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Wings Over Scotland

Good nationalism, bad nationalism

Posted on February 14, 2013 by

Unionists never miss a chance to sneer at “Braveheart”, a film which won five Oscars and tells a true story (very heavily embellished by Hollywood) about a people’s fight for self-determination. Only last night, Scotland Tonight retweeted one eager young No voter using it as an explanation for the increase in support for independence among the 18-24 demographic, even though the film came out almost 20 years ago.

This sort of thing, though, is fine:


That’s because nationalism is great, so long as it’s British.

“Skyfall” is out on DVD and Blu-Ray next week. Much like “Braveheart”, it’s a fun, entertaining cinematic action romp with a high bodycount, though this time one without even the tiniest glimmer of basis in reality. It’s also a 143-minute-long party political broadcast for “Britishness”.


The movie makes great play of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom (it’s full of Union Jacks all the way through, despite a jarring early scene in which James Bond responds to a word-association in a psychological assessment by replying “England” to the word “country” – perhaps he knew something before the rest of us).


The whole of the third act takes place in Glencoe, supposedly the location of Bond’s childhood home before he was orphaned and rescued by the British state.


When 007 and “M” reach the remote, grim ancestral house where he grew up (arriving in his classic Aston Martin with a prominent “GB” sticker on the back), Judi Dench’s character mutters “Christ. No wonder you never came back”, with which Bond later concurs “I always hated this place” just before setting off a huge explosion in an attempt to kill a terrorist baddie in an aircraft.


After a climactic scene pandering indulgently to the Caledonian fondness for seeing ourselves as hard men (“Welcome to Scotland”, quips the estate’s old gamekeeper after blasting a couple of henchmen with a sawn-off shotgun), the message that Scotland is a bleak, primitive place best visited only once every 40 years – and even then only when someone’s trying to kill you – is sufficiently illustrated, and the final minutes see Bond safely back where everything is civilised, right and proper: London.


In London, things are young and modern. Miss Moneypenny is reinvented as a black woman, and the new “M” is even (a bit) disabled – it’s a cosmopolitan world of equal opportunities. Bond is happy once more. Scotland has served its purpose, been shown its place in the hierarchy (the old house is literally reduced to scorched earth in the process of Bond’s ultimately-unsuccessful defence of the old order) and can be forgotten about for another 20 years. Better Together, or else.


“Skyfall” hasn’t been nominated for any Oscars (except for the theme song). It’s still a quality film, though, and we definitely recommend giving it a watch. Because it’s not the embarrassing, parochial kind of cheesy, obvious cinematic narrow nationalism, like “Braveheart”. It’s the nice, acceptable kind. The British kind.

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180 to “Good nationalism, bad nationalism”

  1. Dunc says:

    “[V]ery heavily embellished by Hollywood” is something of an understatement… I remember one professor of Scottish history remarking to me that if you want to understand Wallace’s role in the Wars of Scottish Independence, you’d be better off watching Apollo 13.

  2. Gavin Barrie says:

    I’m afraid the context of this comment might only make complete sense if you’ve seen BBC Wales’ Torchwood, but I’ll give it a go. Growing up in the late 70s and early 80s I only remember Wales being depicted as dark, grim, coal mining, parochial people, a bit thick, not too worldy wise … Where people left to get jobs and go that wonderful place of culture, Engerland. Sound familiar? Scotland was similarly depicted, even in program’s like Taggart, which were made in Scotland
    Well, then came Torchwood, which blew the doors off. Cardiff was modern, vibrant, hip. The characters were oh so very Welsh, but conscientious, sympathetic, smart and sassy with it. They out talked, out loved and out shone anything I’d seen abut Wales before. THIS was a country you wanted to be associated with, that had stepped out of it’s shadow and loved itself.
    Where do we see the optimistic, capable, forward thinking, beautiful, enchanting Scottish people and the land I love being properly depicted on television? Not in River City. Not in Taggart. Not in anything I could name at the moment …
    I loved Skyfall and watching the bleak portrayal of Glencoe in-situ didn’t jar with me – have I become numbed to this stereotype? – but as you describe, when it switched back to Bond safely in London and the bulldogs, the flag and Britishness screaming from the screen, I felt a little nauseous. I walked out of the cinema in a curious mood of locking an excellent film and feeling cheated and betrayed by the last 10 minutes.

  3. Megalosaurus says:

    Don’t forget the scene where Bond has to undergo psychological evaluation and does that word association thingie:
    MI6-Shirnk: “Country.”
    Bond: “England.”
    See, not Britain, England. And this is a guy who supposedly grew up Scottish (according to the film)? I know plenty of Scots who are very pro-British but even they would never dream of answering that question “England.” 

  4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Don’t forget the scene where Bond has to undergo psychological evaluation and does that word association thingie:”

    Spookily I was editing that in as you wrote the comment.

  5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “when it switched back to Bond safely in London and the bulldogs, the flag and Britishness screaming from the screen, I felt a little nauseous”

    It lacked subtlety, let’s say.

  6. Morag says:

    I loved Skyfall and watching the bleak portrayal of Glencoe in-situ didn’t jar with me – have I become numbed to this stereotype? – but as you describe, when it switched back to Bond safely in London and the bulldogs, the flag and Britihsness screaming from the screen, I felt a little nauseous. I walked out of the cinema in a curious mood of locking an excellent film and feeling cheated and betrayed by the last 10 minutes.
    Well, that saved me a bit of typing.  Even as I was watching it in the cinema, I was wondering if the No Scotland campaign had actually paid for product placement.

  7. muttley79 says:

    If you ever read history books, particularly about the First World War etc, Britain is referred again and again to England. 

  8. Megalosaurus says:

    “Spookily I was editing that in as you wrote the comment.”
    Heh, glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed. 

  9. simon says:

    You have to admit though, Braveheart was a truly rubbish film.

  10. Megalosaurus says:

    “If you ever read history books, particularly about the First World War etc, Britain is referred again and again to England.”
    Oh yes, absolutely. And, giving the benefit of the doubt, I’m guessing Nelson probably meant Britain when he made his speech at Trafalgar. Heck, throughout the 19th Century literature and sources you see people referring to Britain as England.
    But Skyfall is not set in the 19th Century; it’s set in 2012. Or I thought it was; maybe all the computer and communications technology in it was anachronistic?

  11. Morag says:

    Simon said:
    You have to admit though, Braveheart was a truly rubbish film.

    Completely crappy movie.  Saw it once, bored senseless.

    I did enjoy Skyfall though.

  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “You have to admit though, Braveheart was a truly rubbish film.”

    Five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, would seem to disagree.

  13. Westie7 says:

    Is it me or are the BBBC having trouble inventing a script for FMQ summary?
    Still not on their site yet !!

  14. chicmac says:

    The most inaccurate versions of the Wallace legend are the countless ‘Robin Hood’ recantations spewed out by Hollywood over the years.

  15. CameronB says:

    It was certainly an orgy of Union Jacks and stiff upper lipped Britishness, I mean Englishness, I mean Britishness (?). Did anyone else pick up on Bond’s line about “turning back the clock”, in reference to his plan of hiding in Scotland? This may all seam petty to Na-Sayers, but propaganda is propaganda.

  16. Doug says:

    I must confess to being a Bond obsessive. Seen all the films (too many times) and read all the books.  I loved Skyfall too.  Excellent film, well written/acted, really enjoyable.  Best Bond in ages.
    However, I also got that same feeling about the film.  Very much proud, strident Britishness. You could add the ‘obituary’ discussion between Bond and M (“exemplar of British fortitude”) as another reinforcement of the point.

  17. FreddieThreepwood says:

    When I’ve had too much to drink and forget the thing would be so bloody complicated you’d need a degree in media studies to get the joke, I sometimes ponder doing a gag which mixes Braveheart, Chewin’ the Fat and The Terminator.
    ‘Eh’, I hear you say.
    It goes like this … Hamish is the Terminator and he goes back in time to the set of Braveheart where he walks up to Mel Gibson and says: ‘Gonnae no’ dae that.’
    Then I have another dram and it all fades away again.

  18. Morag says:

    Slightly O/T, but last night on the BBC News the obligatory article about the pony-burgers referred to slaughterhouses in “Wales and Britain” being implicated in the fraud.

  19. muttley79 says:

    I don’t think Braveheart was a good film at all.  Having said that, it was the first time (I think) that the Scottish Wars of independence have been the subject of a major film, and on the side of Scottish self-determination. Scottish unionists hated it and still hate it because of this fact.  If you support Scottish independence you will almost certainly have been mocked by someone mentioning Braveheart at some point.  Many unionists detest the idea of Scottish independence because they have either been conditioned to put Scotland as a nation down, or because they think Britain is a major power in the world, and like being part of this.  I am amused when Scottish unionists proclaim themselves as being proudly Scottish as they then proceed to castigate Scotland’s ability to run its own affairs.  It seems the price of being accepted as being British is conditional on you being abusive to those who support Scottish independence and generally running down Scotland.

  20. Morag says:

    RevStu said:
    Five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, would seem to disagree.
    It was still a crappy movie.  I’ve spent better evenings with the toothache.  It took ages to get going, it was really short on the spectacle department, and way too much about Mel Gibson.

  21. Dave Smith says:

    When I saw  all the flegs in the second bottom photo, I thought for a second they’d forgotten to give the Shankhill Road a location credit…

  22. Albert Herring says:

    Rated 8.4 on IMDb puts it in top 100 films. Skyfall rated only 7.9.

  23. Megalosaurus says:

    “After a climactic scene pandering indulgently to the Caledonian fondness for seeing ourselves as hard men (“Welcome to Scotland”, quips the estate’s old gamekeeper after offing a couple of baddies point-blank with a shotgun)”
    He’s thick as mince though, isn’t he? Come on M, he says, let’s escape all these heavily armed killers by running across the moor with a really obvious flash-light and then hide in a church and put all the lights on in case they haven’t already seen us.
    And M, bless her, thinks this is a great idea. But then she has form doesn’t she? Her response to being told of Javier’s escape is to continue giving evidence in a room full of high-level British government types. I mean, she must have guessed Javier was coming for her, did it never occur to her to order an evacuation? Instead she willfully sits there, endangering dozens of lives.
    Sorry, look at me, never posted on this site before. I can’t help it. I hated Skyfall. What a stupid, stupid movie. 
    And I like a nice dumb action movie. But I like my dumb movies to at least be coherent. Like Django unchained; that film went to great lengths to set up the motivation for the really-dumb-thing one of the main characters does right near the end.

  24. Training Day says:

    Braveheart – treated on its own merits, and not as a historically accurate portrayal (no one, to the best of my knowledge has ever said it was historically accurate) – is a brilliant film. 
    Short on the spectacle department, Morag?  The battle scenes are, by any definition, spectacular, and remain so almost twenty years later. 
    And Patrick McGoohan’s performance was superb.
    Still, different strokes..

  25. Embradon says:

    I’ve always thought it odd that Braveheart was critisised for historical inaccuracy and have to supress the inclination to shout “its not a f*****g documentary”.
    MacBeth doesn’t score highly on historical accuracy either though, admittedly, the standard of acting is ususally better than Mel Gibson’s.

