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Opening Narrative

2017 – Catalonia and Spain

Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in North-East Spain with a distinct history dating back almost 1,000 years.

The wealthy region has about 7.5 million people, with their own language, parliament, flag and anthem.

It also has its own police force and controls some of its public services.

Catalan nationalists have long complained that their region sends too much money to poorer parts of Spain, as taxation is controlled by the Spanish government in Madrid.

Many are also unhappy about constitutional changes imposed by the central government which they believe reduces their autonomy undermining Catalan identity.

In a referendum on 1 October 2017, about 90% of Catalan voters backed independence plunging Spain into its biggest political crisis for 40 years.

The central government retaliated to the threat of a breakaway from Spain by declaring the referendum illegal and suspending Catalan autonomy for almost seven months

In October 2019, Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan politicians and activists to jail terms of between nine and 13 years for that independence bid. Three others were fined.

 

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1707 Scotland and England

The situation in Scotland in 1707 mirrored events in Catalonia in 2017.

Mass protests and 90% majority against the union.

But Scotland in 2014 failed to get a majority of the electorate to support independence.

And it remains uncertain there will ever be a referendum in which a majority of Scots will vote to break free from the shackles of serfdom imposed upon them by a rich and powerful English elite.

The purpose of this blog is to provide an analysis of significant events over the past 300 years exposing the cynical exposure to and the imposition of the “Stockholm Syndrome” on the People of Scotland.

Scotland will only gain freedom from England when Scots are fully aware of the systematic indoctrination and subjugation imposed upon them by a Westminster government which takes every pound from scots and gives them 10 pence in return in the form of a grant then castigates Scots as a nation of lazy, drunken, drug-taking, wife-beating, bastards who are wholly reliant upon England for handouts to survive.

 

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1700-1707 – England – Scotland and Spain

In the period 1690-1700, after near seven years of famine in Scotland, large numbers of people were driven from the land to the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh forming large numbers of vagrants, many of whom starved to death in the streets.

Scotlands trade with England and Ireland had also suffered through the application of crippling sanctions on goods and services imposed by the Westminster government.

These were desperate times and a way had to be found to improve Scotland’s economic fortunes before it would be swallowed up by its much richer neighbour south of the border.

The Panama Isthmus presented an opportunity to expand Scotlands trading influence across the Americas to the far east continents.

A colony at Darien would provide a facility allowing goods to be ferried from the Pacific across Panama and loaded onto ships in the Atlantic.

This would fast track Pacific trade improving its reliability.

The added bonus for Scotland would be the gathering of lucrative commissions.

It mattered not that the Spanish had claimed territorial control of large parts of Panama since the English fleet would be there to provide protection of Scottish interests through its unique relationship of a shared monarch.

But events did not unravel as expected. The Spanish and English fleets first blockaded then constantly attacked the Darien community eventually destroying it and just about its entire population.

This effectively bankrupt the Scottish nation bringing it to its knees forcing upon it a few years after the agreement to enter into a union with England.

The union was a scandalous event imposed on Scotland by an expansionist Westminster government determined upon the conquest of smaller nations.

The vast majority of Scots rejected the union and railed against it for many a year thereafter.

 

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Scotland and England Two Kingdoms one King

In the 1690s, many Scots became disillusioned with the off-handed relationship that evolved from the time James VI of Scotland inherited the crown of England in 1603, as James I, in a so-called Union of the Crowns.

Early on in his reign James I arranged regular and frequent meetings with Scottish nobles and the Scottish Privy Council continued to manage the affairs of the country but the Scottish Parliament rarely met and Scots began to feel that their king had abandoned them in preference to England.

Representations to the monarch fell on deaf ears confirming Scottish fears and in the years that followed James and his successors completely gave up on Scotland.

The abject failure to communicate with Scots contributed to growing discontent and in 1641, resulted in Charles being forced to concede powers to the Scottish Parliament.

The settlement stated that the king’s officers of Scotland would be chosen by Scots and Parliament would meet not less than once every three years.

But the English and the Irish were not at all pleased about Scotlands new deal with Charles and it triggered a rebellion in Ireland and civil war in England resulting in the demise of Charles and introduction of Oliver Cromwell and his roundhead army.

Having defeated the Royalists in England and Ireland, Cromwell invaded Scotland and after a short war defeated the Scots and absorbed Scotland into a united British Commonwealth in 1652.

Scots welcomed the Stuarts when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 but the honeymoon period did not last for long.

Charles II and his court reverted to behaviour that had brought about the downfall of Charles I treating Scotland as a satellite of England, (just as they did Ireland).

The English Parliament at Westminster offered to give Scots seats in the London based parliament.

This was rejected because Scots would then occupy just a few seats in a House of Commons dominated by English MP’s perpetuating the abuse of their sovereign rights.

 

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change in the Right of Succession imposed by England

On 30 July 1700, William, Duke of Gloucester, the only one of Queen Anne’s children to survive childhood died from Smallpox.

The English parliament decided that the Electress Sophia, from the German principality of Hanover, would succeed Anne.

The English had decided on Sophia because she was a Protestant.

But Anne’s nearest living relative was her Catholic half-brother James Francis Edward Stuart whose father, James II and VII, had been forced to give up the thrones by William of Orange and his wife, Mary Stuart, in 1688–89.

