Scots Self-Hating Myths

by craig on July 13, 2014 10:15 am in Uncategorized

200px-Georgemurray

This is Lord George Murray, painted in 1745. He is wearing a kilt.

GrantPiper_by_Waitt

This is the piper of Clan Grant in 1714. He is too.

Tartan type designs go back thousands of years among Celtic tribes, becoming more complex over time as technique developed. The kilt evolved from the belted plaid. Kilting – the sewing in of the pleats rather than gathering them under the belt – was an obvious convenience for people who could afford a separate blanket and apparel. Lord George’s 1745 costume is certainly kilted. The appearance of the small kilt – cutting off the piece over the back and shoulders – came in from about 1700.

Yet generations of Scots had it drummed into them that the kilt is not real at all, it is an entirely phoney Victorian invention dreamed up by the Prince Regent and Walter Scott. This denial of their own culture comes out viscerally, as in the reaction to the uniforms for the Commonwealth Games. Take Kevin McKenna in the Guardian:

“The modern kilt is a fey and ridiculous representation of the robust Highland dress in which the Jacobites went into battle against the Hanoverians”.

That is simply not true. Here is a light article on the kilt I wrote for the Independent a few years ago. If you look at the comments underneath, people simply spluttered and asserted the same denigrations they had been told. Scottish culture never existed. Bagpipes and kilts were Victorian inventions for shortbread packets.

Does it matter? Well, yes. It matters because it is a small part of a long term mis-education of a people about their own history and culture. It is of a piece with the absolutely untrue, but widely held belief, that there were more Scots on the English than Scottish side at Culloden (the real ratio was over 4 Jacobite Scots to every Hanoverian Scot in the battle), that the Jacobites were Catholic (less than 25%), that Charles Edward Stuart believed in the Divine Right of Kings (he explicitly did not). Most pernicious of all has been the airbrushing from history of the avowed aim of Scottish independence of the large majority of both the leaders and followers of the 45, including Lord George Murray.

I do not want you to misunderstand me. I have no yen for the Stewarts – my concern is how to get rid of the monarchy. But the generations of denigration of Scotland’s history, its reshaping to suit a Unionist agenda where the backwards and benighted Scots were brought in to the political and economic glories of the Union and British Empire, underlies so many of the attitudes to Scottish Independence today. Every culture has a right to reference its roots and history without ridicule – and the denial of the authenticity of genuine popular cultural heritage is a particularly pernicious form of ridicule, especially when it is built on lies drummed home in schoolrooms over centuries.

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109 Comments

  1. I think it is a good example of the pernicious type of myth that can subvert the fabric of Scotland’s history and culture. It reminds me of the Myth of the Aryan Invasion designed in the 1820′s to strengthen the imperial grasp of India. Myth like mud seems to stick. Thank you for this clarification. Tartan is as Scottish as mist and midgies.

  2. “The modern kilt is a fey and ridiculous representation of the robust Highland dress in which the Jacobites went into battle against the Hanoverians”

    He’s perfectly right about the modern kilt, as it happens; especially the idea that it was Scottish national dress rather than the clothing worn in a particular area by tribesmen with their own distinctive language and culture who were feared and hated by their fellow-countrymen.

  3. “Every culture has a right to reference its roots and history without ridicule”

    No it hasn’t. Respect isn’t a commodity available on demand. If you insist on poncing around in garish skirts while making horrendous noises by blowing down a dead flamingo then a little gentle chiding probably comes with the territory and you’ll have to take it on the chin. If people laugh just be pleased that you have made a small contribution to the net sum of human happiness.

  4. Hector

    Keep the “divide and rule” coming.

  5. Fabric of Scotland’s history .. good pun. I’m Australian and i believed the 19C invention story. I’m Catholic** but it is interesting that the plantation in Nothern Ireland was probably just returning people home who had invaded Caledonia from Hibernia ie. the Scots.
    But it had nasty intentions and outcomes.

    My real surname not Kurtz is English but I’m 3/4 Celt. [Catholic paternal GM COE patnernal GF and presbos with Welsh background on mothers side] Parents had to marry in vestry of Catholic church as mixed marriage.

    Knowing true history is important and v interesting.

  6. MJ

    Yes. There is a picture here of two good friends of mine. One is in his national dress and one is not. The one in his national dress is, among other things, an English barrister. What he is wearing is a toga like garment – as much a “skirt” as a kilt is. You can’t hear the local music playing, but to most British ears it is more discordant than bagpipes.

    Now do you want to make the same jocular remarks about his traditional dress? If not, what is stopping you? Serious question.
    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/12/election-day-in-ghana/

  7. “Now do you want to make the same jocular remarks about his traditional dress?”

    Sure. His garb certainly made me smile. Is that a problem?

    “to most British ears it is more discordant than bagpipes”

    I find that very difficult to believe.

