stooges of the Kremlin

Wings Over Scotland


Knowing our place

Posted on October 02, 2013 by

When I was a child I was taught of a long-ago battle. It was a monumental battle, an invading army and a defending one, swords and shields, bows and arrows. The attackers were somehow both bad men and good and the defenders lost, their king dead in sight of the sea.

henry

When I grew up, I realised that the defenders were not of my country, they were of what was then my country’s neighbour; the attackers from yet farther still. I felt a degree of confusion, that I should have been taught something that was not of my country’s past, but the past of my country’s neighbour.

When I was a child, I was taught of a document, written by medieval nobility to maintain their power and limit the interference of their king. The document’s concepts were difficult to understand and only the age of the document left a lasting impression.

When I grew up I realised that the document was not written by the nobility of my country, it was written by the nobility of what was then my country’s neighbour. I found it hard to understand why I should have been taught such a thing, that for many hundreds of years was at best only tangentially relevant to my country.

When I was a child, I was taught of a writer, a bard of great renown, whose works inspired untold numbers around the world. The writer’s words and meanings, written such a long time ago in a language I could barely understand, were difficult to interpret, yet gamely I worked on.

When I grew up, I realised that the bard was not of my country, although died a decade after his country and mine were first part-joined. I wondered why the work of a writer who was not of my country should be so influential on the language that is most spoken in my country.

When I was a child, I was taught a language named after the country that neighbours my own. I never understood why the language I spoke should be named so.

As an adult, I learned of a long-ago battle. It was a monumental battle, an invading army and a defending one, swords and shields, bows and arrows. The attackers were bad men and they lost, defeated by defenders whose number was half that of the attackers. When I thought back to being a child, I felt a degree of confusion, that I should not have been taught something that was so integral to the foundation of the country in which I live.

As an adult, I learned of a document, written by medieval nobility to maintain their power and proclaim the very existence of their country. The document’s concept was clear, containing an unequivocal statement of rights. When I thought back to being a child, I found it hard to understand that I should not have been taught such a strong statement of my country’s nationhood and right to exist, written at a time when both were under dire threat.

As an adult, I learned of a writer, a bard of great renown, whose works inspired untold numbers around the world. The writer’s words and meanings, written some time ago in a language I could barely understand, were difficult to interpret, yet gamely I read on. When I thought back to being a child, I wondered why a writer of such import to my country, was not a part of my language education and why it was he wrote in a language I was not taught.

As an adult, I learned of a language, named after the people of the country in which I live. I was stunned to discover that it was a language in its own right, more than a mere regional dialect of the language named after my country’s neighbour, a dialect to be shunned from the classroom, fit only for the uncouth of the schoolyard.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that my education included some of the history and culture of my neighbours. To be taught only the history and culture of my own country would have been unfortunate, parochial and demeaning. But to have had the history and culture of my own country so thoroughly eradicated from my education was wrong.

To be denied one’s history and one’s culture is close to being denied one’s right to exist. It is to be dominated, crushed like an outlaw by a mighty empire. It may be the case that the culture and history of my country is no longer so thoroughly excised from the education of its children, I don’t know.

(Although I note that attempts to enshrine it in the curriculum are invariably decried as “dangerous”, or even “brainwashing”.)

What I do have knowledge of is not simply the commonly-seen ignorance of my country’s worth, yet also the equally common, and far more corrosive, denial that my country has any worth at all.

It saddens me greatly that so many of my people are given so little knowledge of their own country, and have so little confidence that it can run its own affairs. For a long time, through the denial of our past, through the denial of our culture, through the very denial of our country’s simple right to exist and be identified, we’ve been denied what countless billions around the world take for granted as their birthright.

It’s time we acknowledged the worth of Scotland, as a nation and as a people, no better and no worse than so many others. We have a rich heritage and a strong culture, if only we could recognise it. We have the right to exist and we have the right to make the decisions that are best suited to our country.

It’s time we stood up for our people, old and new. It’s time to break from ignorance, imposed either from without or by ourselves. It’s time to know ourselves.

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    207 to “Knowing our place”

    1. Bunter says:

      You summed up my experiences exactly. As Renfrewshire educated in the 60s and 70s, I look back, angered, when I remember a project at primary school on the battle of hastings and 1066, Bayeux tapestry,  guy fox, and at secondary it was post 1707 British history. Absolutely nothing of Scotland can I remember pre 1707 .  Together with the Highland clearances, it can only be looked upon as ethnic cleansing aided and abetted by Scottish Unionists. Why the hell was I beig taught 1066 as a child, and having to learn my countries history myself, as an adult.
      Consider this shared, far and wide.

    2. Brotyboy says:

      Thank you Stewart, for an eloquent comment on how we are kept under the thumb.  Perhaps it was also thus in India, Ireland and Jamaica.

    3. Linda's Back says:

      Correct although history was one of my best subjects I was not aware of the Declaration of Arbroath until I left school but I knew all about pre Union English history. 

    4. dan huil says:

      For unionists heritage begins in 1707.

    5. Jiggsbro says:

      Why the hell was I beig taught 1066 as a child
       
      Because it was very relevant to understanding where your country was 900 years later. The Union made some things, which had been of historical importance only to the English, important to all of Great Britain. Of course, it would have been better to have been taught 1066 in context with 1707 – to be taught why your neighbour’s history became part of your history – but history teaching is always easier when it’s just dates and dead people, rather than context, causes and consequences.

    6. Macart says:

      That’s spooky, I was just having a conversation on this very subject with Mrs Macart last night. At school I knew more about Shakespeare than Burns, Orwell than Tranter, 1066 than 1314 the former were part of the curriculum the latter suggested reading. After next year I want to see that reversed.
       
      Cracking post Stewart.

    7. Robert Louis says:

      In Scotland, we are blessed annually with ‘the bard in the botanics’, in Glasgow.  The first time I saw the posters for it, I thought ‘oh, that’ll be about Robert Burns’, but no, it was the English bard William Shakespeare. 
       
      Excellent article by Stewart Bremner btw, it echoes my experience of growing up, and the wholly inappropriate history taught at school in Scotland as well.

    8. David Smith says:

      I was fortunate enough to have received some basic education  on the Wars of Independence at the school I attended in 1977. I feel that there was perhaps a minor awakening back then before the events of 1979. I don’t know whether such lessons survived in the era of Thatcher. It was only over the past couple of years though through reading others experiences that I came to realise along with other pieces of the jigsaw that this downgrading of our history and culture was part of something deliberate. Thank you to all of those who opened my eyes to this. Perhaps this subjugation of national consciousness will have its own place in the annals of history one day.
      Let’s hope so.

    9. Chic McGregor says:

      The history of the English language has a lot more to do with Scotland than most people are aware of.

    10. Training Day says:

      @Jiggsbro
       
      Why the hell was I being taught 1066 as a child

      Because it was very relevant to understanding where your country was 900 years later.”
       
      Sigh.  We’ve been here before.  But I’ll bite.   Why was no Scottish history pre-1707 thought ‘relevant’ to an understanding of where our country was in the modern day?

    11. HenBroon says:

      Stewart Bremner. As a lad my Primary education was in a highland Strath, that as I found out in later life had been cleared for sheep, most of the ancestors ended up in Canada. Then on reaching the age of twelve I had to go to a boarding school neath the shadow of “the mannie” who was responsible for much of the clearing. Not a cheap was ever made about his deeds.

      In primary we sang from the Brittanic song book. Rule Britannia was belted out with mucho gusto. When the visiting music teacher visited this was her opening gambit, her flailing arms and popping eyes as she worked her self in to a Brittanic frenzy were a joy to behold to our impressionable eyes. The music teacher in secondary was better as he tried to instill some Gaelic culture. He had designs on the Mod you see. We even had voluntary gaelic classes of an evening, needless to say football and swimming were favoured.

      Like so many of us and like you it was only later in life that much of this came on to my horizon. Yes I was radicalised, according to the colonisers. My assimilation had failed. I became Scottish. I rejected the yoke of London. I now understood why so many of my people were living in fear of the Lairds and his agents. The spectre of the Redcoats still drift through the Glens and Straths like the morning mist. The psyches of our Highland people are indelible stamped by the terror visited on them.

    12. Gray says:

      I’d say the slippery slope started in 1603 when they nicked our king and renumbered him.

    13. DMyers says:

      I too remember being taught about the battle of Hastings at primary school, as well as learning about the Vikings.  But I also learned about Mary Queen of Scots, William Wallace, Robert The Bruce, The Auld Alliance, and the various important battles and scandals (thankfully).  I also learned a good mix of Scottish and British history, as well as that of Russia and Germany.  I don’t know if that was merely down to the schools I went to in Clydebank, because people of a similar age to me (I’m 36), from other parts of the country, didn’t do much Scottish history, if any.

    14. rob smith says:

      As an Englishman I can confirm that my English education omitted many ‘undesirable’ facts and included very little about Scotland, Ireland or Wales. It spoke of a Great Britain, a united kingdom.As I grew I learned many new truths by visiting and talking to people from these other places, by freely reading alternative views on history.I know more now.Great article. Thank you.

    15. Robert Louis says:

      Here’s how it works;
       
      pre 1707 English history – relevant, and very important
      pre 1707 Scottish history – irrelevant, and not important
      post 1707 British (mainly English) history – relevant, and very important.
       
      The cultural genocide of Scotland started in 1707,  strengthened in 1746, and carries on to this present day.

    16. Red squirrel says:

      Very powerful article – thank you. It seems hard to comprehend why our own history and culture should have been denied us. Time for a change.

    17. Robert Louis says:

      Gray,
       
      Sadly, the King in question (James VI), happily indulged them, buggered off to London, and came back to Scotland only once in his lifetime.

    18. Jimsie says:

      Try this test on your unionist acquaintances. Ask them to name four great English painters. They will readily come up with names…. Constable, Gainsborough, Turner, Lowry etc etc. Then ask them the names of four great Scottish artists. Stumped !!!!. They will not have heard of McCulloch, McTaggart, Raeburn or Naysmith etc etc. Then explain to them that the reason they do not know of these people is because of their lack of an education in Scottish history and culture.

    19. HandandShrimp says:

      I was fortunate in that my schools in the Islands and Highlands were rather more for Scottish history and arts than seems to have been the case in some parts of the country. Burns, Grassic Gibbons, George MacDonald were taught. We learned about crannogs, Picts, Scots, Alba, Wallace and Bruce as well as Knox and Mary Queen of Scots. Highers concentrated on broader subjects. History was post 1789 home and abroad and English was more Wilfred Owen, Graham Greene, Ted Hughes and Orwell but by then I was well grounded in my own culture and history. 
       
      I was alarmed by the politicians that reacted so badly to the notion that Scottish history and arts should be taught at school as an embedded part of the curriculum. It smacked of worse than just the classic cringe, it hinted heavily of a desire for cultural eradication.  

    20. Kirriereoch says:

      I remember reading “1066 and all that” when rather young and my father stating that in Scottish history there are more important dates than 1066. 1066 does impact Scotland as Normans took control of England and then, piece by piece, Wales. Scotland´s dealings with the Normans was more one of intermarriage & interaction rather than the straightforward “takeover” of England and Wales. 
       
      But it isn´t a key date. Maybe I was lucky at my school because our enthusiastic history teacher did inform us of Wallace, Bruce, The Declaration of Arbroath and I vividly remember being told about The Rough Wooing, mainly because I got a bit confused by this chain of event.
       
      We even made a school trip to Bannockburn in the 1980s.
       
      It was Billy Kay´s The Mother Tongue documentary that opened my eyes to language in Scotland. Previously it was all looked down on speaking any kind of Scottish words and pronunciation. It opened my eyes.
       
      Yet, yes, generally there is a remarkable lack of knowledge about many aspects of Scotland that most other nations teach and/or are generally aware of. Britishness is paramount in the eyes of many in the “establishment”.
       
      My father, a lawyer and sheriff, stated that it´s remarkable how strong Scottish identity has remained despite the union. And the 2011 Census results indicate this.
       
      I personally ticked Scottish and British, one of the 18% I guess who did so. Culturally I could still tick British as an option in the future, but when I think of Westminster it makes that a difficult move.
       
      Relating to history and context I see Ruth davidson will state today at the Conservative Conference that:
       
      Unionists must ‘hammer home’ message

      Pro-Union campaigners must “hammer home” the benefits of remaining part of the UK in the run up to next year’s independence referendum, according to the Scottish Conservative leader.
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-24359080

       
      Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of history would acknowledge that in this context the use of language such as “hammer” in the context of Scotland remaining under Westminster control is “intriguing” to say the least when considering a certain King was considered the Hammer of the Scots.
       
      Or am I being one of those pedantic cybernats? 
       
      😉

    21. kendomacaroonbar says:

      Training Day says:
      2 October, 2013 at 10:30 am

      @Jiggsbro

      Why the hell was I being taught 1066 as a child

      Because it was very relevant to understanding where your country was 900 years later.”
      You just *KNEW* the 1966 World Cup would be brought into the conversation… England’s team mascot World Cup Willie with his Union Jack waistcoat….  🙂 That’s where *our* country was…presumably ?

    22. Alba4Eva says:

      I wait with baited breath for what the actual case is…
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-24359080
      …although I might end up gasping for air.  LOL  🙂

    23. benarmine says:

      Thanks Stewart, and I’m sure it was much the same for all of us whichever decade we were brainwashed in. The good news is – it didnae work! Here we are and from next year our children will learn the story of our country in a proper context with the rest of the world.

    24. The Man in the Jar says:

      Thanks for that Stewart I can relate to your story. My history education in the 60s comprised of memorizing dates and events form “British” history 1066 and all that. The lesson would start with all of us pupils standing and the teacher walking up and down the rows stating various dates we had to give the correct corresponding date to be allowed to sit down. Last three standing were given the belt. At the same time my friends and I had Scotlands largest norman castle on our doorstep. There was a local “Antiquarian” who informed us of the castles history and how it was steeped in the history of the wars of independence. Needless to say I got a huge “F” in history.

      I put history on the back burner for some time as I got on with my life and only in later years revived my interest. Nowadays I can be found draped in tartan commemorating various battles around Scotland and beyond (Clifton) These places should be etched into the minds of Scots. Culloden, Prestonpans, Killiecrankie, Sheriffmuir, Falkirk x 2, Bannockburn, Floden,  Bothwell Bridge, Drumclog the list goes on and on. How many here can say for sure who fought who at these places? 

      I try to redress the balance in my own little way by giving wee talks on the social, economic and political history of Scotland in the 18th century to Schools, Social groups and even Rotary meetings. It is very interesting the questions that I get asked afterwards, there are so many people that know little of these events when they happened right on their doorsteps. A benefit of “Our shared history” my arse.

