Stone of Destiny - Stolen property returned

For 700 years, under the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey sat a lump of rock. A rock which was stolen from Scotland in 1296 by the English King Edward I. This piece of rock is known as The Stone of Destiny or The Stone of Scone, and is reputed to be the stone on which all Scottish Kings were crowned. The Stone is surrounded in myth and is said to have been brought to Scotland from the Holy Land, the biblical Jacob's Pillow.

On 15th November 1996, this Stone was returned to Scotland, for eventual display in Edinburgh Castle. What Scotland needed then was not the return of stolen goods, but the return of real power, the power of a sovereign Scottish Parliament. 

Three years later, after the Conservatives were removed from office, a limited Parliament returned to Edinburgh - but it is weak and needs more control and responsibility if it is to make a major difference to life in Scotland.

The highly publicised return of the Stone was no more than a publicity stunt by the incumbent Scottish Secretary, arch-Thatcherite Michael Forsyth - yet Scotland's politicians, like clowns at the circus, danced around to Mr Forsyth's tune. Oh dear.

How can we be certain that this Stone is indeed the one stolen in 1297 ? We have been the victims of Westminster trickery on so many occasions that one more would not be out of character !!

What is certain is that this Stone is a symbol and touchstone of Scottish nationhood, a very potent icon. What is also certain, is that in 1328, the Treaty of Northampton was signed and Edward III promised the Stone's return to Scotland. Since 1328, England has used every possible legal device to hold onto this Scottish relic - has it really been given up without a fight ?

In 1951 a group of patriotic Scottish students succeeded in a daring raid to recapture the Stone and return it to Scotland. Although they were eventually caught, no charges were brought. To prove 'theft' of the Stone would have entailed the Crown proving ownership. This quite clearly would have caused severe embarassment to the authorities.

Is the Stone now returned to Scotland the real Stone ? Was Edward I originally 'sold a dummy', and did the patriots of 1951 return only a copy of the Stone ? We may never know, but one thing is sure, the authorities can't be certain either !!

What is significant is that the Stone is a symbol of Scottish nationhood, and as long as that symbol remained at Westminster, it was a source of grievance.

Forgetting the political scheming and publicity seeking of the desperate Michael Forsyth, we must hope that as the symbols of nationhood start to return, Scotland will reawaken and reassert her identity.

Is this the real Stone ?

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