  26. CameronB says:

    @ Dave Smith
    Or possibly many Scottish towns at a particular time of the year.

  27. muttley79 says:

    The problem with William Wallace’s story as a whole is that hardly anything is really known about him.  Therefore, a major film was always going to struggle to find enough information and incidents (apart from the battles and ‘trial’) to fill the time.  The part I found really dire was the Battle of Falkirk, where Robert Bruce was portrayed as being on the English side!

  28. Morag says:

    Training Day, it’s probably because my expectations were higher.  The Barns of Ayr?  The actual causeway at Stirling Bridge?  York Minster, in the process of being built?  Westminster Hall and Westminster Abbey?  Not a bunch of peasants in woad mooning the opposition.
    And Gibson was so dire that better performances were rather sidelined.

  29. heraldnomore says:

    @ Gavin Barrie

    What was that about optimistic, capable, forward thinking, beautiful, enchanting Scottish people – I’ve been campaigning for years for a return of Take The High Road, with all those social consciences, local politics, dramatic scenery.  Oh the memories.

    Anyway haven’t seen the Bond movie yet, only heard comment of how good it is, but hadn’t realised all that union jackery and the sly innuendos had been slipped in – no one mentioned that when talking about the film.

    Being a big fan of Robert Louis Stevenson I was always irked that he referred to himself, typically when abroad, as being English.   Perhaps in those days they had indeed been taught that Scotland ceased to exist, and that they would be forever English, that there was no hope of change.

    Just think what Edinburgh’s finest would have made of the advent of our very own parliament in town; what he would have made of Elmer and the Eejits.

    And the just-out-of-youth ones, those 18-24s born just after Braveheart, well the current ones, the next round of voters, are huge fans of Brave…..  which takes us back to Oscars

  30. Morag says:

    Muttley, my main gripe was how much they left out.  Wallace as Guardian, travelling in Europe.  The Barns of Ayr, again.  The actual politics of the time in Scotland.  They had a ton of material they could have used but didn’t.  Even the purse made out of the sheriff’s flayed skin.

  31. Keith B says:

    I was looking forward to FMQ’s as well. Only problem – Parliament is in recess from 9th to 17th February. Think that explains it. Smiley face.

  32. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Muttley, my main gripe was how much they left out.”

    Be fair, it was over three hours long as it was…

  33. TamD says:

    They couldnae even afford a decent villan either.
    Come on JB was much more menacing/scary in No Country for Old Men- even with weird haircut to boot!

  34. muttley79 says:

    Yes, they could have covered the Guardian of Scotland issue.  I am not sure how much is known about what he did in Europe?  What were the Barns of Ayr?  (sounds familiar).  They missed an opportunity when they did not show the conflicting interest of Scottish landowners, i.e. many held lands in both Scotland and England.  The battle of Stirling Bridge in the film was a land battle?  Edward I was too much of a pantomime villain for me, far too much of a caricature.  
    Apart from the almost willful historical errors, the thing that grated with me the most about Braveheart was Mel Gibson. 

  35. Andy Simpson says:

    I don’t get to hung up on Braveheart. Its a film not a history documentary and if it made some people take a greater interest in the man and the history of that time then that is surely good.
    I can remember reading Nigel Tranter at around 11 or 12 years old and  that made me go and look into the history more.
    And while I don’t see any great harm in Braveheart I think Tranter’s story would have been a better basis for the film.

  36. Morag says:

    RevStu said:
    Be fair, it was over three hours long as it was…
    Yeah, and it didn’t seem a minute longer than 12….
    It didn’t even get going at all until about an hour had passed.  I was bored comatose.  And I’m well used to sitting through five hours of Wagner, any time I get the chance.  If they had actually filled the time with some of the material they left out, it would have been a better film.

  37. Megalosaurus says:

    “They couldnae even afford a decent villan either.
    Come on JB was much more menacing/scary in No Country for Old Men- even with weird haircut to boot!”
    Yeah, he was awful in Skyfall. I don’t blame Javier though, I mean a Bond villain whose master plan was… um maybe stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie?… to commit suicide with an older lady he’s a bit pervy on; it’s not exactly good material to work with.
    Remember how Bond villains in the past wanted to destroy the US gold reserves or trigger WW3, or cause a giant earthquake and obliterate silicon valley? What happened to all that ambition? 

  38. CameronB says:

    There was just enough truth in it re. Britain’s involvement in the War (of) Terror and the communication/info technology aspect of contemporary life, to create an obscuring smoke-screen to mask the harsh realities of the modern world. Oh yeah, I saw something like that in the latest Bond film, of course it is fantasy not reality. And the fiction mill keeps turning.

  39. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “It didn’t even get going at all until about an hour had passed.”

    I don’t remember, to be honest. I went to see it at the cinema with some English chums when it came out, and haven’t watched it since. As far as I can recall I enjoyed it, though, and not many total stinkers get Best Picture.

  40. Megalosaurus says:

    “Braveheart – treated on its own merits, and not as a historically accurate portrayal (no one, to the best of my knowledge has ever said it was historically accurate) – is a brilliant film. “
    They absolutely love Braveheart in Greece. Seriously, every single person I met there, when they found out I was Scottish, they wanted to talk about Braveheart.
    I saw “300” in Thessaloniki (the greeks loved 300, btw, it was their Braveheart) and the very final thing they showed before the movie started (and i mean literally the thing they showed immediately before the movie began; well after all the adverts and trailers had been on) was a Scottish wiskey advert of a guy dressed like an extra from Braveheart running through the highlands.
    The greeks all loved this. It told them that, yes, this is going to be like Braveheart: GET READY. (note: I was at a screening about 3 months after 300 opened, it was still sold out. The greek audience gave the film a standing ovation at the end… which was weird).
    I don’t like Braveheart myself – I think it’s rubbish (as a movie). But never underestimate the positive effect it’s had on Scotland’s image abroad. And oddly enough people abroad celebrate it, they don’t have this sniffy attitude towards it like the British establishment.

  41. Yesitis says:

    I think if Braveheart had been loosely based on a William Wallace type medieval character, then it may have been perceived differently. It was never going to be a Citizen Kane, and to expect anything more from it other than a rollicking action/adventure/romance movie would be a tad pretentious, or a little sad.
    Saying that, as an over-the-top action/adventure/romance movie, I enjoyed it then, and I can enjoy it now.
    As Training Day said, different strokes…

  42. TamD says:

    What was more unreal- the haircut or Bond’s country response- England. I find it very hard to believe that the most ultra Brit Nat would respond to Engerlund, if he was born and brought up as a lad in Scotland. Sounds like poor script-writing.

  43. Tom Hogg says:

    I agree completely about Skyfall.  I hated it. Jingoistic claptrap dressed up as a thriller.

  44. orpheuslyre says:

    Braveheart was a great film, as a film, but it was basically a homage to the NRA and the GOP. It was an American (Hollywood) heritage movie. Gibson himself said it – he wanted to do another Spartacus and this was his shot at it. It is all about freedom from the powers of the State over the Republican voter, massive paranoia, and the right to bear arms and stand outside the law on primitivist grounds such as (again and again) revenge.

  45. chicmac says:

    I liked Braveheart.  ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are subjective, although as suggested it does appear on many people’s favourite films lists on the internet.  Yes it had a lot of inaccuracies, but no more than most Hollywood ‘historical’ movies.  At least the gist of it was correct which is not always the case.e.g. when king Arthur is portrayed as king of the English for example, and as I said if Robin Hood is an English makeover of the Wallace legend then all those movies are even more historically inaccurate versions.

  46. Megalosaurus says:

    @TamD: “Sounds like poor script-writing.”
    Yup, absolutely – that was my immediate response.
    @Tom Hogg:
    “I agree completely about Skyfall.  I hated it. Jingoistic claptrap dressed up as a thriller.”
    I didn’t like Skyfall due to the sloppy writing/plotting and general incoherent nature of the story. I actually liked the first half of the movie before it started collapsing under it’s own ridiculousness. (That scene with the komodo Dragon’s was great!)
    But yeeeeaaah, as the movie went on I grew more and more uneasy. Jingoistic claptrap is a pretty fair description.
    It did seem that all the “bad” characters had, y’know, “funny” or “foreign” accents. Which I never like in a movie (and I include those American movies where the baddy always as an English accent.)

  47. The Man in the Jar says:

    As a former member of The Society of William Wallace. I hopefully know a little more than your average punter regarding Wallace. The trouble with Braveheart was that Randal Wallace who wrote the screenplay didn’t do much research. He was on holiday in Scotland and on visiting Edinburgh Castle inquired about the two statues at the entrance. King Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace he was informed. He admitted that although sharing the same surname he had never heard of Wallace. So he returned the USA read Blind Harry’s “The Wallace” (written about one hundred years after the judicial murder of Sir William Wallace) and wrote the script totally ignoring all the modern research on the subject. I could list the historical inaccuracies but it would take all day. Wallace was never married, Edward I died two years after Wallace, the battle of Stirling BRIDGE. The Bruce at Falkirk etc.
    The term Braveheart also belongs to another bit of historical nonsense and should in fact refer to King Robert the Bruce, first knight of Christendom. We have Sir Walter Scott to thank for that one. Sir James Douglas and six Scottish knights took the Bruces heart in a casket on pilgrimage to the Holly Land as requested by The Bruce. However while in Southern Spain they decided to help the king of Spain with a bit of trouble that he was having with the Moors. (Hadn’t had a good fight in ages) The Douglas and five of the knights unaccustomed to Moorish tactics found themselves surrounded by the Moor army. According to Scott The Douglas threw the heart casket into the thick of the battle and cried, “Go forward my brave heart and we will follow” (They were all killed!)
    I am also a member of a Jacobite group and several times a year dress in tartan from head to toe belt on my broadsword and treps around the highlands commemorating various battles. As a matter of interest most Jacobite swords and dirks had the same inscription engraved on the blade. “Prosperity for Scotland and No Union”
    I do get a bit annoyed when some nationalists get a bit sniffy about the Bravehearts inferring that they are somehow uninformed voters. A Yes vote is a Yes vote! I know of several that are very active in the Yes campaign.
    I could go on about this all day but I have probably written far too much already so I will leave it at that for now!
    Yours Aye for Scotland

  48. pa_broon74 says:

    Braveheart merely pandered to a number of stereotypes, the Scots as noble savages with the English as aristocratic fops. I admit I enjoyed it, a bit of harmless fun is all it was as far as I can see. At the time Mel Gibson was making a load of films basically polishing historical characters in to heroes, I think they’re successful because viewers are already mostly on the main character’s side before the film even starts.

    Haven’t seen Skyfall, not sure whether this is right or wrong but, I went off bond films when I started taking an interest in Scottish politics. I just can’t suspend my belief effectively enough these days, its the same with gung-ho American films.

