|The "King's Colours," the national flag of the Kingdom of Great Britain- originally designed on the orders of |
King James VI and I to be used on English and Scottish ships on the high seas.
|Anne, Queen of Great Britain, the first monarch of |
a united Kingdom of Great Britain
These conditions included the full freedom to trade in England for Scottish merchants. At the time, Scotland's economy was in trouble, the ambitious Darien scheme aimed at establishing a Scottish colony in modern day Panama and making Scotland a major international trading power. Unfortunately the Spaniards had scuppered the idea, and Scotland, having invested a quarter of the money circulating within its borders in the scheme since those slimey Dutch and English investors had pulled out, found itself in rather serious debt. Making money was therefore top of the Scots' minds at the time. England decided to fight back with the Alien Act 1705 which threatened Scotland with economic sanctions and declared Scots in England to be aliens (i.e. foreign citizens, despite being subjects of the same Queen, with limited economic and social privileges). Scotland, given a choice between negotiating a full political union with England or withdrawing the Act of Security, opted for union. A new joint Anglo-Scottish commission was set up to negotiate the terms of the union, and the Acts of Union were passed by the Parliaments of England and Scotland.
|Floral badge of the Kingdom of Great Britain, |
incorporating the Tudor rose and a
Although the Scots may not have entered the union willingly, in the long term they clearly benefited from it. Today Scotland retains the benefits of being part of a major world power, being defended by one of the world's most powerful militaries and being a part of the world's 6th largest economy, but has also regained much of its autonomy with its own parliament at Holyrood once more. It's a good deal. Scots should not just vote against independence this year for the perks, however; I hope they vote to remain British because they are proud to be British, and because since 1707, we Scots, Englishmen, Welshmen and even the remaining Irishmen in the United Kingdom have built a shared British identity that we can be proud of- without sacrificing our local identities. As a proud son of Scotia and Britannia, I wish you all a happy "Union Day." Long may it endure!