andy Hornby and chairman Lord Stevenson are also to stand down from their posts."

The stockmarket prices of those UK banks which are not taking state-aids seem to be doing rather well:

By the look of it, shares in HBOS, Lloyds TSB (which is planning to takeover HBOS) and the RSB - all of which are taking state-aids - have taken a beating.

It would seem that that even the stockmarket is now afflicted with a touch of xenophobia.

Just joking.

"Much as the Scottish Conservative party has wonderful people, they do not command anything near majority support or represent mainstream Scottish opinion to the rest of the party."

Silly me, I am was only born, brought up and continue to live in Scotland. I have been a Conservative voter all my life and a member and footsoldier since 97'. I have seen the dramatic changes in our political landscape over the last 10 years, but hell, what do I know about it.

Found the Englander comment at the end very telling though!

Bear in mind, there's an election in Glenrothes coming up and the events of the past week will severly dent the SNP.

It would be interesting to see whether an internal audit of both HBOS and RBS to see whether the losses originated in Edinburgh or Halifax or London. Actually it unlikely we'll ever know the answer.

I'm one of those who believed Scotland would be viable as an independent country (I don't believe its desireable but that's a different matter). However critical to achieve a successful and prosperous state would be a serious reduction in the amount of state spending and state intervention. This means fewer civil servants, fewer local government employees, fewer people on the payroll of Quangos. In other words a free market, low taxation economy. Even before Black October, a Scotland with the present level of state spending and therefore taxation would have led to a business flight to a more hospitable business environment.

Actually a free market, low taxation policy would not be good for Scotland but would be good for Britain. Who knows maybe one day a political party will fight an election believing in that.

There's a straight forward, rational explanation for Scotland's woes unconnected with xenophobic tensions or state interference in free markets or tax burdens. Consider this report from the Scottish press:

"THE rate of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland is rising – and is more than double the rate for the UK as a whole, figures out yesterday showed. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that in 2006, there were 13.4 deaths per 100,000 people linked to alcohol in the UK – up from 12.9 the previous year."

Prescience or what? Amid recent reports of the financial crisis, I've not seen any comment about the timeliness of this business deal reported as a minor, passing news item in the financial press last July:

"Tesco is to compete with High Street banks after it has bought out RBS’s (RBS) 50% share in Tesco Personal Finance (TPF) in a deal worth £950 million."

The model that Sandy sets out would be the most successful model for a new Scotland making it's own way in the world.

Although in theory any nation could become independent - we in Scotland would have to seriously tighten the purse strings to survive. Zimbabwe survives as an independent country, as an example, but only just. Where is the attractiveness in leaving the Union to be worse off? Make no mistake - there are zealots in the SNP, SSP and Solidarity parties who would like to see Scotland cut from "the Establishment" at any cost!

See, look at all of the main proponents of independence in Scotland... they are all lined up along the far left to left wing. Although the politics of Scotland are comparatively more left-wing than the rest of the UK, even our commentators and think tanks on the right of centre shun the concept.

That leads me to believe that people support independence because it is an opening to establish a proper Socialist state, and because it is an opportunity to refute the Establishment. In effect, it is not Britain that is being rejected here - it is the monarchy, the aristocracy, the House of Lords, the peers, and the whole landed gentry which Scotland is severely lacking of.

Look at those disgraceful traitors who back the IRA who thrive within our nation, only to spite the British troops in Ulster. Look at those who cheered Maradona's goal in 1986 and revered in the Argentine's revenue for the Falkland war - in spite of the fact our troops died liberating people who actually have the spine to be proud to be Brits.

Anyone on the sensible side of the spectrum should look at the company the pro-independence lobby keeps, and the zany comments and notions they have for Scotia after the cord is cut. If that doesn't put you off, nothing will.

Annie Lennox, for instance, said: "Scotland could have some kind of new, ethical, visionary stance and it could take on some fresh ideas. That could be amazing, really amazing."

We don't want to be visionary or experimental, hen. We don't want our nation and it's heritage to be a guinea pig for a hotch-potch of pacifists, ultra liberals, Trots and ex-Commies. We want to live our lives with the values we have held to dear since the Enlightenment - that of individual liberty and enterprise.

