Sunday, 20 July 2008

Why do we always celebrate the wrong things?

This impressive looking cairn is the memorial in Callendar Park Falkirk to the Scots fallen at the 1st Battle of Falkirk, 22nd July 1298, when the Scots led by Sir William Wallace were well and truly biffed by King Edward I of England (aka Longshanks or the Hammer of the Scots).

How do I know all this? Yesterday, Ma and I were up the toon, when the wail of the pipes caught our attention. The nice waitress in the Roxy tearooms where we were scoffing soup and ciabattas, told us there was a commemoration on (she reads the Scottish Midland Journal more dilligently than I do). So to pass the time, we wandered up to Callendar Park to see what was going on.

A pochle of hairy men in kilts, looking as if they were left over from the 2nd Battle of Falkirk in 1746, had gathered round the cairn to remember those who had fallen whilst standing with the Wallace. Of course they were only remembering the Scots who fell. My 1st niggle. All war sucks, and it was the feudal period (so all the infantry Scots and English were serfs called up by their masters to fight whether they wanted to or not), so why just remember your own side? Also why remember a defeat rather than a victory (we won the replay in 1746)? That's just daft. Why glorify this debacle, especially since Wallace was seriously let down by turncoat Scottish Lord's who legged it rather than fight Edward? Niggle the 2nd.

3rd nark. This Jacobite version of the Sealed Knot were dressed up for Culloden. 'Scuse me guys, but this is a late 13th century MEDIEVAL battle you are recalling. Nobody would be in kilts and wearing white roses on blue bonnets. Authenticity anyone? On top of which, one of the speechifiers told a story of addressing a gathering of 15,000 Scottish Americans and jokingly suggesting that after they'd finished in Iraq, the US Army could stop off on the way home, liberate the Scottish oil from the English and we'd sell America cheap oil! AAARGH!! You eejit! Don't you realise that one or more of those Americans of Scots descent could have the ear of the powerful fools in Pennsylvania Avenue and George Dubya Shrub might act on that joke? I don't want to be invaded because some fish supper addicted (judging by the size of his belly), quasi-historically literate buffoon of a Nationalist wants a Free Scotland.

There is a certain sort of partisan Scottishness which drives me mad. And this is it. Kilts and mince for brains patriotism, that is anti-English, historically risible and an embarassment to a great nation. It's (almost) enough to make me vote for David Cameron!

Rant over!

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