  8. MJ

    You ducked. How about saying what you said about the Scots, that he is “poncing about in garish skirts”.

  9. OK. He’s poncing around in a garish bath-robe. Satisfied now?

  10. “Now do you want to make the same jocular remarks about his traditional dress? If not, what is stopping you? Serious question.”

    If I could interject: it is deemed acceptable in the current culture to take the piss out of a porridge wog, but not an African. Take it as a compliment. :-)

  11. @Anon.
    Come to Dundee, and call me a porridge wog to my face. I’ll gladly remove your front teeth. Take it as a compliment. :-)

  12. Juteman: quite right. “Porridge wog” is a horrible expression, not amusing at all.

  13. Juteman

    I am speaking in Dundee on 29 August. Yes rally at the Steps.

  14. Resident Dissident

    13 Jul, 2014 - 12:25 pm

    No problems with the kilt being claimed as part of Scottish ancestry. But while we are on the subject of airbrushing. perhaps we might address the views towards the Union of nearly all the main figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, whose contributions to thinking and Science, rather leave behind those of the Highland clansmen.

    BTW is there a story behind the shield painted on the portrait of Lord George Murray – photoshopping isn’t entirely a modern phenomenom and I wonder what might have been behind the shield originally.

  15. Juteman

    Thanks for the invitation.

    I’m not calling anyone a porridge wog. What I was showing was that to take the piss out of the black man would be deemed racist. Craig laid the trap for MJ, but it was rather a hypocritical attempt for an ‘anti-racist’ because it implies that taking the piss out of a black man in bath robes is a more grievous offence than taking the piss out of a Scot in a kilt. Were I Craig’s friend in the photo I would feel embarrassed and ask him not to view me as deserving of special protection. It’s patrionising and rather paternalistic, almost racist in itself.

    Of course MJ played a blinder by taking the piss out of the black man’s clothes as well as the Scot’s, so all ended in equality and harmony and thankfully we can still take the piss out of anyone.

  16. Anyway, kilts, bagpipes, whisky, haggis and the Loch Ness Monster. Thjs is what it means to be Scottish in the 21st Century. Don’t let the English imperialists rob you of your identity! :-D

  17. I’ll try to make the Steps, Craig.
    Look for someone in the audience wearing a pearly king outfit and eating jellied eels.
    I may also be wearing a necklace of front teeth.

  18. I googled images for Craig Murray wearing a kilt and this was the only one that came up.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/01/10/article-1111403-03029DAE000005DC-616_468x385.jpg
    Ghana gang: Craig Murray, centre, with some of the VIPs he encountered: Prince Philip, the Queen, Clare Short and Roger Moore

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1111403/Carry-On-Deputy-High-Commissioner-My-battle-bring-democracy-Africa.html

    ~~

    Jim Murphy was allowed by Dimblenbore to give out Better Together propaganda on Any Questions on Friday.
    See the entry under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Murphy#WikiLeaks

    He was a NUS president like Straw and is ‘a member of the Henry Jackson Society Advisory Council’. How revolting.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Murphy

    Also he did not preface his remarks on Israel and Gaza at the beginning of AQ with a declaration of his interest as a Labour Friend of Israel and one time chair.

    He appears not to have ever had a job. 9 years at Strathclyde but did not graduate???

  19. I do not like the colour combinations and voted No. Otherwise quite an interesting collection.

    Poll: Do you like Team Scotland’s Commonwealth Games outfits?
    Jul 11, 2014 10:14
    THE debate rages on – do you like Team Scotland’s Commonwealth Games outfits? Have your say in our poll.
    http://www.scotlandnow.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/poll-you-like-team-scotlands-3842134

  20. “Look for someone in the audience wearing a pearly king outfit and eating jellied eels”

    That would look plain daft. If you really want to cut a dash I’d suggest going dressed like this:

    http://www.cotswolds.info/images/ralph/cotswold_morris_dancers.jpg

  21. Mary, Craig in a topee and kilt. Priceless. Thanks for sharing.

  22. @Craig I enjoyed your article on the Kilt. It did disabuse me of some myths, in a humourous manner. You should write some more funny articles. We don’t want you stereotyped as a dour, angry scotsman, do we ;-) .

  23. MJ – I’m going in my full Culloden re-enactment gear.

  24. MJ – “If you really want to cut a dash I’d suggest going dressed like this”

    Morris dancing is so last century. The most recognisable English dress today is shalwar kameez and hijab. We turn up in that and the Yes vote will surely prevail.

  25. ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    13 Jul, 2014 - 1:36 pm

    When I am Emperor of the World, I will round up all the bagpipers, line them up against a wall, and one by one, give them a choice. They must either burn their bagpipes or play a tune without any flat notes in it. If they choose the latter, first bum note …. rat-a-tat-atatttt.

