When 31 of our AFFG activists met the SNP/Scottish Nationalist march on the Royal Mile on 6 October 2018 , one of our Directors, Alistair McConnachie, used the historic surroundings to speak about our shared British Inheritance and to make the vital point that our Political Union creates our Social Union. The following is developed from his notes.
The Lion and the Unicorn
We're standing here today in a very historic part of Edinburgh. If we look around, we see the extent to which our wider British history is represented.
For example, the 'Mercat Cross', in this 'Parliament Square' has been a public speaking platform...through the ages.
On the Mercat Cross, we see the central plaque. It's James VI's Coat of Arms. James VI was the Scottish King who united the Realms of England and Scotland and became King of Great Britain in 1603.
He created this Coat of Arms to represent the joining of Scotland and England within his Regal Union.
The English Lion represents strength and the Scottish Unicorn represents wisdom and imagination. Together these two powerful figures represent Scotland and England in harmonious Unity.
And it is the ideal of that harmonious Unity which we stand for and which we don't want to see broken.
There's also the English Coat of Arms - the 'Three Lions' - on the wall of the Mercat Cross, as well as an Irish Coat of Arms. It's a thoroughly British monument, reminding us not only of Scotland, but of our wider British heritage, and inheritance, throughout these Islands!
King James's Union Jack
It was also King James VI, who invented the Union Jack (in 1606) which we of A Force For Good are flying today, and which is also flying on the City Chambers across the road.
And it is important that we fly it today, because the SNP – including the MPs and MSPs – who are leading your march, are in the process of trying to eradicate it from Scotland.
They are taking it down, quite literally, from all the public buildings which they control.
They are doing this while we are still in the United Kingdom. Imagine what they would do if Scotland were separated.
They would outlaw it if they could! They would outlaw us, if they could! And so it is important for us to fly it and show that our Flag is not going away. It's here to stay!
We are reminding you that you may try your hardest to eradicate the idea of Britain and the British identity, but you will never succeed, because we British Scots ...are not going away! We are here to stay!
'Tender of Union', First Union Parliament Proclaimed at Mercat Cross
You know, we think of 1707 as the first political union between Scotland and England, but there was an earlier one, and it was proclaimed right where we are standing, at this Mercat Cross.
After Charles I was executed in 1649, the 'Tender of Union' was proclaimed here on 4 February 1652. Scotland's Parliament was disbanded and 30 members of the Scottish parliament took their seats at Westminster.
It could be said to be the first attempt (after James VI's attempt to convince the English Parliament in 1604) at an incorporated British political State when the representatives actually moved premises. (1)
Charles II, Scots Proclaim him 'King of Great Britain' at the Mercat Cross
We see some people in the crowd advocating a 'Scottish Republic'. Let me give you a history lesson. Scotland has never been a Republic – and it never will be!
Right here in Parliament Square, is a statue to Charles II. It's 333 years old. It is the oldest statue in Edinburgh. It was erected on his death in 1685.
Who was Charles II? On 30 January 1649, his father Charles I was cruelly executed.
Some people imagine that Britain was 'a republic' until 1660 when Charles II returned to London.
On 5 February 1649, 6 days after the execution, the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II, "King of Great Britain" – and they proclaimed him so, from the Mercat Cross, right here! (2)
That is to say, a body with the authority to do so, pronounced him King of all Great Britain!
Therefore, the idea that Great Britain was a republic between the execution of Charles I and the official restoration of Charles II on 29 May 1660 in London, is not correct.
It is not even correct to say that "England was a republic", since there was still a recognised King over the entire land, which included England (albeit a contested one – who, after he was defeated by Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, had to flee the British Isles).
So the Charles II statue, right here in Edinburgh, demonstrates that Scotland, and Britain, has always been a Monarchy.