Friday, 19 April 2019

The Scottish Parliament

St Giles
The Scottish Parliament,sat for 400 years ( 1230 - 1707 ) influenced by the Reformation, Enlightenment and great scholars. It set many precedents that were eventually incorporated into the British parliament. It worked to reduce the power of the monarchy. The great scholar George Buchanan, who based his writings on the Scottish clan system and the father of democracy. He wrote that all political power resides in the people, and it must reside in the people: and that it is lawful and necessary to resist kings (or queens) or (we might say all rulers) if (or when) they become tyrants. There were many attempts to suppress his work and he foresaw where stupid Stewart vanity would lead.  

It bothers me that the British media portrays the British or English democracy as if it’s the oldest and best in the world. It is not. And while the contributions of the Scots are simply swept aside. Also Britain lagged behind other countries with universal suffrage (votes for all men) and crushed the Peoples Reform movement late 18thcentury, in Ireland and Scotland. 

The Scottish Parliament was begun in 1235 under Alexander II and had a political and judicial role. It sat for 400 years and incorporated The Three Estates – clergy, nobility, Burghs – who all sat together in a single chamber. Which contrasts to the divisions in the English parliament with its House of Commons and House of Lords. And the parliament travelled across the country. Later it sat in St Giles 1563 – 1639, and the nearby Parliament Hall 1639 – 1707.
The Declaration of Arbroath


The Declaration of Arbroath (1320) - Arbroath was the place that the Arbroath Declaration of Independencewas signed by lords, commons and the clergy of Scotland in 1320.  In it they had affirmed our right to be free to live our own lives in our own way.  Six years after Bannockburn.
There is a clip of Ian Hamilton, who led the students who stole back the Stone of Destiny 1951 from Westminster abbey, at the Arbroath visitors centre, speaking of his quest to awaken Scotland from its long slumber, his voice chokes as he speaks.. 

...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

The Scottish Parliament determined the religious orthodoxy but at this time more power resided with the church and the monarchy. James Stewart V was Catholic.  
The Protestant Reformation happened in 1560, and Bishops were excluded after 1567 - abolished by the Covenanters1638 – 1651.
George Buchanan

Under James VI and I of England, (1603 Union of the Crowns) who was tutored by the highly respected scholar and the father of democracy George Buchannan. Buchanan was one of the most significant literary and political figures of the 16th century: poet, playwright, historian, humanist scholar, teacher to Mary Queen of Scots, and later to her son James Stewart VI of Scotland and I of England. He wrote one of the most important books in literature. A Dialogue on the Law of Kingship among the Scots, a critical edition and translation of George Buchanan's 'De Iure Regni apud Scotos Dialogus 

The Lord of the Articles was often appointed by the Crown, and parliament therefore became less independent. There was the War of the Three Kingdoms (not English civil war) and The Thirty years religious war in Europe, 17th century. 

Turbulent Times.  Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland in 1651, after Charles I was executed and he went as far north as Dunottar castle, looking for the Scottish crown. (which was hidden elsewhere) 
Ten years later in1661, saw Charles II restoration. He sent Commissioners to rule his northern kingdom. His brother Catholic James VII fled into exile 1689. This period is called the Glorious Revolution, but why is it glorious but other revolutions are only ordinary? And this led to divisions Northern Ireland begun under Henry VIII.

The Scottish Parliament nominated William of Orange and they disposed James Stewart VII under the Claim of Rights, and they offered the Crown to William and Mary, with limits to royal power. .

The Union of the Parliaments – was a Trading Treaty - but by 1801 England began colonising Scotland. 
After years, the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999, to Robert Burns song A Mans a Man for a That. Can we live up to these expectations and hopes?
The NEW Scottish Parliament 1999  to 2019 
'When on 25 march 1707 James Ogilvie, Earl of Seafield, Chancellor of Scotland, signed the Act of Union, ending Scotland's ancient independence, and merging the two parliaments of Scotland and England into the United Kingdom Parliament, he threw down the quill with these words: 'Now there's the end of an auld sang.'   

Ian Hamilton on taking back the Stone of Destiny. "It may be, it just may be, that on Christmas Day 1950 four young people wrote a new verse to that old song. Whatever we did, the song is still being sung."

Thursday, 18 April 2019

ITALY images

Abuzzo

Photos from my much loved trips to Italy – the land of art, great diversity, history, beauty, creativity. Italia and its connections to Scotland. 
 
Tuscany
Renaissance, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, …..
I have visited Florence, Venice, Milan, Verona, Sienna, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Sicily, Barga, Lake Garda,

wet street Sienna

The Florence vistas, the mountain villages of Abruzzi, olive picking, the wet streets of Sienna,

Lake Garda


Sunday, 31 March 2019

Photos 2018


2018 was a confusing year.  In Scotland we enjoyed the grand opening of the new V & A Dundee, which is a wondrous new landmark and attraction on the river Tay. 

Journeys
I travelled the Scottish islands – Orkney, which was awesome, and all its history. Orkney gently tells many stories – ancient sagas from its rich past. The outer Hebrides and the beauty of the shimmering soft blues of those landscapes is breathtaking, with its expanse of sands and surging seas....

Ross Wilson
Emeli Sande

MUSIC - Rab Noakes, Blue Rose Code,
Photo of Brian May In Edinburgh - also Karl Ove Knausgaard, Murray Lachlan Young, Gina Miller.


We learn invaluable lessons by following those who walked before us. 

I’ve been searching for Scotia – in Edina’s ancient streets ….

Brian May
Gina Miller






Sunday, 24 March 2019

Indyref Yes No vote 2014 documentary: BBC Scotland



The new BBC Scotland has been running a three part series on the Indy Ref Yes/No Vote 2014. 
‘We have made a vote for progress and change", spoke Alastair Darling, of leave of the Better Together campaign (of Lorretto 
school fame) after the 2014 vote. (45% yes, 55% no) How hollow his words ring....  We were promised all these increased powers; protection of our pensions; being in Europe,.

England must now also be heard. The day after the No vote result Cameron announced English votes for English laws. It was a dark forces of the blatant ignoring and side-lining of Scotland that was to come. Its hard to watch without feeling a sense of shame.  

One young man felt the NO side had more to offer – which suggests 2 things – their control of the media and press, and also the lists of promises. The wise amongst us saw from past performances and that promises or vows are actually Lies dressed up in fancy clothes and we listen to the MSM with questioning ears. 

Does this mean in a future ref the indy side, rather than have vague outlines, needs to have clearer promises? Perhaps? What would these be exactly – control of our resources, improved infrastructure, investment in R & D and education, a fair welfare system, business opportunities and investment… 


According to Osborne, ‘SNP were put back in their box.’ ‘Lib Dems were a spent focre.’ This also ruined Labour in Scotland – who barely got a mention in this series. Except for the very funny video shot in Glasgow of the Labour Mps descending to the music of Darth Vadar, " Our imperial over lords are here to rule us.’"! Or the blustering speeches of yesterdays man, Gordon Brown making promises he had no way of ever keeping!