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The mushroom farm

Posted on April 12, 2014 by

Have you seen the film of the coronation? I’m not talking about the grand televised extravaganza in Westminster Abbey with the young Queen Elizabeth done up like a wedding cake – I mean the Scottish coronation, in Edinburgh, three weeks after the glamorous London ceremony of 2 June 1953.

It’s not easy to locate. You’ll struggle to find a picture of it, or even a documented reference – a brief casual mention squeezed in right at the end of this article on the monarchical website is the best we could do.


Acting on the advice of her ministers, Elizabeth attended the ceremony dressed in an ordinary coat and hat. The honours of Scotland were presented to her, and she held them as if they were volatile explosive devices, standing stock-still until they were taken back again by be-gowned flunkies. 

There would be no actual official crowning. It might give the natives ideas.

The 1950s are now widely thought of as a time when Scotland was staunchly unionist and voted Conservative, but it was also the time of the removal of the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey, the Pillar Box War and the National Covenant, the home rule petition that gathered over 2 million signatures. So the British establishment was taking no chances with Scotland’s sense of a distinct national identity.

1952-53 was also the last time, until 1997, that figures were published showing how little of Scotland’s tax revenues were actually spent in the country. Of £410m raised (9.23% of total UK revenue) only £207m was actually spent on services in Scotland.

A 1964 Daily Telegraph report on a study by the Church And Nation Committee of the General Assembly of the Church Of Scotland observed that this drain “could scarcely have failed to have some influence on the level of Scottish unemployment, double that of England, and also on the continuous stream of Scottish emigration.”

Westminster’s cunning solution had been to stop producing the statistics.

In 1968, senior civil servant John Jappy found himself in a position to take a close look at the Treasury books. Until then he had espoused the common belief that Scotland was a poor country, subsidised by England. What he discovered came as a big surprise to him – even before the oil boom, Scotland “contributed far more to the UK economy than the other partners”.

He realised the Treasury wanted to keep this fact a closely-guarded secret, “as it might feed the then-fledgling nationalistic tendencies north of the border”. Then came oil, and the deception ramped up.

The “UK continental shelf” was created to avoid having to credit North Sea revenues to Scotland’s account – even though we were being told that the oil was of poor quality, and would probably run out in ten years. The suppressed McCrone Report presented the betrayal in the starkest terms, but also proposed a solution: Westminster should treat Scotland well, alleviating the poverty and improving the infrastructure, to prevent these still-restless natives feeling short-changed.

1979 saw the first devolution referendum, with its procession of scare stories interspersed with promises of jam tomorrow. The scare stories are familiar stuff, and there’s a reason for that. The objection was never so much to devolution itself, but to its potential as a slippery slope. The 40% rule was introduced, by a Labour MP, to thwart independence, not an Assembly.

The Tories and the Labour party seemed united by the same fear – the fear that the Scottish people were a seething mass of pro-independence sentiment that had to be curbed. They differed only on how to achieve that. The Tories wanted to screw down the lid of the pressure cooker to prevent any escape of aspiration; Labour thought this would only cause a blow-out, perhaps an SNP landslide at a general election, and believed that a better approach was to allow some steam to escape by way of a devolved assembly.

The Lorraine Mann question, asked in “The Great Debate” in 1995, was a simple one: in a three-way transferable vote referendum, which would be each leader’s second choice? Alex Salmond answered fairly straightforwardly, saying that devolution would be very much preferable to the (then) status quo. George Robertson ducked and dived and blustered that this was a trick question planted by the SNP.

His response was revealing, seeming to indicate that Robertson’s second preference was for the status quo, but that he realised it would be an own goal to admit it. Labour would wait for all eternity for devolution that never came, but they didn’t believe the people of Scotland would.

The Tories had their way for 18 years, and were not proved wrong. There was no SNP landside, not then. But the pressure was building nonetheless, and along came 1997. “Devolution will kill nationalism stone dead!” trumpeted the same George Robertson, in a quote that dogs him to this day.


That infamous line exposed the fact that the creation of the Scottish Parliament wasn’t about giving Scotland good governance or recognition as an equal partner in the union – it was about turning down the heat under the nationalist pressure cooker.

Nevertheless, some still feared slippery slopes, and decided to arrange the electoral system so that there was (they thought) no chance of the SNP ever achieving a majority which could be used to force a referendum. And they didn’t stop there.

They snuck through legislation redrawing the sea boundaries to make Scotland seem poorer. Devolution of broadcasting was rejected, along with proposals to revamp the school curriculum to include more Scottish literature, music, art and history. A stupefyingly expensive parliament was built in a hollow rather, than use the “nationalist shibboleth” that stood on Calton Hill. At every turn the overriding concern was not what was best for Scotland, but what would hamper the SNP.

It might have worked forever, had the Liberal Democrats not overplayed their hand in 2007 and refused the coalition which devolution had envisaged as a means of holding an SNP majority in check. The very idea of an independence referendum was such anathema to Nicol Stephen and Tavish Scott’s party that they couldn’t even bear to talk about it, and when the SNP refused to rule out a vote as a precondition, the negotiations were stillborn.

But a referendum in 2010 would almost certainly have been doomed to failure. The Scottish Labour parliamentary leader Wendy Alexander was the only person who actually got it. “Bring it on!” was the logical tactic, but even then the unionist parties couldn’t bring themselves to risk it. They were far more confident of a Yes vote than the nationalists were, and were trapped in “screw down the lid tighter” mode.

The intransigence of 2007 sowed the seeds of the SNP’s landslide in 2011. Scots had seen a government that put its best people in Holyrood and didn’t make Scottish policy a slave of the need to win in the south of England, and they liked it. Panic set in. First a referendum was claimed to be unconstitutional and impossible. Then it was to be “permitted”, but the parties who had diligently blocked the idea for 40 years suddenly wanted it not only held, but held tomorrow.

But the SNP held firm, and the referendum is being held on their chosen date, with their chosen question and their chosen franchise. Bizarrely, the Unionist parties even allowed themselves to be manoeuvred out of including a “devo max” question which according to their own polling would have won in a canter.

And there’s the rub. Decades of treating the Scottish people like mushrooms by systematically keeping them in the dark and feeding them – well, let’s keep it clean and call it “manure” – speaks to one underlying conviction: the belief that the Scots want independence, and have to be belittled, kept in ignorance of their own country’s wealth and denied the opportunity to vote for what they want, so as to preserve the integrity of the UK and keep wealth flowing to London.

Give the Scots the chance to vote for independence, Unionist thinking has run for most of the last century, and they’ll jump for it, so they must never be given that chance. But there’s a flaw in the mushroom-farm strategy: manure doesn’t kill mushrooms. It fertilises them and makes them grow.