    25. scotchwoman says:

      Great article. 
      Face it…..Scotland is a colony.

    26. molly says:

      Like you Stewart I have huge gaps in my knowledge of Scotland due to being taught next to nothing about Scottish history at school. only British history.So it is slightly perverse that given the BBCs constant stream of historical dramas I am now more informed about Scotland than before. 

       A comment by the writer Phillipa  Gregory about Shakespeare being a Jacobean spin doctor led me via a school projecct to go and see a great production of Macbeth recently at Pertth Theatre . This is the first time I had seen this play set in Scotland not spoken with a kind of Brian Blessed /Derek Jacobi accent . In a kind of passing thought way , does make you wonder why Shakespeare didn’t write about a Kingdom nearer to home with all it’s intrigue?

      Another  docu drama tells us the story of  the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 .a plaque still commerates the place on a wall in Manchester. 15 people died and 600 were scythed down but what the docudrama didn’t tell you,  was in Paisley , the weavers etc were also demonstrating in support as well as against wages and conditions .Despite  the real hardship and danger the people in Paisley collected money to send to the workers involved in Manchester . A mans a man for all that . interestingly the teacher who spoke with the workers in Paisley was banished for 7 years .

      By the overt jingoism following the Olympics etc , I’ve actually read more about this country and actively went out and about to see for myself and get my own view of our History , this from someone brought up in Bannockburn 

    27. pmcrek says:

      If Hardrada had won we might be currently enjoying Norwegian standards of living.

    28. cath says:

      I remember doing a project in primary school about Henry VIII and the wars of the roses.
       
      I only really woke up to Scottish history when I did a course in archaeology a few years back, and one specifically on the archaeology of Scotland. Our history is so colourful, so powerful, has so many amazing characters and stories and – more importantly – is etched into the landscape around us.
       
      During the archaeology of Scotland course we visited the Kilmartin Glen in Argyll. What’s there – archaeology from the stone age and prehistory right up tells a story in itself; as does Orkney. All of this amazing Scottish story is a huge part of the story of “the British isles” regardless of how the British Isles was run or administered from the stone age onwards.
       
      Why was all this history denied to us growing up? Why was Scottish music denied to us and/or presented as tartan shortbread kitsch by the London BBC?

    29. Derick Tulloch says:

      To discover, as an adult, and an adult that had been to a ‘Scottish’ university, at that – that the language I spoke (coming fae Yell, trust me on dis!) WIS a language, hed a literature dat wis immediately accessible.  Wis a peerie bit annoying.  I widna mind if we hed been telt dat wir literature wis no dat graet, although dat wid a been wrong.  But it wis never mentioned.  Disappeared
      It will not do

    30. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      This is why Braveheart was the biggest history lesson ever.
      I know of no other nation that had to learn the story of their national hero from a Hollywood movie, a movie based on a book (Blind Harry’s ‘Wallace’) that the nation had also forgotten, despite the book having been the most-readbook in Scotland after The Bible for hundreds of years.

    31. Robert Louis says:

      The tories, who have not won a general election since 1992, and have no electoral mandate in Scotland may wish to “hammer home” the benefits of the union to Scots, but I have to say, those ‘benefits’ must be awfully good in order to justify;

      Scotland giving all its oil revenue to London
      Scots paying their taxes to a parliament in another country, only to be ‘granted’ a pittance back, shrouded in pejorative language such as ‘scroungers’ handouts’ and drug addicts’.
      Scotland being run by a parliament in another country
      Scotland being run by a government it NEVER elected for almost all my entire life.
      Scotland being repeatedly told that it, amongst all nations on planet earth, is singularly incapable of handling its own affairs.
       
      So, yes, I look forward to hearing the many, many benefits of this undemocratic and unwanted union with England, that outweigh the many serious democratic, cultural and economic disadvantages of said union.
       
      Or is it just that we fought in the second world war together (again)

    32. FletcherOfSaltoun says:

      Stewart, many thanks. Poignantly and cleverly worded. The sense of incredulity and the growing awareness of an unfairness, which at first one cannot really believe but becomes more and more incensing, came across very well.
      It was only thanks to my mother reading to me of the wars of independence and talking of the Stewart kings that I had a grounding in Scottish History. I believe I once had a history lesson based on Doune Castle as a fine example of a mediaeval castle structure.
      There have been changes and children now do learn more about Scottish History, but not enough I would contend. There is also the attempt to make Gaelic much more visible and accepted. With independence this can be further rectified and I look forward to an enormous upsurge in confidence and realisation of just who the Scots have been and just how much they contributed to the world in so many ways.

    33. Ian says:

      When I was at high school, I was taught nothing about Scottish history other than that, basically, I should be grateful the English hadn’t wiped us all out yet, an extreme version of the Scottish cringe it ever there was. Then one day when I was 14, I wandered into an SNP meeting in Dalkeith purely by accident and got to know an auld wummin who rejoiced in telling me and other young folk the true version of events. She made Scottish history come alive, she gave us a reason to love being Scottish and helped us understand where we came from and where we were going. And look at us now! It’s people like her that kept the soul of Scotland safe, it’s for people like her that we have to vote YES.

    34. Jingly Jangly says:

      Great Article
      I was fortunate to have a great teacher at primary school, one Jimmy Mathieson we got Scottish History morning noon and night, gaelic, Scottish Country Dancing, Scots Poetry etc.

      Unfortunately when we went to secondary school it was back to the standard of German, French and “English”

      Off course we were too young to realise that the headie was a nationalist, it wasn’t until years later I learned of the significance of him flying the Saltire over the Primary School on Election days (The School was the village polling station) so I salute the memory of Jimmy Mathieson.

      Whether his teaching had much influence on our political journey I don’t know, however I recently  by chance  met two Sisters who had also attended Brodick Primary the same time as me and they were proudly flying the Saltire at the recent Edinburgh  Independence March….

    35. les wilson says:

      All this is part of the brainwashing which ends with the Scottish cringe, we are unimportant, only fit to pay taxes , fight and die, and we were known to ” die well !”,so we were valued for all the wrong reasons, none of them humanitarian or benevolent. All this continues today in order to stifle our ambitions, for the Nation that we are. 

      We are indeed, even now ,encouraged to think we are too wee, too stupid,and we should have no pride in our own ambitions, “we cann’a do it!”
      That is what is instilled in us every day, from an uncaring government and the shameful parcel of rogues that are still the Scottish Unionist politicians. Not much has changed on that score, over the centuries since 1707.

      I also knew nothing about our history as others here have also said. Looking now through a new window to the past this was subjugation at it’s worst, the eradication of my country’s history and have it replaced by that of another country.

      That along with with many other  imposed rules and fly  tactics, including the terrible Highland clearances WAS ethnic cleansing.

      Yet in spite of their never stopping tactics, the flame of Scotland flickers on, growing brighter every day, with the realization that WE ARE BIG ENOUGH, WE ARE NOT TOO STUPID after all, and YES , WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!,
      “AND WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW !”
       
      We need to resurrect our pride in our country OUR SCOT LAND , reinstate our history in the education of our children, become aware of just how good we CAN be, not how BAD we can be. 

    36. Keef says:

      I still recall my first headmaster in primary school in Priesthill, Glasgow in the mid 1960’s. He was from Uist and would teach us all a Gaelic song during assembly.

      His tone and voice sounded magical, even though I never understood the words he was singing.

      I was taught Scottish history in high school by an Indian Sihk. He had an obvious love of ‘The Bruce’ and his readings and discussions captured everyone of our imaginations. I only learned of the decleration of Arbroath many years later though.

      Thanks Stewart.

    37. seoc says:

      Fine article that chimes very deeply with me. Thank You.

      I recall a FE class of English in which  I ventured the view that – had Shakespeare been Belgian – we’d never have heard of him.

      We must be the only country on the planet to discover oil and become poorer and yet most cannot speak the mother tongue of the country.

      Ethnic cleansing, anyone?

    38. Craig P says:

      Like you Stewart, I didn’t learn any Scottish history until *after* I left school.
       
      On the other hand, Burns night was celebrated in primary school. It was done in a ‘kailyard’ fashion (The Sair Finger was as popular as any Burns poems), but at least it was done.

    39. Paula Rose says:

      If Shakespeare’s mother tongue been Scots he would have been even better – there is a fine translation by R.L.C. Lorimer of Macbeth that proves the point.

    40. Haggistrap says:

      There is massive ignorance of Scottish history because of our education system. In general the education systems on both sides of the border have done a poor job in educating people on the history of these islands and lots of people in England today, also have no idea of their own history.

      The problem is that what little British history was taught at schools everywhere in the UK was mainly from an English perspective, which should have been completely unacceptable in Scotland. Hopefully things are changing. Perhaps an exception to the rule but my wife was taught Scottish history at school.

      After leaving education, many  take up an interest in history which shows in the number of historical programmes and dramas on TV etc. Unfortunately the same mistakes are being repeated as the MSM are again showing these from an English perspective and let’s not mention David Starkey.

      The ONLY way to rectify this in independence.

    41. Colin Dunn says:

      @ Alba4Eva:
      “I wait with baited breath for . .”
       
      Whoa, now. Morag!

    42. DougieDouglas says:

      For me, this the most powerful thing on Wings so far.
      Thank you Stewart – you have highlighted, eloquently, what is wrong with our nation.

    43. molly says:

      Ian I like that “kept the soul of Scotland safe”
      Oh Seoc how many lines did that get you?

    44. beachthistle says:

      O/T , although in connection with the historical and modern-day myth that Scots haven’t been paying their way, the HMRC tax etc. receipts disaggregated by country, is out today.
      Have only had a quick, non-expert, look through the summary tables – from what I can make out, seems Scotland’s figures compare very well…
      Here is the semi-raw data:
      http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/receipts/disagg-stats.pdf

    45. setondene says:

      I was taught about Scottish history and culture in my schools during the 50s and 60s.  Also taught English and British culture in a Scottish context, which was fair enough.  Maybe there was a change after that time.  I suspect Labour may have reacted in some way to suppress the Scottish element in Scottish education after Winnie Ewing won Hamilton in 1967.

      Although we haven’t been much oppressed (aside from Highlanders) since the Union there has certainly been widespread suppression of many, many Scottish elements.  This is still going on and it won’t cease until we are a sovereign nation again.  Many Scots are thoroughly conditioned by the narrow range of formal culture transmission from e.g. the BBC, which is far too dominant here.  IMHO the Scottish Tories are unpopular not just because of their right wing political philosophy but because, as individuals, they look down on everything Scottish as being inferior. 
      It comes across when you speak to them.  It’s a sad fact that Labour seem to have started off down the same road – look at their nasty reaction to the reintroduction of a Scottish history syllabus recently.

    46. Eddie says:

      Well, as a product of the late 70’s to late 80’s Glaswegian education system, I’m not sure if my school went outwith the usual curricular boundaries.  It was possibly due to the teacher or maybe’s a dastardly Catholic plot to sow seeds of dissent among eager young minds?
       
      I learned quite a bit about the harshness of Scottish agriculture and how our ancestors successfully used otherwise poor land, and how they where cleared from this land by unscrupulous landed gentry who sought profit before people.  It then took a leap to WWI where we learned everything about that war but also the roles of the Scottish regiments and the battles they fought in.  Yep, this terrible education of mine fostered a true interest in the treatment of my country by it’s neighbour (and a further interest in world wars).

    47. Chic McGregor says:

      A poem by our current national bard, Liz Lochhead:
       
      Kidspoem/Bairnsang 
       
      it wis January 
      and a gey driech day 
      the first day Ah went to the school 
      so my Mum happed me up in ma 
      good navy-blue napp coat wi the rid tartan hood 
      birled a scarf aroon ma neck 
      pu’ed oan ma pixie an’ my pawkies 
      it wis that bitter 
      said noo ye’ll no starve 
      gie’d me a wee kiss and a kid-oan skelp oan the bum 
      and sent me aff across the playground 
      tae the place A’d learn to say 

      it was January 
      and a really dismal day 
      the first day I went to school 
      so my mother wrapped me up in my 
      best nay-blue top coat with the red tartan hood, 
      twirled a scarf around my neck, 
      pulled on my bobble-hat and mittens 
      it was so bitterly cold 
      said now you won’t freeze to death 
      gave me a little kiss and a pretend slap on the bottom 
      and sent me off across the playground 
      to the place I’d learn to forget to say 

      it wis January 
      and a gey driech day 
      the first day Ah went to the school 
      so my Mum happed me up in ma 
      good navy-blue napp coat wi the rid tartan hood, 
      birled a scarf aroon ma neck, 
      pu’ed oan ma pixie and’ ma pawkies 
      it wis that bitter. 
       
      Oh saying it was one thing 
      But when it came to writing it 
      In black and white 
      The way it had to be said 
      Was as if you were posh, grown-up, male, English and dead. 

    48. desimond says:

      Wha’s Like Us…worthy of much more than just a tea-towel ditty

      http://www.threetowners.com/scots/great_scots.htm

    49. The Man in the Jar says:

      On the subject of “Our” Bard here is one of his poems that very much resonates today “The Twa Dugs” is basically a social comment on the differences between the elite and the common man. Looks like little has changed up till now.
      http://www.robertburns.org/works/86.shtml

    50. kininvie says:

      Lots of good books out there about Scottish history though….
      I particularly like Raymond Campbell Paterson, especially his two volumes on the Scottish wars of Independence (For the Lion: 1296-1357) & (My wound is deep: 1380-1560).  Quite a lot of depth, and not at all dry. His concluding words to the first volume show that he’s maybe not entirely detached…
       
      “The ghosts of those ancient warriors….will surely haunt the Scottish pople until they free themselves from the shackles of a union that has long since served its purpose and once again take their place amongst the independent nations of Europe” (1996)
       
      Then there’s The Steel Bonnets – G Macdonald Fraser’s ‘history’ of Anglo-Scottish border warfare. I put history in inverted comments because the book reads more like one of the author’s Flashman novels than a scholarly work. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    51. A fine post Stewart, and I concur. Much older than you but I knew nothing of Scottish history until a wonderful history teacher, shocked at our lack of knowledge, slipped in some extra-curricular.  I met him again recently, 87 and voting YES. 

    52. southernscot says:

      Yup, the main reason I chose not to take history in my “options”. one look at the syllabus (1970’s) was enough to put anybody off.
      It does gall me that having my children educated in England that they pay so little attention to Scottish history and yet my Scottish education in history was almost totally about England’s history.

    53. seoc says:

      “”Oh Seoc how many lines did that get you?””