    If they survive the first round with their bagpipes and bodies intact, they get a second choice. They must either burn their bagpipes or play only tunes whose notes are included within the very limited range of the chanter. If they choose the latter, the first time they substitute one note for a totally inappropriate other one …. rat-a-tat-atatttt.

    If they survive the second round with their bagpipes and bodies intact, I will allow them to go and live together on a remote island and torture each other’s ear drums with the few very simple melodies that the bagpipes are actually capable of playing.

    Once a year, on Independence Day, I’ll round them up again and march them down Princes Street as part of a massed pipe band, the only situation where bagpipes are appropriate, and, in fact, quite exhilarating.

  26. I’d just line them up and shoot them.

  27. “They must either burn their bagpipes”

    That’s cruel. I think the bagpipes should be set free and returned to the wild.

  28. “That’s cruel. I think the bagpipes should be set free and returned to the wild.”

    Same goes for the Scotch.

  29. ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    13 Jul, 2014 - 2:08 pm

    Mmmmmm …. free Scotch!

  30. Scotchland if you please.

  31. I can’t see how the kilt could be a phoney Victorian invention dreamt up by the Prince Regent and Sir Walter Scott as they’d both died long before Victoria came to the throne. I’ve never heard this story before anyway, it was said to have been invented by a Lancashire Quaker in 1720 but some earlier paintings of Highlanders have cast doubt on this.

    Every reliable source I can find confirms that the Divine Right of Kings was a central plank of Jacobite philosophy. Any chance of some evidence? Why if the Young Pretender was only interested in liberating Scotland did he try and march on London? If the Jacobites had stayed behind the border and consolidated they might’ve had a greater chance of success.

    http://www.jacobite.ca

  32. Bagpipes are not particularly Scottish, being known in almost every European culture including English. I think the earliest reference is in Ancient Greece, where they are reported as being played by a captured ape disembarking at Syracuse (Curt Sachs, The Rise of Music in the Ancient World, recommended). It seems the reputation of pipers has changed little over the centuries.

    I played bagpipes from the age of 8, competing at most of the main Highland games, complete with kilt. On occasions when I showed up as a spectator, sans kilt, piping friends would say ‘I see you’re wearing slacks today’. This always stung – slacks were things that girls wore.

    Like Craig I’d like to see the back of the royal family, with one little twist. The gates of Traquair House were closed in 1745, never to be opened until a Stuart king again sat on the Scottish throne. So I’d P45 the Windsors, crown any nearby Stuart King of Scots and open the gates at Traquair. Just for fun. And declare a republic a week or two later.

  33. Craig, why don’t you delete the childish-idiot comments? They take up space – and patience – that could be used for actually useful conversation by adults.

    Dmitry Orlov does this sort of idiot pre-clensing on Club Orlov, and John Michael Greer on The Archdruid Report does it in spades; no idiots ever get through JM’s filters; always a mercifully idiot-free zone where adults can speak or just read in peace from them. The quality jumps by an order of magnitude at least, straight away, compared to what grown-ups have to endure in less moderated sites.

    Both take part in the comment conversations also, Dmitry now and then, JM dutifully, several times on each post, meticulously responding to every single poster. I know you do too, Craig, but so often it seems to have to be to rebut an idiot comment, as in this post. Waste of space and psychic energy, isn’t it?

    The quality of the conversations in the comments benefits immensely when it’s exclusively between adults making serious inputs in good faith, as in those two cases. There’s still plenty of disagreement allowed through, both between the commenters and against things which Dmitry and John have posted themselves. It’s by no means ‘everyone sing from the same song-sheet or else’. And of course that’s no more than it should be in a real, adult conversation. But obviously the fools and knaves buggering up the comments here aren’t going to make grown-up, good-faith, useful inputs. And that’s a real nuisance, because your blog is one of the best around, with a steady flow of vital information and insightful analysis; precious, and not too readily found in many places, in this era of the Permanent Bullshit Blizzard in all of the Anglophone world’s lamestream media, and in far too much of the net.

    I still find it worthwhile skimming through the comments on your blog, stopping at the grown-ups. But the idiots make it an irksome exercise, quite a bit. Their intent is brainless piss-taking at best, and hasbarollockser-style dis- and mis-information at worst. So off ‘em, Craig! Inclusiveness of differing viewpoints is essential; but so, I suggest, is the pre-deletion of fools, ignoramuses, and malignants. And sure, it’s a judgement call; but every blogger has to do that. Either so, or let the idiots flood in and ruin your comments conversations altogether for many would-be readers.

  34. Great article Craig, Slainte! I’ve studied Scottish Highland history all my life and constantly have to dispel the myths that folk have been getting taught. I notice that it’s rattled the cages of all the Scotophobic bawbags though. They really don’t like the truth, do they? Bit like the nawbers at Bitter Together.