The pest-control machine is now in full spray. Scots are too canny to fall for slippery Salmond, we’re told, even as poll after poll shows he and his deputy to be Scotland’s most trusted politicians by a league. “We’re not planning for a Yes vote because it won’t happen”, Whitehall insists, even as it issues another Hitchcockian horror of a briefing document, just in case.

But if so, then Westminster has spent many decades battling against a completely imaginary threat. Conversely, if their long-term instincts were right all along, all they’ve achieved in all that time is to grow mushrooms that are far too big for the pot, creating a slow-cooked, pent-up desire that’s almost ready to burst the lid off once and for all.

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    162 to “The mushroom farm”

    1. Findlay Farquaharson says:

      good read

    2. hetty says:


    3. Excellent article. Best read since Ian Hamilton QC’s books.

    4. Dinnatouch says:

      I remember seeing a programme about the Scottish coronation on stv in the early 80s (possibly for the 30th anniversary). It was the first time I’d heard about the infamous handbag, and I’m sure the programme featured film footage of the event, but I’ve never been able to find any reference to it since.

      It may not have been a programme in its own right, possibly only a report on the evening news, but it definitely was broadcast. Perhaps people with better contacts than me may be able to track it down.

    5. Morag says:

      To be honest, Stu found more than I did about it. I was writing from memory of reading things, and I couldn’t find any references.

    6. Jimsie says:

      Excellent appraisal Morag of our recent political history. The role played by Lord Naw Naw Robertson in continually trying to suppress Scottish independence was and still is a disgrace. He ,along with the other abominable No man Brian Wilson will go down in history as ("Quizmaster" - Ed)s.

    7. Peter A Bell says:

      The reason a Referendum Bill was not brought to the Scottish parliament by the minority SNP government was not fear that a vote in 2010 would be “doomed to failure”, but the certain knowledge that the Bill would have been savaged in the committee stages. As a minority government, the SNP could not be sure of retaining control of the Bill. There is no doubt whatever that the British parties at Holyrood would have sought to introduce wrecking amendments.

    8. Morag says:

      I should perhaps say that this piece was originally published in Yes Clydesdale’s Aye magazine, and thanks to the editor Bill Oliphant for permission to republish.

    9. annie says:

      Well summed up,you mention the intransigence of the Libdems in 2007 it is still here today in all the unionists, they simply wont listen to the argument/answers as they don’t want to be convinced.

    10. Morag says:

      I came across another thing I might have worked in. The editor of the Daily Record said he believed that “many people will vote No in September with a heavy heart”. Once again, we see an acknowledgement from the No side of a soul-deep desire for independence among many people who have been dissuaded from voting for it by one ruse or another.

      If anyone who truly wants an independent Scotland votes No with a heavy heart, we will have failed that person. “No with a heavy heart” is the reaction from someone who has been frightened away from their real desire.

      I believe that real desire is there, and we have to tap into it.

    11. Onwards says:

      The Westminster parties pulled out every trick because they knew that, once a referendum campaign started, keeping down the YES vote would be a hard sell.

      They have to convince people in Scotland that they aren’t good enough to run their own country.

    12. annie says:

      Dinnatouch, I’m sure there was a section about the coronation visit in Ian McWhirter’s excellent Road to the Referendum documentary. Cant think where else I would have seen it lately.

    13. heedtracker says:

      Scots are too canny to vote Yes is one BetterTogether meme but then there’ s the outraged “you arrogant…” for even talking about Yes and future Scottish democracy. Much of UKOK unionism is all about England losing Scotland and the arrogance of YES. So be it.

    14. Helena Brown says:

      Thank you both of you Bill for the original and you for placing it here. I am just old enough to remember the original visit by Elizabeth and even remember the stooshie she caused. It seems though and somebody may be able to correct me that one coronation was deemed enough, though most people here expected her to turn up in her coronation robes at the very least to touch the Honours of Scotland.

    15. Cactus says:

      Well said Morag, it’s time to remove that lid once and for all!

      We are now fourteen years into our 21st Century.. unionism is so 20th Century, so last season, so dated, so spent, so change.

      Scotland, the land of many a pioneer.

    16. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @ Cactus

      We are now fourteen years into our 21st Century.. unionism is so 20th Century, so last season, so dated, so spent, so change.

      So is the Monarchy.

      One battle at a time.

      Incidentally, the preview screen has disappeared.

    17. sionnach says:

      “Manure doesn’t kill mushrooms. It fertilises them and makes them grow.” The “pest-control machine” clearly hasn’t realised this flaw. 🙂

      Excellent piece, Morag. Focused and lucid, a concise account of “how we got here”.

    18. Murray McCallum says:

      There was a brief reference to the Queen’s visit (or ‘coronation’) in chapter 3 of The claim of Scotland. The excellent book serialised on WOS.

      Interestingly the Queen appears to have wore full robes, etc.. while in Canada soon after her visit to Edinburgh.

      I personally am not in favour of the monarchy, though I would have hoped they would show consistent respect – given we contribute to their upkeep.

    19. heedtracker says:

      We “contribute” over £300 million per year to the BBC. Do they have any respect for Scottish democracy?

    20. Great piece. I find it maddening that the UK even gave Elizabeth a separate Scottish coronation, because it could not more clearly echo the cognitive dissonance that lies at the heart of that state. If there’s one thing that was absolutely, definitively extinguished at the Treaty of Union in 1707, it was the separate royal lines of Scotland and England. Although it took until 1914, both Scotland and England got new monarchs when Anne, the last Stuart, died. She was replaced by George I, the first Hanoverian, who was selected ahead of his many, many Stuart Catholic cousins by virtue of his Protestantism (or strictly speaking, his mother’s Protestantism).

      The point is that, with my historian’s hat on, there really ought not to be a separate Scottish ceremony with separate Scottish honours, since George owned the royal honours of Great Britain, as did all his successors. And yet, in the UK we have it nonetheless, because Westminster has just never had any idea what to do with Scotland. And they accuse nationalists of being the ones to conjure up all the separate Scottish stuff!

    21. msean says:

      Great piece,how embarrassing that the Queen was advised not to even wear our crown,in her oldest kingdom.

    22. Grouse Beater says:

      Ah, the wonderful Windsor family, adept at getting out of scrapes, highly skilled at publicity, another bairn bang on deadline to guarantee continuation of the line.

      I am overjoyed.

    23. Davy says:

      A very good article, it shows the contempt that westminster holds for the Scots, but unfortunatly for westminster and its unionist lackeys the genie is out of the bottle and it an’it going back in.

      Lets keep working folks, its up to us and nobody else to have Scotland an independent country.

    24. Onwards says:

      The article does mention that the Queeen’s clothing choice was on the ‘advice of her ministers’.
      All part of an attempt to relegate Scotland’s status as a country.

      Once thing the article missed was the initial naming of the devolved government as the ‘Scottish Executive’ – like some sort of business committee.

      After the SNP changed it, it was amusing to see some people stick with the old meaningless term for as long as possible. They couldn’t even bring themselves to say the words !