      Molly, the fine teacher, a Scot, said that in all his years in the job, he had never once come across such a view.
      Who Knows?

    54. Doug Daniel says:

      Simple, but effective. Great article, Stewart.
       
      It definitely helps explain why there isn’t already an overwhelming majority in Scotland screaming out for independence. If you’ve spent your whole life being told – directly or indirectly – that your nation is little more than a glorified region, it’s only natural that you’re going to think we don’t have what it takes to be a proper country.
       
      Despite the No campaign’s protestations that they’re all “proud Scots”, I don’t know a single No voter who thinks Scottish culture and history is anything other than twee and parochial. After all, if they didn’t consider Scottish culture and history to be a negative thing, they wouldn’t use it disparagingly to accuse all independence supporters of being obsessed with shortbread, whisky and Braveheart.

    55. Macart says:

      “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.”
      Chancellor Gorkon

    56. Murray McCallum says:

      The “victor” always writes history and dictates culture so maybe not too much surprise.

    57. edulis says:

      I was blessed in being taught history by Jimmie Halliday. I was in my first year of secondary school, so it was all about Columba, Adamnan, Kenneth MacAlpine. As it happens, I chose geography for my Higher instead of history, but two more years without Jimmie saw me being inculcated by 1066, the Tudors and the Reformation from an English perspective. I am now approaching 70 and even yet I haven’t uncovered all the rich history that Scotland offers. Sometimes it is not pleasant stuff, because it invariably demonstrates the goings on of the rich and powerful which of course ties us ever closer to the British state. Time to break free and completely re-cast the paradigm.

    58. Seanair says:

      Ruth Davidson is to say that 2014 is a referendum not an election, but in the next breath attacks AS but not the Yes campaign. Poor Tories from England, NI and Wales waiting to hear Cameron will be exposed to the mighty brain of Ruthie, Hammer of the Nats (not).
      It would be great if she appealed to the above Tories to show their love for Scotland and she got boo’d off the stage!

    59. James Morton says:

      The only time I read about Scottish history as a child was when I read about it in my free time with books from the library or books my folks had. The first time I read about Wallace was when I read a book about Bruce. I never knew a thing about these two figures but I was meant to know a lot about the 100 years war, Agincourt and the Tudors. We did not a thing about Scottish History. Hell I didn’t even know that James I of England was also James VI of Scotland.

      The only time we touched on the subject was to celebrate Scotland’s role in doing the Empires busy work. But to be honest even the “British” history was always pretty banal, rarely pre or post industrial age. Always the middle ages or older with stuff on Vikings, Roman Britain, the American Civil war. I learned more about the plight of slaves in the southern states of the US than I did about working poor being sent to workhouses. We learned to revere Lincoln as the great emancipator but never read a thing about the Suffragettes.

      I learned more about bloody adolf Hitler than I ever did about Churchill. If we touched on WW2 it was always airfix history – spitfires good, Me109s bad. yet growing up I was always aware that there were gaps. Who was Wallace, who was this Bruce guy? How could England have a Scottish King. What are these workhouses we keep hearing about? I learned more about my own country on my own than I ever did at school. But I would have to qualify that by saying that I agree with Peter Ustinov that school was basically there to teach you how to learn things.

    60. Albalha says:

      No question that many people in Scotland know little or nothing of the history but how many know much about the country today? It never fails to amaze me how little people have explored beyond their front door, as it were.
       

    61. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Exactly – and worldwide
      When I was VP and acting Principal of a Teacher Training College in Nigeria I has an academic staff of over 50 which, bar a few Brits and some VSOs, were all Nigerian graduates. They had all been taught British (ie English ) history at their Nigerian schools and knew virtually nothing about the breathtaking history of the many nations that the colonists had knocked into the unhappy construct we know today as Nigeria.
      Every Scottish child should be given a copy of John Prebble’s “The Lion In The North ” 
      In fact every Scottish adult should be given a copy as well

    62. Brian Ritchie says:

      “In a kind of passing thought way, does make you wonder why Shakespeare didn’t write about a Kingdom nearer to home with all it’s intrigue?”

      Oh he does, in the English history plays.  But Macbeth was specifically aimed at James VI, lauding his ancestor Banquo and drawing on James’ interest in witchcraft.  Shalespeare’s major sources and the only ones he had, like Holingshead’s chronicles, were of course written from an English point of view.

    63. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      May I also add – not only history./
       
      The breathtaking works of the Scottish Colourists and the Glasgow Boys stands alongside the French Impressionists as the most stunning artist work in the world at the turn of last century. It has taken over a hundred years for this to be eventually realised. 

    64. Chic McGregor says:

      @Molly
      “Another  docu drama tells us the story of  the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 .a plaque still commerates the place on a wall in Manchester. 15 people died and 600 were scythed down but what the docudrama didn’t tell you,  was in Paisley , the weavers etc were also demonstrating in support as well as against wages and conditions .Despite  the real hardship and danger the people in Paisley collected money to send to the workers involved in Manchester . A mans a man for all that . interestingly the teacher who spoke with the workers in Paisley was banished for 7 years ”
       
      How about this little known Scottish massacre:
       
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Tranent
       
      And an equally unknown bit of Greenock history:
       
      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/97149913/ScotlandsBastille.jpg

    65. castle hills chavie says:

      Brilliant……….nuf said

    66. Macart says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill
       
      As graphics and illustration student many moons ago, we were fortunate to gain an excellent schooling in the Scottish artists movements. Only last year the Mrs and I went to see the Glasgow Boys exhibition at the Kelvingrove. Breathtaking is probably the first word which springs to mind.

    67. Cassandra Lee says:

      Wow! What a powerful piece of writing! I guess I must have been luckier than some because I do recall getting some Scottish history at primary school in the late sixties and seventies. I remember a schools radio series about the Wars of Independence – I got called ‘Longshanks’ for a while afterwards because I was the tallest in the class and my Edinburgh accent sounded a bit English to my Perth classmates. In secondary school the only thing I remember was a theme on Scotland from 1760 to 1820 which was really very interesting, but the theme on Britain from 1815 to 51 contained not a word about Scotland. I never heard about the Disruption, or realised that there was a potato famine in the Highlands until I was an adult.
       
      It makes me very angry to hear protests about the introduction of Scottish history and language into the curriculum from the usual quarters. Other commentators are right; we must know our history to know ourselves.

    68. ianbrotherhood says:

      ‘We want you to stay!‘  D. Cameron.
       
      Oh FFS. How desperate. 
       
      Bet he can’t sing it as high as these lads do, but it’d be fun getting him to try:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2BJUGJR5fw

    69. muttley79 says:

      Yes, it is part of the conditioning process.  Scottish history and culture as been sidelined by the British establishment for its own ends.  It has been a deliberate process. 

    70. Taranaich says:

      When I grew up, I realised that the defenders were not of my country, they were of what was then my country’s neighbour; the attackers from yet farther still. I felt a degree of confusion, that I should have been taught something that was not of my country’s past, but the past of my country’s neighbour.
       
      The worst thing about that? 1066 absolutely was a crucial event for Scottish history – I’d certainly not say it was more important than 843, 1266, 1314, 1320 or 1603, but it did have impact. In the wake of Hastings and the Norman conquest, thousands of Anglo-Saxons fled north and settled in Scotland, particularly in the Lothian area, which was formerly part of the Nordic kingdom of Northumbria before its breaking-up after Wessex dominated the other Saxon kingdoms. So you had thousands of English people coming north, and within 300 years, they considered themselves Scottish enough to fight against Edward’s invasion. But how much of that did school deign worthy of learning?
       
      The Norman conquest was brutal in England, Ireland and Wales, but in Scotland it was a slightly different story: King David was canny, and invited Norman families up to settle. Eventually they integrated, and after Norman dynasties like the Wallaces and the Bruces intermarried with Gaelic and Scottish families, they identified with Scotland so much they too fought against Edward’s invasion despite “only” being Scottish for a few hundred years. The Norman style of feudalism was not a great thing for Scotland (or for any country), but the Normanisation of Scotland was practically bloodless in comparison to the other British nations. But how much of that did school deign worthy of learning?
       
      To be denied one’s history and one’s culture is close to being denied one’s right to exist. It is to be dominated, crushed like an outlaw by a mighty empire. It may be the case that the culture and history of my country is no longer so thoroughly excised from the education of its children, I don’t know.
       
      Reminds me of a great quote by Junot Diaz:
       
      “You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.”
       
      I’d like to think that you’re right in thinking things are much better now: my school has asked me to work with the pupils (I do voluntary work) on the Battle of Bannockburn. This closely follows a project on Scottish artist George Wyllie, and I remember even from my schooldays that Robert Burns was a frequent subject.
       
      It definitely helps explain why there isn’t already an overwhelming majority in Scotland screaming out for independence. If you’ve spent your whole life being told – directly or indirectly – that your nation is little more than a glorified region, it’s only natural that you’re going to think we don’t have what it takes to be a proper country.
       
      Despite the No campaign’s protestations that they’re all “proud Scots”, I don’t know a single No voter who thinks Scottish culture and history is anything other than twee and parochial. After all, if they didn’t consider Scottish culture and history to be a negative thing, they wouldn’t use it disparagingly to accuse all independence supporters of being obsessed with shortbread, whisky and Braveheart.
       
      Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
       
      Every time I see shortbread, tartan, bagpipes, haggis, Bannockburn and Wallace brought up, it’s usually used to belittle and undermine Scotland, to make fun of Scottish culture. And I even see indy supporters saying “Oh, but we’re SO MUCH MORE than “just” those cultural cliches!” And all I can think is how can you let people use your own cultural icons against you like this?
       
      That’s part of why I’m doing Bannockburn: because I’m sick of seeing our country’s history being used against the cause for independence. What kind of perverse situation are we in where the people who want to finalize the self-determination of a nation are actively avoiding or even rejecting the very things which make us distinct as a nation!?!

    71. velofello says:

      Ah,Man in the Jar, The Twa Dugs, one of my favourites. Once on a business trip – to Germany to progress review some mega expensive engineering equipment we were purchasing – we were invited out for dinner. Very posh setting, lovely food. The UK agent for the German company, an Englishman, decided to tell a “joke” about the Scots. Something about Scots being like piles, a pain in the arse when they come down. The “joke” was met with silence. I stepped in and spoke about Scots culture and about Burns. recited a few lines of To a Mouse, and expressed my view that Burns in the poem was describing how the actions of the powerful, sometimes unthinking actions, can visit so cruelly on the weak. I finished to a round of applause. from our German hosts.

    72. KOF says:

      @RobertLouis 10:35am
      “The cultural genocide of Scotland started in 1707,  strengthened in 1746, and carries on to this present day.”
      It started long before that.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statutes_of_Iona
      “The outlawing of bards and other bearers of the traditional culture”

    73. theycan'tbeserious says:

      Great article! One which I can very much relate to being a child of the sixties. I consider myself lucky these days, working as a tour guide taking people from all countries and walks of life, throughout Scotland and being able to tell OUR story from the formation of the land, its diverse peoples and cultures, its long and sometimes complicated HISTORY. The history of an ANCIENT NATION in what seems to be its constant struggle against INVASION and CONTROL by others.
      I tell visitors to our GREAT COUNTRY of the lack of SCOTTISH HISTORY taught to me under the British curriculum, but now have a platform and opportunity to right that wrong. They love Scotland, its (friendly/welcoming/melting pot of) PEOPLE, its RICH and even bloody history, its IMPACT on the world through SCIENCE, MEDICINE, ENGINEERING, EXPLORATION, LITERATURE, ECONOMICS, MUSIC, SONG, WHISKY, WORLD POLITICS and DEMOCRACY, and its stubborn tenacity to determine its FUTURE and DEFINE its RIGHT TO EXIST. 
      Regarding the referendum, of which I discuss as it is very much part of MODERN Scotland and very relevant to Scotland’s future, when the pros and cons are discussed and debated, the general and usually overwhelming comment is “WHY WOULD THE PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND VOYE NO?”……”IT’S A NO-BRAINER!!”      

    74. Chic McGregor: Chic, I’m frae Greenock and I never knew that!  

    75. Bob Howie says:

      We didn’t learn that after Darien the English forced trading to almost stop to Scotland to besiege us if you must, into submission finally persuading those in power to decide on the Unionbut the people never got any choice about it, thankfully we do have now.

    76. patronsaintofcats says:

      When I first moved to Scotland from the States in 2005 and someone told me that Scottish history wasn’t taught to school children, I first thought I was mistaken and didn’t understand what the person had told me.   Simply could not get my head around it.  To me, it was no different than the way American Indian tribes were subsumed and marginalised. That was (and is) a crime in my view and so is the censorship and deliberate eradication of Scottish history and culture from school curricula.  The UK has a lot to answer for, and I can’t wait for karma to catch up the ‘Union’ that many hold so dear, cuz it’s gonna be a bitch 😉

    77. Keef says:

      @Chic Mcgregor
      Thanks for those two links.
      That was another two items of Scottish History that I was oblivious to.
      I expect there is more that I’m ignorant of. After the Yes vote I’m sure Scottish History and culture will be fanned back into a glorios flame. I’m convinced that self confidence will rub off on our fitba team too. Let’s face it, we need all the help we can get to make it to a world cup or a Euro-championship.

    78. AyeRight says:

      First time comment trial

    79. Liz Quinn says:

      Thank you Stewart.
      The recent outrage from SLAB is nothing new.
      Jack McConnell issued an edict during his reign* that the teaching of Scottish History was to be discouraged.
      *Not sure if he was FM or Education Minister at the time

    80. Mosstrooper says:

       To realise what happened to our culture and language we need seek no further than the words of this man.

      “Deprive the people of their National Consciousness, treat them as a tribe and not a nation, dilute their History, propagate their language as inferior, imply they have a cultural void, emphasise their customs are primitive, and dismiss independence as a barbaric anomaly.”

      Who was this ? Reinhard Heydrich, Protector of Czechoslovakia on the Germanisation of that country.

      As for Scotland, Out ancestors built this land for us, They made it and held it against our enemies, we do not give up what our ancestors gave us.

      They stood and fought built and created our civilisation and they are buried here.

      This is our land mixed with our blood and strengthened with our sweat.

      We will not give it up, it is ours.

    81. Bill C says:

      As a retired teacher who taught in a primary school from 1975-1985, I agree with much of what you say Stewart.  However during that time I witnessed a change, more Scottish teaching materials became available e.g. Jackdaw teaching packs on the “Scottish Wars of Independence”, “The Jacobites” and “Burns”. I always included Scottish history in my curriculum planning and took advantage of the new materials available.

