At the start of the 18th Century, the Scots were in trouble. A run of bad harvests was bad enough, but it was perhaps the ill- fated Darien scheme that really brought Scotland face to face with its inability to hack it on the world stage. They'd tried to play with the big boys; convinced them- selves they were worthy of a place in the sun ... but it wasn't ever really on. The country was up a gumtree and, individually, the cream of Scottish society had lost huge amounts in the Darien venture.
The stage was set for a bail-out by England, which came at a price, of course. Large sums of cash were forthcoming from south of the border (some of which went straight into the pockets of Scottish negotiators), facilitating the Act of Union and, incidentally, binding Scotland into underwriting a chunk of England's national debt. The Scottish Pound was fixed in relation to the English currency (at the demeaning rate of 1:20). A single monarchy capped the deal. Political and financial union was thereby completed in return for a short-term infusion of urgently needed £££. The Edinburgh mob rioted, but to no avail: and as Robbie Burns was later to bewail of his countrymen -
"we're bought and sold for English Gold - such a parcel of rogues in a Nation!"
Yes folks, this is how independence is bought and sold. Coming to a Mediterranean nation near you soon; and perhaps to all of us, if we don't tread carefully.
Still, some say the Act of Union was the making of Scotland ... eh, Alex ?