Letter: Home truths

John McTernan's paradigm is that "everyone tells stories to create meaning" (Opinion, 25 June) and that "the real question" is "what kind of future does our account of the past presage?"

He thinks that "sadly, the litany of Bannockburn, Arbroath, Culloden and Wembley 1967 outlines a toxic mix of sectarianism, xenophobia, grievance, ignorance and deference to aristocracy"; and that "if we need a founding myth", Thomas Muir and the Friends of the People, "transported to Australia for campaigning for universal suffrage" are "where to start".

The Declaration of Arbroath was an early affirmation of the principle that a parliament, as then lawfully constituted, could disinherit one branch of the Royal Family and resettle the succession on another; in this case because John Balliol had proved incapable of protecting the country from invasion. Before 1707, two more monarchs were similarly lawfully deprived of the crown. This is in contrast to the common law of England where, during the same period, the only way to get rid of an inept or tyrannous sovereign was for him to be murdered.

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What is needed is not a "founding myth", but a better understanding of the fact of the Scottish Constitution, and more discussion on how it can be made to work with the constitutions of the UK, the European Union, and of the United Nations conventions.


Prince Regent Street

Leith, Edinburgh