Even Mr Salmond, who appears to be a moderate, was once expelled from his own party because of his membership of an extreme Republican faction - the '79ers.

No one will fight for a free-market, free-Scotland... because it is only those who are contrary in nature who argue for independence, and in that, they are using our nation as mere leverage in spiting the Establishment. It is our duty to alert the public to all of this.

...revered in the Argentine's win as revenge for the Falkland war...

is what it should say, sorry ;)

Bob B there were other significant reasons for Scotland joining the Union, not least the very real threat of invasion from England & the buying off of Scottish Parliamentarians. There was a lot of resistance among the disenfranchised masses despite the hard-selling of the economic dividends to be accrued. I'm not sure what your point was anyway. Is it that Scots will always chase a hand out? If that's the case then I'd have to borrow a phrase from Boris and say "piffle".

One small point about Annabel Goldie's letter: she's on a hiding to nowhere if she thinks insulting the electors' intelligence with "voting for the SNP in this by-election is not change, it’s not progress, it’s a cop out" is likely to endear many thinking people to her cause. Does she seriously think insulting a person's voting preference/tendency is going to win them over? Back to Rudimentary: 'how to win an election' for you Annabel!

Andrew, Ireland was the first to guarantee all bank deposits and Norway has access to a £200 billion oil fund. Neither economy is on its knees and there's no reason to assume Scotland's would be especially since Scotland is comparable to Norway with its oil wealth. Brown's claim that Scotland couldn't finance the bail out of RBS and HBOS doesn't necessarily hold, not least because an oil rich independent Scotland, like Norway, would be well placed to withstand and recover from the current economic woes.

London has an even better case for independence. For a start, it has a greater population than Scotland, inner London is the richest sub-region in Europe by a margin and London is the leading global foreign exchange market:

"The worldwide volume of foreign exchange trading is enormous, and it has ballooned in recent years. In April 1989 the average total value of foreign exchange trading was close to $600 billion per day, of which $184 billion were traded in London, $115 billion in New York, and $111 billion in Tokyo. Fifteen years later, in April 2004, the daily global value of foreign exchange trading had jumped to around $1.9 trillion, of which $753 billion were traded daily in London, $461 billion in New York, and $199 billion in Tokyo."
Krugman and Obstfeld: International Economics (2006) p.311

"The City of London is globalisation in action. It is, first of all, thoroughly international, handling more of the world's deals in over-the-counter derivatives, global foreign equities, eurobonds and foreign exchange than any other financial centre (see chart 3). Second, its firms specialise in innovative, high-value-added products. Third, the City is living proof that clusters work in the way that economists claim. Capital can move like mercury. The main reason why international finance has made London its home is that everyone is there, making it easier to do complicated deals and to trade quickly in large quantities. The City offers a cluster of talent—financial whizz-kids, lawyers and due-diligence accountants—that is second to none, and self-renewing. It helps that English is a near-universal second language and that London's time zone makes it possible to trade in a (long) working day with both Asia and America. Regulation is mainly deft but not lax, and the taxman takes a hospitable view of foreigners' personal earnings."

Btw Paul Krugman has just been awarded the Nobel prize for economics. Congratulations to him. The prize is well-deserved IMO.

Alan, you are being a wee bit naughty with the truth here. Norway is well placed to withstand and recover from the current economic woes because it mended the roof while the sun was shining. In other words, its got a healthy savings account which it can dip into if the need arises.

Scotland, and more importantly the UK does not. If we are going to divorce, we will be fighting over the accrued debt rather than any assets. Annabel is not insulting the electorate by the way, she is doing her job as an opposition party in Holyrood which is being run by the SNP. Disagree with her politics, but don't insult her for putting forward an alternative to the SNP narrative.

Try Magnus Linklater on independence for Scotland, which has the ring of reality about it.

Andrew Morrison, Glasgow
"I will be honest, as a...Scot...
...As for the mentality of EngDems, UKIP'pers, ..."

I don't understand the basis of your complaint. You and others can say "as a Scot", yet any English person who deigns to do the same is derided. Why is the mentality of Engdems and UKIPers scorned by you. Is there something wrong in wanting to be treated the same as you, within the Union?

Stewart Geddes October 14, 2008 at 20:52


As an Anglo Scot you have expressed my thoughts exactly.

