An article from regular contributor Breeks to Yours for Scotland forms the first post of 2023.

I don’t want to add fuel to the argument. It’s just not productive.

Personally it’s been a long haul rabbiting on about Scottish Sovereignty since what feels like forever, including being schooled by Robert Peffers on Wings, who taught me a lot I didn’t know. I like to think however the arguments and discussions we had were important because there were a lot of people who didn’t know ANYTHING about Scotland’s Constitutional Sovereignty. We have come a long way in 10 years.

I didn’t talk much in terms of the Claim of Right, because to me, the Claim of Right was just a documented implementation of the Scottish Constitution in action. It was essentially a trial held under Scotland’s Constitutional Law. The dethroning of James VII didn’t define the Scottish Constitution, but illustrated the robust principle of Scotland’s long running Constitution.

To me, the Declaration of Arbroath has always been more explicit in defining the Constitutional principle of a monarch who answered to the people. But yet again, while a pivotal document, and like the Claim of Right, the Declaration of Arbroath doesn’t define Scotland’s Constitution, it merely cross references it.

Of the two, I would say the Declaration of Arbroath is the more “weighty” document given the fact it can be linked directly to the 1328 Papal Recognition, (surely the International Recognition of it’s day), and Edinburgh/ Northampton Agreement where the Dowager Queen of England abdicates all Claim over Scotland in perpetuity. The Declaration of Arbroath enjoys contemporary corroboration of the highest possible order, and the paperwork for it all still physically exists!

Here, in what’s left of 2022, it is neither the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath nor the 1689 Claim of Right which are important. These documents are both “witnesses” of their own time. What DOES matter is the constant running principle that the sovereignty of Scotland rests with the people. What we need is that same and ancient sovereign principle “witnessed” afresh in 2022-23.

We don’t need to be experts on the Claim of Right, nor indeed the Declaration of Arbroath, but we DO need to be much more sure footed in our understanding of Scotland’s essential Constitution, the sovereignty, which predicates all of them. While I wouldn’t dream of calling myself a Constitutional expert, I have “known” this for as long as I can remember. “Known” it from childhood, but not understood it. (I could never understand how the “proven” truth could be defeated by the demonstrable fallacies).

In this respect, Sara Salyers hasn’t actually taught me anything I didn’t already know, BUT!!! She most certainly HAS given me a much fuller and richer context for better understanding what these Constitutional principles were, and how Auld Scotland’s society interpreted their everyday use. I actually need to slow the brain down because there’s an enormity to all of this that is quite daunting to comprehend. SALVO has a “Heineken” factor, getting to parts that other beers don’t reach.

I have always grasped the essential principle of popular sovereignty running through Scottish History like an unbroken lightning conductor, but the “SALVO” inspired big revelation for me has been to see how much richer and more complex our Scottish society was, and how too, it was a fundamentally different society to the Anglo Saxon society we live under today. These aren’t just words. The structure; the societal skeleton is NOT the same. Had there never been a Union, Scotland would NOT be governed like it now is, and I don’t just mean Parliament, I mean the whole Nation, from land ownership to economic infrastructure.

I suppose you might compare Sara’s revelations as startling new evidence revealed in some archaeological dig; spellbinding artefacts which change the way we see “everything” else, but the revelations are just the beginning. That’s when the hard work begins. 

Growing up, the Constitutional argument in my head was Westminster holding the rule book which belonged to Scotland, and this “somehow” imprisoned Scotland. But the story is actually much sadder than that. Scotland hasn’t only been forced to suffer a loss of control and say in it’s own affairs; Scotland has been greatly impoverished in ways we can hardly imagine, and has been completely disassociated from it’s cultural origins… (though maybe not “completely” disassociated).

To give a rather abrupt and clumsy analogy, we Indigenous Scots have all been raised to be “white men”. We have lost the “old ways” of our forefathers. We are now Eskimo’s who wouldn’t survive on the ice… but maybe, …maybe, there is still time to save some of the old ways and ancient wisdoms.

The Claim of Sovereign Right, the popular sovereignty of the people, still survives as a threadbare remnant of Scotland’s once rich and vibrant society, but it has only survived these past 300+ years due to it’s categoric obduracy in Law. For that we should be thankful, but it’s a humble remnant from our extraordinarily rich and diverse origin, and right now it’s in danger.

Recent events, the Holyrood Assembly and it’s notorious Scotland Act, a UK “Supreme Court”, and most notably Sturgeon’s craven and idiotic capitulations to Westminster’s “sovereign” ascendancy have greatly imperilled this threadbare principle of Scotland’s Constitutional Sovereignty. If we don’t fight for it, now, and not only fight but actually win that fight, then I fear Scotland will be lost permanently and forever. 

We Scots don’t have much time to undo the damage, but we really, really must take command of this vestigial principle that the people are sovereign in the Realm of Scotland, and take this message to the wider World. 

The letter of the law still protects Scotland…. Just. Westminster still shrinks before the Claim of Right and buckles to rulings from the Court of Session, (see Joanna Cherry’s Prorogation), and furthermore the King of England also swears fealty to the Scottish Claim of Right. .. But the significance of these benchmark rulings is being eroded all the time, and Holyrood with it’s supine idiot Sturgeon, is dangerously accelerating the erosion process.

This is an existential battle we cannot afford to lose, but yet we are disjointed and disorganised, (and I’d have to say thoroughly infiltrated if we are meant to include the SNP). We NEED an active command structure which “sees” all, and understands exactly what is at stake. 

To be blunt, I don’t give a shit whether people like him or hate him, recognise genius or liability, but by my own deductions, I believe we have the rarest of commodities in Alex Salmond; a man who does see all, and can structure a highly motivated and effective YES army. He has done it before, and he puts the fear of God into Scotland’s enemies. He’s not the Messiah. He does make mistakes, and for the record, personally I think we’d hotly disagree on the place of democracy, but this man has the strategic acumen and gift of Leadership that is rare beyond measure. 

