It was today in 1603 that the “Kingdom of Great Britain” came into being as King James VI of Scotland became James 1st of England.
The “United Kingdom” did not actually arrive until the Acts of Union of 1800 which came into effect on January 1st 1801 bringing Ireland into the Union.
However, March 24th is also the anniversary of another earlier, perhaps better known act of union, and that is the 1707 act of union of the Scottish and English parliaments in 1707
There had been an earlier short lived (republican) union when Oliver Cromwell declared himself Lord Protector of the Commonwealth – England Scotland and Ireland. Union was enacted in 1657 and thirty representatives each from Ireland and Scotland sat at Westminster.
However that union was dissolved immediately on the restoration of the monarchy.
The union of the parliaments in 1707 remained in full force until 1999 when the Scottish Parliament was reconvened.
And fast forward to 2012, yesterday the monarchy and United Kingdom were still in the news. The Tories have launched a movement called “Friends of the Union” to try to counteract the Yes campaign at the forthcoming independence referendum.
David Cameron also announced his support for renaming Big Ben Tower, Elizabeth Tower in honour of the monarch’s diamond jubilee. (No it isn’t April 1st just yet)
So it seems that the three major unionist parties are going to each have separate, disparate No campaigns.
That could work out well……..