Alan @ 01.15.
"Ireland was the first to guarantee bank deposits." This was sheer bluff. Had there been a serious run a la Iceland, Ireland would have had to look to the IMF for help.Bear in mind that Ireland like Iceland has few natural resources

To quote a famour Irishman, the Duke of Wellington, "it was a close run thing"

Stewart Geddes October 14,20:52

I applaud your feelings.

Now I want to have my analogous feelings acknowledged re England as part of the Union, without certain Tories describing the likes of me as Sour Little Englanders.

I would quite like Tesco to do likewise. I'm just back from weekly shopping (which is why my Missus adores me so much!)and left wondering why the meat department has Scottish beef and Welsh lamb, whilst all the other meat is "British",with the honourable exception of the Norfolk pork, which I bought. Are Scotland and Wales not also "British"? I'm very happy to buy Scottish and Welsh-labelled products, according to what looks nicest on the day - but not unless the choice also offers English-labelled ones.

Perhaps we should now swap this:

"There is no doubt about the Englishman's inbred conviction that those who live to the south of him are his inferiors; even our foreign policy is governed by it to some extent."

For this about our friends in the north:

Bob B
American Reuters reporter presumably, as the “North of Britain” element of the digital cleanliness study didn’t encompass Scotland – maybe because a few of them wish to wash their hands of us? ;-)


But presumably your branch of Tesco sells Cornish Pasties, Cumberland Sausages, Stilton Cheese and Melton M Pork Pies? My branch of Waitrose in Edinburgh seems to labels by county anyway. Always look for the Fife and Suffolk produce and you simply can't go wrong.

For the record agree 100% with Mr. Morrison.

I hope that any future Tory administration will have the guts to end the possibility of the union being destroyed by a very small but vocal minority of malcontents. Isn’t the reality that had Scotland been independent during this crisis, we would now be picking up the tab for a failed bank. We would have to watch as the IMF bailed out HBOS, ending up
Paying one way or another for the failed economic model that Alex Salmond so recently
Praised. Had Scotland gone the way of Iceland and Ireland things would have been far worse. Of course there are those who will argue otherwise but it all to easy to forget the importance of the English Banking system on the stability of all of the union. Had Royal bank of Scotland failed as an example, the impact would have been global. Would England be so willing to bail Scotland out again as in 1707 most espically when you consider our currant economic weakness, I suspect not. Would anyone like to put a figure on the effective subsidy Scotland currently enjoys ?

Mark, Edinburgh | October 15, 12:11

Ta for that. No problem at all with county & town names on produce - except where they're just generic rather than original. However, I have spotted your subtle message: that "Scotland" as a national entity is fine but England must be dismembered into its component parts ;-)

I also wish to lodge a formal complaint that Tesco Scotch Rolls are absolutely nothing like the size, texture or taste of Edinburgh or Glasgow morning rolls!

As a Scot, I am fed up with most of my wingeing compatriots.

It is demeaning to see a proud people
appearing as welfare junkies who rather than address the problems they have, prefer to blame the English for all their problems and who think they have a right to be subsidised.

The silly myths Scots have about Scotland should be challenged by responsible Scots.
1) William Wallace was a gangster and a very unpleasant character, and deservedly executed.
2) Scotch Whisky was invented in Ireland
3) The tartan as we know it is an English invention
4) The Angles populated Scotland up to Edinburgh ( Kingdom of Northumbria) and the
Norwegians colonised the Highlands. We are a greater racial mixture than the English.
5) At Bannockburn, a great many Scots supported and fought on the English side with Edward II's army.
(Buchan, Angus, Dunbar, and the MacDougalls of Argyll )
6) As Dr Johnson said, "the greatest prospect a Scotsman has is to take the high road to England"
7) At Culloden, the Protestant Lowland Scots delighted in slaughtering the Catholic Highlanders and Jacobites. There was hardly an Englishman present at Culloden.

Until the Scots start seeing their history accurately, they will remain backward romantics living a myth.


"1) William Wallace was a gangster and a very unpleasant character, and deservedly executed."

