On the 24th June 1314, the Scottish Army defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn, which is still heralded by nationalists today. The Scottish National Party (SNP) want to hold their referendum on independence on the anniversary of this event in 2014. Clearly then the SNP put their focus very much on history to back up both their desire for independence and their decisions. By doing this however, they have appeared to ignore hundreds of years of history in between. Even if the SNP look at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 as the last expression of Scottish Nationalism then 250 years of British history have passed since then. The shared history of the United Kingdom is completely ignored by the SNP, and is something that should be used by Pro-Union politicians to show regular Scots that we are united.
The point here is that by using events such as Bannockburn as significant events now, all the history between now and then that has brought the United Kingdom together seems to be ignored. Scots, Welsh, Irish and English have all fought against the tyranny of Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Hitler. Together these isles have fought off invasion after invasion from the most formidable enemies in history where other nations crumbled. The men and women who fought and died for the United Kingdom must be remembered, something the SNP appear to forget when they merely talk of Scottish victories from the 1300s. Where is D-Day in their rhetoric? Where is the Battle of Britain? Where is Waterloo? It appears Alex Sammond and his party are prepared to consign these brilliant representations of UK unity to the forgotten history books, when they are so happy to champion Bannockburn.
Of course, this is not to say Scotland should not have its own history. Scotland for example has a proud history of fighting the tyranny of English Kings and that should be remembered. However, this should all come under the banner of UK history rather than purely Scotland. A classic tactic of nationalists is to glorify history in the nations favour, which can be seen in the many African nationalist creations during decolonisation. However this would be unrepresentative of the wider history of the United Kingdom, which as described above, has achieved more together than it ever achieved apart.
More recently, Scottish and English men and women have fought and died for the United Kingdom in the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan to protect the freedom of these isles and its sovereignty. They fought not for their individual nations but for the collective union and freedom of our United Kingdom. Whilst Scottish autonomy is something to look towards in terms of devolution, independence seems to attack this shared heritage.
It would seem that Alex Sammond and the SNP need to take a lesson in history. Their one track, tunnel vision version of history, misses out huge swathes of shared history, disregards the lives of those who have fought and died for the United Kingdom and ignores the many achievements the UK has achieved in the past 250 years and beyond in defending liberty and freedom. Of course this defence of liberty should allow Scotland its right to self-determination, this is merely a plea to remember that the United Kingdom is just that, united, and not disunited. Secession would represent a sad end to a brilliant history of these isles, and ignore the many triumphs these small isles have achieved in creating a world that is free of dangerous European dictators and ideologies.