I don’t care how the idiot SNP reacted, not the point, but Alex Salmond and the ALBA party running for List seats electrified the Scottish Elections like a jolt from defibrillator. Ok, it didn’t work, but it could have if we’d had better leadership in the SNP. The point is, the idea was a haymaker and nobody saw it coming. 

Plan the dive, then dive the plan… but can we please, please, please do our homework and cover every conceivable option? I believe SALVO is doing exactly that, but all of us need to be studying, learning, strengthening our core arguments and can we please agree where the finishing line actually is?

If we “know” we’re going to fall out and bicker, then let us prepare for it. Do we need an Arbiter or neutral third party to chair a structured debate? Do we need an “Indy” ACAS of our own to broker compromise? If you’re feeling exasperated, join the club, but it’s a known fact that Sturgeon’s SNP spawns 98.7% of all exasperation. 

Dissent is seen as a bad thing because we are saddled with an arrogant and stupid SNP which is deaf, dumb and blind to criticism, and this fosters bitter acrimony and exasperation. They’ve poisoned the well, and maybe deliberately. But we need to remember “constructive” dissent with a positive frame of mind very often makes us stronger, and the compromises we work out build our alliances. 

Let us start playing to win here. We hold the Constitutional Aces, we just need to be smart about playing them, but in the end, believe in ourselves and we win.


Breeks as usual tackles the difficult conversations head on. He offers good advice but also recognises it is going to be very difficult to bring all the different forces within Yes together to achieve maximum impact. He also sees Salvo and Liberation as key to this. It is difficult for various political party rivals to agree a common path. Non Party Salvo/ Liberation can act as the catalyst and example of developing the most positive and challenging message but it is going to take some spirited campaigning to be successful. I think we will see that in the near future. Let’s hope for good positive times ahead. They are badly needed. Let us make 2023 a year to remember!

I am, as always



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45 thoughts on “BREEKS KICKS OFF 2023

  1. “But we need to remember “constructive” dissent with a positive frame of mind very often makes us stronger, and the compromises we work out build our alliances. ”

    THIS! I firmly believe if there is a next indy campaign (not the if) we need an umbrella YES organisation that is NOT party political and can pull support form all corners of the Yes movement. We need to draw ALL the arguments, constitutional or otherwise together to build a coherent case for why Scotland needs independence and why the international community should recognise the will of the Scottish people even if Westminster doesn’t.

    There are many women who will NEVER vote SNP nor Scot Green and we need to bring these women (I’m one of them) into the tent. Alba and ISP can do that as parties but we need the umbrella too.

    Any umbrella org needs to draw in the talent that exists in Scotland, as exemplified by Breeks and others, and not just the usual well kent faces. Blimey I’ve just argued for a constitutional convention haven’t I!!!

    Liked by 12 people

  2. I like the fact the average man and women as well as our young people are actively getting involved or speaking directly to politicians or leaving their thoughts and ideas for them hopefully to read and take on board. What is missing from political parties is how they operate and you only get a vote/voice if you join them. That’s not a true representation of the people, just some who like or are enticed by policy, some which we should see now don’t happen or once voted in they add one’s based upon personal wants or agencies they become involved with.
    I was reading something recently about people threatening to leave Scotland if something they didn’t like happened, they are given a platform to do it on, they might be nice people however they are either part of the ego that is inflicted upon the rest of us in order to try persuade others, or look at Michelle and her husband, propelled into positions that are rewarded. I think that we should start telling those who make threats as such cheerio then, don’t let us stop you because at the end of the day all you are is a human being with access to more money and privileges, sometimes at the expense of a whole lot of other people doesn’t mean anything else. People often do this in life in order to get their own way, for instance a growing child demanding an item in a shop. The public need to take responsibility for worshipping other human beings and falling for it. Respect, admire people and their contributions but stroking egos nah, been there have we not and look at how that turned out for everyone.
    I like a lot of things people have done, Alex included but he’s just Alex that trusted a woman that he thought was his student and was going to bring us forward, so he left it in her hands, when he visited her to ask why she wasn’t moving well we can only guess that we are all living it now. Salvo if you like for me is the people you elects ego killer when they are struck by total power. So myself personally I will only help the people’s movement and the political I might trust once those documents are given to every citizen and organisation, from our police to businesses etc. That’s not to say that I don’t think some are good people and trying to do a good job, it’s just me saying don’t forget your auld arsenal because you got a new one, don’t forget who put you there, should ye forget we’ll the sovereign Scots will remind you.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well said breeks – I’d wager that more than a few of us have been schooled by Robert peffers!

    Taking the ultra-optimistic view, perhaps one advantage in still being in U.K. when we should have left a few years ago, has been the emergence of Salvo and the work of Sara and Alf Baird, SSRG etc. We could quite easily have gone from being in the U.K. to being a ‘mini me’ financialised corruptocracy with little public recourse. The need for popular checks and balances on the political classes and their controlling lobbyists have never been more important. We must never underestimate the power of the brown envelope.

    I believe some of the emergent political parties should have some sort of public counsel, like the convention of the estates at the centre of their manifesto. People no longer trust politicians, nor do they believe (correctly) that they are ever held to account. I think any party formerly acknowledging this would be on to a winner.

    We still have a way to go. I sat with friends bringing in the new year and the TV was switched on for the bells. As we all know the BBC ‘Scotland’ content is at best mediocre, yet I winced when a friend (born and bred Scot) remarked on the embarrassment of ‘these Scottish accents’ on the telly. We’ve all grown up with the Scottish cringe.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. i agree but think we need to go further than not cringing at Scottish accents, which we should be proud ofm, but also have the courage to use our own Scottish language more and also Gaelic for those who speak it.
      Anything that emphasises that our cultue is different from the Anglicised one imposed on us is good and a small act of rebellion,

      Liked by 11 people

      1. “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam”
        “A country without a language is a country without a soul” Pádraig Pearse, 1916 leader,President of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic

        Liked by 5 people

    2. I make a point of speaking Doric Scots [or English with a strong genuine Scottish accent] whenever I’m out and about in Moray. If non-Scots are non-plussed I couldn’t care less.

