1707

As to the Act of Union again: over the years from time to time I wondered about its validity. I learned early on that a breach of the treaty should automatically make it null and void, so the political independence looked for by the Nationalists would become an established fact, de jure and de facto. Nobody however seemed to be dancing up and down and pointing out that such a breach had seemingly occurred (several times in fact), so the troublesome chain binding us to the Auld Enemy was in fact broken. I wondered about such things from time to time, but not for long – other things got in the way as things do, and besides the Nationalists didn’t have much of a voice.
These days however things have changed a bit. As recently as twenty years ago a Scottish Nationalist government in Edinburgh was a laughable idea; now it’s there, and a sizable majority too. Perhaps it’s now time to challenge the viability of the Act on the basis of its breach by the United Kingdom Parliament. The point is that the Act of 1707, while a bit servile in some places, did spell out some things that a Scots patriot would insist on, including the inviolable status of Scots Law and the Scots Kirk. And this protection, mind you, was not a temporary thing, but was to be respected “for all time” – which meant I suppose until altered by Scotland itself, the point being that England had no right to interfere in legal matters north of the Tweed, and the Scottish church was so to speak sacrosanct. This was all very well in theory, but in practice it did cause some problems, or more accurately a few little bothers that were quickly and quietly put right – from the point of view, at least, of the Powers-That-Be, namely the Establishment, keenly Unionist and inevitably Anglocentric. I’m reminded of this because of the recent furore over the establishment of the UK Supreme Court, which was appealed to on Human Rights grounds a little while ago leading it to rule that a convicted murderer had been deprived of his rights because police had not had a lawyer present at his interrogation. They in effect pushed the case back to the Scottish court to think again. There was something like an uproar about this, but since the SC hadn’t actually overturned the conviction (as claimed by some of the media), all was well. Now however it can be said that the very establishment of a Supreme Court for Britain, of course in London, is a violation of that clause of the Act of Union. It remains to be seen how this sort of argument will be dealt with, in a time when Nationalism is a lot more powerful, with a louder voice and more teeth, than formerly.
One little breach of the Act occurred in 1900 when the Free Church of Scotland merged with the United Presbyterian Church, and a rump defected and took them to law. I urge all interested to take a look at “Bannatyne v Overtoun” in the ever-knowledgeable Wikipedia to see the ins and outs of the case, and it’s clear that Parliament, in passing the Churches (Scotland) Act of 1905, and also the House of Lords in overturning a decision of the Scottish Court of Session before this, were tinkering with Scots Law and the Scots Kirk. Ergo, the Act of Union was broken then. Now what? Someone should run this cookie up the flagpole and see how it crumbles.

1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Texts

One response to “1707

  1. This is good Murray, send out to a few of the fervent in Scotland, the odd newspaper, and see who the cookie crumbles on. Good stuff. K

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