  35. “Bagpipes are not particularly Scottish ”

    Brought back from the Middle East by returning Crusaders I believe (like much else). Muslim forces used them to scare the Crusader knights horses.

  36. Bugger (the Panda)

    13 Jul, 2014 - 2:44 pm

    Vronsky

    I have been, I think, at Traquair House and saw the brewerey.

    I took a tour and visited the House, including looking into the Priest’s Hole. No not that sort, I leave that to your twisted imagination.

    So, I think it has been opened again, unless I am wrong.

    Orrabest

    B t P

  37. Vronsky: it dawned on me a while ago that you were a piper but I reckoned you wouldn’t take too much offence at the joshing. Certainly none was intended.

    You’re right about English bagpipes. Northumbrian as I recall.

  38. Kempe

    Charles Edward Stuart certainly wanted to march on London. The Scots didn’t, they wanted an independent Scotland. That was what the council at Derby was all about and why Murray and CES fell out. This is an excellent analysis of who the people out in the 45 really were and what they wanted
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bare-Arsed-Banditti-Men-Maggie-Craig/dp/184596702X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405259475&sr=1-1&keywords=bare+arsed+banditti

    Charles I certainly believed in DROK and it was a key mid 17th century philosophical argument. By 100 years later people, including Charles Edward Stuart, had rather moved on – Charles I seemed a fairly practical disproof of the theory. For an extensive consideration of what CES believed in read this
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bonnie-Prince-Charlie-Fitzroy-Maclean/dp/0862412765/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405259691&sr=1-2&keywords=fitzroy+maclean+bonnie+prince+charlie

  39. Re Traquair.
    In my fitter days, i ran the Two Breweries hill race from Traquair brewery to the Greenmantle brewery. 18 miles of Scottish border hills with free beer at the end. Mmmmm. Those were the days.:-)

  40. To be fair the kilt is being sold these days as Scottish national dress when it is nothing of the kind. Two centuries ago the only man in a kilt that you would have seen in Edinburgh would have been the one dangling from the gallows in front of the castle for the Papist, Irish speaking cattle thief that he was.

    The Victorians did make highland garb into a national costume, with the result that it is worn across the country, especially by middle class types who back in the day would have screamed for the Duke of Cumberland’s men to string up anyone wearing it.

  41. Anon My posting of that cartoon of Craig in the Mail was not intended to be insulting of him. Just for the record.

  42. Wish there had been mention of Scottish leaders after the Act of Union, especially Robertson and Hume.

    Robertson seems to have made out the worst in Scottish history, so much so that his grandson Henry Brougham had to settle for being brought up in Westmorland. He challenged the idea when he was maturing, moving back to Edinburgh, only to discover that the French Revolution had made it into Hume’s true home, and a renewed imperial partner..

  43. Kempe

    On pipes, they feature strongly in a number of linked Celtic cultures – Scots, Irish, Breton and Asturian – and there are distinct similarities in the music. Certainly they exist in other cultures too, but their predominance in Celtic cultures separated long before the crusades would seem to preclude that origin theory. Indeed, given that they do exist fairly widely, why would the Scots not have had them earlier?

  44. ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    13 Jul, 2014 - 3:05 pm

    “I notice that it’s rattled the cages of all the Scotophobic bawbags though.”

    I hope I’m not included for my anti-bagpipe rant. I’m a Scotophilic bagpipeophobe.

  45. Ken

    Yet more regurgitation of the same untruths. You really are both stupid and tiresome.

    Here for example is the head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, in Edinburgh, 270 years ago.

    http://heritagearchives.rbs.com/people/list/john-campbell.html

  46. I don’t know what made you think the kilt was a Victorian invention.

    The Victorian invention was the tartan being tied to the clans. Before that it was said that you could tell where someone lived from the tartan they wore but people of one clan and even one area would wear many different tartans. Look at the picture of the head of the Royal Bank of Scotland then look at the Campbell tartan.

    I expect it was this fact that people got confused.

  47. Resident Dissident

    13 Jul, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    It will of course be Northumberland bagpipes that will be heard when Edinburgh is returned back to its true roots as part of the Kingdome of Northumbria! The banished Picts will of course be free to wear whatever they want.

  48. Ruth Wishart was on Marr this morning. Interesting lady.

    Her most recent Guardian piece where she discusses the ‘medja’ coverage.

    English media make Scotland a nation of lab rats in Brigadoon
    Suddenly everyone wants to understand the Scottish voter. Trouble is, the fascination won’t last

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/08/english-media-scotland-nation-lab-rats-brigadoon

    She refers obliquely to Acanchi!

