IDEALISTS are often the victims of their own illusions. This came to mind when reading a statement by Alistair Darling, launching the Western Isles’ Better Together campaign;
“There are so many factors that bind us together and so much history we share,” he said.
Presumably Mr Darling is not aware that without the Treaty of Union we would not have suffered for more than 100 years the murderous Clearances that resulted in the Highlands and Islands becoming the largest man-made wilderness in Europe.
I am not aware of any English county being ethnically cleansed by sitting members at Westminster such as Lord MacDonald, the Marquess of Stafford (Duke of Sutherland) and Sir James Matheson, whose parasitic greed devastated the Highlands and Islands.
No binding together there.
Scotland is the only country in the world to lose her independence as a result of venality, yet the Better Together campaign propagates that the Scots were desperate for Union with England.
If this is true could Mr Darling and fellow-Unionists inform us why the English had to bribe more than 30 aristocrats in the Scots Parliament to induce them to vote for the Union?
Queen Anne, who never visited Scotland, was desperate that Scotland should be subsumed into greater England. She put her trust in James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry, to deliver Scotland. Once the Treaty of Union was signed, Douglas was given an English bribe of £12,325 (around £2 million today) and a pension of £3,000 a year. Queen Anne rewarded him with land in England and the English titles: Duke of Dover, Marquess of Beverley and Earl of Rippon. The entire patronage of Scotland was conferred on him by the Crown including his appointment as Secretary of State.
Let us not forget, that as Highlanders and Islanders were being evicted and banished to foreign climes, their sons were being liberally used in battles from the Plains of Abraham to Trafalgar for the greater glory of the imperial state that was destroying their culture, Gaelic language and families.
The Napier Commission accepted that in Skye alone at least 34,700 had been evicted between 1849 and 1883. In this context the slogan Better Together is erroneous and illusory.
Them and Us and Stress and Strife and not Better Together have been the reality for many Scots since the Act of Union was unlawfully passed by bribed aristocrats in the Scots Parliament in 1707.
The purpose of the incorporating Act of Union was not to conserve Scottish nationality but to destroy it.
Donald John MacLeod
Bridge of Don
YOUR tireless anti-independence correspondent, Alexander McKay, clearly feels he is “on a roll”, as the current mood in the Yes camp is a bit deflated. I believe that this will change (“events, dear boy, events” as Macmillan once said) and that the Scots will see through the fear-mongering and distortions of the No camp.
For example, the self-confessed “southerner who knows little about the independence debate”, April Peabody (Letters, 31 May), confidently asserts that we nationalists are “narrow-minded” and will create a “massive and costly public sector” after independence.
I would like to see her sources. I would suggest she has so far looked no further than the right-wing press and perhaps Mr McKay’s contributions to the referendum debate.
Instead I would choose, and direct Ms Peabody to, Lesley Riddoch (Perspective, 3 June) when she quotes “the peoples of the five Nordic countries … sharing culture and values” (prosperity and social fairness, too) but which they know “require to be maintained by co-operation”. As Ms Riddoch asks: “Why couldn’t a post-independence Britain be the same?”
No reason, unless the ignorance and bitter opposition of many in the No camp prevails. The Scottish nation deserves better.