Doe wee not remember, that this Kingdome [England] was divided into seven little Kingdomes, besides Wales? And is it not now the stronger by their Union? And hath not the Union of Wales to England added a greater Strength therto?…I desire a perfect Union of Lawes and Persons, and such a Naturalizing as may make one Body of both Kingdomes under mee your King. That I and my Posteritie (if it so please God) may rule over you to the Worlds End; Such an Union as was of the Scots and Pictes in Scotland, and of the Heptarchie heere in England.
So spake King James I of England and VI of Scotland to the Houses of Parliament in 1603. Soon after he became as James I of Great Britain, and is so styled in the Preface to the Authorised Version of the Holy Bible.
James VI became King of Scots at the tender age of one; he became King of England at the age of 36. He was crowned separately in both kingdoms, but the Union of the Crowns preceded the Union of the Kingdoms by some four years. Monarchy, which had long been a symbol of division if not the bloody cause since time immemorial through to the Wars of the Roses, had at last become the foundation of unity and the guarantor of increasing liberty in the United Kingdom.
It was and remains a Christian monarchy, built on the rock of Scripture and forged out of faith in God through Christ Jesus, and a nurtured sense of national belonging. It has brought us wealth, influence, stability, peace and justice. Some might call them blessings. When we sing Land of Hope and Glory, we pay tribute and give thanks for the ‘Mother of the free’, and encourage the continual progress of liberty “wider still and wider”. It is a cultural vision of a liberal social order which maintains a balance between the freedoms of Christ and the constraints of political democracy; between voluntary obedience to the law of love and mandatory allegiance to the nation state.
Most Scots seem still to appreciate the value of political unity and a combined monarchy. But as modernity has morphed into postmodernity, and our recently-unified society has fractured and fragmented into a series of atomised identity groups each vying for equality supremacy in the man-made hierarchy of competing rights, we cannot be absolutely certain or sure that Elizabeth will be succeeded by Charles, or Charles by William, or William by George. These things are, after all, constitutionally determined by Parliament, and Parliament is sustained by the sovereign will of the people. But we can be sure that no ephemeral politician is ever going to inspire the devotion or instil a unifying sense of national pride as our Queen presently does. It is not for nothing that the Oath of Allegiance is also made to her heirs and successors.
The patriotic Scots freely elected their nationalist messiah, Alex Salmond, to lead them to the Promised Highland, fully cognisant of his separatist instincts and insular inclinations. Having chosen the narrow path which leads to Caledonian salvation, he preaches a false gospel of political independence and fiscal autonomy, bypassing all the contentious questions and answering none of the known unknowns. Those who believe in absolute freedom should perhaps be prepared to march proudly alongside SNP-inclined Scots all the way to Bannockburn for the 700th anniversary of their First War of Independence. Together they might recite Burns’ Scots Wha Hae and sing with gusto Flower of Scotland in perpetual commemoration of the tartan quest for liberty.
But what kind of freedom is it which rescues the Scots from English oppression, only to subjugate them to French and German hegemony? What kind of freedom is it which liberates Holyrood from Westminster interference, only to open the floodgates directly to Brussels intrusiveness and intervention? And what kind of freedom is it which seeks fiscal autonomy, yet plans either to join a sterling area (with interest rates set to suit the English economy), or the eurozone (with interest rates set to suit no-one)? Both would necessarily involve the imposition of borrowing limits and pre-ordained levels of deficit, thereby negating any sense of economic sovereignty.
It is a curious quest for liberty which eradicates generous representation at Westminster (with ready access to Treasury ministers) in favour of no representation in the remote and democratically unaccountable ECB (with no access to anyone).
A free Scotland in the European Union is no kind of freedom at all. As a new applicant nation, the Scots would be in the same position as the Croatians were and the Turks are – obliged to accept all the requisite preconditions of the Acquis, with none of the tortuously-negotiated UK derogations. What manner of individual freedom is it which is subject to an overarching and inviolable Charter of Fundamental Human Rights with no respect for the religious conscience? What sort of personal responsibility may be manifest under the ubiquitously-imposed social teaching of the continental Christian Democratic tradition? What pattern of the rule of law permits supranational joint actions, common positions, conventions, resolutions, statements and other acts to nullify and negate those determined at a national level? What model of limited government is it which aspires to be ever closer, ever deeper, ever more powerful and ever costlier? What is the outlook for a free-market economy within a continental protectionist collective? What becomes of parliamentary democracy when elected representatives may not initiate legislation, and the demos may not vote out of office those who wield ultimate political power? And what defence of the nation state is being offered by the SNP which is dependent on and contiguous with England’s foreign policy?
We easily forget the God who made us mighty. Perhaps because we’re afraid of allegations of petty nationalism or xenophobia; perhaps because we’re afraid of constitutional selfishness; or perhaps, in this increasingly secular age, we’re afraid to express faith at all.
But God aside – as He is routinely shunted – why would the Scots seek to withdraw from the organic, historical, cultural, religious and political federation of the United Kingdom – in which they have been manifestly blessed and through which they have effective representation and real political clout – only to accede to the contrived, ahistorical, artificial and alien federation of the European Union, in which they will possess merely the façade of representation, and through which they will be rendered politically impotent? Why abandon the Treaty of Union 1707, which is concerned with cooperation, justice and fidelity, to adopt the EU Constitutional Treaty 2009, which is obsessed with enforcement, imposition and deception? Why jettison partnership with the democratically-elected British Prime Minister and allegiance to the Crown, only to swear perpetual fealty to the unelected and immovable President of the European Council?
Why is Alex Salmond intent on leading the Scots out of a union which they are manifestly better off in, for one which it is increasingly obvious we would all be Better Off Out?