    25. Robert Peffers says:

      “It was also the time of the removal of the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey, the Pillar Box War and the National Covenant, the home rule petition that gathered over 2 million signatures.”

      Memories of my youth. There were some great people about in our capital city back then and I was the wee schoolboy hanging around the fringes of the meetings, listening and learning and inspired. I was, though, also appalled at the ignorance and opposition by most of my fellow Scots.

      It’s been some helter skelter of ups and downs since then. Yet I have never doubted for a moment that Scotland would eventually take her destiny into her own hands. I only hoped, and still only hope, to live long enough to be a citizen of a free Scotland. Please vote yes this time round – I don’t have much longer to hang on. When I put my mark on the devolution paper my thoughts will be, “This one’s for you Margo” and for Scotland.

    26. Paul says:

      If anyone wanted to see the footage, I think the Royal collection would be the organisation to ask.

    27. liz says:

      I know some people have good reason to fear a yes – since the MSM have daily scare stories which may have a direct impact on their lives if they were true.

      To vote no with a heavy heart would be a pyrrhic victory for the BT campaign which is another reason why those scaremongering should be ashamed of themselves.

      Yes Gordon Broon – I’m looking at you trying to scare pensioners by lying.

      Also reading the likes of the herald comments – a lot of the naysayers are just so negative about everything and I don’t think we can change the minds of folk like that.

    28. heedtracker says:

      Our Scotland. Our Independence!

    29. Macart says:

      Wow, the FM didn’t take any prisoners.

      There aren’t many or indeed any party leaders I can think of who would make that kind of appeal to the voters of other parties.

      Well said Mr Salmond.

    30. Cactus says:

      @ BtP –

      Yeah, while many of the good people of England directly support / are in favour of the Monarchy, can’t say we’ve ever really felt the benefit / need here in Scotland.

      Like you say, one battle at a time (big moves in small steps).

    31. Robert Peffers says:

      @liz:“A lot of the naysayers are just so negative about everything and I don’t think we can change the minds of folk like that”.

      The truth. Liz, is that we have already. “changed their minds”, for that is the very reason they are telling those lies you speak about. If they are telling fibs, and know they are fibs, they already know the truth. Question is, if they know the truth, why do they lie?

    32. bigGpolmont says:

      nice piece of writing
      Pity so many of the B.T mob cant read!

    33. msean says:

      Some well considered questions here to the Deputy First Minister,couldn’t really have got any more uncertainty, doubt and doom into the questions.

    34. Flower of Scotland says:

      Mushrooms are kept in the dark and fed shit! I’m just concentrating on independence and then after a yes vote, we can talk about other things including the Monarchy and who will win in 2016 to form the Gov. of an independent Scotland.

      O/t just watched Alex Salmond,s speech. I feel very emotional having fought for Independence now for about 50yrs! Prof.Curtis wheeled out. He says yes campaign has come to a stop!

    35. msean says:

      Isn’t there another broadcaster who can do conferences?

    36. CameronB says:

      What more should a colonial people expect from their imperial master?

      The financial larceny that is enshrined in the Corporation of the Cities of London and Westminster, has always required the material and human resources from the colonies, to perpetuate its self.

      Very little has changed in over a hundred years, despite endless schemes to overcome poverty, as the British state is the construct of the imperialist elite. The welfare state was never intended to assist the achievement of social justice. Its primary aim has always been the maintenance of the British empire, now Commonwealth.

      Westminster and the welfare state is a machine designed to extract as much wealth as possible to the Treasury, whilst delivering the least amount of political representation to an increasingly impoverished society. It is simply not sustainable. Never was and never will be.

      IMO, this is what George Orwell was concerned about.

    37. lumilumi says:

      Thanks, Morag, for this insightful article, love the historical perspective.

      This and other recent articles give food for thought, and I’m glad Rev Stu is having a day off. The man needs it if he’s going to last till Sept 18 and beyond.

      I was surprised and happy when I heard from a Scottish friend, previously a “No – don’t know- aw, no” but she told me how her jaw dropped at Lord Robertson’s “cataclysmic” speech and she’s a definite YES now.

      She even made a graphic, using Windows Word and her old camera sortware and print screens. No advanced photoshopping. I cleaned it up a bit before uploading but I think this is a great, fun reaction to George Robertson’s doom speech.

      I hope the link works. (First time I’m using this pic hoster.)

    38. Thistle says:

      @BtP & Cactus

      One battle at a time and one I’m looking forward to.

      Two live streams next week including Tommy in Cumbernauld…

    39. Morag says:

      I don’t know that Stu is exactly having the day off. On his twitter stream he’s watching football right enough but he also did a substantial edit job on the above article.

    40. Albert Herring says:

      Scotland welcomes the Queen 1953 Pathe News

    41. liz says:

      PS forgot to say well done Morag, nice to see a regular WoSer writing an article.

    42. theycan'tbeserious says:

      I like mushrooms.

    43. Morag says:

      And today’s gold medal for google-fu (or whatever) goes to – Albert Herring! The May King himself!

      I hunted for ages for that and found nothing. So it was filmed. You know, I don’t think she touched the Crown at all. She held the cushion it was sitting on for a couple of seconds but I didn’t see her actually touching it.

    44. This article is full of Interesting facts the general public don’t have a clue about, how about Wings spending some of that money on a documentary or a wave of adverts which should be shown on the TV?

    45. Harry says:

      I’ve been through all the recent threads and haven’t seen any mention of Sky’s Niall Paterson’s interview earlier today with Fiona Hyslop. Towards the end of a decent interview he said “this is being shown in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, just why do you hate the rest of the UK?”. I started yelling and missed the start of her reply but her amiable demeanour didn’t alter. She should have said that question is disgraceful, we don’t hate anybody.

      Paterson, a Scot, is clearly anti-indy, continually highlighting the YouGov poll but not mentioning closer polls. He also later mentioned Yes being a “country mile” behind in the polls. Sky led with the SNP conference this morning and seemed shocked at Salmond saying discussions with Westminster would begin days after a yes vote, so much so it was the breaking news ticker at the bottom and yet during Salmond’s speech, I was watching BBC24, flicked over to Sky about 30 mins in and they’d left it for something else. Musn’t give him too much airtime, eh?

    46. Sheena Wellington says:

      I have never bought into this notion that post war Scotland was overwhelmingly pro-union. It might have come about because we enjoyed partying for the coronation but pre-television and still in the throes of rationing, slum clearance and pockets of high unemployment any excuse for a bit of colour and a free bar of chocolate! Most of the nation was proud (when folk weren’t laughing their socks off) of the Stone return and the resentment at the EIIR debacle was widespread across society, as much among Tory voters as Labour. My father and his brothers fought in the War but wanted Home Rule for Scotland, as did many other ex-servicemen.

