Robert the Bruce did not have the power to crown himself - Readers' Letters

Surely anyone with a modicum of knowledge of Scottish history, would know that it would not have been possible for Robert the Bruce to "crown himself" as (Dr) A McCormick (Letters, 5 November) asserts. He further asserts that the coronation of Bruce, was not the will of the people. He also says that Bruce was born in England, but this remains a matter for debate to this day with some historians contending he was born in Turnberry or Lochmaben.
The Robert the Bruce statue situated at the spot where he planted his standard prior to the Battle of BannockburnThe Robert the Bruce statue situated at the spot where he planted his standard prior to the Battle of Bannockburn
The Robert the Bruce statue situated at the spot where he planted his standard prior to the Battle of Bannockburn

In the 14th century, the "will of the people" was a nebulous concept. What was more important was the need to have the support of the barons and other nobles. It is also true to say Bruce murdered John Comyn, a challenger for the throne, on the steps of Greyfriars church in Dumfries, for which he was excommunicated by Pope Clement V.

What is less well known, is that the original draft of the document which asked for the revocation of the excommunication was agreed at a conference of barons and nobles at the Cistercian abbey at Newbattle. The ideas formed there, were later drawn up as a document at the scriptorium of Abroath Abbey under the direction of the Abbot, Bernard de Linton.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Known now as the Declaration of Arbroath, it was elegantly written in Latin and sent to Pope John XXI11, then residing at Avignon. It affirmed Scotland's rights as an independent country, asked for support against English incursions and sought the revocation of Bruce's excommunication. In more modern times, Newbattle Abbey became a college, where I worked for a number of years.

Dr McCormick's reference to "the will of the people", is something of a red herring. The Declaration of Arbroath was attested to by seal, by more than 50 barons and nobles, where the real power resided. Interestingly and paradoxically, it affirms that sovereignty rests with the people and not the monarch. It confirms that if the monarch does not conform to the "will of the people", he can be removed. ThereforeSo to say Robert the Bruce crowned himself, is incorrect. Without, the support of the nobility it could never have happened. How that support was garnered is another matter.

Gill Turner, Edinburgh

Bin bonfires

On Friday the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended 370 bonfires and received more than 1,000 emergency calls.

The time has come for our elected representatives to pass legislation stopping bonfires and fireworks altogether. And why is it we hear little from the hundreds of supposed green organisations about calling for a halt to this environmentally unsound and socially disruptive practice?

It should be illegal to be within 50 yards of a bonfire at any time of the year without reasonable excuse. An on-the-spot fine would deter troublemakers.

William Loneskie, Lauder, Scottish Borders

More Sottish news

The BBC is to appoint impartiality investigators to examine all its content.

They can start with the BBC News At One, which has encroached daily, as pervasively as knotweed, into the excellent BBC Reporting Scotland Bulletin – thereby reducing the time allocated by 20 per cent.

Read More
BBC plans sweeping changes to ensure impartiality, after Serota Review claimed s...

Talk of the national (sic) bulletin being impartial will be met with risible derision in the three other UK nations. It has long been obvious that the main criterion for what goes in is the issues of interest to London and the Home Counties; so issues down south – for example, test cricket or a Manchester Utd defeat – are presented as being of import to all the UK when they could be covered by the BBC’s regional news output.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 1pm bulletin is unnecessarily padded out, almost daily, with US domestic news with little pertinence for the UK audience but keeps the bloated BBC staff in the States employed. Last week live news from the streets of Glasgow from Reporting Scotland was delayed by a feature on childhood vaccination in the USA.Their priorities are completely wrong.

At any time this encroachment would be unjustified, but during Cop26 it has been indefensible.Did we really need London-based BBC correspondents parachuted into Glasgow to give we natives the benefits of their anglocentric views?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife

Cox is wrong

“We are Celts.” “We are different.” “We are not the same as the south.” So says Brian Cox (Scotsman, 6 November).

Really? I would refer him to an article in the Scotsman dated 21 September, 2006 titled “We're nearly all Celts under the skin”. He could also take a look at a piece on the BBC's website by Palab Ghosh titled “DNA study shows Celts are not a unique genetic group” and dated 18 March, 2015.