True. One of his worst acts was to herd the villagers into the church at Chillingham (Northumberland) and set fire to it. This was sort of shown in that stupid film except that English soldiers were substituted for villagers, the church became a house and the event was moved to Scotland! Anyway, I am pleased to record that we MacDonalds did not support Wallace.

"2) Scotch Whisky was invented in Ireland "

There may be a grain of truth (pun intended) here but Scotch Whisky is now far superior to Irish Whiskey.

“3) The tartan as we know it is an English invention”

Not True, the Tartan as we know it was invented by Sir Walter Scott for King George Fourth’s visit to Edinburgh in 1822

“4) The Angles populated Scotland up to Edinburgh (Kingdom of Northumbria) and the Norwegians colonised the Highlands. We are a greater racial mixture than the English.”

True only in part. There were a many Celts too and we MacDonalds are a mixture of Vikings and Celts (Somerled had one of each for his parents)

“5) At Bannockburn, a great many Scots supported and fought on the English side with Edward II's army.”

Not really true. The English army was overwhelmingly English but, on the other hand, Bruce was certainly not supported by all Scots.

“6) As Dr Johnson said, "the greatest prospect a Scotsman has is to take the high road to England"”

True but he was only teasing Boswell!

“7) At Culloden, the Protestant Lowland Scots delighted in slaughtering the Catholic Highlanders and Jacobites. There was hardly an Englishman present at Culloden.”

Not totally true though, overwhelmingly, the protestant Lowland Scots did not support the Jacobites and there was a sprinkling of English Jacobite supporters.

What IS true is that the Union provided unparalleled opportunities for many Scots (including my own antecedents) that could not possibly occurred otherwise and that, together, both England and Scotland will be far more likely to have a prosperous and secure future than if they were separate.

Peter 19:21

I must admit 2,3 and 4 are an education to me. As for number 1, I would happen to agree with you, but sadly a great number of people take their education from emotional sentiment rather than fact, at best - the remainder take theirs from two-bit movie productions such as Braveheart.

Number 5 I knew about, with particular reference to the line from God Save The Queen, which refers to crushing rebellious Scots. Marshal Wade was the founder of the Black Watch - the famous Scottish regiment - and only rebellious, i.e. Jacobites, types were to be crushed, and as you say, majority of the time it was fellow Scots doing the crushing.

Number 6 I do NOT agree with. I believe Scotland has had some great prospects, many of which we grabbed. Our first principals as a part of the Union were those developed during the Enlightenment - those of personal liberty, education and enterprise. Sadly, the iron fist of Socialism has throttled the spirit of Scotland, and now we have a void of drug-abuse, alcoholism and despair - all of which collude in a desperate rush to the lowest common denominator of human behaviour, which can be witnessed on the streets of any Scottish urban area upon a Friday or Saturday night.

Our future can be different. We punched above our weight, and although our core and founding principals are much disguised by prevailing conditions such as the welfare state, dependence on the public sector economy and the state's interference, they still remain and can be dusted off and restored. It is down to our party to do that.

No aspirational Scot should have to pack up and move elsewhere to realise their ambitions - whether the destination is England or otherwise. Once that becomes the case, and we are too late to reverse that, we might as well pack home, go home, and take up an alternative interest.

I see the Sciottish cringe out in full flood. They sit quietly tugging mummy's skirt until they think they can see proof that their fellow Scots, who basically invented the modern world, are useless then they come out greetin' on sites like this.
The reason that Brown was able to bail out the UK banks (HBOS has not in fact been a Scottish bank for many years - only they kept a part of the name) was that UK borrowed - yes, borrowed - the £37 billion from the world money markets (basically the Chinese).
The fact is that when I wake up tomorrow Iceland will still be there and still be independent as will Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Austria, Slovakia,Slovenia etc etc etc etc etc etc etc and anybody that thinks that intelligent Scots won't notice this is obviously daft.
The vomit inducing delight of Labour and Tory unionists at the trouble in banking in Scotland is offending many and may well rebound on them.
The Irish, whose economy remains in very much better shape than the UK's, are getting really insulted by disparaging remarks, particularly from the new Scottish Secretary Jim "the screaming skull" Murphy.
Under GBrown the UK has tripled its National Debt and has become the most heavily indebted nation in the world, it has an annual trade deficit approaching $200billion,it is 186th out 188 countries in terms of its current account and the only question is will the voters of Glenrothes get past the frantic spin painting GB as saviour of the world before election day and remember who has ruined Britain's economy and who, with the idiot US, fuelled much of the worlds economic crisis