      Interestingly I remember having a discussion with my Headteacher at the time. He was enthusiastic about teaching Scottish history and thought that it was only natural to teach your country’s history to its youngsters. His successor on the other hand, was an old school Brit, brought up the with the old, rigid, British Empire type view of history, where Scots made good soldiers and missionaries. She regarded the teaching of the ‘Wars of Independence’ as  sedition! To be fair to her and many of my colleagues, that was the way we were taught, two thirds of the world globe was pink and “Rule Britannia” ruled the music room. Things have changed, but you cannot change 300 years of unionist indoctrination in the few years since 2007 when the SNP took charge of our education system. Education in Scotland has and to some extent still does, reflect British culture.
       
      There was an excellent discussion on the previous thread about whether there was a unionist conspiracy at the BBC.  I am of the view that there is, but that it has two components. That is:

      1.  It is possible that that many journalist within the BBC, like many old school teachers (terrible pun) are reflections of their British upbringing. They see no wrong in promoting Britain. The conspiracy lies within the fact that both sets of professionals have fallen foul to 300 years of British indoctrination. The conspiracy is that old.

      2. There is a dedicated team of very professional ‘British’ journalists / agents  who know exactly what they are doing in manipulating and controlling the news. They have an agenda and use the ‘inherited’ Britishness of their colleagues to disguise their raison d’etre.
      For those who dismiss conspiracy theories as the realm of UFO spotters and 9/11 nuts, I would say two things:

      1. There is more than one type of conspiracy;

      2. Google ‘Britain’s Secret War’ and see the many books written on how Britain undermined independence movements all over the globe. Also and even more relevant to our current struggle, have a read of ‘Britain’s Secret War: Tartan Terrorism and the Anglo American State” by Andrew Murray and Iain MacLeay Sutherland and tell me I’m havering.

    82. Jeannie says:

      It is indeed a great pity that so many Scots know so little about their own country’s history because knowledge of how things worked in the past stimulates ideas for how things might work in the future.
       
      I could see a resurrection of the old sea kingdoms idea – rather than having the present arrangement of the UK and Northern Ireland plus crown dependencies – Man, Channel Isles and Eire, I could see an independent Scotland with all its isles, an independent Eire and rUK sharing a common sea area and happily working together in terms of trade and travel, for the mutual benefit of all of our independent countries.  Working together and independence need not be mutually exclusive terms.  But they only work well with independence because its the only way equal status can be guaranteed and without equal status, we wind up with the status quo.

    83. Chic McGregor says:

      @The Tree of Liberty
      “Chic McGregor: Chic, I’m frae Greenock and I never knew that! ”
      Not surprised at all.
      Rather makes the point, don’t you think?

    84. gordoz says:

      It’s time we acknowledged the worth of Scotland, as a nation and as a people, no better and no worse than so many others. We have a rich heritage and a strong culture, if only we could recognise it. We have the right to exist and we have the right to make the decisions that are best suited to our country

      Nice words Stu, but as I’ve been warning for ages you have to get past the teachers first.
      With a few exceptions the Scottish education system is full of ‘British types’ and ‘Labour Luvvies’ I can assure you, (check it out). My kids have just been through the school system and it is a shocking place, housing the ‘Scottish Cringe’.

      My kids explained the staff couldn’t wait to get off ‘Scottish material’ and into the more meaningful British stuff  (?)

      Just look at the School polls in Aberdeenshire, its the same all over. Very little has changed and if it has its usually been learened from within the family. 

      Scottish Education is a very scary place when you delve in. Labour is still in full control of this area.

      Sad but it will take years to get the kids back if ever.

    85. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Bob Howie – Its only through a mention of the Darien scheme on WOS sometime ago that I delved into its history. I had no knowledge of it before but what I drew from the information sources was this:

      There had been many signatories and financiers for the scheme but the English financiers pulled out. Would I be right in saying that was the British East India company? When they pulled their finance to protect their own interests it had a domino effect on the other financiers, which then led to the Scotlandwide appeal for support.

    86. Ian says:

      One of the main reasons that a great number of Scots know nothing about our history or our country’s place in the world is our lack of control over broadcasting. When our people only get to see our country through the eyes of outsiders and rabid Unionists, we end up with a mindset that relates events about Scotland as if it were a distant foreign land. Although BBC Alba is doing a fantsastic job for Gaelic speakers, why do I never get to hear my own language on Scottish tv and very rarely on radio? People in far flung corners of Europe often know more about our history and culture than we do. Recently in Gdansk for example, there were Poles telling me all about the roles Scots have played in the history of that great city and the districts of Nowy Szkoty and Stare Szkoty were a delight to discover. At one time we were major players on the European stage, now we’re mostly seen as a region of England. This situation is no longer acceptable.
       

    87. Grant_M says:

      Great article, Stewart. My school education was very much the same – almost no Scottish history was taught.
       
      O/T David Cameron speech; “Land of hope is Tory”
      Land of hope… and what?

    88. Chic McGregor says:

      @Keef
      “Thanks for those two links.
      That was another two items of Scottish History that I was oblivious to.I expect there is more that I’m ignorant of. ”
       
      Nae bother.  Given the BritNat’s obvious intent, due to lack of support on the ground, to use the military in rent-a-crowd mode a la the Chinese at the Bejing Olympics, here is another to keep you going:
      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/97149913/BlackWatchMutiny.jpg

    89. Dinnatouch says:

      The really annoying thing about the subjugation of our history in Scottish schools is that education has always been ‘independent’. Sic a parcel of rogues indeed. 

    90. Restlessnative says:

      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/97149913/ScotlandsBastille.jpg
       
      New to me,thank you for the link.

    91. gordoz says:

      The Tree of Liberty –
      See my post on last thread (Loss of irony); B/T leafleting in Greenock  Friday & Saturday mornings this week with ‘new material’.
      Might be an idea to get hold of the material to see what they’re saying now ?

    92. Thank you all for your great comments. I have read them all but I replying is more than I have time for!
       
      I’m glad and at the same time saddened that my experience was not unique to my schooling. We’ve got a voice now, though, and we will make a difference.
       
      O/T(ish) I made a poster to support this article.

    93. a supporter says:

      Very interesting Stew. When I was at school (independent in Glasgow) in the 40s and 50s Scottish history, ancient and modern, was very much part of the curriculum and far more important than  English and Irish history which was also taught.. So what happened in the 60s and 70s for Scottish ancient history to be abandoned (if it really was) as so many commenters here and elsewhere claim.

      I  discovered similarly as an adult that Scots was a language in its own right and not just a dialect of English. But then I am interested in linguistics and such linguistic research and study was not carried out much in earlier times. I wonder how many today know that Scots is a separate language? But there is also no doubt that in my lifetime Scots was considered ‘not proper’ and phrases like that were and still are in common use. I suppose snobbery and ‘getting on’ was very much part of that rather than some underhand Establishment aim. But who knows, bearing in mind what I am now finding out about Government today.

    94. CameronB says:

      “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

      – George Orwell, 1984
       
      Macart
      🙂

    95. Jimbo says:

      Good article from Stewart Bremner. He could very well have attended the same school as I did. I didn’t have to use the links he provided to see what points in English history he was referring to. I knew exactly where they would lead.
       
      I was also taught of the great victory at Agincourt in 1415, but nothing of the Scottish victory that helped their French allies change the course of the 100 years war (Bauge 1421). I learned of Bauge in my forties – when I also learned (to my astonishment) that, for almost 500 years, all Scots where nationalised French.
      .
      Like Stewart, I am glad to have been taught some of the history of other countries, but as an adult I felt cheated that I was taught nothing of the rich history and heritage of my own country.
       
      Knowing your country’s history and where you come from instils pride in one’s country. For that reason the Unionists have made damn sure that the teaching of Scottish history has been suppressed.

    96. Eddie says:

      I’ll try and get hold of some of their lies on Friday, need to take the car to my trusted mechanic in Glasgow but I’ll check the bins as I pass through Greenock on my way home.

    97. AndyB says:

      Dave McEwan, a workmate of mine has given me The Lion in the North to read so I think I’ll start on it today.
      ps another great book is by the late author David R Ross “Desire Lines” a fabulous read.

    98. Albalha says:

      O/T
      Petition for a Cameron/Salmond debate
      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55155

    99. Keef says:

      Aye Chic.
       
      I remember reading the first hand accounts of this mutiny. There is documentation around that dates to those days with the names and ranks of each ‘mutineer’.
       
      Ive enjoyed the comments very much today. It’s like a mini-cultural awakening.

    100. Vambomarbeleye says:

      I mind the green history book. Had pictures of Wallace and another of The Bruce gubbing De Boen. Cant remember anything else in the book. I would be around 7 or 8 I think. It’s an awfy long time ago. Pictures still fresh.
      Fortunatly had a father that was interested in history and lived beside Bothwell Castle and Bothwel Brig.
      Came from mining stock. Grandfather being born at Glenbuck. So got a fair bit about the inequalitys of man etc.

    101. gordoz, I’ve moved.

    102. Nkosi says:

      Having my parents emigrate to South Africa in 1972 I managed to find out very quickly there are more than one version of the history of any country. Before we left I was doing “The Boer War” and the 1820 Settlers, not in that order. I was horrified to find out how Cecil John Rhodes, the British East India Company, and the Government in Westminster were not the all saving all conquering heroes they had been made out to be. Never mentioned in the “British” version how Rhodes had a predilection for young boys, black, white or coloured, the the Company were just profiteers out to ravage the resources every where they went, and, well we all know about Westminster here in Scotland.

    103. molly says:

      Brian I wondered when P Gregory said about Shakespeare being a ‘spin doctor’ and with all the debate about whether Shakespeare really did pen all of those works  and the politics of the time, for want of a better word was it ( brilliantly done right enough)  propaganda ? –
      more reading for me.
       
      Chic , on the back of finding out about the Paisley uprising , which led me to the Calton weavers and then to the  Carron works I recently sent for a copy of the Scottish Insurrection by Beresford Ellis and Mac A’ Ghobhainn so the great British Broadcasting Corporation , rather than pull me closer has made me go off in the opposite direction and start to find out about my own country . Thanks for the links I’ll follow them up also but there really should be a visitor centre smack bang in the middle of each town with that town and surroundings areas story , told from the peoples point of view .

    104. Craig P says:

      Taranaich, that is a wonderful quote from Junot Diaz. Chic Mac, I love that Liz Lochhead poem and have never heard of the Tranent Massacre, thanks for sharing. 
       
      You wings posters are an erudite lot 🙂
       
      Once we get our own nation again, I anticipate a renewed interest in ‘regional’ history. The early Scottish kings – based in and around Perth – were pretty ruthless themselves in extending their influence over Galloway, Moray, the islands. (They tried taking Northumbria too, but the kings of England ended up winning most of that). The Clan Donald centre on Skye tells one such alternative reading of Scottish history, where the medieval oppressor was the *Scottish* monarch – well worth a visit. 

    105. CameronB says:

      “In the aftermath of the war, an imperial administration freed from accountability to a domestic electorate set about reconstructing an economy that was by then predicated unambiguously on gold. At the same time, British civil servants, municipal officials, and their cultural adjuncts were hard at work in the heartland of the former Boer Republics helping to forge new identities – first as ‘British South Africans’ and then, later still, as ‘white South Africans’.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Boer_War

    106. Fiona says:

      Stewart – I loved that, thank you.
       
      Very moving and powerful.
       
      I’ve been saying this to myself (albeit less eloquently) for years.

    107. Atypical_Scot says:

      Wow. Never knew some places in Scotland didn’t teach any of the above mentioned, how peculiar. I must be one of the lucky ones, I was never taught Willie was greater than Rabbie, Burns night was celebrated annually and one was expected to know a good few lines at least. School trips to Bannockburn, Arbroath, Stirling and Edinburgh are still crystal clear in my memory, not to mention the more local one day seminar style excursions – the Battle of Barry for example. Even as far back as 7 or 8, I remember the terrible fear of forgetting the lines to ‘The Puddock’. Oddly, until the age of 12, it was St Andrews that garnered me my history, the last place one would expect given the University’s recent omission of a certain great man. Moreover, the blessing two fold, my father is a proud Scot (albeit a proud Brit as well) relating historical facts that he too was taught at school. I feel strangely, emotionally exiled, almost ignorant of this particular longing that drives us to independence. Although I do empathise with those deprived of such facts which I have wrongly taken for granted as a universal gift to all Scots. 

    108. rabb says:

      This must deffinately be down to individual local authorities rather than “the system”.
       
      Like some others, I learned about the highland clearances, the Jacobite rising of 1745 & even William Wallace. All at high school it should be said. This was in what was formerly known as Monklands DC, a Labour stonghold at the time.
      I remember very little of primary school other than playing in the footy team on a Friday afternoon and manky school dinners!
       
      Could this have been down to teachers wandering off piste so to speak?

    109. Chic McGregor says:

      @Taranaich
      In fact with France being the crucible of re-civilization in Northern Europe after the set back of the Dark Ages, Scots had invited Norman-French families to settle in Scotland before 1066.  Including members of the de Bruis family, though not close relatives of the more famous later branch.
       
      Scotland had a centuries long association with France long before the official Auld Alliance  e.g. an on going ‘educational exchange program’ of sorts.
       
      For example, Barbour’s ‘The Bruce’ c 1375, has thousands of Parisian French loan words which were not used in Middle English (which had a lot of Norman French) loan words In Southern parts, although Caxton enshrined most of them into the English lexicon when printing arrived in England.

    110. Jamie Arriere says:

      I was lucky. My parents met at Glasgow Uni International Club and, surrounded by foreign students steeped in their own cultures songs stories dance & music, found themselves compelled to learn about their own. They both became teachers and became immersed in the Folk Revival – I spent much of my childhood being taken to folk festivals and learned that an old biddy singing an old ballad or a Burns song is far more affecting than the same song sung by Andy Stewart or Kenneth McKellar (or tartan rubbish as it was called).

      I have witnessed the change from my parents hanging around in pubs with dodgy long-haired types to the establishment of Scottish music degrees, schools of excellence and a growing infrastructure of traditional music which is seen as ‘cool’ by many young folk (eg all the great confident young people in National Collective).

      My folks took their knowledge to the classroom when they taught – my mum not only taught Scottish ballads, she would sing them. She taught them about Scots as well, and that it is a distinctive European language with a rich literary tradition. Learning and teaching culture off our own back has got us this far, when we all start learning our own history too as the SG is planning, it will only multiply.

    111. titchyboy85 says:

      Maybe it’s just the area I am from but my school houses were: Wallace, Bruce, Murray, Douglas. I was taught from primary school about the Wars of Independence and was raised in sight of The Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle and Bannockburn battlefield. I have heard it being said that Scottish history was suppressed. Maybe with me it was just a combination of more modern attitudes and the irrepressible proximity of said repressed history. Although that being said, I never paid much attention in history so may have deliberately repressed most of it.

