Thursday, 19 January 2012

Oath of Allegiance campaign

We have recently contacted Scottish ministers pressing that the Oath of Allegiance to Elizabeth I and her heirs and successors, sworn by MSPs prior to taking their seats at Holyrood as representatives of the people, be made voluntary rather than compulsory as soon as possible. As many MSPs and the First Minister state prior to taking the oath, their primary allegiance is to the Scottish people. We believe the oath sworn should refect that truth and an alternative oath should be drafted.
We’re asking that people contact their MSPs and press them politely on this issue. You can find out who your MSPs are here Find your MSPs  Currently some MSPs are members of Republic Scotland yet the first thing they must now do in a democratic Parliament to which they have been elected as representatives of the people is swear an oath they do not mean. That is a blight on the bud of Scottish democracy and must end.

We are calling for this now as the 320 year anniversary of the Glencoe massacre is on February 13th this year and this revolved around the clan Chief, MacIain, having been six days late in swearing an oath of allegiance to the king.

That day 13th February 1692 two companies of the Argyll regiment of the British Army were given an order signed by the king to massacre Scottish children in Glencoe. It was the orginal plan of the Secretrary of State, James Dalrymple Master of Stair who played a crucial role in the subsequent 1707 Treaty of Union, that all the clans be destroyed. ‘I hope the soldiers will not trouble the government with prisoners’ reads his letter to that effect. But they only had the excuse for the Macdonalds - the Chief had to make his way through blizzards and was an old man. He went to Inverlochy (renamed 'Fort William') and was told he had to sign at Inverary. But Glencoe was a public relations disaster as the soldiers had been guests of the Macdonalds for nearly two weeks prior to the massacre, unaware of the order to come, so the act was ‘murder under trust’. Of course they could not carry out their orders to the letter which were to ‘put all to the sword under seventy’that they ‘be cut off root and branch’and that MacIain’s ‘sons do upon no account escape your hands’. They used guns which alerted the whole glen. Many escaped including the Chief’s sons but 39 were murdered and died horribly including women and children and about the same number perished in the snow trying to flee.
The order is in the national Library of Scotland. (transcript below)

You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels, the Macdonalds of Glencoe, and to put all to the sword under seventy. You are to have a special care that the old fox and his sons do upon no account escape your hands. You are to secure all the avenues that no man escape. This you are to put into execution at five of the clock precisely; and by that time, or very shortly after it, I'll strive to be at you with a stronger party. If I do not come to you at five, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall on. This is by the King's special command, for the good and safety of the country, that these miscreants be cut off root and branch. See that this be put in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be dealt with as one not true to King nor Government, nor a man fit to carry Commission in the King's service. Expecting you will not fail in the fulfilling hereof, as you love yourself, I subscribe these with my hand at Ballachulish.
Feb 12, 1692
Robert Duncanson
For His Majesty's Service,
to Captain
Robert Campbell
of Glenlyon’

We say there should now be no forced oath of allegiance.  What kind of future do we want for Scotland?  Should it be one of reason, rights and common sense or should the first thing in the Parliament be a forced oppressive oath redolent of a tyranny that should be over?

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