Guide to Scotland
   Gateway to the British Isles since 1996
A Brief History of Scotland: Introduction

Presented by Peter N. Williams, Ph.D.

On Thursday, December 18, 1997, Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar launched one of the most far-reaching changes to the British constitution by presenting a Bill to implement Scotland's first parliament in 300 years. The exuberant Secretary stated that the Bill was a more radical piece of legislation than dreamed of only one year before.

The Scottish Parliament is expected to be fully operational by the year 2000, and the Bill itself should receive the Royal Assent during the second half of 1998 in time for elections to be held in the first half of the following year. Sovereignty would continue to rest ultimately with Westminster; the Queen would remain head of state for the whole United Kingdom and the Government in London would remain responsible for key "reserved" matters, including foreign policy, defense and national security. Thus, a powerful body of Scottish representatives would get together in a Parliament of their own for the first time since the Union with England and the abolition of the Scottish Parliament in 1707.

It is an Irish song that contains the words "A Nation Once Again," but the Scots with their own "Scotland the Brave" can now hold their heads high with the re-establishment of control over their own affairs and begrudging English acceptance of their northern neighbors as a nation. It all began long ago.