  49. Here is Ruth Wishart, with David Mellor and Frances O’Grady. Mellor made some unexpected comments on current events!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28282679

  50. John Edwards

    13 Jul, 2014 - 4:35 pm

    As a morris dancer myself I would like to point out that although commonly associated with England one of the first historical references to morris dancing is actually to a performance taking place at the Scottish court. It was also found in Wales up to the 19th century.

    I am not an expert on bagpipes but my understanding is that they were common in England (I remember hearing an historical reference to Worcestershire as a place to hear bagpipes). I do not know the origin of Northumbrian small pipes.

  51. It’s commonly thought that Morris dancing originated in North Africa with the Moors. There isn’t any real evidence either way, it might be true or it might be just one of those myths most countries have about their culture and most don’t seem to mind.

  52. The division has been there for centuries, Craig. The two territories spoke different languages to begin with. The kings of Scotland had bodyguards of Highlanders in their Lowlands castles.
    Unless a future Scottish government plans to repopulate the Highlands, which will be an expensive and difficult undertaking with little chance of success, it’s an irrelevant distinction. There are hardly any highlanders now, but most Scots imagine they’re Highlanders and identify with them. The demographic victors are the Lowlanders, the psychological victors the Highlanders.

  53. Mary

    David Mellor was the last decent man in the FCO.
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19880105&id=UDpAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=UlkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5142,203039

    Apart from me :-)

  54. Most historians are just propagandists working with very old news.
    They select and omit facts to suit the agenda of the day.

  55. More than just an affront to vernacular dress code is the popular myth that Estates are part of Scotland’s cultural heritage and that they drive a successful Highland rural economy.

    The current rush to ‘mitigate against climate change impacts’ in other words on-shore wind farm development is a case in point. Less than 4 % of UK onshore wind farms are community or part community owned in stark contrast to Germany and Denmark. Benefits therefore accrue to landowners and energy companies (share holders) while the costs fall upon communities, (noise, flicker, loss of amenity and even income from tourism). There is no legal obligation to compensate communities although some energy companies have their arms twisted by regional councils that are the planning authority.
    Some public institutions, especially those receiving gifts or contracts from energy companies, like universities and rural research institutes, are providing these landowners with tool kits to help them manage their estates to put a sustainable ‘face’ on their manifestly unsustainable ‘bodies’
    Craig, do you think an independent Scottish government will speed up land reforms through punitive land value tax, fair energy policy or better still compulsory land purchase?

    Land ownership in Scotland: there are 1947 landholdings covering 9,826,891 acres (http://www.whoownsscotland.org.uk/)

  56. “Land ownership in Scotland: there are 1947 landholdings covering 9,826,891 acres ”

    Google says Scotland has an area of 78,387 km², I make that around 19,367,625 and a half acres.

  57. Not that I’ve given it much thought but I had never questioned that kilts were a Victorian thing.

    And of course, down with the crown!

    I enjoyed reading this thread. I laughed at MJ’s comment and glad that we are not all too sensitive to laugh at ourselves and others.

  58. My source could be wrong that’s possible. Are you sure yours is reliable? What ever, do you dispute the disproportionate nature of Scotland’s land ownership pattern?

  59. Rhisiart Gwilym
    “Craig, why don’t you delete the childish-idiot comments? They take up space – and patience – that could be used for actually useful conversation by adults.”

    Well done for jumping in and telling Craig how to run his blog. This place has been missing your advice. You may have noticed by the responses how missed your advise is.

    I hardly agree with anyone here and no one agees with me. But that’s life. We are a mixed bag.

    You are an arrogant, patronising, censorious, middle class, self important, intolerant bore of a lefty. Fuck off back to the media lens forum.

  60. “My source could be wrong that’s possible. Are you sure yours is reliable? What ever, do you dispute the disproportionate nature of Scotland’s land ownership pattern?”

    Your source is not comprehensive. If you read the FAQ you will see the owner of the site hasn’t finished listing all the land in Scotland yet and what is more he started with the large properties first so you can’t really establish a pattern.

    It doesn’t matter much but people seem to be bending Scottish culture to suit the Nationalist agenda and I believe Scotland has a right to be seen as they are not portrayed as serfs of the land owners.

  61. @bugger (the panda)

    Indeed Traquair House is open for visitors. But I believe the main gates (the ‘Bear’ Gates) remain closed as required by tradition.

  62. What do you call 60 bagpipes in the Clyde?

    A start….

    Boom-tish!

    I jest of course,i love bagpipes :-)

  63. I think there’s a huge difference between disenfranchisement and serfdom

  64. @Rhisiart Gwilym 2:38 pm

    What a pretentious bore! Perhaps you can share with us an “Alert” from “the Editors” and we’ll all fall asleep, leaving the blog entirely to you.

  65. “I think there’s a huge difference between disenfranchisement and serfdom”

    They are similar in that neither of them apply to the people of Scotland.

