Scotland’s Foreign Policy Footprint

Part of Delegated Legislation (Committees) – in the House of Commons at 9:04 pm on 3rd December 2018.

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Photo of Alan Brown Alan Brown Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Energy) 9:04 pm, 3rd December 2018

That is a fantastic anecdote that proves the point.

Clearly, Scotland joined the treaty of Union in 1707, and we have heard contributions from both sides of the House about the benefits or otherwise that that brought. It is fair to say that many people did benefit after the treaty of Union and from the British empire, but something that has not been spoken about in terms of Scotland’s footprint as part of the British empire is that, unfortunately, some of that came from Scots also being involved in slavery and the exploitation of resources in other countries. Many Scots were part of the British Army, which was used to control indigenous populations and allow exploitation. We must admit this and reflect on that history, and always learn from what happened in the past.

At the church in the village of Newmilns, where I grew up, there flies an American flag. It is a replica of a flag awarded to the village of Newmilns by Abraham Lincoln in recognition of the support the Newmilns Anti-Slavery Society gave to the US union side. So while some Scots were involved in slavery, I am very proud to say that Scots were also very active in the anti-slavery movement. I also welcome the fact that there are now moves to further recognise Scotland’s involvement in the slave trade and what that meant at the time. I pay tribute to Glasgow University in this regard, because it has published a list of donors who gave money to the university and recognises the fact that some of the money came from their involvement in the slave trade.