    I suppose, if anyone is parroting the usual stuff about nationalists and their Braveheart sentimentalism and motivations – you could if you were feeling mischievous tell them of your love for the film U-571 which depicts the Americans capturing the first enigma machine from a German U-boat in the second world war…


  49. CameronB says:

    @ Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Could I be a pain and ask you to edit my post of 1.32pm. I’m not sure if I want to give people the that sort of wrong impression of me. The opening I should, of course, be It.

  50. Kirriereoch says:

    What were the Barns of Ayr?  (sounds familiar). 
    The Barns of Ayr were the English garrison where a lot of the Scottish nobles were invited to sign allegiance to King Edward I. As they entered the building they were strung up and hung until dead.
    I´ve always thought the opening scene in Braveheart where young William Wallace enters a barn and see lots of hanging men was a sort of reference/acknowledgement of this event.
    In revenge Wallace burned the Barns down. There´s a Barnweil monument nearby that alludes to the event. William Wallace is supposed to have watched the burning barns and said something like “These English, may they burn weil”.
    I used to live in the area and the next road was called “Barnweil Avenue”.
    Regarding British Nationalism, I´ve had simply bemused looks from some people when I´ve stated that Unionism is simply another term for British nationalism. Some simply don´t see this, however obvious it is.

  51. pmcrek says:

    Would be more realistic if Mr Bond sat about all day being lobbied by big business before the climactic scene at the end where he bribes a dodgy official to get mining safety legislation overturned in Sudan and saves Mega-Globo-Arms Corporation’s from falling profit margins.

  52. benarmine says:

    One film we and Yes Scotland should be looking at carefully is ” No ” . Lots of good stuff to be learned there I think.

  53. muttley79 says:

    I think there is a reason why the existence of British Nationalism has been denied for so long.  It is of the “Johnny foreigner” variety and seems to have been based on the empire.  Also, the media and the unionist parties have been fulminating against nationalism for about fifty-sixty years, although they invariably are referring to Scottish Nationalism.  To admit that British Nationalism has been present during this period now would be challenging, given the establishment’s loathing of Scottish Nationalists.  They would have to explain why British Nationalism is superior?

  54. heraldnomore says:

    and Katie Morag coming to a screen near you soon – a wee Lewis lassie on Cbeebies apparently, though I thought Mairi Hedderwick’s tales were of Coll

    Still if it can achieve what Balamory did for Mull…..  

  55. The Man in the Jar says:

    “Brave” keeps the weans amused for ages!

  56. Morag says:

    and Katie Morag coming to a screen near you soon

    I may find I get tired of that….  😉

  57. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Did anyone else pick up on Bond’s line about “turning back the clock”, in reference to his plan of hiding in Scotland?”

    To be precise:

    M: “Where are we going?”

    BOND: “Back in time.”

  58. velofello says:

    Bond, agent 007, written by a Scot, played by Sean Connery is the core historical film series. Skyfall seems to be, by comments here, just another assimilation by England.
    The twin pillars of England’s future, City banking and London as a theme park and a studio location for films and sitcoms? i wonder if they will do a film of the London clearances of rented accomodation? A sort of modern day Dickens
    I was in the Middle East when Braveheart was shown there. The enthusiasm for the film by the multitude of nationalities – Asian,European,Arab, American to me demonstrated a successful film.

  59. Chic McGregor says:

    @Pa Broon
    From what I recall, some years ago I read about this, it was not the first enigma machine.  The Polish secret service had already built two machines, unbeknownst to the British, to crack previous German cyphers and were working on the third when Poland fell.  They duly handed over the incomplete one to the surprised British.
    History is written (and re-written) by the victors.

  60. Paul Martin says:

    One of my favorite stories when Braveheart first screened (assuming the story was even true at the time) was of a few well young and lubricated Kirkcaldy cinema-goers getting over excited at the main Braveheart battle-scene … and a rookie English copper being called in to calm things down.
    And didn’t obviously ;-0

  61. Laura says:

    Didn’t like Skyfall at all, Braveheart was a very long time ago, but I’d rather look at Mel Gibson than Daniel Craig any day of the week! 

  62. Dan huil says:

    Typical double standards from the unionist camp.However if they are stupid and lazy enough to believe in the “Braveheart effect” then so much the better.

  63. Doug Daniel says:

    Braveheart is entertaining. Besides, Sophie Marceau is stunning.

  64. EdinScot says:

    Can only add to what others have said about Braveheart being well received from people of other countries.  I Remember being in Turkey on holiday about 3 years ago and as soon as they heard the accent they pointed to us ‘Scottish’ and some followed that up with ‘braveheart’.  They then made references to what happened in the film and loved it all mentioning William Wallace.  Went to Crete 4 months later and got the same but on a slightly lesser scale so whatever its inaccuracies there seems to be a lot of goodwill to us out there. 

    Maybe with all the negativity the Unionists attach to the film for their political ends has rubbed off on some of us.  It seems to be when theres a chance of something Scottish being a huge success internationally the Unionists panic and try and either ridicule it or hijack it as British, Andy Murray anyone!  Of course the inaccuracies in the film are stark, its Holywood we’re talking about.
    As for skyfall, havent seen it and not sure i really want to as a couple of folk at work who were looking forward to it absolutely trashed it. 

  65. Alison says:

    I actually love ‘Braveheart’. I cry every single time I watch it, especially when Wallace sees his wife at the end.
    It is a story of love, revenge and fate, although it has a few character’s name’s from actual history, it is not an historical account.
    Only those who are ignorant of the facts of the history of Scotland and England at that time suggest its is.
    And only those with no reasonable response to questions or points raised in the independence debate (usually in cyberspace, where they hide behind the anonymity of their keyboard), retort with the usual Braveheart jibes!
    I actually saw on one Facebook page, someone had quoted from the Declaration of Arbroath, and the page admin stated that the quote was from the movie revealing his own ignorance, and promptly banned everyone who pointed out his error!
    I have not seen ‘Skyfall’ and have no intention of buying the DVD either! I have much better things to do with my time and hard earned money.

  66. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Besides, Sophie Marceau is stunning.”

    Amen to that. Although ironically, even stunninger in that James Bond movie she was in. (The World Is Not Enough, IIRC.)

  67. commenter says:

    Morag  and Simon
    Nothing wrong with Braveheart. I loved it and so did the audiences in Scotland. The YES campaign should try to have it showing during the latter stages of the ‘real’ campaign. It is a great propaganda film for the Independence cause; that’s why the bitter mob don’t like it.
    On the other hand the latest Bond movies are crap. The actor playing Bond isn’t credible. And there is too much bang crash bang instead of plot.

  68. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    I enjoyed Braveheart. It’s entertaining with some historical facts. Much as Mel’s Braveheart II was, i.e. The Patriot.
    Another bonus is it didn’t have any zombies or vampires in it.

  69. Barontorc says:

    As a movie I loved Braveheart.; the humour, the underlying impression of English oppression and feisty Scottish fortitude suited my palate. I still chuckle at the bare-arsed cheek scene.
    Now what about a real, fully researched, historically accurate and truly depictive production of the actual times? Would that be a five oscar blockbuster, or a ministry of information documentary for Channel 4, or the like? I reckon you could put the kettle on now, that  it would get zero exposure, or at best, a one off showing to be thereafter ridiculed and shamelessly torn apart by the likes of David Starkey and his co- disgraces as they lied through their teeth about accuracy and such else.
    Braveheart as the cult movie it has become, factually wrong in every department, has done more for the Scottish cause of independence than anything ever before produced, particularly worldwide and it’s no surprise, nor wonder, that unionists will rubbish, hate and vilify it. I’m quite sure, if they could, it would be prescribed as being silly – meaning subversive!
    I would suspect, a factual case, was not necessarily Gibson’s objective, it was ker-ching appeal that done it for him. But what a worldwide platform it has gained for Scotland. Do you think, the Japanese, Koreans, Russians, et al., are dissimilar  to the Greeks? Do you think they really care a hoot about its historical accuracy? It’s an example of a bullying, acquisitive, despot nation, leaning on a smaller neighbouring country, which is already internally fractured by selfish vested interests, and as such, it probably has few to rival it – and, no matter the inaccuracies riven throughout, to me, at least, it was ‘bloody’ good theatre! 
    As somebody earlier said – ‘’it’s different strokes for different folks’!

  70. Tamson says:

    I’ve never seen Braveheart. Do I have to hand in my cybernat badge?
    Rob Roy’s a good film, btw.

  71. commenter says:

    “Rob Roy’s a good film”
    Funnily enough although I loved Braveheart as an entertainment AND excellent propaganda for Scotland, I thought Rob Roy was poor in both respects. I thought it was boring. to be honest the only non-boring bits were when the little cockney actor was upstaging everyone. I’ve got DVDs of both films and look at parts of Braveheart from time to time but have only ever looked at Rob Roy once.

  72. Jiggsbro says:

    Braveheart’s a great film, if you suspend your disbelief and accept it as a story rather than the story. Skyfall is like every Bond film ever made: a vehicle for vainglorious British patriotism. Bond is the lie about power, status and influence that British nationalists desperately want to believe. And the more Bond films become indistinguishable from other action films (Bourne, etc), the more heavy-handed the Britishness becomes, to give them some sort of USP. Craig’s Bond is much less Bond and much more Bourne, hence much more Britishness. Britishness has always required a certain sneering at those who aren’t British – particularly those that were British and no longer are – so we should perhaps take the sneering at Scotland as a sign that the British already know the game’s up.

  73. The Man in the Jar says:

    Agree. As is Last of the Mohikans. Very historically accurate and many characters were Scottish!

  74. Alasdair Reid says:

    “The whole of the third act takes place in Glencoe, supposedly the location of Bond’s childhood home before he was orphaned and rescued by the British state. When 007 and “M” reach the remote, grim ancestral house where he grew up (arriving in his classic Aston Martin with a prominent “GB” sticker on the back), Judi Dench’s character mutters “Christ. No wonder you never came back”, with which Bond later concurs “I always hated this place””
    Well that’s ok because that grim ancestral house was of course built and blown up in the wilds of SURREY…..
    Ironic I suppose…or just another snub to Scotland…
    Ps: I don’t read the Daily Mail, I don’t !  I just googled location skyfall house…. 

  75. Dcanmore says:

    I don’t really give a fig about Braveheart the movie. It’s a Hollywood action film written by an American for, primarily, an American audience. To me that’s how the film should be seen in context, just like Robin Hood Prince of Thieves is to that character (although John Cleese’s Robin Hood in Time Bandits is the best of all lol!), or for our pensioners Brigadoon. The reason that we keep talking about bloody Braveheart is because of the absolute poverty of filmmaking in Scotland. When we do get a decent film made in Scoltand which might get an international release then it’s usually about a depressing subjects… Trainspotting, The Big Man, My Name is Joe, Small Faces, Red Road, Young Adam, Hallam Foe etc about people alienated from society usually dealing with near-past problems in their lives. Then Hollywood comes calling and we get cultural stereotypes abound. Same with television, Scotland is either grim or potty.
    What ever happened to Bill Forsyth? (yes I know he retired). 

