A couple of nights ago I read a passage within the pages of Margaret George’s superb ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ which stopped me in my tracks. Not long after the death of Catherine Howard, a conversation is taking place between an aging Henry and an ambassador sent forth from the Court of King James V of Scotland. Within it was a brief exchange which I quote verbatim:
[Henry] ‘let us state it plain. Here is what I wish: that Scotland and England unite, preferably through marriage. That we cease these hostilities, which are nonsensical, if you consult a map; for we are one country. All else flows from that.’
[Scottish Ambassador] ‘Now you understand me,’ he said, and his voice was burred and edgy. ‘I care not what your maps say, or what your logic tells you. We Scots are a different people, entirely different from you. That you understand us not is of no concern to us. We are people of our land, and our land is as different from yours as is Spain’.
Now, I have no knowledge of whether such a conversation took place, or whether it was simply Margaret George using her artistic licence. However, if she did make it up she’s comprehensively nailed the reason why us Scots should have had no qualms or fears about voting YES in the 2014 referendum. It encapsulates entirely why those who seek to bind us are doing so despite the deep rooted cultural differences which will always exist.
You may accuse me of going all ‘Braveheart’, but I’d respectfully disagree. Scotland has been an independent country for most of it’s history. Only when a greedy few sold us out for English coin did we join with England. The above conversation, even if fabricated, is undoubtedly what was felt in Tudor times. For many nothing has changed.
As Scots we should never forget our history – it made us who we are. I remain convinced that one day we will be an independent country again. I just hope I live to see it, even if only for my final breaths.
(A more detailed review of Margaret George’s book will be posted soon – I’ve nearly finished it!)
Thanks for reading.