Ref David_at_Home above

I agree that Scotch is superior to Irish Whiskey ( but I am biased)

Ref the Tartan - yes, it is a fact that Walter Scott had a major role, and London was ready to relax over the wearing of the Tartan. According to Trevor-Roper ( see below) the tartan was invented in the 1720's by an Englishman, Thomas Rawlinson.
It is true that the great kilt was "abridged " by Rawlinson so only the bottom pleated section remained ( for ease of wearing), but tartans and kilts in a primitive form go back centuries and in many other countries too.

Yes I agree that at Bannockburn the majority
of Edward II's army was English but there were prominent Scots ( and their clans) fighting with them ( as I mentioned above).
The point is that the Scots have done very well out of the Union with England and particularly out in the Empire ( as did the Welsh and Irish - I imagine England had enough industry etc to keep a greater percentage of them at home). It is true that the Scots have punched above their weight within the Union. I put it down to the strictness of the Presbyterian religion, sound emphasis on education and a Calvinist belief that "Poverty is sin , sinful idleness". This quotation from Calvin ( or was it Knox?) has been the motor of the Protestant work ethic ( as in "protestant" Ireland)which the English have never had to the same intensity. What a difference from the the modern socialist welfare junkies we have spawned in Scotland today!
There is nothing wrong with myths if they are positive, but if they breed anti-English hostility then they are malign if untrue.
I hope I am not being provocative but perhaps more Scots should read
Hugh Trevor-Roper's 'The Invention of Scotland'

I selectively quote below an Article
By ADAM KIRSCH | July 23, 2008 in the New York "The Sun"


Every April, New York's proud Scottish-Americans celebrate their heritage with the Tartan Day Parade, processing up Sixth Avenue in a sea of kilts, to the noble blare of the bagpipes. If you are thinking of attending the festivities next year, however, you might want to keep quiet about having read "The Invention of Scotland" (Yale University Press, 304 pages, $30), a punchy new book by the late historian Hugh Trevor-Roper. For as Trevor-Roper points out with ill-concealed glee, tartan and kilt, those universal badges of Scottishness, are about as authentic as Disneyland. Until the 18th century, no one north of the Tweed had ever seen a kilt; nor did the clans, as legend has it, distinguish themselves by the pattern of their tartans, until they were taught to do so by an enterprising clothing manufacturer. The Scottish costume is, Trevor-Roper shows, simply the latest example of an ancient national habit: the forging of tradition.

He recognizes that the invention of Scottish history was a creative act, which helped Scotland to emerge as a cohesive and peaceful modern nation. "The creation, and re-creation, of myth requires a continuous capacity for invention," he writes, "and its formalization can be seen as a ritual adjustment, a formal accommodation of barbarism to civility." Because Trevor-Roper was a leading historian of Nazi Germany, he is especially appreciative of the benign forms that Scottish mythmaking took: "In Germany, the ancient barbarisms of the race were revived in all their savagery. ... Ritualization would have been better."

"The Invention of Scotland" was left unfinished when Trevor-Roper died in 2003, but it does not read like a collection of fragments. In fact, these eight chapters, based on essays and lectures that the historian wrote in the 1970s, fall neatly into three related sections, each dealing with an important episode in the "forging" of Scottish history. The first, titled "The Political Myth," explores the way Scottish scholars of the 16th century — above all, the great Renaissance man George Buchanan — advanced a grossly erroneous version of Scotland's history, the better to serve their contemporary political purposes. The second, "The Literary Myth," is a feat of documentary detective work, in which Trevor-Roper untangles one of the most famous frauds in literary history: the invention of the ancient bard Ossian by James Macpherson. Finally, and most playfully, Trevor-Roper turns to "The Sartorial Myth," offering the surprising truth about how and why the kilt and tartan became Scottish institutions.