  76. Tattie-boggle says:

    They attack Braveheart although just a story some parts ring true to the scottish cringe like this clip . it’s in a different language from scots, but you still get the gist of it.

  77. Inbhir Anainn says:

    Sure if Sir Sean was still playing the role of Bond he would have told them where to get aff!

  78. Tattie-boggle says:

    That clip always makes me think of GCC lol

  79. frankieboy says:

    I remember having lunch in a pub near Cork a few years ago. At the next table an Irish couple started chatting to us and he was muttering unhappily about the loud English couple who were speaking to Germans further down the bar. The Englishman asked the Germans, who were touring’ So, have you been to the mainland yet? He meant England. Its amazing how much baked potato a person can get into their mouth at once. The Irishman’s wife made sure he husband broke that record…lol

  80. frankieboy says:

    There is a story that claims that in Braveheart there is a scene where there is a Safeway truck in the distance. I have always meant to sit and watch closely to see if it’s true.

  81. uilleam_beag says:

    I have to agree with earlier comments that Braveheart gets an unfairly bad rap these days. Sure, it’s cheesy and typically Holywood-inaccurate in terms of historical facts, but you really can’t ignore the enormous impact it had on Scotland’s psyche at the time.
    It came in the closing years of the Tory dictatorship (from a Scottish perspective), at a time when there were simply no positive Scottish cultural role models to look up to. This was before even Trainspotting had hit the screens, mind, so pretty much all we had were Whisky Galore and Local Hero (Gregory’s Girl and Restless Natives are runners up, but they simply didn’t have the same international impact).
    I went through primary and secondary school during that period, and although we spent ages learning about the Jacobites – specifically what a folly the affair was and all the terrible things that happened to them at Culloden and afterwards – and bizarrely the 1066 Norman Conquest (P5 teacher looked at me like I was nuts when I asked why we were being taught English history ahead of our own), not one time did anyone even mention William Wallace’s name. The Bruce was dealt with, but hurriedly in between breaths; “there was something about a spider, kids”. 
    Thanks to Braveheart, however, I can recount the following true story:
    While covering race riots in Xinjiang (China’s westernmost province, debatably occupied Turkistani lands) in July 2009, I struck up a conversation with a group of local Uyghurs who had just brought a food offering to military police (hence “sympathisers”, I initially thought). On hearing I was from Scotland, the most dominant one beamed a huge smile.
    “Will … Will … Will ” he said.
    I felt a bit strange at that, as I didn’t recall telling them my name (we China journos are a paranoid bunch).
    “Will … Will-ee-amu Walll…lace,” he finally remembered. “Yonggan de xin [Braveheart].”
    He held up a thumb enthusiastically. I stared at him dumbfounded.
    Tentatively, I asked what he thought of the film, and Wallace’s story.
    “He was a true hero,” he replied. “It was about freedom, and that is important. We [Uyghurs] should learn from him.”
    So, for all its faults, maybe folk should think twice befor they knock Braveheart.

  82. uilleam_beag says:

    Oh, and PS: Skyfall was so bad, it was almost unwatchable. I say that as a self-confessed Bond fanatic. It was cringeworthy from start to finish.

  83. kininvie says:

    The bit I liked best about Braveheart was the Strongbow ad with the bankers:

  84. lumilumi says:

    I confirm several previous comments about Braveheart‘s popularity abroad.
    It was hugely popular in Finland, and did more than any government or Scottish society or whatever campaign could’ve done to educate Finns that Scotland is actually a country, not just north England. (For decades, Finns used to be baffled why England has 4 teams in international football…)
    So, whatever its faults, Braveheart raised Scotland’s international profile. That’s why the UK (English) establishment rubbish the film. Not because it is historically inaccurate and cheesy. They rubbish it because it shows Scotland as a nation, as a country, aspiring to self-determination and freedom, to the whole wide world. Something the UK (English) establishment has always wanted to hide.
    Braveheart is an American movie, a Hollywood movie. Take a bit of history and add stereotypes, goodies and baddies, some romance, action, speechees about freedom (always goes down well with an American audiences – think Robin Hood with Kevin Kostner) and dramatic battle scenes, with the goodies winning, or maybe martyred, that’s box office gold. I enjoyed Braveheart but thought it a bit silly. (I just can’t take Mel Gibson seriously.)
    I’m a big 007 fan but I wonder  what the original and best 007, Sir Sean Connery, thinks of the latest installment… Shurely shome mishtake?
    I’ve always liked the 007 franchise as an ironic comment on American action movies. Brits can do it just as well, and with a bit of irony and witty humour. They’ve lost it now. Now they’re trying to emulate, not ironically comment on American big bucks action movies. And yes, Skyfall‘s portrayal of Scotland as a hellhole and all those union flags gave me the boak.
    Skyfall made me think. Were all the older Bond films as jingoistically BritNat? Maybe they were, I just hadn’t noticed it before. But recently I’ve been noticing things.
    They found the bones of England’s king Richard III under a car park in Leicester. Inspred by that, I reread Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, a detective story I first read about 25 yrs ago. It makes a good case for “good king Richard” but what struck me on this rereading was the anti-Scottishness. The main character, DI Grant is partly Scottish and has spent childhood holidays in the Highlands. His cousin (still in Scotland) writes that her young son is shocked and devastated to discover that he’s a Scot, not one of the English heroes but a Scot. He doesn’t want to be a Scot… The book was written in 1951 – by a Scotswoman from Inverness (Elizabeth Macintosh, she wrote under pen names). Talk about Scottish cringe, rubbishing your own country… ultimately yourself.
    And don’t let me get started on Agatha Christie and her snobbism, xenophobia and BritNationalism! Spoils the clever puzzle detective stories for the modern reader.
    Sorry about the essay. 😀

  85. scottish_skier says:

    After watching Braveheart, went out and found me a female one of those French Johnny foreigner types who’s now my wife.
    Ok, the first bit’s not true and Sophie Marceau’s not a patch on Mrs SS anyway 😉

  86. patronsaintofcats says:

    O/T this:
    This from the man whose party has been effectively annhilated in Scotland.  The jokes write themselves!

  87. Megsmaw says:

    There is a tv series based on Wallace coming soon:
    apparently one of the production companies is STV:

  88. Adam says:

    Straw man alert.

  89. mark piggott says:

    OK folks, Finally we have our webpage up to promote the very important Illuminate the Debate rally in Glasgow on Saturday 23rd February.
    I’d encourage everyone who can make it to get to Glasgow for this.
    Even if we can’t change the media we can change the public’s perception of them!!
    PS can I please get a reply to the “contact us” message I sent last night 🙂
    I don’t mind what it says 😉

  90. chicmac says:

    Megsmaw. If this is the programme Kirsty Wark’s husband said he was going to produce, my expectations are not great.

  91. CameronB says:

    I thought my comment on Clegg’s rant was about as balanced and probably more rational than Deputy Dupe’s gut wrenching twaddle, sorry opinion was (i.e. Quack Quack). Lasted about a minute before diapering into the ether. Boy am I glad I live in an open society, where free speech is welcomed. Would anyone care to remind me what a liberal is?

    You don’t have to get on with your neighbours, but it helps.

  92. lumilumi says:

    Oh dear, another “braveheart” for the unionists to beat independists with…
    From their website:
    “This was a turbulent time in Scotland’s history, in which William Wallace had a starring and pivotal role…”
    Says it all.
    Nobody starred in medieval wars! [facepalm smiley]
    More inaccurate, romanticised patriotic/nationalistic tosh… Though, if this series is made, and shown abroad, it’ll boost awareness of Scotland as a country, just like Braveheart did. I just fear that it’ll be too soapoperaish (think history soap Tudors, made for the American audience…)
    Of course the good thing is that making this series might bring some jobs to Scotland.

  93. Willie Zwigerland says:

    The Highlander movies put Scotland on the Hollywood map a few years before Braveheart, so I thought I’d give it a wee mention seeing as no-one else has. Even if they had a Frenchman playing the lead. Honourable mention to the Wicker Man.

  94. Laura says:

    Here’s a wee rabble rouser for you

  95. Kirriereoch says:

    @Willie Zwigerland
    Regarding The Wicker Man. Lonely Planet or Rough Guides (can´t remember which one, I have both but not directly at hand) have The Wicker Man listed as one of the best English films in their Guide to England. Yes, Guide to England.
    Not their Guide to The UK, or Britain or Guide to Scotland, all of which would be totally fine but in their top films in the Guide to England.
    You live and learn every day. Especially if you´re an international traveller to the UK, erm, Britain, erm,England and are interested in The Wicker Man and other films.

  96. commenter says:


  97. The Man in the Jar says:


    I hope this is good but “King Edward The Longshanks”??????
    A bit of an Amricanism.

  98. lumilumi says:

    Thanks for the link. Now, why did I think the picture was some Monty Python caricature..?

  99. murren59 says:

    Despite historical innacuracies, ‘Braveheart’ – was an entertaining film that helpd lift Scotland’s profile throughout the world. I fear that some of you are falling into cringe mode to say otherwise.

    My American wife loved it, partciuarly the dramatic scenery and musical score. Not sure how much scenery was shot in Ireland but most of it looked Scottish to me. My biggest disappontment was that Gibson turned the Battle of Stirling Bridge into a Bannockburn and missed a great opportunity for unique, dramatic bridge battle scenes. He also missed out on what would have been an eagerly anticipated Braveheart II, featuring Bruce and victory at Bannockburn. He could even have featured himself prominently again with lots of inspirational flashbacks to Wallace.

    I think that Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery but Skywalk was crap. Maybe I just never got over that ‘England’ response to the ‘country’ question. I thought that the black girl was a rather weak character and that the good looking French? girl did not get enough screen time! Agree totally on the way that Bond’s Scottish birthplace was a big put-down as some god forsaken place out in the middle of nowhere, with London, as usual, presented in all it’s biscuit tin finery.

  100. The Man in the Jar says:

    Contender for worse Scottish historical film ever.
    The Master of Ballantrae 1953 staring Errol Flynn

  101. Kieran says:

    Even today, I happen to know that Austrians (possibly Germans too) refer to Britain as England. I asked the Austrian guy who told me this “How would you like to be referred to as German”. Of course he would hate it. So I had made my point but because of the way that English people referred to Britain, who knows how many countries do this?

  102. Richard says:

    I sat riveted through Braveheart in the cinema and only when I rewatched it did I start to moan about the legion of inaccuracies and down-right made-up stuff in it.Why take one of history’s great stories and rewrite it?
    But the thing is, if you go abroad, at least outside the EU, Canada and the USA, often THE ONLY THING people know about Scotland is the Braveheart movie. You say you’re Scottish and your Libyan, Tunisian, Malaysian or Sri Lankan acquaintance says, “Oh, Braveheart!” They want to know if it’s true. It’s a story about a small, poor country and a common man standing up to a larger, richer country and its king. Scotland’s image in far-away places is now bound up with this film (and sometimes whisky), not shortbread, kilts or highland dancing. Not Britishness. Not James Bond. Not Empire. Some of them do know about the Independence debate though.
    I do try to tell them that it’s Hollywood-made and they should take a lot of the narrative with a pinch of salt, but if your country had to be represented by a single film, then maybe it’s not such a bad thing.
    It could be worse; once when I was in Kazakhstan I was sitting with a bunch of Kazakh oil workers watching a film. The film was Air Force One. Cue lots of “but Mr. Richard, these terrorists – they are not Kazakh” comments.

