READER John G Hutcheson of Fort Wullie added to the concurrent debate on the controversial not-proven Scots verdict (Letters, November 27), stating that his preference was for the original Scots verdict of proven or not proven. I was told that Scots law was compromised in the mid 19th century in a bid to change it to English law, by adding guilty or not guilty.

When the Glasgow High Court was refurbished a few years ago, the English contractor had to rebuild the jury box. No-one had told him that Scot juries had 15 peers, as opposed to the English dirty dozen.

Scots law, education, and religion were supposed to be enshrined in the much-broken Anglo Scottish Treaty of Union of 1707. The only reason we have a Scottish teachers’ union left in the “S”TUC, since the takeover of Scottish trade unions and the Scottish Cooperative Wholesale Society by the English Co-op, is because of our separate education system. Even the empty shell of the STUC building in Woodlands, Glasgow is being sold off to developers.

READ MORE: Letters: It would make sense to ditch the not guilty verdict

Scots law is based on the European Roman law, whilst English law is based upon the feudal and manor system of the Norman Conquest. Most Scots know more about 1066 and 1966 than they do of 1707. Few will know of the Scottish Insurrection of 1820, where Scots law was suspended and English judges were brought up to enforce English law and dismiss the Scots jurors, who had found the case not proven. The chief magistrate and paymaster for the informers was none other than Sir Walter Scott, who dubbed the not-proven verdict that “bastard” law. It is said that the insurrection was led by agent provocateurs, which does not explain why more than 60,000 turned out to support the army of the provisional government and proclamations for a Scottish republic.

READ MORE: Letters, November 27

Most Scots will know more about Peterloo, where the militia attacked a peaceful demonstration in Manchester the year before, and which is taught in the Scots history curriculum. There is a Peterloo film about to be released. There are no plans for a film about 1820, where the workers battered Greenock prison doors to release prisoners, who rioted in the town and some were shot, including an eight-year-old boy, or about rioters shot in Duntocher, or pulling up palings in Glasgow Green, to fight the troops guarding the public executions there. Baird and Hardie were hung in Stirling and decapitated, then buried in Sighthill, Glasgow in the middle of the night after the fateful “Battle of Bonnymuir”, where the insurgents were defeated by the 10th Hussars in their attempt to take over the Carron Ironworks and commandeer the canons produced there. In Glasgow they had already taken over the banks and meat abattoir.

What about a film on the United Scotsmen Rebellion of 1797, or of Thomas Muir of Huntershill, which would encompass revolutionary France, Botany Bay and America where Muir escaped to before dying of his wounds at the hands of the Royal Navy? He was given the freedom of Paris and appointed the Prime Minster of the Scottish Republic. His grave was only discovered by the US ambassador at the turn of the last century. Burns the Republican alluded to him in his Scots Wha Hae verses, which was very similar to George Mealmaker’s speech to the Friends of the People. “Wha’ for Scotland’s King and Law” … “Thus we shall be free”. What do we have to do today to have our ancient law and outlawed history recognised, or even remembered: have another insurrection? Or do we need enough national consciousness to have a final victory at the ballot box, where we only need the guts to put a wee St Andrew’s cross on a wee piece of paper?

Donald Anderson

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