The Scots' continual resort to mythmaking, from medieval times down to the 19th century, seems to Trevor-Roper to demonstrate an essential truth about the Celtic mind, as opposed to the Anglo-Saxon. Drawing on an old but resilient stereotype, he contrasts English prosiness with Celtic imagination. Yes, he admits, the English "have created one of the great literatures of the world. Yet, have they a single myth that they can call their own?" Surely it is no accident that all the great mythic heroes of the British Isles, from Cymbeline to King Arthur, were invented by the Celtic peoples — the Welsh, Scots, and Irish — who inhabited the land before the Anglo-Saxon invasion.

Much of what has passed for the truth about Scottish history, Trevor-Roper suggests, is actually the product of this same mythopoetic impulse. Consider the case of Hector Boece, a 15th-century scholar and humanist from Dundee who wrote a hugely influential "History of the Scots." Boece was not content with the truth about the Scots — that they were an Irish people who migrated to western Scotland in the fifth century C.E. ("Scotus," in Latin, originally meant "Irish.") Jealous of the alleged antiquity of the English, who traced their descent to Aeneas and the Trojan Wars, Boece elaborated a rival myth, according to which the Scots were descended from an ancient Greek hero, Gaythelos, and his wife Scota, an Egyptian princess who was the daughter of the biblical pharaoh.

Because Boece alleged that their descendants — who took the names Gael and Scot in their memory — arrived in Scotland in the fourth century B.C.E., he was faced with a 900-year gap in the historical record. He filled it by inventing 40 kings, whom he not only named but provided with what Trevor-Roper calls "elaborate and detailed biographies." Among them were many wicked monarchs, "a set of human monsters, vicious, violent, and frightening" — such as Lugtacus, who "repeatedly raped his aunts, his daughters, his sisters and their daughters." As befit a moralistic historian, Boece showed these evil kings receiving due punishment, as their suffering subjects deposed and executed them.

Little did he suspect that, in inventing these fables, he was handing powerful ammunition to the real-life rebels who arose during the troubled reign of Mary Queen of Scots. Among these was George Buchanan, whose career and personality Trevor-Roper discusses in detail. Toward the end of his life, Buchanan — "by universal consent the greatest Latin writer, whether in prose or verse, in sixteenth-century Europe" — emerged as one of the chief apologists for the noble conspirators who deposed Mary in 1567. In order to convince the world, and especially Queen Elizabeth of England, that the nobles had acted legally, Buchanan wrote a pamphlet arguing that the Scottish constitution had always allowed for the removal of kings. As proof, he cited Boece's made-up tyrants, whose fictional punishments were now used as precedent for the deposition of Mary.

In this way, the myths about Scottish history invented by Hector Boece turned into a genuine historical force, making them immune to debunking. Trevor-Roper shows that when another historian, the Welshman Humphrey Lluyd, published a work proving that Boece's 40 kings had never existed — thus destroying the historical basis for Buchanan's political theory — Buchanan responded by launching a "pathological" personal attack on Lluyd. Buchanan must have known that his theory about the Scottish constitution was disproved, yet he refused to acknowledge Lluyd's evidence. Trevor-Roper issues what is, for a historian, the most damning of verdicts: "Buchanan knew that Boece was historically worthless and could not be safely followed or openly cited; but since he depended on him for his essential thesis, he secretly used his work ... The old fabrications were presented to the learned world in a more acceptable form." Protected by Buchanan's authority, the "forty kings" became an unchallengeable article of faith among the Scots for another two centuries, even as the English were discarding their old myths and embracing a scientific approach to history.

The next episode in Trevor-Roper's study, the invention of Ossian, did not have such important historical consequences. But it was deeply telling about the enduring Scottish need to believe in the antiquity and cultural superiority of their race. As Trevor-Roper writes, "when a society renounces politics, it can find other ways of expressing its identity," and after the 1707 Union of Scotland and England, Scottish nationalism took on cultural and literary expression. In 1761, when an obscure schoolmaster named James Macpherson announced that he had discovered and translated an ancient Gaelic epic called "Fingal," by a warrior-bard named Ossian, the literati of Edinburgh reacted with explosive enthusiasm. Ossian was hailed as a Scottish Homer, proof that the ancient civilization of the Scots was equal in genius to that of the Greeks.