      Liked by 6 people

  4. I think that politics are shown to be divisive because it’s a competition and each team will attack one another and their supporters in order to try win. Salvo if we can see past the party politics are for all of the people regardless of which policies that resonate with you as a person. It’s not political it’s to prevent what is happening to our country and people right now. They wouldn’t have gotten this far if they were not forgotten about or dismissed. Any politicians who try and say naw to them is not anyone I would consider lending my vote to. I have nae desire to be a politician or in the public eye but if I was then I would definitely be embracing salvo, it protects the people, country and myself from the things we have all witnessed. Whilst we go through the five year waiting period, the suffering of other people is immeasurable. So that’s where am at due to the current state of affairs that’s hurting people and creating energy that isn’t peaceful by being the one’s who want to win.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. A great post to begin the new year.

    The demise of the SNP and its leadership as far as its “commitment to independence” is concerned has been a hard and difficult lesson and a lesson that I and many others had not anticipated, or fully understood until the past couple of years. Of course, others more closely associated with the internal machinations of the SNP have known this for much longer.

    The year just passed has left very few in any doubt that the destruction of the SNP is almost certain and while that’s sad for so many who gave of their time, effort and income to that party, the past year has seen the inevitable search for an alternative.

    As you would expect from a YES Movement fractured and shunned by the leadership of the SNP, those who have left the party, and those who were never even members, have not simply withered away but have learned and come back stronger for their learning and their experience.

    It gives me no pleasure whatsoever, to write about how far the SNP and its principles of democracy have fallen since 2015, so in keeping with the new year ahead, I don’t need to dwell on the past or mistakes made. A new year is about looking forward and not back and the final 6 months of last year has seen positivity and increased resolve from a number of groups and individuals that are truly and solidly committed to independence.

    For me, the emergence of Salvo and Liberation.Scot, and its non-party approach, has been exactly what I have been searching for and has enabled me to refocus my time and energy into a positive and constructive way forward.

    What we don’t need is further bickering and fighting within the Yes Movement when we are all seeking the same goal. However, I am looking forward to the coming year as one of positivity, co-operation, consolidation and achievement for Scotland.

    Liked by 13 people

  6. We need a crowbar to pry open the shutters and expose our unique and ancient Scottish constitution to the sight of the politically disenfranchised masses.
    There is a vestigial, folk memory that our society is (or should be) ordered differently.

    Polling on support for the monarchy in the latter years of the reign of Elizabeth II was remarkably consistent. Excluding don’t knows, in the UK, the monarchy enjoyed a net support of 50% (ie. 75% approve / 25% disapprove). For residents of Scotland, net approval was 14%. This in itself is a stark differential.
    Applying the theory that natives of one nation resident in another will hold the opinion of their nation of origin we can derive figures of approval for the monarchy on an autochthonous basis. For autochthonous Scots the monarchy enjoys net approval of 7%.

    Recent polling indicates that in the event of our attaining our independence, folk favour a Republic over a monarchy by net 10%.
    This is our “crowbar”.

    The idiotic and aloof monarch demands a no expenses spared Coronation. This at a time when household budgets will be stretched to breaking point.
    The BBC will rise to the challenge of generating Pyongyang level propaganda around the Coronation.
    A wise and genuinely committed leader of an independence movement would use the friction generated by this disconnect to proselytise our Scottish constitution.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. This is our “crowbar”. Aye first we need tae wrastle aff the “Craw” perched oan it at Holyrood an’ pit it in the hau’ns o’ them wha may hae wrocht thair afore noo.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for your blog Iain. I am reading Prof Alf Baird’s book Doun-Hauden. I think it is one of the most important books I have read about Scotland and where we are within the Union and within ourselves at the present time. I think the arguments contained within the book should be more widely talked about eg the destruction of our culture and our language. As Prof Baird says, the economic prosperity (or not) of independence is only secondary to the cultural argument and that is difficult for those Scots who have swallowed the English colonialist lie for centuries. I have long admired Alex Salmond and all he stands for. He is truly one of Scotland‘s great heroes and I hope one day I could get to meet him.Again thank you and I look forward to our campaign gaining strength this year.Kind regards Carolyn Williams  Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Carolyn, if you wish to meet Alex Salmond why not go along to the (open to all and free of charge) conference on the next steps towards independence being hosted by the Alba party and held in Edinburgh in the Charteris Centre on January 14th, beginning at 2.00pm. You can be sure of a warm welcome and Alex (and others) always takes the time to talk with people who want a blether.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Thank you so much for that information Jan. I most certainly will go on 14 January and oh my goodness I would be so thrilled to meet Mr Salmond and talk to other folk about our way forward. Thank you. Kind regards Carolyn

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Thanks for the kind words Carolyn, and to Maggie Chetty also.

      Iain and YfS (and Grouse Beater) published in 2021 a 10-part serialisation of the book ‘Doun-Hauden, starting with 1. Culture:

      A further article summarising the framework and research was published in an academic journal in 2022 and can be accessed here:

      Liked by 7 people

  8. Marvellous piece by Breeks as always! I agree with all the points about Scottish sovereignty and the excellent efforts by Sara to knit it all together. The objections that have been voiced against Salvo seem to me to come from those who tend to view progress through the lense of ‘this is the way it has always
    been done’. Sara has lifted the spirits of Yessers in a way that is truly remarkable. Why? because she has probed the past in a new way and has sparked an imaginative response. Because things have never been done in a particular way does not mean they cannot have success. And there are sometimes unpredicted consequences for example;going to the UN with 100,000 signatures may not be successful but the rejection might spark a kind of international response that could be very helpful.My gut feeling is that there is a very wide awareness about Scotland’s difference from England-in Europe the response to the question ‘Are you English?’always is a warm one or vaguely amused, acknowledging the passionate sense of difference . But very often people are not up to date with the current state of politics. I spoke recently to the Deputy Mayor of a small town near Fontainbleau who is a lover of all things Scottish. She had followed the the debate closely about Scottish independence but had not heard of the Alba Party.We have work to do on that!
    The arguments so brilliantly laid out by Alf Baird about Scotland being treated as a colony require to be amplified in the Yes movement and more widely.
    We can learn from other independence movements who asserted their sovereignty from Westminster’s power grab. Sinn Fein’s rejection of Westminster’s incorporating traditions,Gandhi’s refusal to buy British manufactured cloth that had crippled traditional weaving in India. in the eighties the Scottish Anti-Apartheid Movement initiated a world-wide campaign for Mayors to demand Nelson Mandela’s freedom. Could we do a similar campaign asking mayors to declare themselves Friends of Scottish independence?.
    I welcome the arguments that have been promoted by Salvo and I agree that 2023 we have to be bravely and cleverly organised to make our push for re-asserting our right to Scottish Independence!