  103. lumilumi says:

    Sorry to shatter your idea, but the Highlander movies didn’t register as paricularly Scottish in my foreign country. They were just fantasy, similar to LOTR later on.
    Braveheart, in all its Hollywood cheesiness, was about Scotland. It made tens of thousands of Finns aware of Scotland as a distinct nation/country. And next year we got Trainspotting, a take on modern Scotland. Suddenly Scotland was cool because we’d just discovered it. The Scots even talked English different than we’re taught in school. Almost as badly as we do! And a small country with a bigger bully neighbour! Finns can relate to that! (Just look at a map to see what I mean…)
    So, in a way the much mailgned Braveheart, a cheesy Hollyfood film, is important, whether the indepentists like it or not.

  104. gman says:

    Of topic,  looks like Pamela Nash is too busy (still trying to get the printer working?) to deactivate parliamentary passes

  105. Richard says:

    That’s exactly the reaction I was talking about! The fine details may be incorrect (and they wind me up something rotten) but Scotland’s identity abroad is often based greatly, even solely on this film.

  106. Rod Mac says:

    I have often wished someone would do a film of Trantners Bruce Trilogy.
    It has everything and would make a wonderful film.

  107. David Lee says:

    My favourite bit in Skyfall was Bond’s cunning plan to kill the villain… by forcing him to drive up the A9!
    Unintentional satire at its finest.

  108. lochside says:

    All the Braveheart rubbishers make me cringe. At the time the movie came out, almost no working class Scots had even heard of William Wallace. I had two young lassies working for me who came from schemes in Clydebank, and both independently asked me if Wallace was real. People fail to understand there never had been or has been since, a major film made about Scotland’s fight for its very existence during that period of history against a brutal and vicious foe. This film with all its flaws, was a international Hollywood blockbuster that not only enlightened the world to who we were and what our history represented, but allowed our own people to learn about our possibly greatest hero. How many were sparked into researching about Wallace and our struggle? Many thousands I’ll bet.
    Mock Mel Gibson and the inaccuracies if you will, but that same Aussie American took the gamble and the incredible financial risk, that no Scot has ever done, to make a bio on Wallace and burn his name in glory throughout the world. I don’t enjoy the film much now, but two sections do make me truly upset: the sight of Scottish peasants dying far away from home under boiling oil and arrows poured down from English castle walls; and the disembowling and humiliation of a brave and true patriot by a cruel baying mob of hateful oppressors. Both those scenes are in deed factual, and should remind us of how hard our forefathers and and mothers had to struggle to keep these invaders at bay. People should remember that every carping criticism or ‘documentary’ aimed at undermining the Wallace myth is just another attempt to defile and destroy our history, culture and identity.

  109. velofello says:

    @ Rod Mac
    The Bruce Trilogy. I’ve lost my copy but I do recall Tranter’ description of Bruce landing at Barassie beach and passing through Fullarton Woods in Troon on his way to attack the English garrison in Ayr.
    My neck of the woods and I wonder if my three kids who attended Troon Primary and Marr College were taught that piece of history.
    The Arts in Scotland: Alistair Gray’s observation on non-Scots holding down top Arts jobs in Scotland caused me to question whether a qualification requirement should be a fluency in the Scots language.
    Arts funding: The savings on despatching Trident from Scotland could fund quality films on Scots history. Wallace, Bruce, Return of the Stone of Destiny,John MacLean as a few suggestions.

  110. albaman says:

    @The Man in the Jar,
    Help me out here please, I watch a documentary a while ago, made I think by the
    B.B.C. (Scotland?) about the battle of Culloden, warts an all,I think from memory 
    it was seen through the eyes of an impartial onlooker, I have been looking for it`s 
    repeat for over a year, but as yet nothing, if any come across it I recommend it to
    you as it opens one`s eyes to how merciless the Duke of Cumberland, and his
    men were.  

  111. The Man in the Jar says:

    The Bravheart audiences were spared the true and gruesome details of Wallaces Judicial Murder! What was portrayed was very watered down. However I’m positive it would never got past the censors.

  112. Atypical_Scot says:

    It’s not even Britishness, it’s London-ness. Who ate all the pies?
    Should Scotland remain annexed by England?

  113. thomas says:

    whats the historical inaccuracies then????
    i loved braveheart and agree with many of the above comments. If it was meant to be accurate for a start , the film wouldnt have been in english. The main characters would have spoke norman french and gaidhlig.
    Loved how for years they said there couldnt have beena battle of stirling bridge all these historical experts because they couldnt find any remains of a bridge from the 13th century then lo and behold they did.
    the music and story are great and still brings a wee tear tae my eye and got people interested in scotland and our history both at home and elsewhere.
    funny how these historical purists never slag off historically inaccurate films of english/british history?
    what about wullie shakespeares demonisation of macbeth , one of scotlands better kings who had such a stable prosperous  kingdom that he was able to make a pilgrimage to rome while england groaned under the rule of a despot , yet he is portrayed in a bad light( macbeth not the english king thanks to shakespeare) and no one mentions the historical inaccuracy of englands bard.
    funny enough i taught my wee lassie to play gift of a thistle on her keyboard.
    love braveheart , and love even more how the unionists try and ridicule it. randall wallace must hae done somethin right!

  114. the rough bounds says:

    There’s an awful lot of the Scottish ‘Cringe’ being exhibited in some of those postings.
    Braveheart was an adventure movie, based on an historical person. Ipso Facto.
    It is a good old fashioned ‘ripping yarn’ and it did Scotland no end of good in that it informed the world that there is actually a real country called Scotland; that it is a very old country; that the people are not English and see no reason to wish to be so; that we actually regained our independence thanks to the determination of a few stout hearted men who rallied their countrymen to the heights of personal self-sacrifice for their land and, most importantly of all…it woke us up.
    Just because the arch unionists say that the film is inferior or that Mel Gibson was short, or any of their other criticisms of this movie doesn’t mean that we have to listen to them and repeat them. Listen to what you are saying.
    The film was great fun at times and emotionally charged at others; it frankly brought a tightness to my throat on several occasions.
    Stop trying to gain English approval by this unjustified criticism, because deep down you know that is what you are asking for. You don’t need to do it, Scotland doesn’t need it, and you are better than that.

  115. ianbrotherhood says:

    Hear hear.
    The same could be said of the way Jim Kelman has been treated. The guy’s work is ranked right up there alongside that of Kafka, Joyce, Beckett, but he’s derided and belittled by the media in his own country – when he won the Booker Prize the reaction from the red-tops in Scotland was extraordinary, as if the man had committed some crime. We’ve been conditioned to cringe when we hear our own voices, but writers like Kelman prove that when we do creative work to the best of our ability – and do it honestly – we can produce art and literature that is right up there with the very best. That’s one of the most exciting things about this movement – whether we win or not, we’re entering a period which will produce memorable work in all genres.

  116. Inbhir Anainn says:

    There is a six-parter Battle of Culloden on youtube presented by Mr Snow.


  117. Laura says:

    I totally agree.
    Holywood movies are about the ‘kerching’ factor, not historical documentaries.
    But hey ho, 20 years on we are still talking about it and it is still recognised throughout the world.
    In short, historically inaccurate as it may be, it certainly winds up the Unionists.
    Hasn’t anyone noticed that there are always repeats of these type of blockbusters: The Patriot, Last of the Mohicans, Dancing with Wolves, etc but rarely Rob Roy or Braveheart surely one of them must be due for an airing on the BBC archives!

  118. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Albaman (9.05) –
    Could this be it?:

  119. Gavin Barrie says:

    “My neck of the woods and I wonder if my three kids who attended Troon Primary and Marr College were taught that piece of history.”
    – afraid not Dad, they were too busy telling us of the build up to the First World War, the Battle of Ypres (glossing over how many Scots died abroad), the financial collapse after war, reparations, etc. the first I ever heard of William Wallace was due to Braveheart and bits you’d mentioned to us growing up. the singular, sole and only piece of Scots history I was ever taught in school, primary or secondary, was Bruce and the spider … And I’ve since been to that very cave …

  120. Peter says:

    First time I went to Mexico and people heard my accent they would ask English? my then girlfriend explained I was Scottish, there was usually a pause where you could see the thoughts and usually it was Bagpipes, Kilt or Braveheart. Stereotypical maybe but a global recognition of Scotland. As for the movie itself it actually makes me sad to watch it and just a little bit angry, and how many Burns supper addresses have been interrupted by some wag shouting FREEDOM!!! lol
    As for Bond movies they always have been about trying to pretend Britain was a major world power, deluded nonsense.

  121. Laura says:

    Loved how for years they said there couldnt have beena battle of stirling bridge all these historical experts because they couldnt find any remains of a bridge from the 13th century then lo and behold they did.
    Whilst I now know there has been a massive sanitization of Scottish history, I genuinely didn’t know about this, can you give me further reference to it. thanks.

  122. douglas clark says:

    It is interesting that lumilumi was also impressed with ‘Trainspotting’. That is a different and some would say more realistic sampling of where Scotland actually is.
    I don’t want to make too much of this, but there are quite a few films that seem to be informed about a society left derelict by Westminster.
    “Sweet Sixteen” anyone?

  123. Richard says:

    Er….@thomas, I do slag off historical innacuracies in other films. It can make watching films with me a bit of a trial – ask my wife! I loved Nigel Tranter’s “Macbeth the King” as it cut through the Willy Shakespeare myths.
    I do agree with you that it’s a great film and had me emotionally charged up when I left the cinema, I found the history questions to be annoying afterwards
    The historical innacuracies are….
    Lack of a bridge at the Battle of Stirling Bridge (apparently they feared their extras would take casualties)
    Edinburgh Castle not on a rock
    Robert the Bruce turning up on the English side at the Battle of Falkirk, in disguise as an English Knight
    Robert the Bruce and all the other Scottish nobles dress in rags, even though some of them have large estates in England – especially Bruce himself. Why do they not wear the normal armour available to a knight of the period?
    Scottish troops dress in pseudo-kilts – realistically only Highland & Islands troops would have worn something akin to that. Lowland Scottish troops wore pretty much what other N European footsoldiers wore.
    Robert the Bruce’s Dad appears to have leprosy – alluding to his son’s disease perhaps?
    The French Queen of Edward II was a young child when Wallace was executed. Unlikely to have had a romantic liaison with him.
    Over-emphasising poverty of Scots – Wallace’s family wasn’t THAT poor, though he was certainly not on a par with the nobility.
    Unlikely to have successfully used a Schiltrom formation by just giving spears to your troops at the last minute. It takes training. Lots of it. Think Greek Phalanxes.
    Right of feudal overlords to rape peasant girls on the night of their wedding – nonsense. Some may have done so – it was never anyone’s right in law.
    Wallace and his childhood friend allude to centuries of war between Scotland & England – in fact, under Alexander II and Alexander III “Scotland’s Golden Age” the kingdoms had been at peace – otherwise the contenders for the throne including Robert the Bruce’s Grandfather wouldn’t have trusted Edward I of England to choose which of them should be King of Scots.
    And various others.

