scobie billy historianCouncil voted for Independence

By Billy Scobie

1707 – ‘ Commissioners participating in the treaty negotiations, from both English and Scottish Parliaments, were hand picked by Queen Anne’s ministers, with only those Scots being selected who could be relied upon to act in the English interest. In the treaty as it was proposed, in another clear expression of the English mentality, the new and united parliament would consist of the English parliament just as it stood (with all its existing members), but with some forty-five (out of the existing 147) Scottish members added to it. This was approximately the same representation as Cornwall. ‘ Author Billy Scobie is pictured right.

‘ The people of Scotland were massively and fervently opposed to the Union. Hundreds of addresses expressing this opposition were sent from every corner and every class of the realm. Counties, burghs and parishes, craft guilds… There was a single exception – the Burgh of Ayr, which was not so much in favour as equivocal. By way of an example, the following address was sent from the community of Dumbarton to their member of the Scots Parliament and Commissioner in the negotiations –  This council having considered the proposal for union of the kingdoms, to be discussed at an ensuing convention in Edinburgh, resolve that the same is a matter of the greatest weight and moment, and, in their judgement, of the most dangerous consequence to all the interests civil and sacred of the nation, and in appointing Sir James Smollett to be their commissioner, instruct him to declare their dislike of and dissent from the said union, as in their judgement inconsistent with, and subversive of, the fundamental laws and liberties of their nation, and plainly evacuating all the publick oaths this nation lyes under; and, further, they expect and desire of their commissioner to have due regaird to the judgement of his constituents, the laws and liberties of the nation…’

Sir James Smollett of Stainflett and Bonhill, however, went right ahead and voted for the Union. He was rewarded by being made one of the forty-five Scottish members of the new united London Parliament. ‘  (from “Mightier than the Sword” by Alexander Tait: Billy Scobie)

In the Independence Referendum of 2014 the people of West Dunbartonshire voted YES to Independence by 54% to 46%: YES = 33,720  NO = 28,776

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