    Liked by 9 people

  9. I love the Scottish accent. My ex boyfriend was foreign and he would dae wee mock mimics that were really quite good and had me laughing. Sometimes to be fair I thought thank god he never really understood what I was saying during an argument when he pissed me off, so it’s had it’s benefits of not being mair widely understood. 🤣 I mind being at Heathrow and waiting for a flight and two armed police officers were standing and I asked how I got outside so I could come back in easy, next thing he was all oh so good tae hear another Scottish accent and he escorted me out rather than just give me directions. It was quite nice, probably for himself and mine. He told me how he felt being deployed away from home and just hearing someone from home and friendly was nice.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. In fact my Turkish pal told me years ago because he understood what happened to us, the first thing they remove when they want to take over a country is the language. How did he know? Many western folk might not know but it happened in Turkiye.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Breeks, as usual a great thought provoking piece. Talking about Robert Peffers, I never did hear what happened to him. The last letter I read from him on Wings was a really lengthy piece, that he wrote on the 27th of May 2019. His closing paragraph “Westminster is not only robbing us blind but has the temerity to tell us that they have overall sovereignty over us and are our masters when legally they have not, and I believe that fact will soon be brought before the international courts.”
    It’s a pity he;s no longer with us- I’m sure he would have loved to have been a part of Salvo.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Well said Breeks and thanks also to ngataki5 for posting that date reference.

      As it happens I was recently searching for some posts of Robert Peffers using Google advanced site search and struggled to identify the very latest ones.

      the date from your post lead me to the comment you reference:
      27 May, 2019 at 9:53 pm

      following up again now, I see one more long post advising that we listen to people and not attack.

      28 May, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      Robert Peffers contributed so much that was worthwhile to the discourse and our understanding.

      p.s. the thread that I had originally sought to refer back to was one from way back in 2015.
      Robert Peffers was explaining about the ‘British’ naming of things. i.e. we should be aware of and avoid using inexact ‘propaganda terms’ like ‘the British State’ or ‘British Law’

      Still worth reading even 7 years on:

      Thanks be to Breeks, and the much missed and oft remembered Robert Peffers.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Try using a different web browser e.g if using Chrome try Edge etc. That’s often fixes the problem. Or so I’m told at MNR.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. There is nothing I could disagree with in Breeks post, I honestly believe we must stop putting all our eggs in ONE basket just because that basket is BIGGER than the others around. Scotland MUST come together this year, this dreadful year of austerity where even our nurses are having to use food banks. yet the EXPRESS runs with a headline about how Westminster Treasury is about to land another £29BILLION windfall due to Scotlands Hydrogen exports to Europe..

    This year it MUST be COUNTRY before any political party, especially a party that has had more opportunity than any, to have done better.. But I too was an SNP member & an even longer supporter 53yrs believing they WERE the party that would set us free from Westminster rule.. And up until 2014 they were.. Unfortunately we can see how many times the Nu-SNP have been bought over, MPS more settled in than ever at anytime before. MSPs more corrupt than even Tories. And STURGEON the worst leader of a once great party ever.

    BUT the YES family are still as one in their beliefs of INDY being best for Scotland.

    SO we must come together, as YESSERS not as SNP or ALBA or any other party, just Sovereign Scots TAKING our freedom from Westminster. no more asking or begging.
    ALL Indy Parties should be equal because they ARE equal & ALL are or should be fighting on the same side and prepared to work with EVERYONE & ANYONE who can enhance our fight for INDY…

    And ALL political INDY parties must include working with SALVO, SSRG, Liberation.Scot And form the assemble of the people & take our fight to the rest of the WORLD..

    If we can’t come together this year at a time when Tories & Labour are one & the same and ruining lives for the 99% to benefit they the 1% Then we do NOT deserve INDY or a better country.. But we must hope our kids leave this country & find a better life elsewhere as so many have done before now..

    The Tories have destroyed the UK, Sturgeon is still destroying Scotland.. We can & must RECTIFY that..
    By coming together as ONE very Large movement refusing to listen to Westminster, or an English Courts..And ridding this country of every UNIONIST or Traitor that has & IS working against us as we speak.


    Liked by 5 people

  12. Totally agree because when you are far fae home and you hear someone who speaks the same language you automatically connect with them. I have felt the snobbery fae English folk there though due to where I was from and my partner of the time seen it and would say never mind, feck them. I turned them into friends actually and wouldn’t accept them looking down on me and that’s only through getting to know each other that happened. I did a wee language exchange in Turkiye with a young man who wanted to be a pilot, he gave me wee lessons in Turkish and I gave him in Scots/English. They didn’t mind my accent and sayings.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. In fairness to a lot of English people they have been lied to and made to believe that they are the betters. Also I met some nice English people who are just like us, they moved away to dump the system of the UK and find a better way elsewhere because they were unhappy just as we are. I have really been lucky to meet a wide range of people from different nationalities and cultures and I was using it in order to learn so I could be mindful and respectful of others. I even would go along and watch the films in the language of the country and sit amongst locals and listen. That’s why when the media spouts shit about others I tend to just go with what learned. They did it to us often enough so we should know better.


  14. Great analysis and call to action. Alf Baird also points out the very real danger of Scotland being subsumed by the colonial power.