  124. douglas clark says:

    Just meant to add that Gerry Hassan seems to have jumped the shark.

    As ianbrothehood said up-thread, we could see an enormous amount of creativity. Gerry seems to embrace that too.
    So, no more sitting on the fence for our friend?

  125. lumilumi says:

    @Keran 8.06pm
    Where I grew up, Finland, the usual first foreign language we learn (from primary 3 onwards) is English. In the late ’70s, early’80s, we were told English is spoken in England and America. Uhm, yeah, and in Canada and Australia – Finnish school kids knew about Canada because they’re so good at ice hockey (our national sport), and Australia is the weird antipodean country with kangaroos, right? But the English-speaking country in Europe is England, right?
    I was 15 or 16 when I finally realised that Ireland is not “English” even though they speak the same language. TV news coverage of the Northern Ireland “Troubles” – much of it sourced from the BBC – had left a lot of Finns confused. If Ireland is part of England, why are they fighting? Of course Finns more savvy knew, in theory, and with a bit of a secular, protestant sneer at the bigots on both sides sent one of our “statesmen” to broker the Good Friday agreement. Harri Holkeri was knigheted by the Queen for his troubles.
    The Committments and Irish bars (and barmen/barmaids) springing up in Finland in the 1990s drove home the point. Ireland is a country on its own right. The Irish most definitely are not English.
    Then we got Braveheart and Trainspotting, and suddenly Scotland was a country, not just some obscure northern bit of England. Though lots of Finns still say “England” when they mean UK. They’re not trying to say anything political or to insult anybody, it’s just the way we learned it in school.
    As Finns, we’d hate to be called Russians or Swedes, or anything else. We’re Finns. Being mistaken for a Swede abroad, we can laugh off, it’s almost a compliment. But being mistaken for a Russian… One of the worst insults you can deliver a Finn. On par of calling a Scots person English. 😉

  126. Vronsky says:

    Braveheart was a great movie but if you’re Scottish it isn’t cool to say that.  Skyfall was just a generic Bond movie, silly and fun, with some scenes of Glencoe.  Glencoe is amazing, but no movie could do it justice.  Hitch-hiking home after a lot of walking up north I got a lift from a minibus load of English lads, also walkers and climbers.  We came down through Glencoe and the weather was arctic and apocalyptic.  We were all bewitched, rubbing our breath from the windows to stare at the violence outside.  ‘Isn’t it at its best when it’s at its worst?’ said one of the English boys. I hope that can be us – at our best when we’re at our worst.

  127. Morag says:

    I’m beginning to feel really lucky in my schooling.  Primary school did the Wars of Independence in quite a lot of detail.  Though maybe the episode where we all chased an English boy (called Hugh MacDonald, but that was just a name to us) round the playground shouting “Toom Tabard” at him wasn’t quite the intended outcome.

    Secondary school I hated and dropped history as soon as possible, but “English” made up for it.  The Flight of the Heron in first year.  Big project on Burns in second year.  Fourth year, and not only was the first period of our study of Macbeth given over to the study of who Macbeth really was and where he fit in Scottish history, the second was given over to explaining why Shakespeare changed the story – to curry favour with Jamie the Saxt who was suddenly King of England.  It was the only way he could find a theme that seemed to show Scotland and England co-operating.

    I remember being taken to the Wallace Monument, not sure if it was with my parents or the school.  I remember my father vehemently defending Wallace as a greater hero than Bruce, and myself proposing that having consciously decided to fight for country rather than stick with his noble class, and then succeeding in negotiating the politics as well as winning the battles, was something to consider on the other side.

    I can’t imagine not knowing this while growing up.

    I do remember though, while conversing with a reading group I was a member of in Sussex, relating the Wallace story.  (I think I had mentioned that I was going to the Wallace commemoration at Smithfield the following day.)  They were completely transfixed, and then someone said, is this some sort of secret history you’re telling us?  (This was a few years before Braveheart.)  I said no, the Wallace Monument was a bigger phallic symbol that Nelson’s Column.

    Completely mystified, one English friend replied, if everybody knows all this, why isn’t Scotland independent then?  Good question.

  128. The Man in the Jar says:

    Wait for a drought (Aye right!)
    Stand on the old Stirling Bridge. Look upstream. See those posts sticking out of the water!
    The history is. Wallace and Andrew De Moray (Joint Captains) set a trap. The English expected the Scots to let their entire army cross the bridge and form up into ranks prior to a set battle.
    The Scots let about half of them cross the bridge and onto a narrow causeway across what was then a swamp. The Scots who were mostly in hiding ambushed the English Knights. One theory is that the Scots had weakened the bridge. Chaos ensued Armoured knights and horses trying desperately to get back over the bridge (which eventually collapsed) and against the flow of the rest of the English army. The battle was actually fought on what is now Causwayhead Street and Stirling rugby club.
    Excelent view of this from on top of National Wallace Monument!

  129. douglas clark says:

    I am fascinated by your perspective on all of this.

    What, no how, did you come to comment on here? I, for one, am delighted that you do, Did you come across this site by accident and then feel comfortable, or what?

    We need all the international friends we can get.


  130. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Douglas Clark re Gerry Hassan –
    Saw your comment on Gerry’s piece (if you’ll pardon the expression).
    I’m not sure that Mr Hassan has finally seen the light. His fence-sitting must have become painful a long time ago, and has certainly been difficult to read at times. It would be nice if he stated his position as simply as Frankie Boyle did on a previous BellaC article. I hope you’re right though. Hassan has, no doubt, worked long and hard to carve a wee niche for himself in MSM, and it’s hard to imagine him readily vacating it without good reason – if his damp forefinger is registering a significant wind-change? That may be a helpful indicator of changing attitudes inside Pacific Quay, The Hootsmon etc….we’ll see.

  131. The Man in the Jar says:

    My comment above at 10.11was in reply to Laura!

  132. douglas clark says:

    I recall my history teacher telling me much the same things. But she knew, just knew, that what she was telling us would not help us pass exams. It was, as you say, a secret history.

  133. douglas clark says:

    The way I read it – it is all down to interpretation – is that there is no middle ground available any more. Gerry is off the fence.
    There was, however, a reason for the question mark at the end of my previous post.
    As you say, we will indeed see.
    But the ground has been cut out from under his carefully engineered position. The tide seems to be sweeping him in our direction.
    Quite remarkable.

  134. kevbaby says:

    Braveheart 2: The Bruce
    Gerry Butler as the title role, Big Sean as the black douglas….. 🙂
    PS Braveheart was awesome!! I work in russia and when the guys find out you’re scottish they go, ‘Scotland? Ah, WILLIAM WALLACE!!!’

  135. douglas clark says:

    I have stuck the following up on Bella Caledonia, an idea of what we ought to be that I completely subscibe to:



    Is that you officially off the fence or not?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

    For, to me, that looked like a manifesto for independence. Others see it as, err, open to other interpretations.

    This is quite important, your opinion really does matter. So, perhaps you could reply?”
    We’ll see.

  136. The Man in the Jar says:

    Were you at Smithfield on the 700th? Anniversary?
    I was lucky enough (Wallace Society) to get into St. Bartholomew’s church.
    Alex Salmond gave a speech and ended it with something like this.
    “One hundred years ago there were about 100 countries. Now there are 200. Each of these countries has a national anthem. We are not yet a country in it own right but we have a national anthem. At this point Ronnie Brown of the Corries walked down the isle with acoustic guitar singing Flower of Scotland. Backed by the London Gaelic Choir and about 300 Scots singing their hearts out. Not a dry eye in the house. I had tears of pride and joy running down my cheeks. One of the best days of my life.
    After the service there were about another 500 plus waiting outside for the march to The Welsh centre. We marched with police escort pipes echoing through the streets of London. Whenever we were stooped for traffic a very loud chant went up “Wallace Wallace”
    The following day on the train north someone had got a copy of The Scotsman. The article was headed.
    “Bemused Londoners looked on as David R. Ross lead about 100 Scots through the streets of London”
    Things never change! Lets hope they do in 2014

  137. Keith B says:

    @ douglas clark
    I read Gerry Hassan’s article earlier and didn’t think it was that bad. I’m not sure you are using the phrase “jump the shark” correctly. It comes from a late episode of Happy Days  where the Fonz goes water skiing (in his leather jacket naturally) and jumps a shark. “Jumping the shark” originally meant a show that has to declined to a point of no return and the writers add gimmicks to keep viewer interest.
    To quote wikipedia “The usage of “jump the shark” has subsequently broadened beyond television, indicating the moment when a brand, design, or creative effort’s evolution loses the essential qualities that initially defined its success and declines, ultimately, into irrelevance.” Sorry, but I just don’t know how jumping the shark relates to Gerry Hassan or the article in question.

  138. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Douglas Clark –
    Aye, remarkable indeed. 
    How much more remarkable if we saw someone actually vaulting the fence as opposed to sliding off it? I’m thinking of a big beast, someone like Ailing Cockring – can you imagine the chaos if he turned up on GMS and announced to awakening compatriots that he’d spent the night watching a midge try to get through the triple-glazing, then broken-down, overcome with self-loathing and agenbite-of-inwit
    Would the nation rejoice? Would the Yes campaign welcome him with open arms, or immediately seek a restraining-order? Would he have to surrender his Pacific Quay pass after an emotionally charged farewell dram with Boothman?
    All these questions – and more – will surely arise before many more moons have passed. Interesting times sure enough…

  139. Dal Riata says:

    Good to read of your experiences at that time! I’ve been working in Taiwan for over twenty years and can relate to your story.
    When Braveheart was showing in movie theatres in Taiwan, Mainland China had been ratcheting up its threat of all-out war against Taiwan if its people again voted for Lee Deng Hui by firing missiles into Taiwan’s territorial waters. This sabre-rattling nudged the USA and its president at that time, Bill Clinton, to send two carrier battle groups to international waters near Taiwan. Thankfully, Mainland China ‘saw sense’, backed down, and their bullying and threats had exactly the opposite effect from what they wanted! By the way, a lot of admiration should be given to the Taiwanese for their bravery and fearlessness at that time, and which still continues to this day, from all who support freedom and democracy throughout the world.
    Anyway, when I went to watch Braveheart, the audience got more and more excited as the movie wore on and when the battle scenes were shown it was almost like being in the William Wallace Supporters Club!! When the scenes showing the demise of Wallace were concluding you could actually hear some people sobbing! I hadn’t been to such an emotional movie before that and haven’t been to one since! 
    That movie, for all its inacuracies, etc. made people there AND in other countries worldwide realise that Scotland IS a country and not part of England. For that alone, it deserves credit.