    47. lumilumi says:

      I also dropped my jaw at this so-called lord’s (George Robertson’s) speech a few days ago.

      I cannot imagine any Finn public representative going abroad to denigrate our country and asking foreign powers to do so.

      Lord Robertson, intellectually challenged neolib rabid warmonger dinosaur did just that. He’s a great reason why Scotland should and must be independent! No more unelected House of Lords and Lord George Robertsons!

      Hopefully, after 18 Sept dinosaurs like him can be consigned to dustbins of history and the people of Scotland can start to build a better country, their country.

    48. Juteman says:

      I remember in the ’60’s, as a primary school kid, standing outside in the rain with a wee union flag, waiting to see a big black car go past.

      My mother has told me the full story. We were soaked to the skin, standing there in our shorts, and totally fed up. My mum had seen the weather, and marched up to take myself and my sisters home to dry out.
      A teacher said to her, you can’t take them away, they need to stand here for the new queen.

      Feck the queen, said my mother. My bairns have got better things to do than catch pneumonia.

    49. KOF says:

      Re The Pillar Box War –

      There’s an ER II post box at Asda in Galashiels. I’ve already made a comment to them about it, but so far nothing has changed.

      Anybody else in the Gala area fancy bringing it to Asda’s attention? 🙂

    50. The Man in the Jar says:

      It was 1964 so I must have been eleven at the time. The Queen came to open Hamilton “County Buildings”. I am working from memory here but I am sure that we got the day off school. All the kids had wee union flags to wave at Her Maj.

      The Queen alighted from the Royal Train at a (freshly painted) Uddingston station and was driven through Uddingston and Bothwell and on into Hamilton for the opening ceremony.

      I don’t remember where we got them from but my pal (Hi Peter) and myself had a full size Saltire and Lion Rampant attached to broom handles or sticks? We positioned ourselves near Uddingston station and when the Queens limo appeared we ran alongside it carrying our flags as high as we possibly could, pushing our way through the waving crowds desperately trying to keep up with the Queens limo. We managed to keep abreast of the Queens car the entire length of Uddingston Main St. until it sped up at the gap between Uddingston and Bothwell.

      Happy days!

    51. Morag says:

      The Westminster parties pulled out every trick because they knew that, once a referendum campaign started, keeping down the YES vote would be a hard sell.

      That is actually the main theme of the article. Their entire behaviour pattern for 60 years has been that of people who believe that if Scots ever get a real shot at independence they’ll take it. So of course they have to be denied that shot.

      Now though, I don’t know. Are people really for Yes in their hearts, but still scared?

    52. Morag says:

      Ah, I remember the County Buildings being opened. I certainly wasn’t there. I would have been P6 or P7 at the time.

    53. ThatManGray says:

      Is this the Scottish Crown moment?

      From 3:30 onwards.

      (Apologies if this becomes a duplicate, first time posting)

    54. call me dave says:

      There was a discussion about all this on NNS about two years ago, a very well informed poster knew all this stuff chapter and verse. Church of Scotland requires the Queen to go through a ceremony to be Queen of Scots.

      Mad Jock Mc .. I think was his moniker tried to look it up but no joy on finding the thread.

      The Honours of Scotland are the oldest regalia in the British Isles.

      The crown, the sword and sceptre date from the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, during the reigns of James IV and James V, the grandfather and father of Mary Queen of Scots.

      The Honours were removed once from the Castle in 1953, to be taken to a National Service of Thanksgiving at the High Kirk of St Giles in Edinburgh. During the ceremony they were formally presented to The Queen, who then returned them to their custodians.

      Since 1819, the Honours have been on public display in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle, together with the Stewart and the Lorne Jewels. The Stone of Scone was added in 1996, after 700 years in Westminster Abbey.

      The last time the Honours of Scotland were used for a coronation was to crown Charles II at Scone in 1651.

      Good article Morag.

    55. Jim says:

      I remember seeing the film footage of the Scottish coronation, a repeat of it in the eighties. It was very insulting and treated one of Europe’s oldest nations with contempt. I could never understand why and still don’t.

      1603 aside, I suspect most unionists nowadays recognise that it is only a matter of time before Scotland becomes self-governing. They have simply delayed the inevitable by telling and broadcasting lies.

      They even disputed that the Scots were a nation by holding studio discussions on the issue.

      The mushrooms have indeed flourished and I love mushrooms.

    56. ronnie anderson says:

      @Auld Bob 4.35, ma tammies doffed tae you Sir twice times.

    57. mogabee says:

      There’s one thing very important about mushrooms, they do see the light eventually!

      Very good Morag. Love learning all about history that didn’t get taught at my schools. Pretty disgraceful that a country’s history was treated this way.

    58. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Is this the Scottish Crown moment?
      From 3:30 onwards.”

      Wow. I’ve been using Windows 7 for about three years now and have NEVER seen a link that crashed it that badly before. Even Task Manager couldn’t get out of it. An absolute Def Con 1 clusterfudge of total and utter PC cripplement.

      Can you give us any directions for finding the clip manually through the Pathe site, because that direct link is an operating-system atomic bomb. I just lost 45 minutes of unsaved work 🙁

    59. The Man in the Jar says:

      Aye Morag. some of us have been at this for a long time. From waving a Saltire at the Queen to hopefully waving a Yes result in the face of her fifth cousin David Cameron!

    60. Andy_B says:

      Very good piece Morag, even if it raised my blood pressure a tad, regarding the monarchy, I’m all for a republic, I see no point in having a pampered and cossetted inbred family swan all over creation at the taxpayers expense.

      Of course Queen Elizabeth would have had to sign off on the stolen 6000 miles of Scottish sea that was stolen, and if memory serves me, if you happen to be playing golf at Carnoustie Golf course, and glance out to sea, you’ll be looking at English waters, and not Scottish waters.

      The McCrone Report is the most scandalous cover up,I can think of in recent Scottish history, and its effects have been extremely detrimental to Scots as whole, to think we could have changed Scotland for the better beginning several decades ago, is not only infuriating but frustrating.

      Finally the shameful and disgraceful debacle surrounding the 1979 referendum when a majority of Scots voted in favour, by more that 77.000 to those against devolution, only to be thwarted by Willie Cunningham and his 40% majority rule, where recently dead Scots counted as a no vote, only adds to bitter taste in the mouth, that the union holds.

    61. The Man in the Jar says:

      Aye Morag many of us have been at this for some time now.

      From waving a Saltire at the Queen to hopefully waving a Yes result in the face of her fifth cousin Mr David Cameron on September 19th.

    62. Morag says:

      Stu that’s weird. The link opened normally for me and I watched the whole thing with no trouble. Of course, I’m using XP.

    63. The Man in the Jar says:

      What is it with this DOS attack I posted comment at 5:24 and got an 503 error on Google chrome. I reposted on internet explorer at 5:28 and now both have appeared. Sorry!