  66. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    13 Jul, 2014 - 7:02 pm

    Vronsky

    You mentioned Ancient Greece and so I suppose you know that the bagpipes are still played in some parts of modern Greece (by the Vlachs, in Epiros…etc)?

  67. Macedonian pipe music is fantastic.

    Galicia likewise.

  68. David Mellor, along with Geoffrey Howe, George Younger and a few others, helped get rid of that terrible ‘Iron Lady’, spilling the beans on the Government’s treatment of Captain Simon Hayward as if he were worse than some kind of Palestinian terrorist after he had been set up in Sweden as a drug runner during the fallout of the still unsolved assassination of Sweden’s Olof Palme

  69. Scotland will be independent between the hours of 7am and 10pm on the 18th of September. The choice is between giving that away, or keeping it. For those 12 hours we are neither serfs nor disenfranchised.
    Courtesy of Jim Sillars.

  70. Scots are neither serfs nor disenfranchised now.

    That’s just one of those “Scots Self-Hating Myths”.

  71. When the old Tesco was being built in Falkirk they found a pot filled with roman coins that was covered in a piece of Tartan.
    It’s the oldest example of the cloth in Scotland.
    http://www.falkirklocalhistorysociety.co.uk/home/index.php?id=131
    There is a plaque describing the find on the wall of the Tescos.

  72. Manfred Max Neef the bare foot economist can explain better than I can why land rights and equality are important to Human well being
    http://www.raumplanung.tu-dortmund.de/rel/typo3/fileadmin/download/THE_WORLD_ON_A_COLLISION_COURSE.pdf

  73. “Yet more regurgitation of the same untruths. You really are both stupid and tiresome.”

    Temper Temper, Craig, entertaining though your outburst was. If you want to post an image from the 18C and claim that all other accounts of how life was in the Edinburgh of that time are false, then that’s fine.

    To be fair, Scotland today is the creation of the 19C factory system, and the people who will decide her future live in the great cities in the central belt. I see more than a few men in silly costumes in Princess Street, but very few in Leith or Muirhouse where the football shirt and/or tracksuit are more the typical dress.

    Appealing to them via fantasies of the distant past is probably not a winner.

  74. You made the mistake Craig of writing about the kilt and giving Englishmen the opportunity to indulge in their favourite pastime, which is to ridicule and debunk the history of other peoples, especially those with whom they share the archipelago. The serious point in your article is that ‘British’ history is entirely anglocentric and describes a stately process whereby ‘failed states’ and ‘lesser breeds’ from the Irish and Scots to the Moghuls were brought under the ‘ Mother of Parliaments’, airbrushing their identity and achievements from the picture. I was, along with many others, fed the nonsense that Scotland was backward throughout my education. We have an opportunity now to leave that behind and celebrate our own history.

  75. “…between the hours of 7am and 10pm… For those 12 hours… ”

    Independent or not, the Scottish education system needs some work doing to it.

  76. @Stevenson

    My problem is the people Craig has put forward as representing Scottish culture.

    Lord George Murray and the president of the Royal Bank of Scotland dressed up in their fineries to have their portraits painted do not, in my opinion, truly represent the people, or probably the customary dress, of Scotland.

  77. @Hector.
    I know I shouldn’t drink so much on a Sunday afternoon! :-)

  78. “Manfred Max Neef the bare foot economist can explain better than I can why land rights and equality are important to Human well being”

    Oh I don’t doubt that, I don’t doubt that at all.

  79. Resident Dissident

    13 Jul, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    Stevenson

    Absolutely right Edinburgh belongs to Northumbria not the Picts.

  80. “David Mellor was the last decent man in the FCO.”

    Yeah. He wasn’t exactly a friend of Israel. Remember that public bollocking he gave the IDF border goons.

    Then he was set up by Max Clifford and others. One of Max’s early efforts.

    Lost his political career, but still managed to make another.

    Well rounded chap on the old intellectual front certainly, but without the resources to ever fully become his own man.

  81. Fred

    “My problem is the people Craig has put forward as representing Scottish culture.

    Lord George Murray and the president of the Royal Bank of Scotland dressed up in their fineries to have their portraits painted do not, in my opinion, truly represent the people, or probably the customary dress, of Scotland.”

    Craig was showing these people as evidence that tartan and kilts were not an invention of the Victorians. What is your problem? Tartan and kilts are part of the culture of Scotland and go a long way back. The fact that the elite chose to wear them for their portraits only confirms that.

  82. The real paradox is that nobody understands the Scots like The Westminster archivists over centuries.

    They saw and knew how much Scotland was being stiffed but kept schtum.

    Or else all the files were water damaged…:.)

  83. David Mellor was the last decent man in Westminster who sucked a call-girl’s toes whilst sharing her with Andrew Neil and a host of others is more acccurate…

    You’d have to ask Max Clifford about the Chelsea strip but he’s in prison now for even darker stuff so he might not talk.

