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Our Right, Our Powers – the Stirling Directive

On Saturday 22nd July we took part in a piece of history. Along with two hundred others at Holyrood the Stirling Directive was launched. You’re going to hear a lot more about this from us and also from Salvo. But what is the Stirling Directive and why does it matter?


 On Saturday were doing three things.

  • We were re-stating the Scottish constitution as laid out in Claim of Right of 1689.
  • Secondly, we were asserting the sovereignty of the Scottish people over its parliament and the other powers in Scotland.
  • Finally, we were instructing, or directing the Scottish Government as the Scottish People, to 1) declare the asserted parliamentary sovereignty of Westminster as null and void 2) to arrange either a referendum or a plebiscitary election on Scottish independence. Hence ‘directive’.

Basically, we the people can instruct our government to pursue our interests, because it says so in our constitution. But what is that constitution?


Well, it goes back to 1689. To cut a very long story short, Scotland did something very unusual. It got rid of its monarch. There’s nothing unusual about that, but it was how Scotland did it. Scotland gave its monarch, James VII, the sack. They declared the Scottish throne vacant and invited the new English monarch William, to take the Scottish throne. What allowed them to do it in this way was that in Scotland, the Scottish Crown is in fact, the people. This is in the Declaration of Arbroath, where it is stated, ‘ Yet if he (Bruce) should give up what he has begun.. we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us, our King.’


It was not only written down in declarations. You know that in UK legislation, every Act needs the monarch’s consent before it’s finally passed? Well in Scotland we did this, but differently. At the end of every session in the Scottish Parliament from 1592 – 1707, ‘salvo’ was offered. This is from ‘salvo jure cujuslibet’ which means roughly, ‘let whosoever sue the Crown’. It was an invitation to the sovereign people to challenge any legislation they thought impinged on their rights. Not the monarch, but the people had the last say.


This is what it means to be a ‘Sovereign Scot’. The highest power in Scotland is the people. It is in direct opposition to the English Crown, where the people are subjects.


Now, the Scots didn’t go about the business of handing out thrones without some guarantees. So they wrote down a list of conditions that they wanted in return for giving William their throne. These were laid out in the Claim of Right and also in the Scottish Coronation Oath in which William would swear to protect ‘the rights, rents and privileges’ of the people of Scotland or the law, land and offices of state in modern parlance. This was the Scots claiming sovereignty over these things and making it very clear to William that the people were in charge.

When the Articles of Union were drawn up (on 22nd July 1706) the Claim of Right of 1689 was the pre -condition to the Union. If it was not kept, then the Treaty would be null and void. England agreed and then promptly ignored and annexed Scotland. The English Crown became the British Crown. The Honours of Scotland were bricked up in a strong room in Edinburgh Castle and forgotten. A rump of Scottish representatives took the high road down to England and sat in Westminster where they were as sad and inconsequential as they are now. And the Scottish Constitution, the Claim of Right, Salvo, were buried, ignored and forgotten.


Until now. Salvo and a group of determined researchers brought it to light again. And the Stirling Directive is a remembering and re-assertion of the Scottish peoples’ constitutional rights. It has huge implications. It means that our resources, oil and gas, which were claimed under the English Crown in fact belong to the Scottish people, not the monarch. It means that the Treaty of Union is null and void, because the pre-conditions have not been kept. Most of all, it means that Westminster has no authority to tell us when we can and can’t have a referendum/plebiscite. We the Scottish people actually have that right. We have been living a fiction, in a feudal construct created by Westminster. But now we have the key. We just need to let people know. And that is no small task.


People can’t assert their rights if they don’t know what they are. They need to be told, educated and encouraged to use them. That is what Salvo intend to do. More than that, the Stirling Directive has instructed the Scottish Government to use those rights to call either a referendum or a plebiscite on independence. We’ll give them a wee while and then we’re going to take it to the international courts on behalf of the Scottish people – you.


Will you join us on this journey? We need your help both learning and spreading this message. We also need people to sign up to give Salvo’s case weight in an international forum via Liberation Scotland. We’ve put the links below. We need you to  join and then share them.


One last thought for the political classes (including ourselves). Support for Scottish independence is at just over 50%. Support for independence parties is at 30%.  In other words, we are on notice. People are tired of promises of what we’ll do for independence if we win seats.  They want independence and they want action now. The good news is that we can actually do that. The bad news is that if we don’t, we face the spectre of a unionist government returning to Holyrood. We would do well to take the opportunity that Salvo offers to all of us. Too many chances have been wasted already and if we waste this one, we will not be forgiven. Let’s take that chance and get Indy done.

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