    64. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:


      That looks like it might be the very thing. Great find, ta.


    65. Morag says:

      Ah, I was talking about the link Albert Herring posted. I watched it earlier with no trouble. I didn’t realise someone else had posted something.

    66. Morag says:

      Hey, Stu, if you’d read the whole thing, Albert Herring posted the link at 4.12. No crashing systems.

    67. ThatManGray says:

      Morag you’re right. Albert beat me to it. Didn’t spot that before.

    68. Mariner says:

      The Scottish Adjacent Waters boundary doesn’t apply to oil and gas facilities. They are still covered by Civil Jurisdiction (Offshore Activities) boundary.

    69. Morag says:

      I thought that was what he was talking about. I’d already watched it from that link and awarded our May King the google-fu Gold Medal for finding it, and couldn’t figure what had crashed Stu’s system.

    70. ThatManGray says:

      I think I used a direct link to the video not the web page. Apologies again.

    71. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I think I used a direct link to the video not the web page. Apologies again.”

      No worries. And kudos to Albert Herring for also finding the link.

      (For admin reasons I often read comments in reverse chronological order.)

    72. mato21 says:

      Robert P.

      You’ve got our Darling down to a t. I like it

    73. Croompenstein says:

      Albert and ThatManGray – that was great ably narrated by Mr Chormondely Warner, the colonial students jeezo.. very interesting thanks for posting.

    74. john king says:

      Superb post Morag
      not at all surprised,
      more please.

    75. Morag says:

      I found the voiceover extraordinarily patronising and condescending, but I suppose it was of its time. I was a foetus in utero back then, so it’s a wee bit dated.

    76. Morag says:

      more please.

      There may be a little something in the works. All a bit hush hush at the moment.

    77. Croompenstein says:

      sorry meant to say great post Morag, the desire for Home Rule has been with us for a while it just seems to have been watered down in the age of TV and Radio and of course the lack of education of Scotland’s past. I have said before that I have learnt more from WoS and posters like your good self in the past 6 months than I ever did at school. Thanks

    78. Morag says:

      There’s something else that can be learned from that article. The original is on the Aye link I posted. I don’t think Bill changed anything, apart from the title. (He called it Screwing down the lid on the Scots.) He even left “keeping them in the dark and feeding them shit” unchanged, though I had said to him in an email to change it to manure if he wanted to.

      Stu did an edit job on it and it reads a lot better. It wasn’t my best piece of prose so there was plenty scope. He even added a wee bit of himself to it.

      This sort of editing is a great skill and Stu is extremely good at it. It’s not something one necessarily notices unless he re-publishes a piece from a blog – that’s happened a couple of times when I’d read the original, and I was much struck by how much easier the Wings version was to read.

      This skill is a major part of what makes Wings so popular – both as regards submitted articles and Stu’s own writing. I think we should take time to appreciate it now and again.

    79. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @call me dave says:
      The Stone of Scone was added in 1996, after 700 years in Westminster Abbey.

      I was there in the Grand Hall in Edinburgh Castle at the end of that day in 1996 when The Stone came back.

      I had been on the Royal Mile with family and friends watching the somewhat bizarre proceedings as the Stonemobile made its way from Holyrood Palace up to Edinburgh Castle.

      At one point Andrew Neil appeared at the junction of North Bridge with the Royal Mile, and stood there for a while looking as if he could smell a bad smell.

      We followed the procession up to the Castle Esplanade, and then, when The Stone had vanished into the Castle, there was an air of anti-climax, as nobody knew what, if anything, was going to happen next.

      Eventually almost everyone (of the many hundreds) had given up hanging around and left the Esplanade.

      When we were down to about thirty or forty of us left, a nice Historic Scotland gent came out onto the Esplanade, and began selecting groups of people to approach in turn.

      He explained to each group that if they so wished, they could have the honour of going into the Castle to witness the Stone-returning ceremony in the Grand Hall.

      I think we were selected because we had children with us, and maybe therefore didn’t look at first glance like rabid Nationalists.

      The Stone was sitting on a wee wooden stool on a small raised red-carpet-covered stage.

      Kay Matheson was there, as was Alan Stuart, but no Ian Hamilton.

      The ceremony, welcoming The Stone to the Queen’s Garrison in Scotland, was like something from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

      I was watching standing directly behind Michael Forsyth, the architect of the Return of The Stone, and someone who was in full-blown Saltire-draping mode that year.

      At a pause in the proceedings, one of the-great-and-the-good who was standing beside Michael leant towards him and, to make conversation, said:

      “When did you first see The Stone of Destiny?”

      To his credit Michael replied truthfully:

      “Last night, at the Dinner at Holyrood Palace.”

    80. Calum Craig says:

      @Harry. I went to school with Niall and still bump into him on occasion at Christmas. He *loves* the London lifestyle…

    81. Morag says:

      Croompenstein makes an interesting point. Education in our own history. I did touch on it in the article.

      I didn’t fare too badly, and at primary school we had the whole nine yards about the wars of independence. I have to admit I was pretty hazy about anything pretty much from 1603 onwards though.

      Preventing Scottish children knowing about our history has been a huge part of the unionist agenda. After independence that will stop. In particular what was done to us at the time of Darien, then the underhand machinations to get the union, and then the draining away of Scotland’s wealth to the south. The ’45 seen as in part an attempt to break the union, and the harrying of the Highlands afterwards an attempt to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

      The clearances carried out by clan chiefs turned into English nobility who regarded their lands as property and their clan (“children”) as peasants to be exploited and discarded at will.

      Once the true story of the last 411 years is in the history books and Scottish documentary-makers are making programmes about it and so on, support for the union will be in the realm of imaginary numbers.

    82. Triangular Ears says:

      I remember some years back having a Wikipedia edit war about the oldest crown jewels. I can’t remember the details now, but I think it was asserted that the English crown jewels were the oldest of any existing monarch in Europe. I kept editing the article to say that the Honours of Scotland were older (and of course still applied to an existing monarch) but the edits kept getting reverted. So I kept editing it back, pasting in links to official websites stating this.

      No doubt this was some British nationalist that had their nose put out of joint by this.

      However, I see now that Wikipedia’s article on crown jewels has been totally restructured and now does admit that the Honours of Scotland are the oldest in the UK. It also details several other sets of jewels that are older, but apply to defunct monarchies.

      This is exactly the kind of thing that happens when we allow our country to continue not being a real country and hiding behind the identity of a pseudo-nation-state.

      It’s time that this was ended and we became like every other country.

      By the way, I’m no monarchist, but I think our history as a monarchy should be ‘celebrated’/acknowledged as much as anybody else’s.

    83. Morag says:

      “When did you first see The Stone of Destiny?”

      To his credit Michael replied truthfully:

      “Last night, at the Dinner at Holyrood Palace.”