  84. ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    14 Jul, 2014 - 2:51 am

    Jives 14 Jul, 2014 – 1:51 am

    “David Mellor was the last decent man in Westminster who sucked a call-girl’s toes whilst sharing her with Andrew Neil and a host of others is more acccurate…”

    Yes Jives, I remember all that too, he was made a laughing stock and drummed out of government over the affair. I remember thinking how he came over as a real sleazeball, and good riddance, but ….

    ….but I wasn’t much interested in politics then and I wasn’t aware he had used his position in the Foreign Office to make strong statements in support of Palestine. Now I am reviewing the incident in the light of what I’ve learned since – that any politician who criticises Israel will pay for it in career prospects. A series of downward promotions began within months (how long did Robin Cook last as Foreign Secretary after he declared his ethical foreign policy). I wonder if his fall from grace didn’t reflect the fact that he was a decent politician rather than the reverse. The final straw was calling for reforms of the press. He was out on his arse six months later.

    Compared to what we now know was going on in Westminster around that time, a bit of toe licking seem positively wholesome, although wearing a Chelsea strip was and still is a bit perverted. In retrospect, he was hounded out of office by the press for doing nothing illegal whilst the same press protected the crooks, paedophiles and agents of foreign powers which filled the rest of the cabinet.

    When all’s said and done, I’d rather have an MP who licks prostitutes’ toes than Zionist arses.

  85. John Edwards

    14 Jul, 2014 - 8:29 am

    On the question of bagpipes is there any serious scholarship that links them to celtic culture? A lot of origin theories have been shown to be wishful thinking and folklore studies have until recently been bedevilled with it. I am genuinely interested.

  86. Node

    If he didn’t support Palestine, do you think all that about the prostitute would have come out in the tabloids?

    I see nothing morally reprehensible in the prostitute incident anyway.

  87. Fred,

    This is a difficult concept for you, but photos hadn’t been invented, and ordinary people couldn’t afford portrait painters. That is why the portraits of kilts are of posh people – not because only they wore them.

  88. Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    14 Jul, 2014 - 9:44 am

    On the question of bagpipes is there any serious scholarship that links them to celtic culture? A lot of origin theories have been shown to be wishful thinking and folklore studies have until recently been bedevilled with it. I am genuinely interested.

    My researches indicate that the bagpipes were developed by the thrifty Scots in order to recycle haggis pelts.

    I love the pipes, btw. Great for marching to, and absolutely crap for accompanying saccharine lyrics. But a bonfire of the accordions would be good.

  89. Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    14 Jul, 2014 - 9:51 am

    And this, especially for Fred…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENmM94LuoE8

    Note the RAF in there. Always good value.

  90. ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    14 Jul, 2014 - 10:48 am

    craig 14 Jul, 2014 – 9:15 am

    “Node
    If he didn’t support Palestine, do you think all that about the prostitute would have come out in the tabloids?”

    That was going to be my point when I began writing my comment, but then I discovered that he had also committed the other cardinal sin, threatening the tabloids with legislation. Up until then, I think the powers behind government were content to demonstrate the folly of criticising Israel through a drawn-out public demotion process. He survived for 4 years after his attack on Israel, but the Antonia de Sancha story hit the headlines within months of his telling the tabloids they were in the “Last chance Saloon”.
    You’ve convinced me he was a decent politician, though. He was his own man.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Mellor

  91. “But a bonfire of the accordions would be good”

    Not bad for accompanying saccharine lyrics but terrible for marching. A friend of mine plays the accordion on a semi-professional basis. He keeps doing his back in because of the instrument’s weight and awkward playing position. I imagine pipers don’t have this problem. Once you cut away all the limbs and plumage there’s not a lot left.

  92. Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    14 Jul, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    A friend of mine plays the accordion on a semi-professional basis. He keeps doing his back in because of the instrument’s weight and awkward playing position.

    Sometimes justice is seen to be done. His cure is in his own hands.

  93. Still just cherry-picking about the past, and decent men.

    Certainly Geoffrey Howe was a better man than Mellor at the FCO, and he survived until he allowed Captain Simon Hayward to write his self surviving memoir, Under Fire:Mu Own Story. while in a Swedish prison.

    When Thatcher learned about his failure in stopping its appearance – and Howe had not been in the loop about covert operations – he was summarily fired, and Younger, the Scottish SoD, resigned in protest,

    This was the beginning of the end of the ‘Iron Lady’ as Younger would have nothing more to do with her being Conservative Party leader. and Howe drove the nails into her political coffin when the time came.

    Still nothing about 18th century Scots like William Robertson making Britain an imperial power, and politicians like John Stuart, Lord Bute, putting it on a bipartisan basis.

