Union history

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David Stevenson expresses an opinion about the injustices that, in his opinion, have been visited upon the people of Scotland 
(Letters, 23 September). Top of the list, predictably, is the Union of 1707, when the Scottish Parliament, which was the about the closest thing to a democratic institution that existed in any country in the world at the time, voted to unify with England.

The latter, whose parliament was marginally more representative of the population than Scotland’s, which is not saying much, voted for the Union as well.

He states that Scottish parliamentarians “agreed to it partly because some were paid to do so”. Professor TC Smout, Historiographer Royal, says this point has never been proved.

Perhaps Dr Stevenson should divulge his evidence.

The economic conditions in Scotland were dire during the years leading up to the Union and not only because of Darien. The Union was a way out of that, as it was a way of securing trade for Scottish businesses.

The loss of sovereignty which the Union entailed was much less than that being recommended to Scots by Mr Salmond’s party who aim for integration in the EU, calling into question Dr Stevenson’s outrage against the 1707 Union.

However, if we are going to lambast our ancestors for decisions they made, which a few among us find so offensive, perhaps we should consider how Scotland acted towards its own acquisitions, purely in order to have a level playing field, of course.

Perhaps Dr Stevenson can explain the democratic choice extended to the people of Strathclyde, a kingdom with its own kings and language, which was absorbed by Scotland in the Middle Ages or to those living in the lands between the Forth and the Tweed given to Scotia in 975.

Andrew HN Gray

Edinburgh