Let it go!

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Our celtic friends have long memories.  Half of them couldn’t tell you what caused either of the world wars or who took part in the Boer or Crimean wars but they can give you a magnificent account of the Battle of Banockburn or the Battle of Culloden.  They’ll reel off a long list of everything that the English have done to Scotland in the past 800 years and vice versa.  They’ll give you a tearful rendition of Mel Gibson William Wallace’s “You’ll never take our freedooooooom” given half a chance.

It’s a dangerous position to be in – there is so much racial hatred ingrained in the Scottish psyche that some of them feel moved, by a work of fiction such as Braveheart, to carry out racist attacks.  Innocent English people who are attacked in the street for the hideous crime of wearing and England football shirt had it coming to them for rubbing salt into 500 year old wounds.

Of course, most Scottish people don’t feel the urge to beat up people or vandalise their houses for being English but there is a vocal minority that really do hate the English with a passion simply because of things that happened hundreds of years ago.

Don’t worry, there is a point to – stay with me.

The anti-English feeling north of the border has been passed down from generation to generation and the emphasis placed on Scottish history (the only history Scotland really has is of fighting with England) has helped to reinforce that anti-English sentiments that are almost part-and-parcel of everyday Scottish life.

I’m getting to the point now.  A Scottish-born millionaire who, like so many other Scottish “patriots”, loves Scotland so much he lives in Canada has paid for a “Clearances Centre” and a statue near the Strath of Kildonan.  The statue is to remember the Scots that suffered from the Highland Clearances when Lord Sutherland had families evicted from his estate.  The commonly accepted version of events holds that the Highlanders were treated appalingly – the full works, rape, pillaging, etc.  There is an alternative version of events that says that they weren’t as bad as all that but that it was used as a propaganda tool.  We’ll never know which version of events is true because it’s in the distant past but how often will this be mentioned in Scottish history lessons?

Even after hundreds of years the wounds are still raw north of the border and this statue – as with the statue of Mel Gibson pretending to be William Wallace – will only serve as a permanent reminder and a focal point for agression.  The Scottish/Canadian patriot wants 5 or 6 of these statues in places where Scots have settled in places like the US and Australia.  I’m half expecting a public apology from the Scottish Prime Minister on behalf of his English subjects for the treatment of Scotland.

No matter what your background is or your personal feelings, you have to ask what kind of a message this conveys.  It’s time to stop looking to the past and letting events of 300 or more years ago define your existence.  The statues are a bad idea, they’re negative and to be quite frank, they’re irrelevant.  It’s time Scotland put the past behind them and started looking to the future.


  1. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    It is wrong to commemorate things incorrectly. Modern history being shaped by class struggles, we should recall that the Scottish establishment colluded with that of the English, and that it is often not a question of nationality but class that characterises historical injustices.

    In the Irish republic, there is an awareness of past crimes by the British Empire, but people coming from the UK are not treated with anything other than courtesy — in my own experience travelling in the south.

    The enmity that exists in Scotland and is a part of the Scottish national consciousness is because Scotland does not have political self-government and suffered through the 18 years of Tory rule.

    In Wales and Scotland, it did not matter who one voted for — the votes, predominantly in the south of england — ensured there would be Tory rule.

    I don’t think stautes have as much impact as living conditions on people’s attitudes, and national hatred diminishes as class consciousness grows.

  2. Aaron (72 comments) says:

    One of the greatest – well, most ironic – things about the Scots’ attitudes towards the English is how they seem to think it’s in retaliation for how the English feel about the them. Apparently the English think that they own and have a right to control Scotland. Which is, of course, bollocks. But they honestly believe it, the poor fools. It really does nothing but show them up to be pathetic whingers, IMO. The worst example of this that I’ve come across was a tour guide on one of those sightseeing buses in Edinburgh. The unadulterated, baseless hatred coming from his mouth was shocking! If I was a Scot I would be thoroughly ashamed and embarassed of these people.

    On the subject specifically of the clearings, again, utter hilarity. One relatively small group of people were responsible; the land owners. Some of them were Scottish. Some were English. But apparently it’s the fault of the whole of England. It’s akin to blaming the whole of Spain for the works of Salvador Dalí, for example, or the whole of America for Paris Hilton. Laughable from every angle.

  3. M Anderson (47 comments) says:

    A Scottish-born millionaire who, like so many other Scottish “patriots”, loves Scotland so much he lives in Canada has paid for a “Clearances Centre” and a statue near the Strath of Kildonan.

    Yeah aint that funny he sounds just like fanatic scottish nationalist sean connery. Oh and what a fanatic good old sean is ah? He lives in New York (USA) and Spain; but never scotland!
    I think these people just feel guilty about leaving oh so bonny scotland. And of course, as a friendly welshman once said to me, “you’ve got to hate someone!” I think this sentence sums up the so-called celtic mentality.

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