  94. Loved your article in the Independent.I started reciting it out loud with an Ivor Cutler voice,(remember Life in a Scotch Sitting Room ?) and it really is entertaining as well as educational.Even when you’re deadly serious, humour is always just under the surface.
    You should maybe think of doing something similar on stage at Doune the Rabbit Hole and add stand up comic to your CV.

  95. “This is a difficult concept for you, but photos hadn’t been invented, and ordinary people couldn’t afford portrait painters. That is why the portraits of kilts are of posh people – not because only they wore them.”

    But they are not evidence that the modern kilt is traditional Scottish folk dress and I don’t believe it ever was. A Georgian invention not a Victorian invention, so what.

    I don’t believe anybody but a few stuck up snobs ever wore the short kilt before it’s adoption by the Highland Regiments.

  96. It is fascinating that in this article about reclaiming Scotland’s heritage there are so many posts disparaging it. Generations of ‘education’ about inferiority really are hard to undo.

  97. Miss Castello

    14 Jul, 2014 - 7:50 pm

    Craig; 11.07 am

    John / Nana; Which one did win in the end? Apologies if you’ve already said. Too many comments to scroll thru:-).

  98. When I was a boy I wore a kilt everyday to school. It was preferable to the alternative – school uniform and shorts – and very much more comfortable: warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. I haven’t worn a kilt in years, but as I recall it is a very practical form of clothing.

  99. I’ve got this kool T shirt…

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Evolution-of-a-Samurai-Black-Standard-T-Shirt-jack-bushido-japan-sword-NEW-/251314398581?var=550267535961&_trksid=p2054897.l5658

    But after seeing This Mega kool t shirt at Barrafest ( isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides ) in 2010… i also want this T shirt…. Cos High Intellegence is reached at Last :)

    http://www.cafepress.co.uk/mf/68683137/bagpiper_tshirt?productId=660077923

  100. FRED: Is that what everybody believes up at Dounreay where you claim to stay ??
    The “modern kilt” whatever you may think or whoever you may think designed it was what traditional highland dress evolved into.
    Scottish regiments were issued 9 yards of material for their kilts, they didn’t adopt them.
    James the 5th of Scotland took a ship up to “your part of Scotland” and describe the wild men in their highland dress or feilidh-mór as it was called back then.
    If you take the Celt civilisations back to the Hallstadt culture,then the leather tunics with belts round the middle resemble Kilts.The Greeks and Roman wore kilt like clothing.
    I am quite sure snobby Scots had snobby kilts but the form of dress itself is ancient.

  101. “Is that what everybody believes up at Dounreay where you claim to stay ??”

    You would have to ask them, I hardly know anybody at Reay.

    Now we have established your credentials for getting things right it is your choice if you would prefer Scottish traditional dress to be based on what the rich elite wore not what the common man wore. I have my opinions and they would be the same as where I lived. The north of England I would rather see represented by the clogs of the clog dancer not the top hat of the mill owner.

    That is my opinion, obviously you have your reasons for having a different opinion.

  102. You are so funny Brian. :)

    At first I thought it was an Isle of Barra rip off but then I saw the difference!

  103. Agh Fred, You have moved house since you said you lived in Sutherland,but you still know a few folks.That’s nice.

  104. I think when Fred stood for UKIP in the council elections, he was ran out of town. Methinks a few highlanders demonstrated how quickly a kilt can be used, and his arse is now in tatters. :-)

  105. “Agh Fred, You have moved house since you said you lived in Sutherland,but you still know a few folks.That’s nice.”

    I have never said I lived in Sutherland.

    Dounreay isn’t in Sutherland.

    I, and most of the people I know are opposed to the disneyfication of Scotland and resent having a Celtic culture imposed on an area with a Norse heritage.

  106. @Juteman

    Today I took the long journey south to Inverness.

    Where were you then?

  107. @Fred

    >The north of England I would rather see represented by the clogs of the clog dancer not the top hat of the mill owner.

    National dress examples the world over are often not what the working class might wear day-to-day (Not sure where this idea came from? Your imagination?) but in many cases what people might wear on a special occasion, at a wedding ceremony Etc. http://uk.pinterest.com/sanne95/national-costumes-of-the-world/

    Also over time national dress has often been adapted to become more convenient either to make or wear. Few nations would have someone harping that their national dress is not ‘real’ and/or it was foisted on them by another nation. Scotland seems to get this kind of marginalisation as a matter of course for reasons best known to those performing the cultural persecution.

    Also have you tried to ascend into the Lost Valley wearing a 9 yard Highland special? Seems unlikely this was what was always worn even then.

  108. @Shuggy

    A fascinating site, I could spend hours looking at it. Just Norway alone has such a wide range and huge diversity of national costumes.

  109. Keep up the good work debunking falsehoods!

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