      He didn’t see it then, either. Nobody knows where it is, or if anyone does (unlikely after more than 700 years) he’s not telling.

    84. dennis mclaughlin says:

      My scissors, tar & feathers are ready for these “("Quizmaster" - Ed)s”….
      Who’s First ?…….

    85. Famous15 says:

      There is a lot to be said for a constitutional monarchy.It is not just about the one power of calling a successor government.The aspect of the monarch being the notional commander in chief has subtle but important consequences. Just think if the UK were a Republic a current likely candidate for non executive President could be Blair or pick your own .

      Scotland of course can make its own mind up in years to come for now I will not lose sleep over an EiiR post box asa YES result makes up for all the patronising nonsense we have had to endure.
      I aint going to waste any moments of joy resenting some of the unfortunates who tried to frustrate us .
      We have a future to build. We have a country requiring our TLC ; care that it did not have in the last 300 years.

    86. kininvie says:

      @Morag 6.02pm

      That’s one of Stu’s greatest unseen skills. Everything I’ve written for Wings has turned out better than the original (except for bits of the Panto – and that’s because the Rev has a cloth ear for verse).

      How he finds the time, I don’t know. I do a lot of editing, and it can take up hours…

    87. Dinnatouch says:

      Many thanks Albert, I’m sure that footage must have been what was used by STV all those years ago.

    88. Hi,

      Yep I have had a long interest in the real constitutional issues involved in a ‘yes vote’.

      I have been writing about the subject, on and off, on my Tarff Advertiser blog since I started in 2010. Most recently I wrote a couple of linked pieces between December 2013 and January 2014.

      “Whits Liz’s number again?” was one of the earliest and the “The Scottish Break Away” went up in December 2013.

      The Scottish Break Away.

    89. tartanpigsy says:

      Nice piece Morag,

      On my neanderthal phone so will keep this brief.

      Also unable to link, but surely this highlights need for the Yes Saltires

      It’s not jingoistic, it’d a statement about where Scotland needs to be.

      Encourage the shy Yes vote

    90. TheBabelFish says:

      @Morag and kininvie – I’d like to write for Wings, how did you attract Stu’s attention (tried posting a message on that admin page, no reply)?

    91. TheItalianjob says:

      @Albert Herring at 4.12pm

      Great link to the Pathe news Scottish coronation. Can see it’s well dated ref large crowds and commentary. Very informatiive concerning a by gone era.

      @Morag at4.52pm

      Like you I thought given the chance, the majority of Scots would go for Independence but I think there are still to many scared to take the plunge. The old confidence factor in the general populance is missing. Total different contrast to the confident Norwegians I encountered when I worked there in the early to late 80’s.

      That’s the difference when you have your own country, government and you have a say in your country’s future. And believe you me the oil revenues help big time.

    92. Andy_B says:

      @Triangular Ears.

      I recall on several occasions the London Metropolitan police being warned on about boasting that they were indeed the oldest police force in the UK/world, when in fact they’re not.

      Indeed the Empirical UK isn’t adverse to bending the truth when it come to so called achievements, one fine example is the statue in London of Captain Sir John Franklin, which boasts that he discovered the Northwest Passage, when in fact it was Scotsman John Rae who mapped the passage.

      The passage is named after John Rae.'s_lost_expedition

    93. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Calcagus McAndrews. I was there in 96 as well. One of the detachments of Honour Guards from the Highlanders, up and down the Royal Mile. Aye, a grand day out. As Morag said, that lump of sandstone is hardly Jacobs pillar, but its our sandstone, so we’ll have it back all the same

    94. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Edit pillar=pillow

    95. Dinnatouch says:

      And thanks too to ThatManGray, I didn’t see you had also found it till after I posted.

      I wonder if there would have been that much pomp and ceremony for the new Queen if it hadn’t been for the Scottish Covenant and the repatriation of the Stone of Destiny a few years earlier?

    96. Morag says:

      Like you I thought given the chance, the majority of Scots would go for Independence but I think there are still to many scared to take the plunge. The old confidence factor in the general populance is missing.

      My question is, is the desire still there, just held back by the fear? Like Turnbull’s lion (now being given a tentatively resurgent heart by Chris) or “the old cat in the adage” who let “I dare not” wait upon “I would”? Or do people simply not care any more?

      I’m really not sure. If it has gone, I blame the unionist teachers. I suspect it hasn’t though, and we’ll see that in the late summer.

    97. dramfineday says:

      Hi Morag, enjoyed this article, (and your book – I’ll get it autographed one of these days) and it brought back memories of my gran and grandpa – when royal news came on (radio and latterly TV) silence had to prevail, even small, much loved boys had to learn to shut up. Thankfully my father was of a different coin.

    98. gerry parker says:

      @ Mad Jock,
      Aye, the Scottish Breakaway is a great link. I remember stumbling upon it a while back and using it on an ignoramus braying on about Liz being the “queen of Scotland too”.
      Fair put his gas at a peep but he then of course maintained it was merely an interesting fact. I believe it to be centrally important though. If you consider it with respect to Tony Benn’s 5 questions of Power then it becomes constitutional dynamite.

    99. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Morag says:
      “When did you first see The Stone of Destiny?”
      He didn’t see it then, either. Nobody knows where it is.
      @Alan Mackintosh says:
      Calcagus McAndrews. I was there in 96 as well. That lump of sandstone is hardly Jacobs pillar, but its our sandstone, so we’ll have it back all the same

      When The Stone was sitting on its wee stool in the Grand Hall I got a chance to have a close look at it and touch it.

      As far as I am concerned it is definitely a “cludgie stane”, and not the ‘real’ Stone.

      But I’m with you Alan. It’s oor cludgie stane!

      Also, think of the big fat hire charge every time iScotland rents it out to rUK, if they want it for a coronation at Westminster Abbey.

    100. Croompenstein says:

      @Mad Jock – shared the Scottish break away on facebook, good stuff

    101. Marcia says:

      An excellent article Morag – a memory jog for me. I did post a longer post but it has vanished into the ether.

    102. MolliBlum says:

      Interesting footage. Can anybody here explain the symbolism of the Queen being “offered” the crown and just handing it back again (after a brief pause for thought)? Maybe there’s no need for a referendum after all. The head of state appears to have already declined the offer in 1953. Any takers?

    103. SquareHaggis says:

      Could it be true that the Monarchy has been Coronating itself on an auld Scottish lavvie seat?

      Hah ha ha, that wid be so Scottish sense o humour richt enough.

      Thanks for bringing us this good news Morag, fair cheered me up.

    104. Capella says:

      Great article Morag. Re the maritime boundary, Craig Murray has a good article about it on his blog. Seems he had some responsibilities for these things once upon a time.

    105. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Great article Morag. Re the maritime boundary, Craig Murray has a good article about it on his blog.”

      Yes, he does. That’s why there’s a LINK TO IT IN THE ARTICLE.