    112. Craig P says:

      Clarification: Obviously the Clan Donald centre doesn’t major on the dastardly acts of the Scots king, but just seeing history from another perspective – neither English-British, nor Scottish, but MacDonald – makes you realise that things were a lot more complicated than at first sight, and that one Scot’s hero can be another’s villain. 

    113. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “O/T(ish) I made a poster to support this article.”

      NOW HE TELLS ME.

    114. Craig P says:

      Chic McGregor – I know you do cartoons, but have you ever thought of setting up some kind of  unknown history channel/blog/meeting/whitever? I know I would subscribe!

    115. Jock McDonnell says:

      Superb

    116. Dramfineday says:

      Thank you Stewart for a very thoughtful article. From the responses, I detect a thread of melancholy for things lost and children deceived.  But I also see that the melancholy is backed by a steel rod, that come 2014, will ensure that those things lost and denied us, will be brought forth to flourish again.

      No more denying our past, no mater what painful roads it takes us, no more subservience, no more too wee, too poor, too stupid.

    117. @Rev
      I only got around to it this morning! Lack of foresight there. SORRY!

    118. Jimbo says:

      “.Every Scottish child should be given a copy of John Prebble’s “The Lion In The North “ 
       
      That’ll be John Prebble, FRSL, OBE,  the English journalist and historian who, in reference to the 100 years war, tries to pass off a line from Shakespeare as historical fact, where he likens the Scots to ‘the weasel raiding the nest while the eagle is in flight’ – conveniently forgetting the fact that Scots fought in their tens of thousands against the English in France. The historian who thinks the slaughter inflicted upon Berwick by Edward I acceptable – but Wallace’s retaliations not.
       
      I found some of Prebble’s books not to be entirely ‘factual’. There are a great many other Scottish historians who are entirely more factual and readable IMO. Barrow, Duncan, McKay, Fisher, Scott (Paul), Brown (Chris), to name but a few.

    119. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      Here’s a wee link to the exploits of the Army of Scotland fighting the English Army in Southern France. [15th Century]. I do believe there are still French families still with Scottish surnames in that area.
      http://iainthepict.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/army-of-scotland-in-france.html
      When I get my Scottish passport I am going to be called ‘Archambault de Melros’
       

    120. cath says:

      “an old ballad or a Burns song is far more affecting than the same song sung by Andy Stewart or Kenneth McKellar”
       
      I’ve only recently got into traditional music and that’s one thing that has surprised me. There are now so many songs I know from hearing people sing them at festivals and folk nights. But you look them up on Spotify and all you find is Kenneth McKellar murdering them! And jings, one track of McKellar is enough to have the cringe laying you up for the rest of the day.

    121. JLT says:

      I mentioned this in a comment the other day there. If you want to know the history of Scotland. Read the following…
       
      Scotland by Magnus Magnusson
      The Scottish Enlightenment by Arthur Herman
      A history of Scotland by Neil Oliver
       
      I can promise you, that you will never look upon Scotland the same. It will be engrained on your soul. Our history before Union is just as brilliant as Englands. In an indy-Scotland, by Christ, I would hammer our history home to youngsters! Never again should our history be almost wiped out.

    122. Megalosaurus says:

       
      The common reply to demands of greater teaching of Scottish history is that it is too “parochial”.  
       
      However I have always found “British” history to be too parochial. It is inward looking and self obsessed. How can anyone understand the history of Britain unless they know something of wider European history?  
       
      When I finally had an opportunity to study Scottish history at University it was always set in this wider European context. This is the way history should always be presented; we should learn about the history of Scotland, yes, but also the history of how Scots have interacted with and helped shape the development of Europe. And, of course, how the history of Europe and the wider world has shaped Scotland.  
       
      So we should learn of the role Scots played on Crusade, in Spain, Sweden, France, in Germany and the Baltic, in England certainly, and, of course, further afield.
      John Grant, for example, the Scottish siege engineer who helped defend Constantinople during its final days in 1453, or how about John Stewart who led a Scottish Army (see Archie’s link above) in defense of France and who defeated the English at Bauge in 1421….
       
      Tis strange (it isn’t, is it?) how we hear so much of Agincourt (1415) but so little of Bauge (1421). Ha, it’s as if it never happened…. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Baug%C3%A9
       
      No, as I said. It’s “British” (it isn’t, is it?) history which is parochial; obsessed as it is only with world wars and beating the nasty Germans (or old Bonaparte), with the Tudors and their bluebeard-esque figurehead, with 1066 and all that… Thats the history i find parochial.

    123. The Man in the Jar says:

      A wee line that I am fond of.
      “If you think that you understand all of Scotland’s history then you have not been paying attention”!

    124. Dcanmore says:

      Only two things I got in reference to Scottish history (or Scotland at all) was one solitary Burns poem (The Sair Finger) in primary school and the runrig system of farming in first year at secondary school, that was it. This was in the 1970s/80s. All that I learned about Scotland came from my parents who were schooled in the 1940s. I first started delving into Scottish history on my own accord when, as a teenager, I bought with my first wage a monthly magazine ‘A History of Scotland’ (?) published by The Daily Record in the mid 80s. A real eye-opener, even a piece on the Stone of Destiny and the exploits of Ian Hamilton and friends, that got me started. I soon realised that I knew virtually nothing of my country in just about all aspects, history, geography, politics, language and culture. When I was young nobody wore a kilt for any occasion, it was part of the ‘cringe’ along with shortbread tins. I was once told by an uncle dismissively that the only people who wore tartan were American tourists and teuchters. That was a working-class Labour-dominated education for you.

    125. megsmaw06 says:

      I must’ve been at school while attitudes were changing in the 80s/90s. In primary we did topics on Skara Brae and learned about the Highland clearances through reading “The Desperate Journey” (My oldest daughter in P7 is reading the same book).

      In secondary we had a block on Burns and the Scots language and read novels by Scottish writers like Grassic Gibbon. We also did Shakespeare (MacBeth and Romeo & Juliet).

      In history we had the whole independence/Wallace/Bruce and a bit on 1707. We learned about the Scottish industrial revolution. We visited the Bannockburn centre/Stirling castle/Edinburgh castle/New Lanark frequently.

      When it came to doing the 1st world war, it was all related back to Scotland. Our history teacher was fantastic and she regularly raved about Braveheart after it came out. She seemed to love the film even though she knew it wasn’t quite accurate.
       

    126. GrutsForTea says:

      I used to think the Darien Scheme was next to Easterhouse.
      Sad, but in general knowledge I probably know more about the Great Fire of London than the Darien Scheme.

    127. David McEwan Hill says:

      Gordoz
      Know exactly where you are coming from. We have fielded five complaints so far from parents about anti independence attitudes being promoted in our local grammar school. It is becoming to persistent to be ignored any longer.

    128. David McEwan Hill says:

      Bill C
       
      You’re right on the money – but try to get most SNP members to believe you !

    129. gordoz says:

      David McEwan Hill says:
      And we both know the indidvidual behind this is in charge of Modern Studies (I take it ?)
      I find the situation pretty disgusting and nothing is being done.

    130. ianbrotherhood says:

      @Albalha (1.00pm) –
       
      re petition.
      Nice one.
      Signed. Currently has 294 names. 

    131. Seasick Dave says:

      Dave McEwan Hill
       
      I think I asked you this the other day and you may have replied but I have forgotten which thread I asked it on; my daughter has the same problem at her school with some very pro Union teachers pushing an anti independence agenda using some very pejorative language.
       
      How have you dealt with this problem at your school?

    132. G H Graham says:

      Stairheid (Candidate for First Minister of Scotland) says …
      “Stop yer girning. Ah had tae wait until ah was in ma 30’s before ah wiz intraduced tae real Scottish culture. Sidney Divine wiz ma faivrit.” 

    133. beachthistle says:

      Great piece, and the comments are also great – a history lesson in themselves!
      For instance the apparent changes in levels of British/Scottish history teaching according to when at school are interesting.
      I was at state primary school  1966 to 1972, comprehensive secondary 1973 to 1978. As per Stewart’s experience, hardly any Scottish history, loads of English masquerading as British. Seems from the posts that things were (relatively) better in the 1950s and 80s than the 60s and 70s?
      Wikipedia informs me that Labour was in government from 1964 to 1970  and from 1974 to 1979. 
      Is it just a coincidence that there seems to have been most/more BritNat/English history in Scottish curricula when Labour was in power in London? That there was more Scottish history ‘allowed’ under the Tories?
      Has got me wondering if education was completely devolved to Scottish local authorities in the 1960s and 70s  – or if curriculum content was a ‘Scottish Office’/Scottish Secretary of State/Governer General responsibility/power?
       

    134. Albalha says:

      Re educational establishments here’s the EC guidance, may be of help. May be worth giving them a call, Scotland EC, 0131 225 0200
      http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/157328/Scottish-referendum-education-briefing-June-2013.pdf
      @ianb
      Well, YES, every little helps!

    135. Simon says:

      The book that taught me most about the history of Scotland and England and the Union is “Uniting the Kingdom” edited by Grant and Stringer. I have seen remainder copies around recently. Its a series of essays on different historical times by serious historians, each one explaining how the relation between England and Scotland in that time affected their relationship. I don’t think the authors are all rabid nats but when you have finished you get a real sense of injustice and one-sidedness about all the goings on!

    136. Clancheif says:

      These are some of the things I used to think when I went to history asweel
      A wisnae interested in English history and telt the teacher that
      eventually he jist let me sit up the back and doodle oan my jotters or put ma heid doon and hae a wee kip cause he wis pissin against the wind tryin tae get me tae listen tae whit he wis tellin me

    137. PickledOnionSupper says:

      Thanks Stewart, a really well written piece. I think there is hope though, things seem to have improved in the last few years. My primary age kids have recently learnt about the vikings and the battle of Largs, and the history of Glasgow. They’ve also had Scots as their ‘language of the term’ and read Burns, and some excellent translations of the Roald Dahl books into Scots by James Robertson & Matthew Fitt. (Can also highly recommend James Robertson’s  ‘The Gruffalo’ in Scots for those of you with wee ones – even better than the English version!) 

    138. Lianachan says:

      Arguably the most important battle in Scottish history was fought in the Scottish Highlands in 685C.E., but I’d be surprised if many here could name it.

    139. Albalha says:

      @Lianachan
      Battle of Dunnichen? Is so do I get a prize?

    140. Lianachan says:

      That’s the one, but I bet you didn’t learn that at school.  I’m sorry, I must have left the prizes in my other jacket.

    141. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Lianachan – Talk about baiting a hook eh? And yes Albalha beat me to it. What I find interesting is the extent of Northumbrian influence then and subsequently during all the centuries later. As an aside, Dunnotar Castle mentioned in much of Scottish history.

    142. Albalha says:

      @Lianachan
      No it’s a Pictish thing. Some years ago I met Robbie the Pict and he reckoned my surname was Pictish in origin, maybe that’s a line he tells all the gals. Anyway, as we do come from Angus, I thought I’d look into Pictish history, that’s why I know. Hasten to add I met him while working!

      For anyone interested the theory goes that all names derivating from the Gaelic word baile, in my case it’s now bal, may have been changed from the Pictish word for place, settlement.

      I’ll wait ’til you find your other jacket!

    143. Barontorc says:

      @Taranaich is bang on the money. It borders on obsessive the way ‘Braveheart’, which was a Holywood movie made with a very distant interest in actual historical fact, but as a ripping good yarn loosely based on it, was roundly pilloried by the usual suspects.
       
      The fact that you could put the kettle on for more of the same belittlement from these same chancers over anything progressively Scottish merely points very directly at their real agenda, which is to keep Scotland in its place, as Rev Stu aptly titles-up this article.
       
      It’s certain that Scottish history for Scottish children was all but air-brushed from the education curriculum in favour of English historical fact, but why this was allowed to happen is frankly a mysterious ploy. If that is what it was, over these past few generations, what reasoning lay behind suppression of Scottish history education when the threat of national identity was at it’s least risky level in Union terms?
       
      Is there such an endless source of material for any  political research or anthropology student to delve into with this issue of England /Scotland historical crossover, or has it been so ravaged that actual detail is almost totally blurred.
       
      Darling on BBC lunchtime news quite ludicrously stated that the proposed twin oil fund by the Scottish Government was an admission that they could not balance the books if independent, because ‘they (the SG) have spent every penny of North Sea oil up to now’. And here was I thinking that all oil receipts went straight into Westminster’s coffers. Good old auntie Beeb’s very own Brian Taylor then led into an article on John Swinney, ‘ as a man under pressure’! Tell me this is NOT coordinated propaganda!

    144. Jamie Arriere says:

      Aye, but what would have happened if we’d won the Battle of Brunanburh in 937AD? Maybe it would be the English having a referendum next year!

    145. gordoz says:

      Dont forget the Battle of Largs folks !

    146. Lianachan says:

      @Albalha

      I’m unconvinced by that theory.  For the benefit of everybody else, I’ll not go into detail, and please excuse me if I’m stating the obvious, but one major obstacle is that the Gaelic baile element can be found in places where there’s no evidence of Pictish settlement.  Ireland, for a start.  Q-Celtic languages (like Irish, Manx and Gaelic) and P-Celtic languages (like Welsh, Cumbric and (almost certainly) Pictish) do share a common root and are the different legs of a single pair of language trousers though.  The most common P-Celtic element that means more or less the same as baile is tref – that’s tended to be Gaelicised as t(h)readh. 

    147. Tom Turpie says:

      What a pile of nationalist nonsense. Of course the teaching of history at school level in Britain 50+ years ago left much to be desired. So did the teaching of most subjects. Where was the history of the wider world, of women, of ethnic minorities? Things have changed considerably since then and now school children are taught a broad curriculum which includes a blend of World, European, British and local history. The purpose of history at school (and university) level should not be about nationalism or patriotism or inculcating ‘pride’ in a country, but about how societies in the past functioned. As a discipline history is also vitally important in teaching children key skills such as critical thinking.

      By force feeding Scottish children a nationalist (and incredibly old fashioned) version of ‘Scottish’ history based around dates and battles, which is the suggestion of many of the replies to this article, we would not be solving but repeating the errors that Mr Bremner rightly draws attention too.  

    148. Albalha says:

      @Lianachan
      Like I said I don’t know, just what RtP said, anyway at least it encouraged me to read up on Pictish history in some detail. Though Angus was over run by Picts, wasn’t it?

