1707 and All That: Scotland and the British Constitution
Professor Colin Kidd, Wardlaw Professor of Modern History (University of St Andrews)
Talk to be held at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, The Old Debating Chamber, 6.30 pm – 8 pm, 5thJune 2018
Professor Colin Kidd is Wardlaw Professor of Modern history at one of Scotland’s oldest and finest academic institutions, the University of St Andrews. Widely acknowledged as one of the leading experts on Scottish history he is coming to Wales to share some of this expertise with a Welsh audience.
The talk is entitled 1707 and All That: Scotland and the British Constitution. The background to this talk is that Union of 1707 was supposedly constitutive of a new British state. However, an Anglo-British interpretation of the constitution has since prevailed, centred on the idea of parliamentary sovereignty. The Union of 1707, a hasty measure devised to confront short-term problems, scarcely dented the well-established contours of the existing English constitution.
However, within Scotland there has been a growing awareness since Lord Cooper’s remarks in MacCormick versus Lord Advocate (1953) of a neglected Scottish strand in Britain’s multi-national constitution. Many Scottish intellectuals and politicians – Labour and Liberal, as well as SNP – believe that Scotland has a tradition of popular sovereignty which can be traced back to the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.
Devolution has also brought into focus the incoherence at the heart of the constitution, one of whose most obvious current defects is popularly referred to as the West Lothian Question.
The British constitution is in a state of transition between an unwritten constitution – with a very wide measure of parliamentary discretion – and a more codified kind of constitution. The question of the Anglo-Scottish Union provides another critical wedge into this debate.
Professor Colin Kidd – Biography
Colin Kidd is Wardlaw Professor of Modern history at the University of St Andrews and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is the author of several books, including Subverting Scotland’s Past, The Forging of Races and the World of Mr Casaubon. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
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The talk is sponsored by the National Museum of Wales