There is no “Celtic Fringe”. The majority of the indigenous English came from the same airt as the majority of Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Ulster folk, Orcadians and Shetlanders. That was the Iberian Peninsula. Throughout the history of the British peoples invaders such as the Anglo Saxons, Vikings, Dal Riata and others, never displaced the indigenous peoples. Their dominance was down to military or political success.

As for Mr Cox’s “we”. Who is he referring to? I am a native o the Nor Aist o wir kintra. Banffshire born n brocht. I served my apprenticeship with an engineering firm in Paisley. During that time I lived in Glasgow. Did I feel a sense of Scottish identity with the Buddies, Keelies and others from the Central Belt? No. I felt very little in common with them. Thanks to modern genetic research I now know that not only am I culturally different from them, I am also genetically different.

As for values. It is yet another nationalist fantasy that we Scots reside on a higher ethical plane than our Soudron cousins. The Scots working class are no more egalitarian than the English working class. I am sure that if anyone looks at social statistics for Scotland in areas such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, suicide, environmental abuse, consumer greed, racism, sectarianism and so on and so on, they will find it difficult to believe we Scots even know what ethics and values are, never mind are superior to anyone else.

A nation apairt, Mr Cox? A doot.

Stuart Stephen, Poolewe, Highland

Biased views?

Your article about Brian Cox was an extraordinary piece of journalism.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Cox had said in an interview that he supported independence and felt that Scots have a different mindset from English people. This is hardly an unusual statement.

However, instead of letting Mr Cox speak for himself, you include a comment from someone in "Scotland in Union", not an unbiased source, I imagine, and headlinesthe piece with her comments.

Thus, an article nominally about Brian Cox's views, becomes an article almost entirely devoted to trashing those views. Tut! Tut!

Brian Bannatyne Scott, Edinburgh

Nuclear power

Brian Wilson's article "China's nuclear route to net zero poses challenges to green priorities" (Scotsman, 6 November) gave me some hope that global warming targets may be met.

China's programme to build 150 new nuclear reactors in the next 35 years will be an incredible achievement and if successful should provide a route to net zero by 2060.

The "challenges to green priorities" puzzled me as nuclear energy is the only source of despatchable energy, which is sustainable and with close to net zero emissions. I cannot understand why any supporters of green policies would not have nuclear energy as their priority for energy generation.

C Scott, Edinburgh

Rising worries

When will the green pressure groups demanding the immediate closure of oil and gas facilities realise that the consequences of reducing supply whilst demand remains constant will be increased prices?

GM Lindsay, Kinross


By the end of January, more than 900,000 young Scots will be entitled to free public transport. Leaving to one side the enormous question of how we taxpayers are going to fund all those free rides, it strikes me that we are teaching the younger generation that transport doesn't cost anything and that it might even be pointless to save up to buy a car or perhaps a motorbike.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Surely the above indicates to the youth of today that working hard and saving towards some goal is not an attribute worth considering… particularly when you're probably going to get it for free. Not a clever attitude to instil in the young mind!

Archibald A Lawrie, Kingskettle, Fife

Peat practice

While I welcome the joint statement from the National Trust for Scotland and the National Trust calling for a ban on using peat products in gardens, they don’t get my unequivocal pat on the back.

The disastrous impact of using peat for horticultural purposes has been well-known for more than a decade and is well-documented by Plantlife, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Scotland's Garden for Life Forum and others. The Trusts should have been leading by example. Many people look to them for best practice but as far as peat use goes this has not been the case. They have dragged their heels. It’s more a case of Johnny Come Lately.

Money speaks volumes. Manufacturers like selling peat as it makes their shareholders a handsome profit. It’s easy to dig up and needs very little post-harvest treatment to turn it into a desirable product. Meanwhile other more ethical companies have been trying hard to persuade gardeners to turn to more sustainable alternatives but until the use of peat is banned by law they are facing an uphill struggle.

Jenny Mollison, Inveresk, East Lothian

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article. As all eyes turn to Scotland, we’ll be providing the very best coverage of COP26. To mark this crucial moment, we’re offering a £26 discount on annual subscriptions. Just use the code COP26 at the checkout.

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.