    “If you’re feeling exasperated, join the club, but it’s a known fact that Sturgeon’s SNP spawns 98.7% of all exasperation.”

    There’s a special place reserved for Sturgeon in the rogues gallery of national sell-outs. She’s looking haggard and aged. Her duplicity and lies are showng.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. As ever, an interesting posting from Breeks. But I’m afraid that I’m still having difficulty getting my head round the concept of the Scots people being sovereign in a way that, for example, the English people are not. Like Breeks I had “known” about the sovereignty of the Scots for a long time and had accepted it without question, but then Salvo came along and as I found some of their ideas a bit far-fetched I started thinking about sovereignty and then investigating it. And sadly the conclusion I’ve come to is that this concept of the Scots people being sovereign is nothing more than a myth, a sop thrown to Scots every now and again in the knowledge that even if they had it they could never use it.

    I’m assuming that sovereignty of the people means that the people – all of them – have supreme authority. It’s quite a modern concept; there were discussions about a “social contract” in the 17th century, but in 1707 the idea of a society where the common people had power was laughable. Scotland was riven by religious civil wars in the 17th century, but following the Restoration the Scots Parliament, thoroughly fed up with the Covenanting years and oppression, required its members to take an oath acknowledging the King’s unconditional authority. By 1689 the pendulum had swung back a bit and we had the Claim of Right, but unsurprisingly that didn’t acknowlege that the people were sovereign, and sovereignty still lay with the monarch and the Establishment of aristocrats, landowners, and wealthy merchants, not to mention the Kirk, and they weren’t going to relinquish it easily, even if the thought of doing so had ever crossed their minds which it probably hadn’t.

    So it seems clear to me that those who today make the unlikely argument that that Scotland’s pre-union constitution still exists and that it gives sovereignty to the people are putting new meanings on old concepts. Never in pre-union Scotland did the people have sovereignty; as almost everywhere else in Europe, sovereignty lay with the monarch, the nobility and the wealthy. Can anyone provide any examples of instances where the Scots people (and I mean the people at large, not merely the Establishment) exercised sovereignty? As far as I’m concerned, the 1707 parliament which ignored the popular will and acceded to union with England shows quite clearly that just as in England, Parliament and the monarch were sovereign and the opinion of the people was irrelevant.

    And even if the people of Scotland were sovereign, how would they exercise that? How would their will be established? How would it be put into effect? If the people are above the law, anarchy is is the inevitable result. Instead, just like the English, people in Scotland exercise sovereignty within a UK context, and that sovereignty, as in most other countries that claim to be democracies, is exercised by their power every few years to elect representatives to Parliament to govern them and to make their laws. That is the modern form of popular sovereignty, utterly alien to people living in Scotland in 1707 where under 1% of the population had the vote (and they were all men). And while people will point out that in recent years there have been various pronouncements that the Scottish people are sovereign, I tend to regard these as worthless lip service and they have, of course, received no legal endorsement. I tend to agree with Professor Aileen McHarg when she says that “constitutional claims which are recognised only politically rather than legally are vulnerable to being overridden or ignored”.

    And before you forget the kind words appearing elsewhere on this blog about the value of dissent, I’m in no way being negative because I don’t think that the notion of our special sovereignty plays any part whatever in our quest for independence. We may not be sovereign – if we were we wouldn’t be in the position we are now- but we are a people and under the UN Charter people have the right to self determination. We don’t need ancient and unlikely constitutional theories to exercise that. We do need numbers and international support but if we’re to get these we must first find some way of achieving unity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I don’t think that the notion of our special sovereignty plays any part whatever in our quest for independence.”

      You may or may not be right in that.

      On the matter of sovereignty in the colonial situation, and much as we see in Scotland, it is “only the values of the colonizer that are sovereign” (Albert Memmi). The colonized people are “out of the game”.

      Which means that the struggle for liberation involves, “the conscious and organized undertaking by a colonized people to re-establish the sovereignty of that nation” (Frantz Fanon).

      Liked by 3 people

      1. As you know, Alf, I don’t agree that Scotland is a colony. Nor do I believe that the Scots have a colonial mindset. It’s actually worse than that – through centuries of union we (or at least a lot of us) have acquired a British mindset. If we had a colonial mindset we’d have been like almost all the old UK colonies and been off on our own a long time ago. It’s the British mindset, the fact that we are an integral part of the UK, the fact that for years so many Scots have believed in UK first and Scotland a poor second, that has made it far more difficult psychologically for us to break free than it was for almost any of the former colonies. That’s why even after years and years of gross UK government mismanagement both of us and the UK, of their complete misunderstanding and ignorance of Scotland’s needs and interests, in spite of all that at least half of all Scots seem to think that we’re still better off being part of the UK. Unbelievable really.

        But of course you’re right in saying that it has to be an organised undertaking for us to recover the sovereignty that we gave away in 1707.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Postcolonial theory/history tells us that denial (of oppression) is part of the ‘colonial condition’. We see it here as you reject the condition exists among Scots, yet simultaneously acknowledge its psychological impacts on them.

        You view the Scottish situation as some kind of ‘aberration’. Some also thought that of Ireland. Similarly, many Indian and African peoples subject to colonial rule prided themselves in being ‘British’, and some still do. In postcolonial and cultural theory this is often referred to as a ‘cultural illusion’ resulting in a people developing a ‘false persona’, largely due to ‘cultural assimilation’ processes. We should also remember that colonialism is always ‘a co-operative venture’ with native elites.

        Independence/decolonization is about the removal of an oppressive, dominating, alien culture, and with that inevitably comes the ‘self-recovery’ of a liberated people an thair ain cultur an langages. This is why an independence movement depends on the solidarity of the oppressed ethnic group. The Scots are nae different in this respect, independence being ‘a fight for a national culture’.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I don’t agree with you daveytee19. I don’t think your argument about sovereignty holds water.

        The essential principle of sovereignty is a binary condition, but also a double edged sword. Binary in that you’re either sovereign or you’re not, and double edged, because if you are not sovereign, by implication, someone else is.