  140. The Man in the Jar says:

    Don’t get me started!
    I think Inbhir Anainn has sorted you re the documentary!

  141. VI Charlotte Square says:

    The English learned decades ago of the value of propaganda via film and later television. Each and every night (late) BBC World News boasts of broadcasting to the UK and throughout the world.
    Even a casual glance at any TV programme during last year’s union jack-fest had ‘Jacks’ everywhere from cushions and bed covers to rugs, wee flags on the mantelpiece, t-shirts etc etc.
    And it still goes on but to a lesser extend now – generally subtle I might add (best way). Unless we challenge the BBC and the MSM at every opportunity to give fair coverage to this referendum we are in danger of losing – albeit it narrowly – and we won’t get a second chance this side of 2040 – though the SNP will almost certainly stand on a platform of negotiating Independence if they win another majority at Holyrood.
    Let’s just make sure we do it first time.
    VOTE YES in 2014

  142. Morag says:

    The Man in the Jar, no I wasn’t.  I’m not at all sure why not, now.  I remember solemn committee discussions in London Branch SNP for several years beforehand, after someone (might have been me) pointed out that 2005 was kind of special and it was coming up.

    I may have been on holiday at the time.

    I remember doing the address at the memorial plaque, the year the anniversary coincided with VJ day being celebrated in Hyde Park at the same time. Maybe that was 1995.

  143. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Keith B –
    Your gravatar versus Cameron B’s – my money’s on you, slightly older, more experience, BUT Cameron’s has the blonde page-boy androgynous thing going on, so he’ll be supported by the knitting-needle wielding grannies.
    Too close to call.
    There’s only one way to find out…

  144. douglas clark says:

    Keith B,
    Thanks for the clarification. My use of the phrase is obviously dubious. But not mistaken as you clarify. I had always assumed that it meant moving on in a timely manner. Your own quote says this:
    “or creative effort’s evolution loses the essential qualities that initially defined its success and declines, ultimately, into irrelevance.”
    I don’t think that’s too far away from what has happened to Gerry, assuming he really has changed his opinion. Y’know from a devo max opinion to, well, something else.
    My question mark about that should have exercised you more, rather than pretending you didn’t know what I meant.
    Best wishes. Do try harder.

  145. Laura says:

    Man in the jar
    Thanks, but I wondered how/where it was stated by the unionists that the Battle of Stirling Bridge could not have taken place.
    Sorry get a bit lost on these threads, but someone mentioned it.

  146. The Man in the Jar says:

    London SNP. Did you know a madman whos name is the same as an english town with a Scottish population?

  147. Vronsky says:

    I’ve never had any patience with Hassan – usual script: all will be well if you crazy  buggers will just start voting Labour again.  His last couple of messages have been different, so much so that I’ve FB’d them.  Jury out.  Vamos a ver.

  148. Morag says:

    London SNP. Did you know a madman whos name is the same as an english town with a Scottish population?
    Oh yes!  Long phone calls, while I metaphorically did the crossword.  Seriously bonkers, I fear.

  149. Keith B says:

    @ douglas clark
    “Do try harder”

  150. douglas clark says:

    Keith B
    You say:
    I read Gerry Hassan’s article earlier and didn’t think it was that bad.”
    Neither did I. I actually thought it looked like a Road to Damascus moment. Others have suggested that that is me reading what I want to see. Perhaps they are right. Let’s see whether he clarifies his own position, because he should.

  151. douglas clark says:

    Keith B @ 11:18pm,

    (If I could be so bold? You are not showing yourself in the best of all possible lights.)

  152. Keith B says:

    Reginald Lisowski (The Crusher) v Krusher Karlssen aka The Big Swede
    The inspiration;
    Play loud – annoy the neighbours.
    Wanted to use The Wrecker or Louie Tillet but couldn’t find the images used in the vid – Krusher Karlssen will do. Thanks for noticing. 🙂

  153. Keith B says:

    @ douglas clark
    “do try harder”
    “You are not showing yourself in the best of all possible lights”
    Hopefully we’re all friends here. I was only trying to save you some embarrassment in case you used that phrase incorrectly elsewhere. There is no need to get all passive aggressive just because someone has pointed out your mistake.

  154. albaman says:

    Yes that is it, you are a star!. (I watched it all again,)

  155. The Man in the Jar says:

    That’s the one!
    Now safely ensconced here in Scotland!
    You’ll be pleased to know, or not!

  156. BillyBigbaws says:

    It’s always funny being told that all my political opinions and aspirations for Scotland derive from a 17-year-old Hollywood blockbuster. The sneering and mocking that Braveheart still receives shows that there is, on some level, a fear of it – and why would anyone be afraid of a movie?

    I agree with lochside. The worry that intelligent unionists had about the film was not so much that it would stir up an inchoate Scottish patriotism, but that it might spur the average punter to do a bit of reasearch into real Scottish history (things they were never taught in school).

    Soon they would discover that pre-union Scotland was not a land of warrior-poets and hairy coos, but an advanced and fully functioning state, with a system of universal education that was unique in Europe, more universities to cater to it’s tiny population than England or France had at the time, an army, a navy, a Parliament, and a nascent trade empire of it’s own making, which was feeding the beginnings of a burgeoning economy. These are very dangerous facts for those who would like to paint Scotland as a savage, primitive place that was only saved from backwardness and obscurity by that timely (and voluntary!) Union with it’s superior neighbour.

  157. ianbrotherhood says:

    Steady lads…steady…
    Only Gerry Hassan knows what he thinks, and that’s a great shame, because many of us would like folk who DO have access to MSM to make their minds up sooner rather than later, and to make those feelings clear.
    The obvious Catch-22: if he does believe that Independence is viable, and if, in himself, he knows that he’s going to vote ‘Yes’, he has to weigh-up the consequences of declaring such a position. There’s a Trogan-Horse scenario here that many prominent pundits must be wrestling with – ‘come out’ wholeheartedly, and hope that such a gesture helps the cause
    stay on-the-fence, knowing that’s the only viable position i.e. the extreme that MSM dare tolerate. It’s tempting to feel sympathy for these people, but hey – they only got where they are because they worked out what boxes to tick while they were climbing that particularly greasy-pole, and now, when faced with the realisation that the rest of us have a chance to tick a box?…they find their jackets are on very shoogly pegs. (Mix metaphors? Moi?)
    Well, sorry chaps. Tough.
    Hassan is entitled to one X in a box, same as the rest of us – it’s just a pity he has invested so much time and effort in wordy obfuscation which, while it may have paid some bills, is preternaturally devoid of conviction. Like the rest of us – even in a place like this – he must always assume that he can be held accountable for what he’s written. He’s already written a lot – an awful, awful lot – that mirrors ongoing debate without adding anything to it.
    If – and it’s a big ‘if’ – he does declare himself a ‘Yes’ supporter, he’ll be much freer as a writer, but he also knows he won’t be rubbing shoulders with any movers-and-shakers in the Green Room for a good while.
    I don’t envy the man. Then again, I’ve enough on my plate trying to persuade nearest and dearest that this opportunity has to be taken, otherwise it’s our weans who will suffer the consequences – with that in mind, it’s hard, right here and now, to view knowledgeable, worldy-wise fence-sitters as anything other than selfish chancers.

  158. BillyBigbaws says:

    The film itself is pretty good, as a film (especially the battles), but has some serious problems – not least that it is (let’s face it) anti-English, and portrays English people as universally cold-hearted, debased, perverted, oppressive, etc. But that’s because it was made by Mel Gibson, who has some funny opinions in that area – and in many others – not because it’s about William Wallace and the struggle for Scottish independence.

    Apparently STV are making a series about his life now, for showing in the run up to the referendum. I am worried that they will make a (perhaps deliberate) pig’s ear of it. STV are not known for producing stirring historical epics. I’m half-expecting scene where the tormented Wallace will admit that he is motivated solely by grievance, and none of the fighting and dying is really worth it.

    EDIT: Gerry Hassan seems like a nice, genuine guy on Facebook. His fence-sitting is understandable – if he comes out in favour of independence then he suddenly won’t be considered a “serious journalist” anymore. We all know that.

  159. Keef says:

    An indigenous friend and professor of political science once remarked to me that ‘Braveheart’ covered almost every aspect of what his people have endured since the British had violently colonised Australia. He finds it quite ironic when white Australians say to me how much they love the movie and they think it was great to see ‘Mel’ kicking some pommie ass. Australians often refer to the movie when they first meet me. I have no complaints as before the movie came out, all I ever got was “oh bagpipes and women’s skirts” or “whisky!”. At least now they know there was a true Scottish martyr named William Wallace.

  160. The Man in the Jar says:

    Re the Madman
    Seen this? On keyboards!

  161. Indion says:

    Not wishing to intrude on doubt, but methinks Gerry Hassan has been consistently trailing a coat for Labour voters the party left behind in Scotland to don. He’s Old Labour for a new Scotland. Now its up and growing, he’ll jump at the best time to take as many with him into Labourforindy.
    His forte on opendemocracy/ourkingdom is contrasting Old Labour aspirations with Nu Labour’s courting of the now ‘squeezed’ Middle England from which there is no turning back. Cruddas/Milliband can no longer square the Union euphemism with Unitary reality.
    And until they come up with something tangible which is authentic, neither Lamont or Darling can be positive about anything. Like shortwanker, desperate folks pull desperate strokes trying to get their reactionary retaliation in first, especially when captured by their own propoganda. Time expired fireworks backfire like squibs at their own feet, and the new ammunition from London is mixed with blank and dud bullets – so far.           

  162. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Keith B –
    Cheers for the link – what a great wee package that is, and the music’s brilliant. Top man.

  163. Keef says:

    Of course, because of some fantastic robotics, no horses were ever harmed during the making of Braveheart.
    Sadly, the same can’t be said for the making of Findus lasagne however.

  164. uilleam_beag says:

    @ Dal Riata
    Good to read your experiences in Taiwan, too!
    I remember the summer the mainland was firing “test” missiles into Taiwanese airspace well – I was getting ready to head to Taipei for a year studying at Shita, and we were wondering whether we’d be heading into a war zone. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the Taiwanese voters held their nerve, though air-raid drills were a fairly regular afternoon activity while I was there.
    I had a fantastic time in Taiwan, and went back after uni to cut my journalistic teeth covering Chen Shui-bian’s first election campaign (more mainland sabre-rattling, but the screams weren’t quite so shrill). I’ve been back since and every visit is a joy.
    As you say, the comparisons with Scotland’s situation are well understood, probably no small amount thanks to Braveheart.

