It's nice that the British are suddenly so very keen on asking the Scottish people to have a say on their constitution.
When Scotland was railroaded into the Treaty of Union, it was anathema to the people of Scotland. There was unrest on the streets, and sermons against the Union were thundered from the pulpit of churches throughout the land. The threat of further, violent, anti-Treaty civil disorder caused the Parliament to implement martial law.
In 1707 itself, with petitions against Union being received by Parliament from every corner of the nation and the Convention of Royal Burghs (Parliament did not receive a single petition in favour of Union), it was clear that Scotland's people were bitterly opposed to selling their sovereignty.
Commissioner Lockhart (Carnwath), the only anti-Incorporation Commissioner, observed that the
whole nation appears against the Union
It wasn't just the ramblings of a bitter man who had seen his cause defeated: Commissioner Clerk (Penicuik), who was in favour of the Treaty, stated that it was
contrary to the inclinations of at least three-fourths of the Kingdom.
Astoundingly enough, there was no consultation of the people on a matter on which they were clearly considerably opposed - the British establishment was content to sell Scotland down the river despite the objections of her people.
The next time the Constitution was seriously examined in a legislative sense was 1969 when Harold Wilson's Labour government established the Kilbrandon Commission. After reporting to Edward Heath's Conservative government in 1973, Wilson's new government put forward the Scotland Act 1978, which provided for an elected Scottish "assembly".
However, in the best tradition of the Labour Party, Islington MP George Cunningham sacrificed his political career by successfully moving an amendment which made it impossible for the proposals to pass a referendum: despite a clear and health majority in the referendum for Home Rule, the Labour Party decided that this wasn't good enough: they decided that that non-voters and the dead counted as "No" votes - the referendum failed.
Immediately after this show of dishonesty by Labour, a motion of no confidence was passed and the government fell. Labour were so desperate for Scotland not to be allowed to have its say that they were prepared to almost sacrifice their party, and plunged Scotland into 18 cold, bitter years of Thatcherite rule.
Even in 1997, when it had become impossible not to listen to the increasing calls for Scotland to have some form of democracy, the Labour Party and the British establishment cunningly made a last, desperate attempt to limit the re-established Scottish Parliament's powers by splitting the referendum into two questions.
Last year, the British Establishment parties - Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberals - stood as one on a platform of "no independence referendum - not now, not ever". One of the leaders of the Unionist campaign, Tavish Scott, even stated on an STV leaders' debate "if you want independence, vote for the SNP".
The electorate did, and overwhelmingly - the SNP had a clear mandate to hold a referendum on reverting to an independent state, and the First Minister had stated clearly, openly and publicly that it would be held "in the second half of the Parliament".
The bullying, hectoring, and the expulsion of toys from the pram began within days. Having lost the argument on whether there should be a referendum, and having failed to convince the electorate that consulting the Scottish people on the Scottish constitution would be somehow illegal, the Establishment Parties tried to take control of both the timing and content.
Their argument boiled down to a basic premise:
Any referendum on independence, which is illegal, and which in any case we do not support, should be held immediately with the following question.
The Establishment have been run ragged in this whole campaign, and have succeeded in making fools of themselves and their remaining members.
It leaves the Labour Party in a bit of a quandary now, though: they must decide on one of two strategies - to stand for Cameron's Coalition; or to stand with Scotland's elected Government.
Cameron - taught well by his Labour predecessors - is determined not to allow the Scottish people to vote in a free and fair constitutional referendum organised by the Scottish Government. It's the old saying writ large: "you'll get fuck all from Whitehall".
Frankly, it now appears that the British are intent on alienating the Scottish Government and people so much that UDI (and if Labour switch to supporting independence, it looks even more so) is beginning to appear the only option.
The Scottish people increasingly support returning to our normal state of independence. It is up to the British now to work with us to achieve this, or work against us and force us to take it from them.