HAMISH MacPherson excelled himself on the so-called Anglo-Scottish Treaty of Union of 1707 (Bought and sold for English gold: How Scotland suffered, The National, May 2). It was not a union. It was a takeover. As he says, Wales and Ireland were not consulted. Only one per cent of the Scottish people were.

Wales was conquered by Edward Plantagenet, costing England 10 times the national income. The money, borrowed from the Jewish commercial community, was reneged on and led to them being scapegoated and to the English Holocaust, where they had to wear yellow patches before being deported and murdered, including 400 burnt alive while seeking sanctuary in a York church.

Others were left on sandbanks, to be drowned in the incoming tide, by Edward’s captains shipping them to the continent. Wales was declared a principality after Edward promised them a prince who spoke no English. He held up his newborn son from the castle ramparts, calling him the Prince of Wales. Similarly, Ireland was conquered and its monarchy destroyed and supplanted.

The English Pope only wanted a penny on each Irish house for his part. Possibly, Ireland might have gone with the Reformation with the rest of northern Europe had it not been harshly ruled by Anglicans.

The so-called Irish Union of 1801 was based on the successful capture of Scotland in 1707. The red cross of St Patrick was invented to fit in the Union flag. St Patrick was never crucified. He died in his bed as the Bishop of Armagh.

St George was never crucified either. He was hung for fiddling a bacon contract to the Greek king’s army. St David wasn’t represented in the flag, nor was it classed as a “kingdom” to be “united”. Ireland had no kingdom in 1801 neither.

Hamish had only time to touch on the anti-Union rebellion of 1708. As he says, the Duke of Hamilton copped out at the last minute by feigning toothache. The Jacobite forces took Edinburgh from the north, aided by the toon’s Heilan guards. The Cameronians marched from the south-west in alliance and were thwarted at Dumfries by red-coated dragoons. It was left to the women to take to the streets, stoning the troops.

The French fleet and soldiers were indeed thwarted by the English Navy and the Scottish weather. The people lined the shore all the way up the coast from Leith exhorting the French admiral to set the weapons and gold ashore, so that they could join the fight.

The actual Treaty was signed in a cellar, due to the rioting crowds outside and the coach was pelted all the way over the Border. Riots continued at every Mercat Cross, where copies of the Treaty were burned. General Wade was sent from Eglinton Toll Barracks to quell the angry citizens of Glasgow. One meenister urged them to be “up and anent for the City of God”.

The Church of Scotland, education and law were allowed to be enshrined. Other parts of the Act, such as retaining the Scottish mint were broken. “Prosperity to Scotland and No Union” was inscribed on the broadswords of the Jacobite rebels of 1715, 1719 and 1745. Some of these swords, from Culloden, were displayed in the forecourt of the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. That is, until they were removed by Mrs Lord McConnell after her appointment as head of the parks and leisure department. The present expensive mish-mash replaced the thematic display of departments that stood the test of time a lot better.

Perhaps Hamish will recall the Scottish Republican Rebellion of 1797 in his follow-up to the Scottish Resistance to the so-called Union?
Donald Anderson


It’s time for a rethink on how we categorise rape cases

DON’T the comments from Ste Gre and Tony C (Letters, The National, May 2) clearly demonstrate the tensions associated with the law surrounding the brutal crime of rape – principally, but not exclusively, against women?

As someone who has sat on a jury at a rape trial, it is a minefield – not least because the same crime is held to have been committed whether it is a brutal – even life-threatening – abuse of a victim by a stranger or a case of non-consensual sex, often between friends or even lovers.

There can be no doubt that, even with guidance from a judge, that juries can be reluctant to return a guilty verdict for an offence at the less severe end of the scale, given the severity of the sentences required to be handed down. In this, I am mindful that all abused victims are forced to live with the consequences of the crime against them.

However, doesn’t this partially explain the appalling conviction rates in sexual molestation cases where consent is disputed? Don’t we need to mature our thinking about our rape law? Shouldn’t there be clear and distinct categories defined on the broad spectrum of sexual offences with appropriate penalties for each, legislated for by Parliament?

Like Ste Gre, for me, it is clearly an offence for a condom to be deliberately removed during consensual sex, without the consent of the partner; but it seems disingenuous to ask a jury to treat this as a rape in the same way as a case where a victim is dominated, brutalised, abused, and placed in fear of their life by a violent thug from whom society needs to protect itself with a very long custodial sentence.

No always means no. That’s a given. However, if we are serious about punishing those who break the rules of consent in sex between partners, friends, colleagues or whatever, then don’t we need a clear demarcation of sexual offences and accordingly appropriate sentences that can reasonably aid juries to make more informed decisions without having to find guilt for a minor offence, which potentially carries the penalty and stigma of a severe one?
Jim Taylor

BOTH Patsy Millar and Ade Hegney’s comments (Letters, The National, May 2) were very welcome. But this is not the first time the PM has used such words and phrases. On April 21, May said her party was “taking actions against extremists” and “standing up to separatists”.

I took exception then and at the weekend at the PM’s statements, for the same and other reasons, not least since I’m a realist and not a separatist. The UK is not one country. At the moment my country, Scotland, is part of the UK. The UK is not united through equality, nor parity, either politically or economically.

Starting from the politic then, I seek a different outcome from some others, including the PM. The last time I looked, political difference was debatable and actionable through a process called democracy. I have always believed and advocated that good citizenship included using democratic, legal means to achieve political, social, economic outcomes. But by accessing the democratic process, choosing a different path, the PM has labelled me a separatist and equated me with “extremists”. This is dangerous for me and my family. Should I expect a knock on our door shortly? Do my name, cultural heritage, my travel patterns, the diaspora of my family merit putting me on a list? Or was I there already, since through that open, democratic process and freedom of speech, I have time and time again chosen to opt for an independent Scotland?

It is no exaggeration to say that my initial anger at hearing the news report last month, was replaced by fear – fear of being threatened by the state through being “profiled”.

And saddened too, thinking of all the work, the loyalty, the sacrifices that generations of migrants have given, to see it dismissed in one egotistical, vote-seeking speech that I would have normally associated with right-wing extremists in another continent, perhaps even another era. In June, I won't be voting to endorse Brexit. Nor will I be voting against it. I will be declaring my intent that my vote is yet another step on the road to independence. I know who and what I am. I don’t require the PM to label me.
Selma Rahman