    149. Lianachan says:

      @Albalha
      Absolutely, yes.  I just wish the schools had taught Scottish history properly.  It doesn’t seem as bad as it used to be, but there’s still a long way to go.

    150. Chic McGregor says:

      Nechtansmere alternatively.

    151. Edward says:

      I had the same experiences during my primary and secondary education through the 60’s till early 70’s
       
      I cant remember being taught ANY Scottish history. The main teachings centred around 1066, battle of hastings, the tudors . The cultural side was Wordsworth and Shakespeare (including going to Hamlet during one of the Edinburgh Festivals)
       
      The was the odd bit about Mary Queen of Scots (exactly why do we call her that way as its a title that someone from outside Scotland would tend to say. Example being you don’t hear ‘Elizabeth I, Queen of English’, do you?
       
      It wasn’t until I started doing family genealogy, that I started to find out more about my countries history. Though never did find if we were related to anyone of note.
       
      When I recently researched a Portuguese friend’s genealogy, it became jaw dropping with Scottish history become more rich and colourful, with aspects that many are not aware off
       
      1066 did actually crop up as my Portuguese friend was descended from a Hungarian prince who was escorting Princess Margaret. Margaret was the daughter of the English prince, Edgar Ætheling  was in exile in Hungary and returned to England to lay claim to the throne. Unfortunately it also happened to coincide with a certain Norman, called William the Bastard (his parents weren’t married and that was his name before becoming William the Conqueror). Edgar Ætheling  was slain and his widow Agatha and children fled north and set sail from Northumberland to return to Hungary.
       
      They were blown off course and ended up near the village of North Queensferry. The rest as they say is history as King Malcolm, newly widowed was introduced and took a shine to Margaret who he married. The young Hungarian prince who provided escort, was awarded lands and title and become Drummond . The Drummond line are very closely intertwined with the Stuart dynasty. Turned out my friend is also directly descended from King William the Lion as well as a cousin to Robert the Bruce.
       
      The Portuguese connection is due to one of the Drummond’s becoming a knight errand and joining what was a large Scottish army to help the French in defeating Henry V. This was to become le garde ecosse. (same battles that Joan of Arc took part in) http://jean-claude.colrat.pagesperso-orange.fr/ecossais.htm
       
      Anyway the point I’m saying is, dig deep and you will find more colour and richness. It is knowing this that irritates me , when , as a licence fee payer I’m subjected to constant documentaries by the BBC on various minor history and the BC commissioning series such as the ‘White Queen’ and ‘The Tudors’. Ignoring completely the history of Scotland, with its connections to France and Scandinavia

    152. Lianachan says:

      O/T – BBC report on the latest disgraceful announcement from Call Me Dave. Open to comments.
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24369514
       
      @Chic McGregor – It only became known as Nechtansmere because Bede called it that and as a result of the Anglo-centric history we’ve all been talking about.  Contemporary reports refer to Dun Nechtain, Dunnichen or Lin Garan and almost everybody has adopted “Dunnichen” now.

    153. Helpmaboab says:

      Is it just me or is Henry VIII of England a jarring choice as a poster-boy for ‘British Heritage’.

      He was after all a brutal and unstable tyrant. He waged ruthless campaigns in Scotland, France and Ireland. The eupemistically-named ‘Rough Wooing’ of our own country was particularly brutal. He executed two of his wives and countless other unfortunates. He destroyed much of England’s cultural heritage with the dissolution of its monasteries.

      But of course he also founded the Royal Navy and the Church of England, so all is forgiven!

    154. eva says:

      Brilliant article followed by very impressive and helpful comments – thank you!

      I started school in the mid60s and had a renegade teacher who taught us about Bruce and the spider and Mary Queen of Scots – everything else at Primary level was British or English.

      Later we had the usual 1066, Wars of the Roses, the Tudors and Stuarts from an English perspective only. The solitary mention of Scotland was 1760-1820 which concentrated on farming and linen production. Culloden and its aftermath were never as much as whispered, just completely ignored.

      For O grade History we had the First World War, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Gavrilo Princip, the battleship Potemkin, Rasputin and the Romanovs,the list was endless, highly informative, but again completely excluded the Scottish contribution and the Scottish losses.

      In English we had Shakespeare rammed down our throats and had to learn at least one play every year; the only concession to our Scots heritage was overseen by the headmaster, who I think now must have been a careful Nationalist, as he insisted on annual prizes for the recitation of Burns, though we rarely studied Burns in class as that was a voluntary club outside school hours.

      We didn’t learn about Ireland or any of the colonies brutalised and plundered by the British Empire, nor did we hear at any time of Scottish political history. Eventually in 3rd year, in the mid70s, we had a trip to London to see the Pompeii exhibition, followed by a trip to the House of Commons where we met the late Harry Ewing MP. Our class got to sit in the actual House in the visitors’ gallery- I cannot now remember what was being debated, but my teenage disgust at the mainly empty seats and the braying laughter of the MPs who had bothered to turn up was matched only by the rage I felt at then being taken to the Albert Hall for the Proms, standing in the upper gallery listening to “Land of Hope and Glory.” I knew that place, London, was alien to where I was growing up and, as others more eloquent than me have said here and on other posts, Westminster was out of touch with us in Scotland. 

      By then I had listened to the Corries blasting “Flower of Scotland” from a 45 on my parents’ radiogram and I learned from my parents about Wallace, Bruce, 1745, the Clearances, our Scots diaspora and  I watched “The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil.” I made friends in the SNP and beyond who helped to teach and preserve our nation’s history, culture and language.

      My son now learns Scottish history in primary school, he can study Gaelic if he wants, and poetry lessons include Burns and other great Scots writers. I am so heartened that times are changing, but this has mainly only come about as the result of the political progress made by the Independence movement. Our nation’s heritage is one to be taught openly and with pride and, in terms of achievements of many famous and pioneering Scots, shouted from our rooftops. That there has been secrecy and censorship for generations is shameful. 

      So, I apologise for this lengthy haver, but must conclude by expressing my gratitude for the historians, artists, engineers and thinkers who post here and elsewhere and agitate for the right of our children to live in a country where self-determination means that all Scots will become educated honestly and openly about the Scots, how our nation was born, and what the Scots identity truly means to Scotland and to the world at large.

    155. Andrew Morton says:

      @Ian
      I’ve only just got home and read your entry about the old lady. When I was a pupil at the old Royal High School in the sixties, our Rector used to invite speakers in to address the boys. One day we had Wendy Wood address us after assembly (Google her if you’re under fifty). In her tartan rigout she looked very eccentric to us boys and she talked about how Scotland should be independent.

      When I got home I was telling my parents about her visit and how nutty she seemed. My father (whom I had always assumed to be a Tory voter), “You should respect her as she has kept this country alive.”

      Then Winnie Ewing won Hamilton and I became committed to the cause of independence. 

      I used to listen to the Chinese talking about Cultural Imperialism but I never understood what it was until I realised it was being done to us, and, worse, that many of my fellow Scots were complicit.

    156. Albalha says:

      I realise how little of my schooling penetrated reading the rest of you. At a personal level I’d a relative who took part in the Bothy Nichts, once even on the tele. A Burns, Scottish music obsessed father, Rabbie Shepherd was a must listen, gosh I even met Jimmy Shand as a child, me not him.

      We did some Scottish history early on, for Higher History, 1979, I wrote reams about the Russian and French revolutions, and Higher English I remember learning quote upon quote from Macbeth.

      Anyway off now to the GladCafe, hope to see some of you there.

    157. Euan Mackenzie says:

      Tom Turpie says:
      2 October, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      What a pile of nationalist nonsense. Of course the teaching of history at school level in Britain 50+ years ago left much to be desired. So did the teaching of most subjects. Where was the history of the wider world, of women, of ethnic minorities? Things have changed considerably since then and now school children are taught a broad curriculum which includes a blend of World, European, British and local history. The purpose of history at school (and university) level should not be about nationalism or patriotism or inculcating ‘pride’ in a country, but about how societies in the past functioned. As a discipline history is also vitally important in teaching children key skills such as critical thinking.
      By force feeding Scottish children a nationalist (and incredibly old fashioned) version of ’Scottish’ history based around dates and battles, which is the suggestion of many of the replies to this article, we would not be solving but repeating the errors that Mr Bremner rightly draws attention too.  
       
      Hey Tom,  
      While I completely agree with you regarding how history should be taught I think you are being a little harsh here.  
       
      What you describe as “nationalist nonsense”… Most of the people who are posting here have not had the privilege of studying history at a university level, heck some of them might not even have studied it past a primary level. Can you blame them if they view the subject as “dates and battles?”   
       
      What they are expressing is a genuine anger at not being taught anything of the history of the country they grew up in. And this is not just about history teaching from 50 years ago; I can assure you I recognise much of what is being said from my experiences in the 80s and 90s.  
       
      The secondary history teaching i experienced in the early 90s was appalling. Though this was more due to method rather than subject.

    158. Earlier in the year I attended a gathering at a stone monument not far from my home. It marked a battle between Wales and the Saxons, we defeated them.

      As I stood there I thought how odd it was that I was never taught about this or any other battle between my people and the foreigners from across the border.

      Even worse was the fact that I could see the school I attended from where the stone was. Not far from that school was my primary school where I would have been when the stone was unveiled in the 1980s. Like most people I learnt about the castles of Wales that were built by these foreigners. Although at the time I was never taught why they were built. We often went on trips to these castles.

      Apparently Malcom X once said that only a fool would let his enemy educate his children. This explains why many of us grow up to be Stockholm Syndrome suffering, brainwashed BritNats.

    159. Taranaich says:

      @Craig P: Once we get our own nation again, I anticipate a renewed interest in ‘regional’ history. The early Scottish kings – based in and around Perth – were pretty ruthless themselves in extending their influence over Galloway, Moray, the islands. (They tried taking Northumbria too, but the kings of England ended up winning most of that). The Clan Donald centre on Skye tells one such alternative reading of Scottish history, where the medieval oppressor was the *Scottish* monarch – well worth a visit.

      Absolutely. That’s one of the things that bugs me about the whole “Shetlanders/Orcadians aren’t really Scottish because they were ruled by Norway until 1468” pseudo-argument: if you look far back enough, most of Scotland “wasn’t really Scottish.” The Western Isles weren’t part of the Kingdom of Scotland until 1266, does that mean they’re “not really Scottish”? Strathclyde was a separate kingdom until 945, decades after the traditional foundation of the Kingdom of Scotland: is Strathclyde “not really Scottish”?

      @Chic McGregor: In fact with France being the crucible of re-civilization in Northern Europe after the set back of the Dark Ages, Scots had invited Norman-French families to settle in Scotland before 1066.  Including members of the de Bruis family, though not close relatives of the more famous later branch.
       
      Scotland had a centuries long association with France long before the official Auld Alliance  e.g. an on going ‘educational exchange program’ of sorts.
       
      For example, Barbour’s ‘The Bruce’ c 1375, has thousands of Parisian French loan words which were not used in Middle English (which had a lot of Norman French) loan words In Southern parts, although Caxton enshrined most of them into the English lexicon when printing arrived in England.

      Naturally.

      @PickledOnionSupper:  They’ve also had Scots as their ‘language of the term’ and read Burns, and some excellent translations of the Roald Dahl books into Scots by James Robertson & Matthew Fitt.

      Spooky, I picked up a copy of “The Eejits” yesterday. Complements my copy of Herge’s “The Derk Isl” beautifully.

      As a Robert E. Howard fan, I’ve often pondered translating his stories & poems involving the Scots & Picts into Scots: I know several individuals who personally translated his work into Spanish, Swedish, French and German. Why not?

      @Lianachan: Arguably the most important battle in Scottish history was fought in the Scottish Highlands in 685C.E., but I’d be surprised if many here could name it.

      Och, here we go again about Dunnichen. Can’t you see we here at Wings simply aren’t interested in Scottish history? In all seriousness, though, I definitely agree that it’s crucial to the formation of Scotland. For a while I pondered doing a blog about The Ten Decisive Battles of Scottish History (tip of the hat to Creasy)

      @Barontorc: @Taranaich is bang on the money. It borders on obsessive the way ‘Braveheart’, which was a Holywood movie made with a very distant interest in actual historical fact, but as a ripping good yarn loosely based on it, was roundly pilloried by the usual suspects.

      Thanks, Barontorc!

      @Helpmaboab: Is it just me or is Henry VIII of England a jarring choice as a poster-boy for ‘British Heritage’.

      I was going to comment on it myself, but got caught up with Scottish history!  Really, Henry VIII was an atrocious king even to the English: bloody Edward Longshanks would’ve been a better choice than Henry – at least he laid the foundations for the Magna Carta, among other things that were good for the English.

    160. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Tom Turpie – Your opening sentence is a bit evocative and I am sure you designed it that way. i will choose to ignore it on the grounds that the majority of the posters on this thread are talking about personal scholastic experiences.
      However, in your post you mentioned the 50+ years way it was but is not now and I assume you mean the recent Curriculum For Excellence as promoted by the SG.
      Now are you suggesting that the CfE is being followed by all schools in Scotland? Is it solely restricted to Higher students or has the funding been extended to Primary classes? Are there definitive guidelines given to local Education Authorities or is it left up to whatever enthusiastic persuasion taken up by a Modern Studies teacher?
      Your final paragraph about the ‘force feeding’ of Scottish children with dates and battles is also somewhate evocative and any good teacher would never go down that line.
      Finally, I agree with you regarding ‘critical thinking’ and I do hope that this is what is happening now. Subjective analysis, questioning sources, assimilation of evidence forming a sound opinion is always good.

    161. thomas says:

      Thank you stuart for a brilliant piece . well said.
      @ taranaich , the relevance of 1066 indirectly to scotland was the arrival in our country of the norman elite. Unlike england wales and ireland , they were invited in instead of conquering us. It was the normans who destroyed scotland as a gaelic country under the ancient brehon law system and imposed feudalism , and their descendants who ultimately paved the way for the unpopular union. They were also responsible for the creation of the highland lowland cultural divide.
      I disagree with you that thousand of saxons fled to scotland after 1066. There is simply no evidence for this. some saxon nobles and their serfs did come north to seek refuge at malcolms court , like queen margaret and her brother who was rejected by the saxons as the aetheling because his english language skills were so poor , being a native hungarian speaker.
      Inglis spread in the burghs , which remained little more than international trading villages for centuries in a sea of gaidhlig speakers , through cultural osmosis rather than southern scotland being migrated to ,  as is the popular myth by english people. outwith the lammermuir hills area there were no english  speakers of any numbers before 1400.
      The suppression of our countrys beautifull history goes back centuries , from the problem of the early picts lack of written records to the destruciton and theft of scottish documents under edward 1 , the reformation and cromwell. During the 18th century historians like william robertson dismissed the past before 1688 as a dark story of barbarism , religious fanatascism and anarchy as well as the emphatic denial of scotlands gaidhlig past. 
      Even inglis , which became known as scots after 1500 , had to be rooted out. Our “imperfect knowledge of the english language “as it was put by the select society in 1761. 
      we are blessed with a beautifull country and history and more importantly people , and cursed with those among us who talk us down and wish to ape the manners , customs and language of our neighbours to our south. We must never let our history and languages die or independance or no the saxon influence in these islands will have won.