  165. Morag says:

    The Man in the Jar said:
    That’s the one!
    Now safely ensconced here in Scotland!
    You’ll be pleased to know, or not!
    Maybe a reality check is what Michael needs.  His idea of Scotland, and the actual Scotland, seemed to be quite a long way apart.
    Re. the YouTube video.  My God!
    I remember a weird conversation where he insisted that everything Beethoven wrote was a “certified masterpiece”.  Now despite my O Grade in Music and ABRSM grade 7 theory, I never heard of an official certification system for musical “masterpieces”, not then and not now.  At the time of the conversation I was in the BBC Symphony Chorus and we were notebashing through a seriously substandard Beethoven piece someone found in the back of a cupboard and thought should be inflicted on the Proms audience.  I asked whether this category included the Cantate auf den Tod Kaiser Josef des Zweiten.  Michael blustered a bit and insisted, if Beethoven wrote it, it was a certified masterpiece.  I have yet to find out who certifies these things, or where or when.
    Then there were the conversations where he insisted that modern Scotland couldn’t do this or that because of some mediaeval or renaissance legislation.  Er, you think no legislation has ever been repealed?
    Enthusiastic, but certifiably bonkers.

  166. The Man in the Jar says:

    Yes he has had a big reality check. When he moved here about six years ago. He made the mistake of moving to one of the worse areas in west central Scotland. A town that shall remain nameless! He was however living in a castle, which pleased him no end. He has recently moved to live on an estate in the country and is much happier. I know all to well about the phone calls suffered them many times myself. I am due to phone him this weekend (wish me luck)
    He broke his hand in several places while walking his dogs in the snow a couple of years ago. Much better now and is playing again.
    Mad as a box of frogs but good fun as well.

  167. Morag says:


  168. Morag says:

    West central Scotland…. broken hands….
    I have a cousin who is a pianist and organist.  Lives in Motherwell.  He broke his hand on the bannisters while running downstairs!  Wishaw General messed him up good style.  Also messed up another cousin of mine, also a pianist, when she broke her thumb.  Also messed me up when I broke a toe stepping over a bench.  Also messed up my neighbour’s girlfriend who was airlifted back from Greece with two broken ankles.
    I seriously do not recommend the orthopaedics department at Wishaw General to anyone desirous of a speedy recovery.

  169. commenter says:

    ianbrotherhood 14 February, 2013 at 10:50 pm
    “@Douglas Clark –
    Aye, remarkable indeed. 
    How much more remarkable if we saw someone actually vaulting the fence as opposed to sliding off it? I’m thinking of a big beast, someone like Ailing Cockring”
    Or even George Galloway! I watched QT on BBC last night only because he was on it along with the Spectator from Glasgow with the funny Glasgow accent interspersed with bits of exaggerated English vowel sounds. Georgie boy really does know how to prick the pretentiousness of those in London who think they are ‘elite’.

  170. ianbrotherhood says:

    Aye, Galloway’s a good shout, but he has the most peculiar attitude to Scottish independence. On his Friday night show on Talksport, maybe three, four years ago, he referred to Scotland as ‘a dying country’ – it was a reference to new data, probably the census showing ageing population overall, but it struck me then as a particularly vicious comment. Don’t know if he and Salmond have ever crossed-swords – wouldn’t be much bother shifting tickets for that one. 

  171. CameronB says:

    @ commenter & ianbrotherhood
    I must admit that I am pretty ignorant about Galloway’s politics, but I think he is an excellent political scrapper. It is a pity he carries so much baggage, as I also think he generates a lot of anti-Westminster support across the political spectrum.

  172. Stuart M. says:

    I studied Scottish history long before I ever saw the movie ‘Braveheart’. In my primary school years I was lucky enough to have had a teacher that taught us about William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, and who took us on a memorable trip to Stirling castle and Bannockburn visitor centre. That is undoubtedly where my interest in history was sparked, and to Mrs Butler my old primary school teacher, I am forever thankful. Not only have I maintained an interest in Scottish history, but also the history of warfare in general, from the Ancient period right through to the medieval, so I was already more than aware of the historical inaccuracies while watching the movie, and could happily talk at length about them with anyone. You have to remember however that ‘Braveheart’ is the work of an American screenwriter, who was writing for a Hollywood film studio, who’s purpose was to put bums on cinema seats, not to educate people toward the finer points of Scottish history.

    Furthermore, even the historical accounts of William Wallace, upon which Braveheart was based, come largely from the writings of Blind Harry, a 15th century chronicler born at least 130 years after Wallace’s death, and whom was more than happy to embellish a few details of his own. He would even include your prestigious family name into the story for a fee, which seems to be how the story of Wallace ever having a wife came into fruition. All that matters not however. Braveheart was an enjoyable historical romp, but that’s all it was. What made it enjoyable was that it had Scottish characters in it. Yay for us! I am no more or less embarrassed to have a copy of Braveheart among my DVD collection, than I am to own copies of ‘Zulu’ or ‘The Battle of Britain’ or ‘The Longest Day’ or ‘The Patriot’, all of which are equally enjoyable historical romps, but neither of which should be regarded as serious history lessons.

  173. thomas says:

    @ laura
    Laura says:
    14 February, 2013 at 9:50 pm
    Whilst I now know there has been a massive sanitization of Scottish history, I genuinely didn’t know about this, can you give me further reference to it. Thanks.”
    Hiya laura
    No problem. While no one disbelieved there was a battle at stirling in 1297 ( mainly because the contemporary records we have are from anglo norman sources), military historians have often critiscised the authenticity of a bridge being involved in the battle because the current old bridge only dates from the 15th century , 100 years after the death of Wallace.
    As usual , various sources used this to belittle the Scottish victory , until the  remains of the 13th century bridge was discovered in more modern times.
    Funny enough , I watched an episode of the time team recently where tony robinson was discussing the very issue while astride a boat on the forth , looking down on the stumps of wallaces bridge.
    Heres some links
    UK Battlefields Resource Centre – Medieval – The Battle of Battle of Stirling Bridge
    2.1 LOCATION 
    In the 19th and early 20th century the location of the bridge was open to considerable dispute, with a suggestion that it stood at Kildean, more than a kilometre to the north west of the present bridge. Of 
    modern authors only Kinross places the bridge on this site (1). In 1906 Cook suggested the 
    currently favoured site, which is the only location at Stirling for which there is documentary or 
    archaeological evidence for a medieval crossing of the Forth. Only a ford is known to have existed 
    at Kildean, in the post medieval period, and this was therefore considered likely to be the ford 
    referred to in the battle accounts. The foundations of the early bridge have been located 
    immediately north of the surviving Old Bridge (2). There is now broad agreement between most 
    authors as to the location of the initial deployments and action, in the loop of the river immediately 
    to the east of Stirling Bridge.


  174. VI Charlotte Square says:

    Excellent post Stuart M. Apart from anything else, is any movie 100% accurate even about the multitude of ENGLISH heroes?
    I think not. Braveheart was an excellent yarn and did much to spark the seeds of Independence in the hearts of those whose political development was still trying to get off the mark.
    vote yes in 2014

  175. Jeannie says:

      I have a cousin who is a pianist and organist.  Lives in Motherwell.  He broke his hand on the bannisters while running downstairs!  Wishaw General messed him up good style.  Also messed up another cousin of mine, also a pianist, when she broke her thumb.  Also messed me up when I broke a toe stepping over a bench.  Also messed up my neighbour’s girlfriend who was airlifted back from Greece with two broken ankles.
    Morag, I’m beginning to think you’re a bit of a Jonah! 🙂

  176. thomas says:

    @ Richard
    I don’t slag off historical innacurracies in any Hollywood blockbuster , mainly because if I wanted an historical account of a period , I would study reliable resources and proven experts. Braveheart is a Hollywood blockbuster designed to make money nothing more.
    Will  people be slagging off disney pixar braves account of early celtic Scotland , simply because it is loosley based on old stories and fantasy and not on the works of eminent celtic historians like w.j Watson , peter Beresford ellis etc ???
    So no major historical innacurracies in the film then Richard , except superficial points outwith the bridge , which would go against the core story of the film that is the story of  William Wallace , an individual who led a guerilla campaign in late 13th century Scotland against Plantagenet culminating in victory at stirling , defeat at Falkirk and subsequent betrayal and kangaroo court in London and his brutal execution at Smithfield. The core story of the film was true.
    1. Lack of a bridge in the film was apparently down to health and safety , finances .?
    2.there were fortifications on the rock at Edinburgh since the roman period , see the votadini
    3.there was no English side. There were scots irish and welsh on both sides led by a norman French elite who hated them all. Many Northumbrian English fought for Scotland.
    Bruce did lead English soldiers on behalf of Plantagenet at the beginning .
    4.bruce did wear armour and clothes of the period  in the film,  but he would have been dressed shabbily during his time on the run . one believes Wallace ran about with a tartan plaid and blue face dye , but only the soldiers of the feudal aristocracy would have worn the “uniform and armour” of the day. Many of the soldiers from Galloway and possibly Ayrshire may have worn kilts and tartans , not just the highland clans.
    6.I accept your point on lady Isabella , but even the historically acclaimed tranter had Wallace dallying with a French mistress , a courtier called helene lanfrance at the court of philip of france and no one slags off his book , long before the release of brave heart.
    7.both the ordinary scots and English were relatively poor , exacerbated by years of war.
    8.Wallace and his schiltrom formation was the first time in military history of Europe where infantry managed to defeat heavy horse. Would have taken a lot of training and courage , but the film was never gonna show Scottish soldiers being trained for this were they?
    9.yes no evidence of prima nocta , but that’s not to say anglo Normans didn’t go around raping Scottish peasants in a conquered province.
    10.there was centuries of war between Scotland and England , and their preceding celtic and anglo saxon sub kingdoms from the 6th century onwards. degas tan , dunnichen ,brunanburh , carham , right down to Alexander the 2nd taking a Scottish army down to the English south coast 60 years before Wallace.
    11.Plantagenet was  asked to chose the next norman king of Scotland as he was the feudal overlord of many of the scots nobles including bruce who held lands in England.
    Sorry Richard its nothing more ( not you) than belittling of scots history and mishief making about a film that was never meant  to be historically accurate to the last detail.
    Prior to brave heart many scots kids had not heard of Wallace , they wouldn’t know the difference between William Wallace and William the conqueror.
    It raised our countrys profile and I am thankfull for it.

  177. Davy says:

     I have really enjoyed reading the postings on this article, so cards on the table I loved “Braveheart”, stuff the historical inaccuraces I loved the humour, the suspence before battle, the battle scenes which were the best of their time, it was and is a great action movie, and it was about US. And most important to me was the stuff the odds attitude, this my country not yours. So be proud of Braveheart and enjoy it, as you dont hear anyone misscall the Spanish because of “El Cid”, also a great film.
    Note: Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn were massively important battles for Scotland, but how many of you have heard of the Battle of Roslin 24th Febuary 1303, one Scots army 6 – 8 thousand strong, defeat three english armys of the same or greater size in one night and the next day. Now that would be a film and a half, plus Wallace fought in it too.   

  178. Laura says:

    Thank you Thomas.

  179. Jetpacks says:

    Allowing for the odd Hollywood poetic license Braveheart was a very good film and everywhere I go abroad people admire Braveheart which is basically a true story.
    Scottish literature is massively under-represented in UK TV.  Even Walter Scott novels such as Heart of Midlothian would make excellent movies or TV series.

  180. mogabee says:

     Wishaw General stories are legion………….as are the smokers as you enter!

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