Supporters of James – the Jacobites – campaigned to regain the crowns, with the support of Catholic France and the prospect of another civil war loomed.

But public opinion was divided. A significant number in the central belt of Scotland supported the abdication of James II and VII because it brought with it the removal of the Church of Rome from a dominant position over the religious affairs of Scotland.

Hard-line protestants were ecstatic at the thought of Sophia becoming Queen of Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament infuriated that the English Parliament did not consult them on the choice of Sophia’s family as the next heirs, passed the Act of Security 1704, denouncing “English influence” over Scotlands affairs of state and threated to end the personal union between England and Scotland.

 

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trading – the lifeblood of a nation

The deterioration in cross border relationships increased as each country developed its own trade policies and markets.

Both were determined to protect their home markets achieving this through the introduction of tariffs on an ever-expanding range of goods reducing trade making foreign trade a necessity.

England successfully expanded its trade with its overseas colonies through its exclusive use of the English, East India Company.

Then a setback for Scotland, in the mid-1690s cold weather caused successive crop failures and famine in parts of Scotland destroyed many farming communities. The Scottish economy was hard hit.

In 1695 the Scottish Parliament wrote to King William about the “great discouragements to trade” and an “increase of poor” and begged him to allow a jointly funded trading company to be founded with the purpose of developing overseas trading markets.

William was supportive but his advisors at Westminster counselled that any new venture would present a threat to the English funded East India Company.

William heeded their advice and refused to support any attempts to raise English capital for the proposed venture.

In the face of stiff opposition from William and Westminster and with its back to the wall the Scottish Parliament authorised the creation of a new Scottish overseas trading company, to be funded entirely from the already struggling Scottish economy.

The Darien venture, establishing a trading base on the Isthmus of Panama evolved from this.

The English response was an immediate and brutal spoiler, the introduction of the “English Navigation Act” barring any overseas colony from trading with or supporting anyone associated with or part of the Darien colony in Panama.

Scottish ports were blockaded by the English navy and many Scottish vessels bound for Europe were boarded, cleared of personnel and sunk

William of Orange also threatened the imposition of an English navy embargo on the ports of any European country who traded with Scotland and with the largest navy in the world at his disposal his was no idle threat.

Westminsters plan to starve Scotland into submission was very real indeed.

The Spanish, who jealously protected their investment in the Panama Isthmus blockaded the Darien port attacking it repeatedly.

Its blockade, supported by the English navy starved the community of any resupply of food, water or contact with Scotland.

Denied assistance the Scottish colony was eventually wiped out and the Scottish economy was ruined.

In 1704, the Scottish Parliament brought to its knees by England proposed a “treaty” on trade supported in perpetuity with the introduction of new laws securing the liberty, religion, and independency of Scotland.”

England’s response, in 1706 was a “Treaty of Union” offering free trade but only in return for a full union of the kingdoms and parliaments.

Scots were not impressed. One political commentator of the period said, “all the Sugar of the English plantations shall not be able to sweeten” the loss of Scotland’s independence.

 

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The Act of Union

The Scottish and English parliaments negotiated, the Acts of Union 1707, under which England and Scotland were united into a single Kingdom of Great Britain, with succession under the rules prescribed by the Act of Settlement.

Dozens of Scottish burghs, shires and parishes sent petitions signed by tens of thousands of people to the Scottish parliament protest and Presbyterians and Jacobites, who fundamentally disagreed on just about everything, formed a coalition in opposition against the proposed union.

The coalition stated that Parliament should “listen to the mind of the nation”. It didn’t.

In 1707 Scots cherished their realm as an ancient and honourable kingdom with an unbroken line of kings from 330 BC.

Accepting that their nation was not powerful or rich they were proud that it had maintained its independence for nearly 2000 years.

A majority of Scots regarded the prospect of the union as a dishonourable conquest by England.

A 1706 Poem “Upon the Union” said of the English. They are: “inveterate enemies who trample on our laws, and us despise”, and asked: “and shall we our scars forget? And to our ruine be now more unite?”

 

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The Scottish legal system

England and Scotland had their own long-established distinct systems of law and justice and each country zealously guarded their courts of law.

As the treaty of union approached a union of English and Scottish law was considered to be impossible.

With result that the terms of the union treaty maintained Scots law, the Scottish Courts of Session and Judiciary and legal offices such as Lord Advocate.

But the new British parliament was empowered to make new laws for Scotland and to reform old laws where necessary.

 

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the Presbyterian Church

Many Presbyterians in Scotland baulked at the concept of closer union with Anglican England.

They feared that the Scottish church would be swallowed up by its Anglican counterpart, and they objected to the presence of bishops in the House of Lords.  But they are still there in 2019!!!!

They also remained committed to the 1638 National Covenant and the 1643 Solemn League and Covenant, which affirmed the Presbyterian nature of the Scottish church and advocated the reformation of the English church which was still modelled around Church of Rome procedures and statutes.

Addressing fears about the loss of the Scottish church, a special act guaranteed that the Presbyterian church would continue for “all-time coming”.

This increased Presbyterian support for the union.

But, their joy was shortlived not long after the union the British parliament began to exert increasing control over the Scottish church and this led to the formation of the Free Church of Scotland in 1843.

 

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