    162. Taranaich says:

      Sorry, missed this:

      @Tom Turpie: What a pile of nationalist nonsense.

      For future reference, Tom, I’d like to know what you found particularly “nationalist” and “incredibly old fashioned” about it. I ask because I genuinely despise the nasty, insular type of nationalism which I want an independent Scotland to reject, and it would be good to know what is problematic.

      Of course the teaching of history at school level in Britain 50+ years ago left much to be desired. So did the teaching of most subjects. Where was the history of the wider world, of women, of ethnic minorities? Things have changed considerably since then and now school children are taught a broad curriculum which includes a blend of World, European, British and local history.

      Which is a good thing, though I don’t think that just because history left a lot to be desired across the board invalidates the fact that local history got a raw deal. And as has been said, this is not restricted to problems from 50+ years ago.

      The purpose of history at school (and university) level should not be about nationalism or patriotism or inculcating ‘pride’ in a country, but about how societies in the past functioned. As a discipline history is also vitally important in teaching children key skills such as critical thinking.

      The purpose of history is to ensure that the next generation know what happened in the past, so that they could learn from it. I don’t see how it has to be an either/or situation, unless inculcating “pride” in a country is unwarranted. I can think of examples (i.e. trying to sell an oppressive regime as a good thing, underplaying historical horrors, etc), but pride in the achievements of humanity does include Scotland’s achievements. The problem many see here is that Scotland’s achievements have been underrepresented in comparison to education in other countries. Could you imagine a US school not teaching anything about US history beyond the Revolutionary Wars and abolition? A French school that doesn’t go beyond the revolution? Then why shoudl Scottish schoolchildren

      By force feeding Scottish children a nationalist (and incredibly old fashioned) version of ’Scottish’ history based around dates and battles, which is the suggestion of many of the replies to this article, we would not be solving but repeating the errors that Mr Bremner rightly draws attention too. 

      Who here has suggested that dates and battles should be the only thing, or even the focus, Scottish children learn? The reason we’re talking about them is because those things are what is being set by the syllabus in these scenarios – and they’re not even Scottish battles and dates at that. If you’re being taught about 1066, Shakespeare etc, then responding in kind with 1314, Burns etc shows that Scotland’s history in those areas is just as rich. At no point did I see anyone say Scotland’s history should be restricted to such matters, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone on the site who would object to a greater emphasis on Scottish contributions to science, art, economics, languages and more.

      I’m not being sarcastic here, I genuinely want to know what you find so objectionable about Stewart’s “nationalist” and “incredibly old fashioned” version of “Scottish” history – particularly, I would like to know what your insistence of putting “Scottish” history in quotation marks is about.

    163. Helpmaboab says:

      @Welsh not British,
      I’m reminded of that fine description of Caernarfon Castle,
      ‘The most magnificent badge of our subjection’
      Cultural Imperialism was not unknown even the fourteenth century. The castles of Wales however should be an inspiration. (If not for entirely happy reasons.)
       

    164. Taranaich says:

      @thomas:  It was the normans who destroyed scotland as a gaelic country under the ancient brehon law system and imposed feudalism , and their descendants who ultimately paved the way for the unpopular union. They were also responsible for the creation of the highland lowland cultural divide.

      Sadly true. I did say the Norman’s weren’t great for Scotland, even if their takeover was relatively bloodless (in that there wasn’t any official bloodletting).

       I disagree with you that thousand of saxons fled to scotland after 1066. There is simply no evidence for this. some saxon nobles and their serfs did come north to seek refuge at malcolms court , like queen margaret and her brother who was rejected by the saxons as the aetheling because his english language skills were so poor , being a native hungarian speaker.

      “Thousands” was an overstatement on my part: I’m probably confusing them with the already existing Saxon communities established by Northumbria/Bernicia in Lothian. Apologies for that blunder!

      The suppression of our countrys beautifull history goes back centuries , from the problem of the early picts lack of written records to the destruciton and theft of scottish documents under edward 1 , the reformation and cromwell. During the 18th century historians like william robertson dismissed the past before 1688 as a dark story of barbarism , religious fanatascism and anarchy as well as the emphatic denial of scotlands gaidhlig past.
      Even inglis , which became known as scots after 1500 , had to be rooted out. Our “imperfect knowledge of the english language “as it was put by the select society in 1761.
      we are blessed with a beautifull country and history and more importantly people , and cursed with those among us who talk us down and wish to ape the manners , customs and language of our neighbours to our south. We must never let our history and languages die or independance or no the saxon influence in these islands will have won.

      Agreed. Just today I saw a Gaelic class holding a stand in the town centre: plenty of people hanging about the table, and I even heard a few conversations in Gaelic. Gaelic as a language and a culture is as richly deserving of a revival as Welsh is. And as you point out, Gaelic WAS oppressed, as surely as any language or culture could be oppressed, by law and by social tendencies.

    165. arealscot says:

      I also remember the pro union ,colonial methods of teaching in the 60’s and 70’s. I also will never forget the beltings and assaults that were commonplace for daring to speak in Scots dialect,even at 5 yrs old. Any lawyers out there fancy the challenge?

    166. kininvie says:

      I would prefer to think of the Normans as a mixed blessing. They turned Scotland towards Europe, and gave it the institutions – feudalism – monastic learning – etc which enabled Scotland to compete on equal terms with the developing European polities. The downside was the destruction of Celtic Scotland – in particular the Columban church.
      Maybe it’s interesting to compare the history of Ireland. True, things have evened themselves up of late (!) but for most of Medieval & Renaissance times, Ireland was something of a blank space in the history of Europe – while Scotland wasn’t. I think we have the Normans to thank for that

    167. Shinty says:

      Sorry O/T but I have a query over on quarantine which hopefully some of you historians can clear up.
      Apologies if I seem a complete dimwit.

    168. Bill Dryden says:

      I went to Dundee High School from 1955 to 1966. Our History lessons consisted of ignoring Scotland’s heritage apart from a few footnotes, but generally speaking, it was swept under the carpet. 
      It wasn’t until I left school that I found out about Scotland’s past. I suspect that the pro-Union type of lessons we had were a deliberate ploy to make sure we would not question any thoughts of Independence. A conspiracy theory? Possibly.
       

    169. Haggistrap says:

      When you realise what has been concealed and why, is one of the greatest factors in converting No to Yes.

    170. a supporter says:

      @Tom Turpie: What a pile of nationalist nonsense.”
      And what a pile of Brit Nat nonsense from Tom Turpie. A country’s history is like a person’s memories of his life. It exists and none of it can nor should be ignored and none of it should be forgotten. It is what you and your ancestors were born and bred from and it is the height of stupidity to try to disown your own country’s history and replace it with that of another country. That is what conquering tyrants do.
      And History in my school of 1950s was extensive and included most of the important parts of world history dating back to ancient Babylon and beyond. And importantly for me it also included detailed Scottish history. And even more importantly it was always taught from a Scottish perspective.

    171. Chic McGregor says:

      @Lianachan
       
      I know, I just prefer the word Nechtansmere.
       
       

    172. Alimack says:

      I was at high school in the 1990s- we were taught Scottish history in 1st and 2nd year particularly even got to use the home economics cookers during one history lesson to brown the paper and heat up the wax for the seals on our own declarations of Arbroath having earlier copied out the famous lines. 3rd year on it was more European generally- famines witch hunts plague right up to end of 2nd world war by 5th year

    173. Ann says:

      Boy did I dislike Shakespeare or what?

      Julius Cesar, McBeth.  How did one man manage to give one of our most successful kings such a bad write up?

      My Scottish schooling in the late 60’s and early 70’s was the standard I would presume with the Agricultural Revolution and Industrial Revolutions which changed Scotland in the mix, but not really any out and out stand alone Scottish history.

      It was popping into McPherson’s bookshop in Dunfermline that started my route to finding Scotland’s distant past and it all started with The Bruce by Nigel Tranter.   This instilled in me an interest of the Wars of Independence.

      I then started looking backwards to the Picts, the Vikings, the Irish settlers all who in one way or another left their mark and made Scotland what it is today.

      Then I went further back in time, away back to the Neolithic Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland and the Brochs, the black houses and white houses of Arnol.

      There is much, much more, but of all the above the most poignant, moving and sorrowing place for me is Culloden. 

      When I visited the battlefield for the very first time. I was struck by the silence.  No birds, no voices, even the noise of the cars on the near by road were muted.

      I had to find out about that and that was my next road to discovering the consequences of defeat and about the Highland Clearances.
      If only Charlie hadn’t turned back.

      Scotland’s past and present makes one both proud and ashamed, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

      I always said to my daughter when she was young “That you have to know where you came from to know where you are going.”

    174. thomas says:

      @ taranaich many thanks pal
       
      @ kinivie  The Normans were a mixed blessing. Scotland as an old celtic nation could never have stayed static without new outside influences and  ideas. Trouble was they were both good and bad. I would argue culturally the Normans , as well as socially were bad for the ordinary scot.  We went , like the irish , from the more democratic instiutions of the brehon law system  , with the basis of power in the decisions of the people , as expressed by the irish and scots in “is treise tuath no tighearna” – a people is stronger than a lord , the election of kings under tanistry to  feudalism , the horror of the disenfranchised serf and the divine right of kings under primogeniture. The old celtic system was much more democratic than what was introduced by the Normans , especially the privatising of much of Scotland by the bruce after Bannockburn. The idea of private land ownership was unknown is Scotland before the Normans.

      The death of the old celtic church and the introduction of the roman catholic church under feudal control from rome  was another blow , which the scots were later to reject centuries later.

      I disagree about Ireland. Dark age Europe looked to Ireland as the place of light and learning for centuries , and the struggle of the irish people , who suffered much worse than we ever did , under the Normans , tudors and Cromwell , is well known and the reason why the country descended into chaos during  8 centuries of conflict. Those poor people still managed to get out from Westminster control before us , much to my admiration.  Transportation , placed on a reservation west of the Shannon and contrived starvation , is a wonder Ireland exists today never mind has a history , like us to be blessed with.

    175. Big Al says:

      Seems we all share a lack of education in our own country. Not having much choice in the matter I was schooled in england in the late 70’s/early 80’s. My experience is the same as the author. Even with my school having knowledge of my different ethnic origins not a solitary item was taught associating the history of Scotland and England. Plantagenets, Tudors, Shakespeare ( I lived in Stratford upon Avon) and even the school play for my year was 1066 and all that. I had at least two parts in it that I recall. A Roman Legionnaire and a Constable apprehending the sanest man to ever enter Westminster, Mr Guido Fawkes. I only discovered recently that one of the authors of that book was the grandson of a Mr Patrick Sellar, factor to the Duke of Sutherland, active in the atrocity that was the Highland clearances a man who’s name I have urinated on more than once in a certain Partick Bar.

      All of this ‘eduction’ was to further one aim: the homogenization of the Empire; one book, one Narrative – your culture is worthless in comparison to that of England so you must not know of it.

      I can also tell you from experience that similar things happened in New Zealand to the Maori: Today their culture is resurgent with the teaching of Te Reo Maori in many immersion schools; However their creation narrative is still subject to the butchering of the empire, it was distilled to a few key points where previously different tribes had different stories.

      We are not alone in the abuse of our cultures by the empire. It has to stop.

    176. Old mikey says:

      Another great book to read on Scotland’s history is ‘Sunset song’ by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. Written just after the great war, and voted by the public in 2005, the best Scottish book of all time. It is written in the scots vernacular and deals with the war and it’s effect on Scotland, and then goes back through history

    177. Chic McGregor says:

      Don’t think anyone knows for sure how many A-S refugees fled to Scotland after the NQ, but ‘thousands’ is not an uncommon guesstimate.
       
      The WoI, in terms of enthusiasm of support by the common people, were as much to do with anti-feudalism as national identity I suspect.  Unfortunately, since history of the common people was not written but conveyed in song and folk lore, what the common class really thought is largely unknown for sure.
       
      However one verifiable fact is that the issue of arrest warrants for escaped serfs, a frequent occurrence everywhere under Norman feudalism, stopped in Scotland effectively as the WoI ended whereas in England, such warrants continued to be frequently released for another hundred years.
       
      There were, of course, attempts at organised revolt against the feudal system in England as well, as e.g. recorded by the Scottish chronicler, Adam of Wyntoun who noted two bands of resistance fighters there, one led by one ‘Robert Hude’ which is probably the first historical evidence that such a personage existed.  But these, evidently failed.  They did not have the a commensurate fight for national survival as a focus, along with the leverage that gave the common people, as was the case in Scotland.
       
       
       
       

    178. kininvie says:

      @Chic
      I know, I just prefer the word Nechtansmere.
       
      So agree. It seems to come straight from Aurthurian epics…even if it doesn’t.

    179. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Seasick Dave (at 3.07)
       
      Being discussed by a couple of us on next post. We’ll move on it now, particularlyas the Better Together mob has had the effontery to launch their campaign in our Grammar School which is meeting with a very mixed reaction.
       
      I think we’ll probably haver to go public in due course because stopping it now has no effect on those who have already been infected. We will be organising a young persons Q&A session 

    180. Morag says:

      Don’t knock Kenneth MacKellar.

    181. Barrach says:

      In a school in the Hebrides we learnt about a great English “bard” called Shakespeare. We didn’t learn about the great Gaelic bàird of our own country.
      When you teach Shakespeare and not Burns, TS Elliot and not MacDiarmid, Auden and not Sorley MacLean, whatever the undisputed quality of these foreign writers, you are making a political judgement that the local greats are not worthy of being taught.
       

    182. Reider O'Doom says:

      Back in 1992, while I was working in Uganda, I was speaking with a local schoolkid one day. What have you been learning at the school today? asks I. History, says she. That must be interesting, says I, how far back in Uganda’s past do they teach you about?  Oh, we don’t learn about Uganda’s history, she replied, matter of factly, we’ve been learning about Henry the 8th and his six wives.
      I was initially staggered, but that day a wee light came on in my head. I was taught somebody else’s history, just like that wee African lassie. There’s a reason they teach us their history at the expense of our own.
      Shakespeare, not Scott. Robin Hood, not Rob Roy, Alfred the Great, not Kenneth McAlpine.
      There’s a reason.

