Tuesday, May 1, 2012

On this day in History

Today is May 1, 2012. May 1 has a rich European History, one which has reverberations that we feel today. On May 1, 1707 the English and Scottish Parliaments decided to join together to form the Parliament of Great Britain. The idea had been in the works since at least 1606. The two separate nations had possessed kings that had ruled both kingdoms before. But this union brought about the Union of the Parliaments, a political coup for both sides.

Why is this important? Well, the Scottish referendum for independence is coming up probably next year. This would mark a divorce in a 300+ year marriage. The convergence hasn't always been an easy thing to maintain. Scots have every now and again called for independence. The English have long held some notion of cultural superiority over their northern neighbors. Sometimes this was prominent, other times the slight was completely made up on the Scottish side. Either way this helps us know why history matters. If the United Kingdom were to split, it could create some fairly difficult times for both nations. The English nuclear submarine fleet would have to leave the deep lochs of Scotland. This would likely mean that the Loch Ness Monster would be unleashed on the public. Scotland meanwhile would instantly face a currency crisis. Would they stick to the pound? Would they get automatic bid to the Euro? These are tough legal questions. If they didn't get that stalwart Euro they would find themselves in a monetary, but not fiscal union with England. Considering how well this has served Europe recently, this might not be a great idea. Either way, it was on this day in 1707, that the two Parliaments came together, and for this reason the Act of the Unions is our this day in history focus...

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