        I don’t think anybody would suggest the origin of Scotland’s popular sovereignty was about empowerment of the “little people”, but instead, the rudimentary sovereignty began as a constraint placed upon the ruling monarch. The ancient Scottish Constitution didn’t set out to define who was sovereign, but very much did enshrine the principle that the ruling monarch WASN’T sovereign.

        Once you have that central principle that the ruling Monarch ISN’T sovereign, then you have the reciprocal question, ok then, who is? If the King is not sovereign because he can be deposed, then sovereignty rests upon those who can legitimately do the deposing.

        That “kind” or sovereignty is different when comparing the Scottish doctrine of sovereignty with the English doctrine, because Scotland essentially has / had a terrestrial sovereignty, where the power to rule Scotland as king was conditional upon acceptance by the living, breathing people. They chose their King.

        By comparison, the English doctrine has always been a divine sovereignty, where the the power to rule comes from God, and is dispensed through God’s anointed Monarch, who is considered sovereign because nobody can overrule the will of God. It was God who chose their King.

        Thus, if Scotland’s Community of Realm, in other words the people of Scotland, chose to depose their monarch and replace him with another, the process would be legitimate and roundly constitutional. However, if the English population rose up to depose their Monarch, the action would constitute an insurrection against a reigning and legitimate sovereign, and furthermore be a heresy against God and the Church’s anointed Monarch.

        That is the essential difference, and it is also the reason why Scotland’s Popular Sovereignty and English Divine Sovereignty are fundamentally incompatible, and irreconcilably so.

        Irreconcilable? Yes. There can only be one sovereign Monarch in England, but as confirmed explicitly in the Declaration of Arbroath, the Monarch in Scotland is the only Scot in the Realm who has the unique distinction that he quite literally ISN’T sovereign.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Well, as Ian said, a good explanation. Unfortunately, I can’t agree with it. You say, for example, that sovereignty is binary, i.e. you’re either sovereign or you’re not and if some constraint is put on a monarch then that monarch is no longer sovereign. Well, if that’s the case there has been no sovereign English monarch since 1215 and Magna Carta. Moreover, when Scotland becomes independent it will become a sovereign state. It is the intention then to join the EU which will impose certain laws and conditions. Does that mean that Scotland then loses its sovereignty? If so then no EU country is sovereign.

        But then look at who imposes the constraints. As you have accepted it was never the “little” people. Both in Scotland and England constraints and conditions were imposed by the nobility, invariably to benefit themselves, usually using parliament as the vehicle for so doing. In that case, your argument would suggest that Parliament is sovereign as it was parliament that was imposing the constraints. But that, you say, is a purely English phenomenon.

        You also go on to say that “the power to rule Scotland as king was conditional upon acceptance by the living, breathing people. They chose their King.” Did they? Other than in 1689 when did they do that and how would they go about doing it? Scots kings were always, after all, there”by the grace of God”, not by the grace of man. As far as I can see the only monarch they actually got rid of was Mary Queen of Scots and, of course, religion was the prime motivator for that. In England, by contrast, you say that “doctrine has always been a divine sovereignty, where the the power to rule comes from God, and is dispensed through God’s anointed Monarch, who is considered sovereign because nobody can overrule the will of God. It was God who chose their King”. Again, not so. The English, in fact, were much more adept at getting rid of of monarchs they didn’t like than the Scots – between 1320 and 1707 they managed to get rid of Edward II, Richard II, Charles I and James II.

        As for the doctrine of divine right, it was relatively recent notion; early English kings ruled under the royal prerogative, a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognised in common law. That didn’t of course stop them boasting that they had no superior other than God, but so did the Scots and if anything the theory of divine right in Great Britain was most widely developed by a Scottish king, James VI, who took it down to England with him on his accession there and subsequently wrote a treatise propagating it. Addressing the English parliament in 1610, he informed them that “The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth, for kings are not only God’s lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God’s throne, but even by God himself, they are called gods”. Hardly consistent with the notion of first among equals, one might think. Of course it was their insistence on their having a divine right to rule by themselves without the necessity of any parliament that was the eventual downfall of the Stuart dynasty although throughout the 17th century many in Scotland continued to believe in it; for example, although the Scottish parliament didn’t much care for Charles I they nevertheless disapproved of his execution on the basis that was not Cromwell’s prerogative to hold God’s anointed to account and went on to declare Charles’ son to be the rightful successor to his father. And following the Restoration the Scottish Parliament passed an Act claiming as justification ‘the sacred right inherent to the imperial crown (which his majesty holds immediately from God Almighty alone) and by the ancient constitution and fundamental laws of the kingdom’.

        But of course the writing was on the wall for divine right. Back in the 16th century George Buchanan had introduced the revolutionary idea that the ancient Kings of Scotland had been elected and not divinely appointed. Monarchs were therefore subject to the law of Scotland. If a monarch broke their contract with the people, then in law the people were entitled to depose that monarch. If of course that was already the situation in Scotland that would neither have been novel nor a problem, but in fact it was, to put it mildly, not well received by the powers that be and the book was suppressed. But in due course the Glorious Revolution and its accompanying Bill of Rights and Claim of Right were instrumental in bringing an end to the concept of divine right.

        What no-one has yet attempted to explain to me, of course, is how, if the people were indeed sovereign, the Scottish Parliament agreed the Treaty and passed the Act of Union when the people were dead set against it. The best that can be said for it is that the “little people”, ie the vast majority of the population, didn’t matter and could be ignored (as indeed they were) and once again it was only the people at the top who had the right to decide. That is a long way from sovereignty of the people and I can see no justification for suggesting that a system that applied only to the wealthiest and most important section of the population should now be held to apply to the population at large. It was certainly never intended that way.


      5. I can respond, but I fear it’s forlorn in the sense there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

        There is a structural difference to the way English divine sovereignty is a top down distribution of power, whereas in Scotland, the pyramidal hierarchy is reversed; power begins with the many and is distilled to create a leadership / management capable of administering the Nation’s needs, but forever answerable to the Community of the Realm… the people.