    183. Barontorc says:

      @Big Al says – and agreed. The Lismore Bar in Partick is to be roundly complimented for providing such an outlet, although some of our more feminist companions feel distinctly disadvantaged, to be sure. It is a gem!

    184. Jamie Arriere says:

      @Morag
       
      Kenneth McKellar – world-class tenor voice, greatest Scottish operatic singer of the 20th century. His recording of Maria from West Side Story – simply sublime!
       
      But we had hundreds (nay thousands) of great traditional singers to sing the Scottish stuff – that’s my main beef

    185. G H Graham says:

      The photo showing a painting of Henry 8th indicates it was painted around 1540 and is joined to the right with half a Union Flag.
      Great Britain or indeed Britain did not exist until 1606 when James VI of Scotland took over the English throne. Politically the parliament took another 101 years to merge. The Union flag in the form shown did not appear until 1801 although its roots are of 1606 vintage.
      Pedantic perhaps, but it gives the impression that the flag & Henry are contemporary when they are not. And Henry was never King of Great Britain, no more than Elizabeth II is Queen of England despite what Americans & indeed many English think. Queen Anne was the last Queen of England but that was in 1707, the same year Scottish & English parliaments merged.
      Henry’s legacy then is a purely English one so it would make perfect sense to have an English flag next to him. The subliminal mixing up and blending of English and British history/culture is annoying, lazy & patronising.

    186. G H Graham says:

      And I’ll confirm that history taught to me at school was heavily based around Roman England, the Saxons, Hastings, Henry 8th etc. Was told nothing about the clan system, the pre Scottish kingdoms, Lords of the Isles, Viking culture, Gaelic culture, the Scots language, Burns, not even that Unionist stalwart, Scott. Not a peep about the revolutions, Jacobites, James I-VI, Charles 1 & II or indeed any Kings of Scotland, including The Bruce.
      No mention of the huge craze for building royal castles or clan fortresses from 11th century on or even the bloody great Caledonian Canal. The MOD? Never heard of it until after leaving school. Was dragged to Hadrians wall yet ignored Antonine wall even though it was only 4 miles away. Unbelievable. Musical instruments were restricted to classics; no fiddle, no snare drum, no pipes, no bodhram, no harp. Scottish folk music and poetry completely ignored such that I was barely aware they existed until I left school. Never once was a kilt or a sporran mentioned or explained. Had no idea that Ibrox, Glasgow & many places I lived in were originally of Gaelic origin until later in life.  Doric? Eh, what?
      Conspiracy? Probably not. Wilful? Absolutely. Shameful? Yes. Angry? Sort of but working hard to counter the British propaganda I was spoon fed during my development years. Stopped watching that BBC shite years ago and wont pay for a license so I cannot be conditioned anymore by the British state. I hope my history teacher finds these pages & hangs her sorry head in shame. The Scottish Cringe is so fucking real it should be listed as a condition in a medical book.

    187. Calgacus says:

      The Normans who were invited here were in fact Flemish, descendants of Charlemagne and hated by the usurpers of the English throne. Many thousands fought and died for Scottish liberty in the wars of independence 

    188. CapnAndy says:

      I recently read about the battle of Pitreavie. This was no small event, yet being brought up as a youngster in Dunfermline I never heard of this. I was treated to a diet of Trafalger, Agincourt and the English Civil War.
      Did get Mons Graupius and the early Scottish royals, but that’s as far as it went. Even coverage of Robert the Bruce was fairly sketchy. I’m only now starting to realise what I’ve missed.

    189. PickledOnionSupper says:

      @Archie [not Erchie] Yes, the Curriculum for Excellence runs right through school, so for primary (and nursery) as well as secondary.   I seem to remember a few years back a bit of a stushie in the press about the new history syllabus being ‘nationalist propaganda’. Don’t recall the same commentators worrying about it perhaps previously being ‘unionist propaganda’!  

    190. Barontorc says:

      It’s surely a strange situation that history taught over the past few generations seems specifically to have avoided or at best paid only a passing glance to Scottish history while focus was firmly kept on all things English.
       
      What kind of curriculum rigor was exercised that allowed history to be pushed at the whim of a teacher? Now we seem to be much more aware of this issue, it will be very interesting to see just how this subject is now put to our up-coming children. 
       
      As Pickled Onion mentions above there was indeed a stushie in the press about the new history syllabus being ‘nationalist propaganda’. Doncha, just love them to bits?

    191. Just to be clear, I was schooled in Midlothian from the late ’70s through to the early ’90s. To further clarify: I am not a Nationalist, I am not a member of the SNP. I don’t think to take an interest in my own country is in any way Nationalist. If fact, it’s pretty insulting to infer that it is.

      When I was at primary school, we took a day trip to Edinburgh and wrote about it the next day. It was the only time I can recall being taught something about Scotland. Everything I have learned of my own country, was learned in spite of my schooling.

      What is curious is that even when writing this, references to history dominated those about culture, much is the same with the comments. It makes me think that, while interest in our history has risen, perhaps it is still not the case with our own culture.

      For example, I’ve been fairly obsessed with music since my teens and have a large collection. Large. Yet, the only Scottish music that I own is really just by default. The Jesus and Mary Chain, for all their brilliance, don’t owe any of their sound to their Scotland. Why has it taken a quarter of a century for me to show any interest in the rich heritage of Scottish music? Was it because the only time I experienced it during my schooling was through the trauma of Scottish Highland dancing – not that anyone explained what ‘Highland’ was – where we had to interact with girls?!

      It was the same with art and writing, of course. In primary school we had a brief, one day, encounter with Burns’ Tam O’ Shanter and that was it. Scotland didn’t exist in writing, unless you want to mention Macbeth. I remember thinking it was strange to be reading something set in my country, while at the same time having no idea that the language spoken was almost certainly quite inaccurate. Imagine the joy of my late teens, when I found Iain Banks, writing (mostly) about the country in which I live.

      I’m an abstract artist. I’ve been interested in art my whole life. As far as my schooling went, you’d be forgiven for thinking no one in Scotland as much as lifted a brush. It was only later that I learned that we did, indeed, have an art history in Scotland. Even so, it was only last year that I discovered that there was a Scottish abstract artist, William Johnstone, who was contemporaneous with the great 20th century abstract movement.

      As I wrote earlier, I am not advocating teaching of our culture and history at the expense of all others. I just hope that future generations do not leave education so bereft of a knowledge of their country’s worth.

      Thank you all who commented (and read this far!).

    192. D Campbell says:

      Like DMyers, I was educated in Clydebank but earlier – 50s and 60s, and in primary school received a comprehensive grounding in Scottish history. I remember especially, being taught about Alexander III and the battle of Largs, the Maid of Norway and extensive details from the period of the Wars of Independence and continued through all of the Stuart monarchs to the Union of the Crowns and the wars of the Covenant. It may have been down to one particular teacher but it was fantastic and has stayed with me all of my life. Important to note that although it made me hugely proud of Scotland’s history, it never made me resentful of England and was never presented in such a way that it would. 

    193. Don Mc Killop says:

      My first post, so please be kind.  This article has moved me more than all the political debate and brings back many memories of my own childhood.  With indulgence I would like to point out a few.  As a young child at Grove St Primary school in Glasgow I was constantly told to speak proper English to the point that one morning when speaking with Miss, I proudly said “Miss did you see the whole stones today?”?

      At Shawlands, I think 1954, I was top student in second form history achieving a 100% mark in the final exam.  The history was all about the English Kings and battles from 1066 to the Armada. Make of that what you want.

      Our family emigrated to Australia in the year 1964 and settled in Melbourne. It was only after completing my teaching degree and a BA with a major in English I started to drop the Scottish cringe and be more a whole person.  And it was not ’til I started doing my Masters that my eyes were open to a Scottish perspective of literature.  My supervisor was a distant bastard relative of Burns, that helped.

      All the comments here make rather sad reading demonstrating that we knew very little of Scotland and our pride really only showed at football.  Being a small “a” academic and now retired from teaching I can only agree with the majority of posters, thank you Stu for this. To finish this ling winded narrative, Mr Tom Turpie having been a Head of Faculty, Vice Principal and Head of School, much of what you say is true, however which History do you propose should be taught, economic, political and so forth, or the basics of Scotland’s struggles to be?  I finish with this last comment; there is something very wrong that I only discovered Scottish history and politics in a foreign country.

    194. MonkiB says:

      Brilliantly put brilliantly written and a must read for those who choose to deny the obvious 

    195. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Stewart
      Why do you find it important to say you are not a “Nationalist”? With a capital “N”. 

      What is it you think a “nationalist” is?

      The Scottish National Party is so named as it aimed to be the national party of Scotland. It has largely suceeeded despite the word “national” in its title being deliberately traduced by Scotland’s enemies

      The Nazis were called the National Socialist Party. Why isn’t “socialist” given the same trouncing. Is the National Coal Board “nationalist” ?

      I have been a nationalist since before I left school. My grandfather was a “nationalist”. Most of the best people I have met in my long life have been “nationalists”. A nationalist is a person who has faith and confidence in his own nation. That is all .

      There has of course been a long tradition by the British state and its supporters and its media in their battle against the SNP to equate “nationalism” with a number of unpalatable political impulses which have nothing to do with Scottish Nationalism   So much so that quite a number of people who have recently become nationalists (ie exhibiting a new found faith and a confidence of the Scots to run their own affairs) find themselves impelled to describe themselves by some other title.

    196. molly says:

      Don Mckillop, your ‘whole stones’ are hovering over this part of Scotland this afternoon.
      I’ve really enjoyed this thread , reading all the different experiences and learning more (with more to learn ) about this Country.
      Dave Mcewan Hill, I read it, not that Stewart was denying he was a Nationalist just that he was’nt writing this piece from a Nationalist point of view ,just as a Scot. I agree it is quite sad that despite the past governance by the Tories, Labour and Libdems , an ordinary voter can say I vote Labour ,for instance and it is accepted ,yet to announce I am a member of the SNP (in some areas ) still leads to you having to justify or defend why and that sometimes ends up with the person staying shtum- times are changing slowly..

    197. Jeannie says:

      Yeah – on that Nationalist thing.  I’m sometimes not sure what people mean when they say that, too, whether they say they are or aren’t a Nationalist.  I understand the word in the context of either being or not being a member of the Scottish National Party, which I’m not – not because I’ve anything against them, but just because I’m not into party politics.   But I do support their key policy of independence.  Next time somebody says it, think I’ll just ask them what they mean, just to be clear.

    198. Barontorc says:

      I am a member of the Scottish National Party and have been for well over 40 years and in that time have taken all the barbs and jibes that could be thrown by nonsensical labour unionists.

      In fact it was probably their bile and the crass stupidity of Labour in Scotland that made me join the SNP in the first place and if anything, their level of spiteful comment has vastly worsened.

      Since devolution ruined their day, FMQs each and every week shows that cynicism, lies and inevitable spin has become for them, compulsively chronic. But life’s a bitch and since they are very close to ziltch and nobody’s even looking for an escape route, they’ll soon be history of the Scottish variety post a successful YES result.

      t will be a very interesting time all round and who knows where we Nats will then hang our hats, but one things 100% certain, it will be a very long time, if at all, that we’ll accept anything with a Labour tint to it again.

    199. On nationalism: I really just meant that I refuse to be labelled as a Nationalist. I want the best for my country and will not be labelled and put in a box simply because of that wish. Firstly, because the word has been turned into an insult, has become synonymous with fascism. We might not like that, or the ignorance that has led to this, however I am tried of having to explain the difference between Scottish nationalism and the other kind.

      Secondly, I really am not a member of the SNP. I might agree with a lot of their policies, however not all of them. I think it is vital in this movement that we make it clear that it is not solely made up of SNP members. Yes the SNP has a popular mandate, however there have been decades of anti-SNP media noise and we cannot overturn that in a year. A lot of people we need to vote yes have what they see as an ‘instinctive’ dislike of the SNP. We need to let them know that this is above party politics.

    200. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Stewart
      I take all your points but I still think that apologising for being effectively a nationalist is letting them win. Only a very small subset (if any at all) of Scotland’s voters equate the SNP with fascism and they’re either daft or deluded by prejuduce 

    201. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Slightly O/T
      I’ve just had somebody say to me “Did you see FMQ? Did you see that Johann Lamont? I’ve worked it out. She’s an SNP mole in the Labour Party !”
      Can anybody verify this impression?

    202. Dave
      I agree entirely. I’ll stick to the non-SNP distinction from now on.

    203. arealscot says:

      Dave,if “they” told you being a Scot was an insult . would you stop calling yourself a Scot? you would tell them where to go ,wouldn’t you? and that’s what I’m doing, best regards, a proud Scot and NATIONALIST

    204. BillyBigbaws says:

      “Why was no Scottish history pre-1707 thought ‘relevant’ to an understanding of where our country was in the modern day?”

      Because pre-Union Scotland was a land of barbarian tribesmen, hairy coos, and mud huts.  Poorer and stupider than anywhere else in Europe, until it was rescued from obscurity and failure by it’s glorious benefactor.

      Which would have been incompatible with teaching you that Scotland began to establish a system of universal education in 1561, decades before even the Union of the Crowns, and was for nearly a century the only country in Europe that had one.  The fact that pre-Union Scotland had more universities than England or France, and a higher literacy rate than England (in so far as such things can be measured that far back), would’ve been inconvenient too.  Our extensive trading links with the Continent and even further afield, our Parliament and Estates, our established legislature and judiciary – it’s all incompatible with the Union view.  Thus you got the “Short Course” rather than the actual history of Scotland.

      I was lucky, it seems.  Got taught a fair bit of Scottish history, though mostly post-1707, and the music teacher in Primary taught nothing but Scottish and Gaelic folk songs.  Actually, I would’ve preferred if she’d had a wider repertoire, and if the history teachers did too, but ho-hum.

    205. tiderium says:

      I remember the history book at my local primary school ( a rather  weighty tome) that we had for primary 7 had 2 pages about Scotland in it and 1 of these 2 pages had half page picture of a Celtic footballer in action as part of the Lisbon lions team. So in essence in a 500 page schoolkids history book. we got 1.5 pages about scotland and some of that was about a football match! also my grandparents going nuts when I told them what I’d learnt at school today.

    206. Antoinette Atanasoff says:

      Your passion for truth is so wonderful to see. Of course our learning comes after “school”, never knew or understood or was taught what you have revealed. Thank you Stewart. Sunshine Blessings



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