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By Jason Michael
Scotland was never happy with its union with England, but so long as what was good for England benefitted Scotland there was never a real challenge to the status quo. All of this has changed. What is good for London is now destroying Scotland.
Against the better judgement of ordinary Scots at the time the Lords of Scotland entered into a union of parliaments with England, a set of treaties that effectively brought about the absorption of our nation by our southern neighbour. Regardless of popular opposition, protest, and rebellion the United Kingdom – not entirely unlike the present European Union – along with disempowerment did offer a certain cadre of the Scottish wealthy mercantile élite a number of benefits that did benefit Scotland as a whole. After the Bank of England’s successful sabotage of our own colonial ambitions the Union gave Scottish merchants and financiers access to an international market.
While Scotland’s urban poor and rural peasantry still languished in unimaginable destitution, exploited now by both Scottish and English masters, money poured into Scotland – rapidly bringing what had been a backward state in the seventeenth century to the levels of advancement enjoyed by England, France, and Spain in the eighteenth. There is no argument that in terms of the political, economic, and social norms of the time the Union was good for Scotland. Yes, our joint imperial past – while good for Scotland – led to immense suffering around the world and was the origin of many of the historical injustices that haunt us even today. Even as the junior partner in these crimes, Scotland shares that awful guilt. This was never good.
This Union was not all good for Scotland. From the very beginning our Union with London was an unequal partnership; with Scotland’s needs always at the disposal of England’s wants. We were always subject to a Westminster agenda, and we still are. So long as what was good for the enrichment of the London establishment benefitted Scotland and Scottish people the Union was bearable, and so long as the unionist Scottish upper class could feather its nest there was no real challenge to the reality of England’s domination of Scotland. So long as this continued to be the case Scotland could be content – to a greater or lesser degree – with a fictive new British identity.
Over the past century Britain has been in terminal decline. The historical wrong that was the British Empire has vanished. Britain has returned to its natural place in the order of the world – an otherwise unremarkable island nation, and as it has deteriorated it has become smaller in every sense. It has been in this process that Scotland, the North of England, the North of Ireland, and Wales have been milked in order to cushion the landing of London’s ruling class. What the Union has become is a form of legalised theft, taking from the dominated everything that is required to protect the interests of the dominators. What is good for London is no longer good for Scotland.