        I’ll confess, I’m not an expert on Magna Carta and the English Parliament asserting it’s superiority over the crown. As far as I know, that didn’t actually happen. The English are deluding themselves. The Crown in England remains sovereign. The Coronation of an English Monarch sees the head of the monarch anointed with oil by the Church, ( the moment the power and approval from God enters into them).

        Yes, granted the roll of the English Parliament changed, but it didn’t depose the sovereignty of the Monarch because every Bill, even in the UK Parliament requires sovereign ascent. The Monarchy might be described as a figurehead, but it retains a sovereign veto. The English/ UK Government is also described as “HM” Government, it is opened and closed by the Monarch; the Military is HM’s Armed Forces, we have HM’s Revenue and Customs etc. It is a gross distortion of reality to imply parity between the top down English sovereignty with a Parliament given power, and the bottom up representative style Scottish sovereignty. The respective constitutions were fundamentally incompatible, and remain incompatible. The Treaty of Union CANNOT properly exist without first, and necessarily, suspending the Scottish Constitution. The problem for Westminster is that Scotland’s Constitution is not theirs to suspend. The ruse of Union only “works” if enough constitutionally illiterate Scots can be bribed, duped, ermined, or coerced into going along with the con.

        The Unionists endeavour to dismiss references to Scotland’s Constitutional Sovereignty and pay it lip service. Curious however that the new Monarch, sovereign figurehead of England, HAD to swear fealty to Scotland’s Claim of Right. It’s hardly fair to describe his oath to his conditions of employment as “lip service”.

        Scotland’s Sovereignty was NOT diminished in any way by the Treaty of Union. That is a lie. Show me the mechanism which allegedly did this, because the Treaty of Union did not. What Scotland did lose under the Union was the process and protocols of government which connected the Scottish people to their Constitutional Rights and entitlements. The Union hijacked the process. Nothing more.

        The Sovereign Community of the Realm still exists, the Sovereign Scottish Constitution still exists. All the Union did was pinch the bit in the middle; the process of government, and used process to sever the link between Scotland’s people and Scotland’s power, and insert the Westminster Parliament into the breach, together with an invasive doctrine of top down English divine sovereignty which is irreconcilable with Scotland’s popular sovereignty.

        The Union is, and always has been a fallacy, a lie, a Constitutional slight of hand which has survived three centuries through coercion, sophistry and brazen deception. Never ONCE has it boasted legitimacy. I pray with every waking hour that this generation of Scots, my generation of Scots, will return to Scotland the Constitutional legitimacy that was subverted in 1707. The Sovereign Community of the Realm will finally reconnect with the Constitution of Auld Scotland, resurrect the mechanisms of Scottish self Government and boot out the parasitic colonial imposter who has plundered Scotland’s rights and prosperity for over 300 years.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. Breeks said: “I can respond, but I fear it’s forlorn in the sense there are none so blind as those who refuse to see”.
        Funnily enough I was thinking exactly the same, but perhaps from a different perspective…….
        Breeks went on to say: “There is a structural difference to the way English divine sovereignty is a top down distribution of power, whereas in Scotland, the pyramidal hierarchy is reversed; power begins with the many and is distilled to create a leadership / management capable of administering the Nation’s needs, but forever answerable to the Community of the Realm… the people”.
        There is no evidence whatever to support that theory that the pyrimidical hierarchy in Scotland is the reverse to that in England. During the period we are referring to, in both countries the monarch was sovereign and reigned with a parliament that might or might not be helpful. And prior to 1707 (and indeed for some considerable time afterwards) very few forms of government were answerable to the people – even in the very unlikely event of they’re even considering it there was no real way they could be while the suffrage was so limited. It’s also true to say that far from viewing the monarch has having an unchallengeable divine right to rule, the English used Magna Carta way back in 1215 to impose conditions and restraints on a monarch who had previously considered himself above the law. It was actually annulled by the Pope, but then reissued in 1216, then again in 1225 and in 1297 when Edward I declared it o be part of English statute law. Imagine – a statute in the 13th century that constrained the power of the monarch! And look at what happened to Edward II. Parliament’s powers increased under his reign until he thought it was getting a bit too uppity and tried to use it to achieve his own political ends. The result was that he was deposed, probably by a formal sitting of parliament, and sent off to live in a castle where he died a few months later, ostensibly of natural causes, wink wink. But what we saw there was a parliament deposing a sitting monarch because he was considered to be unsuitable and it wasn’t the only time it did it.
        But if the Scottish people are sovereign why did the Scottish Parliament refer to kings as “our sovereign lord”? Why when Parliament opened was it customary to report it as, for example “the parliament of our most excellent prince and lord, the lord James, by the grace of God most illustrious king of Scots” The parliament was the monarch’s and the monarch was there by the grace of God, not by the grace of the people. I must say that it would be interesting to see what would happen if someone tried to tell James VI, that great proponent of divine right, that he was merely first among equals and subordinate to the people. Even the Claim of Right, in inviting William to be king, described him as “His Royal Highness William then Prince of Orange, now King of England, whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious instrument of delivering these Kingdoms from popery and arbitrary power.” Almighty God, not the people.
        And as no-one’s ever answered it, I repeat my question: Why if the people were sovereign did the Scottish parliament completely ignore and over-ride their clearly expressed wishes and go ahead with the Act of Union? If the people genuinely had been sovereign the Treaty of Union would never have happened and so nor would the Act and Scotland would have remained an independent sovereign nation.
        Then you persist in the theory that Scotland’s constitution remains fully active, which of course means that the UK labours under three constitutions, the English one, the Scots one, and the UK one, That cannot be the case as it is utterly unworkable. No – when Scotland was incorporated into the new kingdom of Great Britain it lost its constitution which died along with its sovereignty. And if you think that Scotland lost nothing more than process and protocols of government, have a look at the Treaty and the Act of Union where you’ll read “Which articles of union, and act immediately above-written, her majesty, with advice and consent aforesaid, statutes, enacts and ordains to be, and continue in all time coming. the sure and perpetual foundation of a complete and entire union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England”. Complete and entire. Save for the reservations specified in the Act for law, kirk and burghs, everything else went, and that included the Constitution. Let’s face it, it’s absurd to even imagine that a new country would have to deal with two, then three, different constitutions.
        Oh, and once again can I point out that Charles didn’t “swear fealty” to the claim of right. “Fealty” is an old fashioned term meaning loyalty, especially to a monarch. Quite apart from the fact that you can’t be loyal to a document, Charles did not make an oath of loyalty to the Claim of Right. He said nothing at all about the constitutional implications of the Claim of Right. What he actually said, as required by the Act of Union, was that he ”shall inviolably maintain and preserve the Settlement of the true Protestant Religion as established by the Laws made in Scotland in prosecution of the Claim of Right…” Basically, it was nothing more than a promise relating to the security of the Church of Scotland, nothing more – to suggest, as you appear to be doing, that it was a promise to uphold the entire Claim of Right is plain wrong.
        Finally Breeks said: “The Union is, and always has been a fallacy, a lie, a Constitutional slight of hand which has survived three centuries through coercion, sophistry and brazen deception. Never ONCE has it boasted legitimacy.”
        I think you’ve now gone over the top. The union exists and has done so for over 300 years. Recognised throughout the world, it hasn’t had to boast legitimacy because its legitimacy has never been seriously in doubt. Like you I’d very much like to see it come to an end but that won’t happen by putting forward arguments and theories which have no basis in fact and no evidence to back them up.


