They say you should learn from history, well how about this lesson? Under a single Royal family a small island conquered the world militarily, politically and economically, where previously, as twin Kingdoms we were a peripheral European political player, who sold wool.
Today in the age of the global superpower we continue to punch politically and economically well above our weight, and this is due to what we achieved at Great Britain, not England and Scotland.
When we were two countries we used to fight all the time – there was a lot of ‘glorious death’ that is still celebrated today – great battles like Stirling Bridge, Bannockburn, Falkirk and the Siege of Stirling Castle. And famous names – William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and their arch enemy Longshanks, Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots!
This sort of stuff might make great Hollywood movies, starring Australians, but back in the 13th and 14th Centuries, these were miserable struggles between competing Kingdoms on the same little patch of turf. No good came from it, only death, destruction and suffering, and all at great cost to both economies.
Compare this situation with the more stable world when after 1603, when we had the same (Scottish) King, in James (VI or I), which eventually led to us becoming one Great Britain in 1707.
Quite clearly our lot improved significantly and together we colonised the planet. The military methods and social attitudes of the day may not sit well with modern mores.
But the combination of our military might, backed up by, and in some cases integrated with, our entrepreneurial spirit saw us, as Great Britain, build an empire that covered the globe, and hang on to it for centuries.
Even today our common language, as exported by the British Empire, gives us a huge advantage, in that billions of people speak it, and it remains the language of international business.
Maybe I just don’t get it? But it seems strange to me that all the bad stuff that happened to Scots, when Scotland and England were separate countries fighting each other, is somehow driving Alex Salmond’s call for independence. It sounds to me that the SNP is saying ‘things were miserable, but at least it was our own Scottish misery’.
Nope, I just don’t understand how, if you take something that’s good and strong and economically prosperous and split it up, that the two weaker pieces can be better on their own. Big countries are strong – look at the United States, the clue’s in the name, then there’s China and Russia, two more big countries made up of culturally different states.
And it’s not as if Scots have been excluded from power in the UK, the PM is called Cameron, and the last two before him were both Scots. And like I said, the first King was also Scottish, along with a vast number of high ranking officials and politicians, entrepreneurs, engineers, philosophers and other public figures over the centuries.
Surely we are better as one single country, as most recently shown by the performance of Team GB at the 2012 Olympics, rather than broken up into little bits like at the Commonwealth Games? Let’s keep it that way!
Image: Great Britain via Shutterstock