      Doesn’t anyone click etc etc?

    106. Morag says:

      I’m ignoring it. NOT a Craig Murray fan. That blog article is deeply dishonest with its very questionable claims, slanted presentation and dishonestly cropped map.

    107. gerry parker says:

      Was just watching that clip re the visit in 1953. ( I was only 3 at the time). That is up to the point where the (english)commentator said “during the ceremony they (the Scottish crown and sceptre) will be offered to the young queen as a demonstration of the loyalty of her Scottish subjects”
      Then they sing “God save the Queen” ??
      I stopped watching at they point.

      They were getting it wrong then, and they’re still getting it wrong now.

    108. Morag says:

      Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake….

    109. Anne Lawrie says:

      Long may they continue to roll out the “heavyweight politicians”. George Robertson is surely the master of “foot in mouth”. As long as he continues to share his idiotic thoughts, the Yes vote is guaranteed. Bring them all on!

    110. Tam Jardine says:

      Thanks Morag – great article. I hadn’t heard anything of the queen’s Scottish coronation and this phone can’t read the pathe clip (will need to take a look at work). I struggle to understand the enthusiasm for the monarchy – other countries have managed to scale down their monarchies to reflect the modern world but not the UK. I suppose it does no one any good scaring the horses – it is a post indy subject.

      At the Homecoming in the park a few years back I spoke to one of the Loyal Men who was talking about restoring the Stuart crown. It seemed like the argument had moved on somewhat. I told him I was married to a direct descendant of Kenneth MacAlpin so maybe she had a decent claim. Then we left quickly. He was a large armed man.

    111. Alan Macd says:

      Do any of you fine people know where i can view Alex Salmonds or Nicolas speeches that isnt iplayer? I live abroad you see.

      Kindest regards.

    112. KOF says:

      Re the Stone of Destiny-

      Here’s a link to a review about the film about the removal of the stone of Scone from Westminster. The interesting part is in the comments section from John Ritchie.

    113. Grouse Beater says:

      where i can view Alex Salmonds or Nicolas speeches that isnt iplayer

      Look for the post on the topic above this one and you’ll see the video and the link.

    114. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @KOF says:
      Re the Stone of Destiny-
      Here’s a link to a review about the film about the removal of the stone of Scone from Westminster. The interesting part is in the comments section from John Ritchie.

      Thanks KOF. Interesting comments.

      First time I have seen the suggestion that the “cludgie stane” is actually the cover for the floor chamber where the ‘real’ Stone of Destiny was stored.

      I have read many times that the ‘real’ stone (Stone of Destiny, Jacobs Pillow, the Lia Faill) is hidden at a location known only to a few (Templars?) and will be brought forth when Scotland is independent again.

      Yet another reason to vote YES !!!


    115. CameronB says:

      Tam Jardine
      I’d like to think I’m a Bridei and not just ’cause I’m from Dundee. 🙂

    116. Lorraine says:

      Do we actually have any real, sourced figures for these amazing economic numbers claimed for the 20s, 50s and 60s?

      Referring to other articles here does not count – that’s known as “circular referencing”.

      Saying “John Jappy (who?) says so” doesn’t count either – that’s known as “hearsay”.

      Also, please check the historical record to see where the first hydrocarbon production in the North Sea took place. The “UK Continental Shelf” was actually created for production and revenues from off the course of Norfolk, some 5 years before anything was landed in Scotland.

      But don’t let your paranoia and mythmaking get in the way of the facts.

    117. morgan mc says:

      Yacov ben Isaac wants his stone back…shalom

    118. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Do we actually have any real, sourced figures for these amazing economic numbers claimed for the 20s, 50s and 60s?”

      Start here:

      You may also find this enlightening:

      And this:

      Paranoid Myths Inc.

    119. Macsenex says:

      I recall my Grandpa who was born in 1876 telling me that he saw Queen Victoria on 1887. When she visited Paisley on her golden Jubilee. Part of the Paisley Crowd turned their backs on her because she had asked to wear the Scots Crown when she had been in Edinburgh during the Scottish visit. She was refused the Crown

    120. call me dave says:


      I was told a long time ago that there was a crowning in 1953 in an anti-room at some point during a break in the ceremony that you see on the Pathe News reel. Out of public view and a hurried affair to comply with Scottish requirements.

      Looking at the trouble they took to have a reason to bring the ‘honours of Scotland’ to the kirk I could be persuaded that story might be true.

      There are a number of oaths the new monarch has to make.

      Among them to the Church of England which she made on 4th November 1952 and also to the Church of Scotland , linking back to the ‘claim of right’ (no date when that oath was made) see (religious oath)

      We could write to Betty and ask. 🙂

    121. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Lorraine –

      Did you bother to spend any time looking for any figures before Rev handed them to you?

      Is there any other easily-accessible data you can’t be arsed searching for?

      We’re always happy to help the bewildered.

    122. The Rough Bounds says:

      Everybody else brushed and scrubbed pink and kitted out in their best plush togs and in comes queen Lizzie dressed like a woman going to the kirk on a Sunday morning in the 50’s and with a sour face that looks as if she would prefer to be anywhere else but Scotland.

      I daresay it’s what she was advised to wear by her London Ministers but really, what an insult to us all.

    123. Can’t think the queen would draw such crowds today.

      Towards the end of the Scottish coronation film there were a few seconds taken at a youth event in Glasgow’s Hampden Park. I was taken to that by my mother who had been involved with some youth organisation and had been given tickets. Don’t remember much of it apart from queen not wearing her coronation robes which I think everyone expected. The handbag was seen as a great insult both at St Giles and at Hampden. No robes was one thing – but the handbag was taking it too far!

      When the stone of destiny was brought back by Ian Hamilton and company there certainly was a feeling of latent nationalism, that people in general didn’t want it found. And interestingly the three who brought it back were never charged. The authorities obviously realised the anger that might stir up.

    124. Albert Herring says:

      “what an insult to us all”

      I was just a few months old when those events transpired, but I clearly remember my parents & grandparents recollecting later that this was indeed the general feeling at the time.

    125. Morag says:

      First time I have seen the suggestion that the “cludgie stane” is actually the cover for the floor chamber where the ‘real’ Stone of Destiny was stored.

      I read that a long time ago. It’s by far the most likely explanation. The iron rings suggest a trapdoor or manhole cover.

      That comment is fine, but terribly gushy. I don’t know why all the fuss, it’s very widely known that Edward never got the real stone. I mean, it stands to reason. He made his intentions known in advance. They were just going to leave it for him to take? I don’t think so.

      I don’t imagine the real one will show up now though, or if it did, how it could possibly be authenticated. I think all this Knight’s Templar stuff belongs in the pages of a Dan Brown novel.

      And it’s our chunk of Perthshire sandstone and it has quite a history now so we’ll be keeping it. Oh, that’s if it even is the chunk Edward took. There’s a bit of doubt even about that now.

