As History moved on the legal entity of Great Britain established in 1707 actually ceased to be in 1801 when it was superseded by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , brought about by the Act of Union of 1800 which had been enacted after the suppression of the Irish Rebellion in 1798. That then changed again, just as we were getting the hang of all this Union business, in 1922 with the grant of independence for the Republic of Ireland , after the partition of six of the nine counties of Ulster . These remained in the UK , formalised by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921, although the current title of the UK the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was not officially adopted until 1927.

Scottish Parliament

Well now we come to modern times and the limited devolution settelement (a bribe by new Labour) introduced by the Scotland Act of 1998, which reintroduced a separate Scottish parliament and which have created no end of inconsistencies in England, not least the so-called "West Lothian Question" - have led to calls for a similar parliament in England.

What is rarely mentioned is that other great act of union which, coincidentally, has its fiftieth anniversary this year - Treaty of Rome, creating a European Economic Community , a proto-European state. This the UK joined in 1973, (most Britons did not notice) with our own act of union, the European Communities Act 1972, which effectively signed away our independence.

That, in the view of many, including this blog, renders nugatory any discussion about devolution and separate parliaments in England, Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland when and if they can get their act together.

EU Flag

As long as the bulk of our law is made in Brussels (and Strasbourg ) it matters little whether we have additional talking shops in the provinces of a greater European Union. Genuine devolution would be the return of powers to local authorities, the central government acting more properly as a supervisor and guarantor of fair play than as ruler and administrator.

What is so remarkable though is the willingness, apparently, of some in Scotland to accept the yoke of Brussels while rejecting the rule of London . Scotland 's economic and political well being will be much better (as was often repeated by the editor of this blog in Scotland in 2004) as a country within the United Kingdom not as a region of the European Union.

Peter Troy

In an article for the Western Mail , Peter Hain warned the Tories' English votes plan, where only English MPs would be able to vote on Westminster legislation affecting England , was playing into the hands of separatists.

"Unless we see it off it will prove a one-way street to the disintegration of the United Kingdom and a one-way street to irrelevance for Wales ," he wrote.
Gordon Brown His comments echo similar warnings made by chancellor Gordon Brown at the weekend, when he called for supporters of the union between Scotland and England to "speak up" in the face of growing support for independence north of the border.

Recent polls have suggested as many as half of Scots back an independent Scotland , and a survey for the Sunday Times this weekend put the Scottish National Party (SNP) six points ahead of Labour.
"We should remember that from 1707, the union was founded not just on the respect for diversity that devolution recognises, but also on institutions that brought us together," Mr Brown said.

"It is now time for supporters of the union to speak up, to resist any drift towards a Balkanisation of Britain, and to acknowledge Great Britain for the success it has been and is - a model for the world of how nations can not only live side by side, but be stronger together but weaker apart."

However, the nationalists in both Scotland and Wales have dismissed such talk as scaremongering by Labour governments fearful of the results of the Welsh assembly and Scottish parliament elections in May this year.

"Labour are running a negative, 'natbashing' campaign," said SNP leader Alex Salmond, adding that with its promise to hold a referendum on independence, his party was the only one to offer Scottish people a choice on their future.

Plaid Cymru, meanwhile, accused Labour in Wales of having no coherent policy, pointing out while Mr Hain was warning of the destruction of the union, first minister Rhodri Morgan asserted independence would not be an election issue.

"Labour in Wales is in disarray over their campaign. It's about time Labour focused on the issues that matter," said Plaid's deputy assembly leader, Rhodri Glyn Thomas.

The Conservatives have also hit back at Labour for suggesting they back a break-up of the union. On Sunday David Cameron accused the chancellor of using the "fear of the economic consequences of going it alone" to intimidate Scots voters.

Shadow Scotland secretary David Mundell has tabled an early day motion celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union, which was ratified by the Scottish parliament on January 16th 1707, as proof of his party's support.

"My motion sets out clearly my party's position on the union, recognising that it has been one of the greatest political success stories of modern European history,"

By Peter Hitchens,


"This revolution, though well under way, is not complete. Still to come are the destruction or at least the serious diminishing of the monarchy, the reduction of the power of the House of Commons, the transformation of the practice of law, the end of the pre-eminence of privileged institutions like the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the disestablishment of the Church of England and the dissolution of the 1707 union of England with Scotland." But in the view of some historians, Scotland has benefited hugely from the Union , whatever the future holds.

Professor Whatley argues the Union cost Scotland its parliament and its sovereignty, but it brought big gains.

These included access to new markets, the protection of the Royal Navy at a time when the Scottish navy comprised three vessels, the Protestant succession at a time when religion mattered greatly, and the preservation of Scotland 's unique legal and education systems.

It also brought compensation - about £400,000 in money of the time - for Scotland 's disastrous Darien colonial experiment.

The Union was agreed despite strong public opposition in Scotland and the fear of lost identify had the paradoxical effect of prompting a new interest in Scottish culture.

"When you are in Scotland , you are in a different country to England ," said Professor Whatley.

"There are differences and in part, this reflects the fact that not all was lost in 1707."

He said: " Scotland certainly gained, but that loss of sovereignty and independence of action mattered a great deal.

"But I think in the world of the late 17th century, early 18th century and throughout the 19th century, this was the best option for the Scots.

"Few Scots went into this enthusiastically - it was about real politik.

"This was the reality in a very hard world where forces were at work that Scots were having difficulty dealing with as an independent nation."


Letter from Stockport

Scotland's Parliament still has less power than Birmingham Corporation, and I expect Edinburgh and Glasgow had, up to 1980s when Council's were Prevented from borrowing money on the market. They had been steadily loosing Power since 1900 when Joe Chamberlain of Birmingham provoked the Boer War so
That he could sell guns to the government, and the people of Birmingham Could have food to eat. Who is to say that was wrong?

There's no better way to cause a war than to create an economic slump! Northern Ireland had 12-15% unemployment in the 1970s before the IRA took up Arms. England won't let that happen again in a hurry!

The Barnet formula produces peanuts compared to the loss of industry which Paid good wages to the working class anywhere north of Watford. That was Caused by pushing up the exchange rate which Keynes described as "the Deliberate intensification of unemployment" in 1925 in "The Economic Consequences of Mr Churchill". It didn't stop Churchill putting him in Charge of the Treasury, and in fact of economic policy, in 1940-45.

Those who claim that Brown is working for the benefit of Scotland are as Dishonest as saying that he and Blair have been working for the benefit of The British working class, and worse than Quisling who said putting their Lot in with Hitler was the best policy for Norway. There were real arguments For that.

Michael Moore


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