      7. “ During the period we are referring to, in both countries the monarch was sovereign and reigned with a Parliament….”

        But DaveyTee19, that just ISN’T factually correct.

        A Scottish monarch is NOT sovereign and never has been. That’s the whole point you’re missing.

        The Community of the Realm is sovereign, the people, as the reciprocal component of the Monarch NOT being sovereign. To describe this as a popular sovereignty from the outset is “probably” incorrect, I can readily accept that, because a democratic popular sovereignty is what a medieval doctrine has evolved into, but the root principle has not changed, and remains quite explicit that the Monarch is NOT sovereign in Scotland.

        You ask for evidence.
        The Claim of Right is your evidence. A reigning monarch, James VII, was removed from his throne by the people.
        The Declaration of Arbroath is your evidence, with a de facto Convention of the Estates making a declaration; a component of which features the King being removed by the people. A declaration that was subsequently recognised by the Papacy and English Crown.
        You also have the recent evidence from 2022 when the new Monarch of Scots and England was required to pledge fealty to Scotland’s Claim of Right, and did so. Do you seriously think he did so by choice? He acknowledged his reign as Charles III WASN’T sovereign in Scotland.

        You are in denial DaveyTee19.

        Scotland’s SOVEREIGN Constitution remains extant and has legitimacy in Law backed by evidence, and centuries provenance and corroboration, while the Treaty of Union, even from it’s inception, has relied on treachery, sophistry and a twisted duplicitous tapestry of duplicity and wilful disinformation.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. It’s obvious, Breeks, that neither of us are going to be swayed from our beliefs and it therefore seems a bit pointless continuing as I think we have both now made all the points we can and anything more is just going to be repetition.

        I would just say however that the Declaration of Arbroath was not made by a Convention – it was actually a letter composed by the Bernard Linton, the Chancellor of Scotland, signed by a number of barons and nobles (several of whom had sworn fealty to Edward of England 20 years earlier) and sent to the pope in the hope that he would get the English off their backs. To some extent it was a propaganda exercise and it contained a lot of doubtful Scottish history that it was hoped would impress the pope, and to some extent it worked.

        The Claim of Rights did no more than did England’s Bill or Rights. A Convention of the Estates, quite possibly acting illegally, invited William (who had apparently been appointed by God) to be King. (I say illegally because it was subsequently agreed that that was really beyond the powers of a Convention and so it was retrospectively turned into a Parliament). In England, “the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully and freely representing all the estates of the people of this realm” offered the crown to William. I fail to see any great difference – indeed the two documents are fairly similar save for the vehement anti-catholicism of the CofR.

        As for Charles’ accession oath, all he did was to fulfil his duty under the Act of Union to maintain and protect the protestant religion in Scotland, nothing more. If you don’t believe me, read the accession oath – it’s online. Fallacious claims that he “swore fealty” to the Claim of Right don’t help your case.


  16. Lots of comment here and elsewhere about what we need to do, but how do we do it?

    All the ideas come up against the lack of action from the Scottish Parliament. We have a Scottish Parliament with three English parties, one wannabe English party and one ‘oh my God, what are they’ party, none of whom have any interest in taking any action to begin the process of seeking independence.

    So we either need the support of parliament to achieve independence or a way to achieve independence without it.

    As the support of parliament depends on the support of Sturgeon and I can’t see that happening, what’s the plan to get rid of her without getting a mini-me replacement. Voting her out seems unlikely given SNP election support is increasing, and the support seems to be unaffected by insane laws, stupid decisions and inept governance. Is there another way? In any case, Sturgeon’s apparent control of Scottish police and legal system would allow her to take immediate action against any threat to her control.

    If the people are sovereign, how do we demonstrate that sovereignty in a way that overrules parliament. A hundred thousand signatures for would be impressive, but not impressive enough to make Sturgeon back down. She would just ignore such numbers or, if need be, have a few ringleaders arrested. It would take millions to have any effect and recent history has shown that Scots don’t do million person protests.

    I know this will sound negative, but I haven’t the time to spend talking about independence unless it’s taking about how and when we’re going to do it.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. The problem is we send 59 representatives to westminster where they accept allegiance to the sovereign and accept the position in return for a lavish salary and pension

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh dear! Here was me believing that our representatives at Westminster were all there for altruistic reasons, for the Common Good and the restoration of our independence.

      I remember asking George Thomson when he was MP for Galloway what he thought his job was about and he told me – “to make myself redundant”!

      Somehow, I don’t see that from our current crop of representatives!

      Liked by 2 people

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