Even better, as Trevor-Roper notes, "Fingal" conspicuously lacked all the features that the 18th century was beginning to find uncouth in the Iliad: "Here were no human sacrifices, no petty thieving, no princesses washing knickers in the river. Indeed there was nothing common, or even concrete, at all. All was high-minded humanity, sensibility, chivalry." So perfectly did Ossian reflect the taste of the age that his epic — which today, as Trevor-Roper says, seems "totally unreadable" — numbered Goethe, Napoleon, and Thomas Jefferson among its devotees.

Yet right from the start, there were critics — mainly English — who smelled a rat. How did Macpherson, who barely knew Gaelic, manage to find and translate a 1,500-year-old poem? Why did so many phrases from "Fingal" seem to echo the Bible, Shakespeare, and Milton? Above all, why could Macpherson not produce the original manuscript of the poem, despite numerous requests? Samuel Johnson concluded that the works of Ossian never existed in any other form than that which we have seen. The editor, or author, never could show the original; nor can it be shown by any others. To revenge reasonable incredulity by refusing evidence is a degree of insolence with which the world is not yet acquainted, and stubborn audacity is the last refuge of guilt.

Yet even once English opinion unanimously rejected Ossian as a fraud, the Scots continued to have faith. It was easier to believe Macpherson's fantastically complex lies, which Trevor-Roper has great fun exposing, than to accept that the Scottish Homer was an impostor.

After all this, it is hardly a surprise to learn that the kilt and tartan, too, are not quite the Scottish traditions that they seem. Sad to say, the kilt was invented by an Englishman, Thomas Rawlinson, who came to Scotland in the 1720s to manage an ironworks in the Highlands. Rawlinson observed that while the actual native costume of the Highlanders — the long belted cloak called the plaid — might have been suitable for rambling over hills and bogs, it was "a cumbrous, inconvenient habit" for men working at a furnace. So he hired the tailor of the local army regiment to make something more "handy and convenient for his workmen" by "separating the skirt from the plaid and converting into a distinct garment" — the kilt. This symbol of Highland tradition, as Trevor-Roper notes, was "bestowed ... on the Highlanders, not in order to preserve their traditional way of life, but to ease its transformation: to bring them off the heath and into the factory." As with so many of the tales Trevor-Roper has to tell, the truth may not be as romantic as the legend, but its irony makes it no less compelling.

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"What IS true is that ------ together, both England and Scotland will be far more likely to have a prosperous and secure future than if they were separate.

Posted by: David_at_Home "

Here, here. Couldn't agree more!

Except that:
- the British Union is now severely distorted. Since the 1998 Scotland Act and the advent of a parliament, ministers, first minister, budget and civil service for only one of the nations(ie Scotland) in this national marriage - England being denied a comparable parliament and institutions and is subject the Barnett Rules and rule by the British parliament- the affection for Union in England is declining rapidly.

It is doubtful if it was ever that high despite the megadoses of union propaganda shoved out by the British government over the years.It is sharply down now and I suspect the next poll on the matter will demonstrate a further whittling away.
Bear in mind that in the abortive union
negotiations of 1702-3 it was the TORIES who killed it and who remained Union sceptics right up to and after 1707.
It was the Whig lords in England who pushed for union- in alliance with Scottish unionists. The generality of the English were either anti or only so-so. Things haven't changed much. Most English think England will get on perfectly well without Scotland.

If major steps are not taken soon we are going to end up with a Belgian situation in the United Kingdom. It is already happening to an extent.
The central thing that must be done is that England be recognised as such complete with her own parliament, government and institutions. The British government must hand over the entire responsibility for the internal governance of England to the new English parliament within a federal United Kingdom.

Don't like this? Don't want to face facts?
If so, then accept that the days of the British are ending and we must be totally separate nations again.

I would prefer that the British story goes on but fear that the ignorant obduracy of the British political class and their dislike of England and refusal to recognise her will bring it to an end.

"They sit quietly tugging mummy's skirt until they think they can see proof that their fellow Scots, who basically invented the modern world"

Do you really believe, Dave McEwan Hill, that the Scots would have been able "shape the modern world" (together with a few others from the NE of England, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Cornwall and other places that may have slipped my mind) had Scotland not been in the Union?

By the way, though my father was a Scott, my mummy was English. THAT is one very strong reason why I am a Unionist, I and many more, and THAT is why the Union will endure!

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