History of Scotland 2

In response to the Depression that set in as a result of the First World War and which particularly affected Scotland, politically more radical currents gained influx. The Labor Party became the strongest party; v. a. In the Scottish National Party (SNP, founded in 1934) a political force emerged that embodied national self-confidence and demanded greater autonomy. In the 1970s, demands for autonomy gained new impetus through oil discoveries off the east coast of Scotland, and the SNP enjoyed brief electoral successes (1974: eleven members of the British House of Commons). A law on decentralization (“devolution”) or partial autonomy, which was then introduced by the British Labor Government in 1977 and passed in the House of Commons, did not find a legal majority in a referendum in Scotland on March 1st, 1979. The SNP lost most of its seats in further elections, but has recently gained a boost. In one on the initiative of the British Prime Minister T. Blair’s referendum on September 11, 1997, the majority of the Scottish population (74.3% of the participants) voted for the re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament with limited autonomy. The elections for the Scottish regional parliament (129 members) on May 6, 1999 were won by the Labor Party (strongest parliamentary group with 56 seats); the SNP became the second largest party (35 MPs). The Labor Party formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats (17 seats) under First Minister Donald Dewar (Labor Party); After his death, Labor politician Henry McLeish took office in October 2000. This was after his resignation in November 2001 by the previous Minister of Education Jack McConnell (* 1960; also Labor Party) as head of the regional government, who after his re-election in May 2003 continued the governing coalition with the Liberal Democrats. In May 2007, however, the Labor Party lost its majority in the regional parliament elections; instead, the separatist SNP became the strongest party and provided A. Salmond as First Minister. In the 2011 elections, the SNP was able to win an absolute majority of mandates for the first time. In late January 2012, Salmond tabled the roadmap for a referendum to secede Scotland from the United Kingdom. According to neovideogames, British Prime Ministers Cameron and Salmond signed an agreement with the key points of the vote in Edinburgh on October 15, 2012. This included the restriction to a pure yes-no question on independence. The SNP had originally envisaged the option of bundling economic and financial competencies in the Scottish autonomous government. September 18, 2014 was set as the date for the referendum in March 2013. In the referendum, 55.3% of those who voted were against independence, and 44.7% voted for an independent Scotland. Thereupon Salmond resigned as party leader of the SNP and as first minister. Nicola Sturgeon (* 1970) was succeeded in both offices in November 2014.

In the elections to the Scottish regional parliament on May 5, 2016, the SNP lost an absolute majority, but remained by far the strongest party with 63 seats and 41.7% of the votes.

The struggle for Scottish independence

In the course of the military and diplomatic disputes over the independence of Scotland after the Battle of Bannockburn (1314), Scottish earls and barons as well as other nobles and freelancers addressed themselves in a letter drawn up in the monastery of Arbroath dated April 6, 1320 (»Declaration of Arbroath «) To Pope John XXII. with the imploring request to exhort the English King Edward II to let the Scots live in peace: *

To the most holy Father and Lord in Christ, Lord John, by Divine Providence Pope of the most holy Roman and all-embracing Church, offer his deeply devoted sons, namely Duncan, Earl of Fife [followed by other named Earls and Barons] as well as the other barons and free ones Landowners and the entire community of the Kingdom of Scotland give their devoted reference by kissing his blessed feet in humility. Most Holy Father [this follows first about the history of the country since the early days]. So our people lived among their [d. H. of the former popes] protection free and in peace until the time when that great-power Prince Edward [I], King of the English, the father of him who is now King [Edward II], initially in the guise of friend and ally, then invaded our empire as an enemy and conqueror, which at that time had no ruler and whose people suspected neither evil nor deceit and were not used to wars and attacks at that time. The violations of law, murders, acts of violence, robbery, arson, the arrest of prelates, pillage of monasteries, the robbery and murder of members of the order and other countless and monstrous crimes that he committed against our people – regardless of age, gender, religion or class Nobody could describe or fully grasp all of this without experiencing it from their own experience. But from these innumerable evils we were with the support of him who, although he allows wounds, nevertheless alleviates and heals them afterwards, [freed] through the extremely energetic prince, Mr. Robert [I. Bruce, King of Scotland] our King and Lord, who, like a second Maccabeus and Joshua, endured hardships and hardships, defeat and danger with joy, in order to free his people and his inheritance from the clutches of our enemies […]. To him we are, like the one through whom salvation was brought to our people, both by virtue of his right and his merits, obliged to protect our freedom, and we want to adhere to him in all that may come. But if he should stand back from what has been started and work towards submitting our kingdom to the English king or the English, we would immediately do everything in our power to drive him out as our enemy and destroyer of his own as well as our rights and we would make another, who would appear suitable for our defense, make our king. As long as there are a hundred of us alive, we will never – under whatever conditions – submit to the rule of the English. Because we do not fight for fame, fortune or honor, but only for freedom, which no honorable man gives up as long as he lives […].

*) John XXII. thereupon called in August 1320 Edward in harsh form to end the hostilities against Scotland.

German translation by Karl-Friedrich Krieger based on the original Latin version in: J. Fergusson: The Declaration of Arbroath (Edinburgh: University Press, 1970), pages 4–12.

History of Scotland 2