BEFORE and after September 2014, the Unionists accused us – SNP supporters and all who advocated independence for Scotland – of dividing the country, and families, into unwelcome, damaging, dangerous factions for purposes leading – per their campaign message – to disaster for Scotland and the break-up of the Union. We were characterised as being fascist, or Nazi, or racist, or xenophobic. Even the Queen was recruited to advise us to “think very carefully” about our decision.

The promises to Scotland and their abandonment are familiar to us. The issue of division again features in Unionist propaganda, so let us have a look at that in particular now, after a further six years and five months of continued Westminster domination.

Since 2014 the support for independence has grown steadily, as 21 recent polls have confirmed, while the actions of Holyrood since early 2020 and in particular the behaviour of Scotland’s First Minister and her science-based advisors have been admired consistently in all quarters, with the expected exception of the “dog in the manger” closed minds of the Unionist campaigners, who have used a national crisis for purely political gain to apparently doubtful effect. The Scottish public are united behind independence aspirations more than they have ever been.

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June 2016 saw the EU referendum, with the result being to leave voted by England and Wales, and remain voted by Scotland and Northern Ireland. It will be recalled that we, Scotland, were promised categorically that the sole means of our remaining in the EU was to vote to remain within the UK in 2014. The tortuous, prolonged negotiations with the EU ultimately came to “agreement” – after Westminster acceded to special treatment for Northern Ireland, terms which Scotland specifically asked for on our behalf which were cursorily dismissed. There was in fact little or no opportunity for us to be represented in the many, many discussions which ensued.

We are already in Scotland paying a heavy price for UK withdrawal, which provoked the Tory comment when our treatment was compared to that of Northern Ireland – “Ireland of course had a civil war”. So now Britain, striving for preservation of the “precious Union”, is split by Westminster into two opposite camps. The latter maintains that is not divisive!

In Scotland the religious pattern is about 33% and 16% respectively Protestant and Roman Catholic. In England the established church is the Church of England, while the Catholic community numbers about four million. The second-largest religious group in England is that of Islam. The unelected House of Lords, about 890 strong, includes in its numbers 26 automatic seats for prelates of the Church of England, no Catholic clerics with one exception, that of one Archbishop, together with the Chief Rabbi. There is no religious representation from Scotland. Since the early 18th century, the Act of Settlement has decreed that no Roman Catholic will ascend the throne nor have a spouse of that faith.

History shows many instances of non-English Prime Ministers. Since 2014, in the first political manoeuvre after the Scottish referendum, English Votes for England Laws was enacted, prohibiting any non-English constituency MP from participating in legislation etc concerning England alone. That effectively means only an English constituency MP can become Prime Minister. That and the interference with the voting rights of elected MPs is claimed by Westminster to be non-divisive!

All of the foregoing, with other limitations, eg elitist predominance of Eton/Harrow/Oxbridge in government circles, describes how disunited the Precious Union is, but the disunity is, according to the Unionist lobby, due to the fact that Scotland, with its 5.5 million people, wishes to conduct its own affairs of government, and its way of life, without the interference of Westminster, to whom we owe no debt of gratitude for any act of magnanimity obscure or alleged.

John Hamilton