A lesson from Bannockburn
Memorials to Robert the Bruce and William Wallace at Stirling. The Battle of Bannockburn was fought near Stirling Castle against a much larger English force.
Bruce and the Scots had fought for years in an unceasing campaign against the English king Edward I. They often lost. They refused to quit. They outlasted Edward I.
On June 24th 1314, Robert the Bruce and the forces of Scotland defeated the forces of Edward II at Bannockburn, a decisive battle in the Scottish struggle for independence. Six years later, on April 6th 1320, in the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scots said exactly why they had fought -
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.
Those who wonder why freedom is important can probably never be told.
They are the people who like the idea of big empires, big decision makers (and big bureaucracies) making big decisions for us. They imagine they can make decisions for all the families in the world. The idea that the Scots could and should decide what is best for them in Scotland is beyond their ken.
It may be that a great global decision has to be made about protecting the world's environment - but that is no reason that Scotland or Britain should be swallowed up by the European Union and be forced to make a million other decisions in unison as well.
Though Scots may not agree, it seems to us that the union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland in 1707 had many positive aspects. It is also a fact that the Scots have maintained their sense of individuality and that some of them today continue to press for independence. Many English people share those feelings because increasingly the power of deciding for themselves has been taken away from them.
Freedom - the right to govern ourselves - and to meet as independent, free and peaceful countries with other peaceful, free and independent countries - to work as a team, but to remain our individual selves - that is what so many people want today.