    126. Morag says:

      I’d like to write for Wings, how did you attract Stu’s attention (tried posting a message on that admin page, no reply)?

      Babel Fish, send him a message through the contact form. It will appear to him as an email. He will email you back.

    127. Paula Rose says:

      @ Morag – is it not their problem if they think it’s the real one? After all if the people of Scotland are sovereign then a wee lump of Perthshire sandstone is nae going to be big enough for us all.

    128. Tam Jardine says:


      Bridei? Well that’s my wife’s claim well and truly trumped! And if the Polish bloke they told me was in line to the Stuart throne is reading this, he’ll be raging!

    129. Wendy Wood always insisted she knew where the real stone was but would only admit to it being buried in a Scottish hillside.

      No matter whether true or not. All nations need such stories.

    130. Morag says:

      Real stone as in the original that Edward didn’t get, or real stone as in the one he did get, though?

      I could certainly believe that someone knows the location of the latter, which I strongly suspect wasn’t left in the ruins of Arbroath Abbey in 1951.

      I recall seeing a TV interview with the sculptor who made the copies at the time. I think my Dad said he knew him. Anyway, he was interviewed on TV and as I watched that I became convinced they hadn’t given back the one they took. Either that or the guy was deliberately winding up the viewers something rotten.

    131. Croompenstein says:

      I think the stone was just symbolic in that Longshanks so hated the Scots he took the stone to show that he was the Lord and master of Scotland, thankfully there were Scot’s patriots who fought back. Simplified I know but it just goes on and on, Longshanks will be turning in his grave on the 19th Sept let’s hope he is on an eternal spin..

    132. CameronB says:

      Tam Jardine
      I said I would like to think, not I do think that…. Your wife might still be in with a shout.:)

    133. velofello says:

      I can accept that in days of yore the smartest, strongest guy, or woman, would be the leader, and would be called King or Queen. For me this doesn’t apply nowadays so I think that royalty today is a piece of nonsense. Trouble is for me is that without a royalty when Blair was Prime Minister, his wife Cherie would have been First Lady!

      The Knights Templar, well that is another tale. A friend told me he was going to view the pirates graves in Galloway. “What pirates graves I asked? Scull and crossbones. Oh you mean the Knight Templars. The what? he responded?”.

      History is written by the victors they say. So lets we Scots win the Yes referendum and then we can write a true account of Scotland’s history within this Union.

      Nice article Morag, wish I’d written it. Oh, I’ve just about cracked Floors O’ the Forest on fiddle and guitar, how are you doing with the flute?

    134. Morag says:

      Useless trying to play that on the flute. Doesn’t suit the instrument. I’m talking about the pipe tune here. Can play it no bad on the recorder.

      Of course the Skene manuscript version is so classically simple you can play it on anything.

    135. Morag says:

      Except the ocarina.

    136. Morag says:

      Sorry, just read that article again and am once more struck by admiration for Stuart’s editing. This is why people read Wings, you know.

      Going to bed now, nightie-night.

    137. Doug Daniel says:

      This article is bang on the money, Morag, especially the quote about folk voting No with a heavy heart. Most people would like Scotland to be independent, it’s just that too many think that we can’t be independent. They’re not saying no to “should Scotland be independent?”, they’re saying no to “could Scotland be independent?”

      If we can get them to accept that the answer to the second question is actually “yes”, then we can get them to say “yes” to the first one too.

      My spiel for the doorsteps is going to be along the lines of this: ask them what issues are stopping them from voting Yes, and chances are they’ll be stuff like “would taxes need to go up? What happens when the oil runs out? How will we afford our pensions?” Then I’ll simply say this to them:

      “If you don’t mind me saying, it sounds like most of your questions are really just asking the same general question: “can we afford it?” Would you agree?”


      “Well, I could fire loads of statistics and numbers at you to show that we can afford it, like [INSERT AMAZING STATISTICS GLEAMED FROM WINGS OVER SCOTLAND REFERENCE SECTION HERE], but the reality is you’ve no reason to believe a bunch of numbers thrown at you by some random guy turning up at your doorstep. What I will say is this – Scotland is a rich country, we already more than pay our way in the UK, and there are countries out there making a great stab at being independent who would kill to have the kind of resources and industry that Scotland already has. Literally, in some cases…”

      “Really, the question you’re asking yourself there is ‘could Scotland be independent?’ It’s the question a fair few folk are answering when you ask them how they intend to vote. Personally, I don’t think we would be having a referendum now if we couldn’t. I think if we, as a nation, didn’t have at least a gut feeling that we can do it, we wouldn’t have allowed ourselves to get into the position of having to answer the question. We just wouldn’t have let it happen.”

      “But the referendum question is ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ So how about this for a wee thought exercise: imagine the referendum comes with a guarantee. That guarantee says ‘if something cataclysmic happens in the first ten or fifteen years of independence, we can go back to the union and carry on as before, as if nothing had ever happened.’ Or imagine that it’s a conditional Yes – you’re actually saying ‘Yes, Scotland should be independent, but only if it can then be proven that we can do it.’ A bit like when a university gives you a conditional offer on the understanding that you’ll get the grades required for entry.”

      “So either way, you would be able to go into that voting booth without having to worry about whether Scotland could be independent, and instead you could simply concentrate on the question written on that ballot paper: should Scotland be an independent country? You wouldn’t have to worry about whether we could afford pensions or be forced to put up taxes, or anything like that. You’re simply asking yourself whether you think decisions about Scotland should be made in Scotland, whether we should represent ourselves on the world stage, and whether we want governments where Scotland makes up 100% of their priorities, instead of just 8.5%.”

      “So, with that in mind, should Scotland be an independent country?”

    138. Patrician says:

      Hi Morag, thanks for a good article. Only thing I would add is that the desire for an independent Scotland never went away after 1707. There were quiet periods admittedly but the desire was always there. In fact, after 300 years of constant Britnat propaganda it is quite amazing that anyone in Scotland want independence.

    139. Iain McCord says:

      There are some positives to be had from what at first might seem negatives. For instance if we accept that the coronation in London was it and that in Scotland was just a finalising of a few minor details given the supposed need to be crowned on the Stone of Destiny then the Queen’s oath binds her to the position of what is effectively that of a constitutional monarch in Scotland. That’s what the “according to their law” bit means. The implications that follow mean that whilst a non-Scots MP swears and oath to the Queen and thus to a sovereignty above the people for a Scot it’s swearing to someone who reigns with the consent of the people and is actually a physical embodiement of their sovereignty. For a scot that oath is actually a swearing of loyalty to the people of Scotland.
      The post box war article misses the actual importance of it. The verdict pretty much acknowledged the validity of the original complaint and upheld the viewpoint that in Scotland the people are sovereign but simply says she’s Queen she can call herself what she likes regardless of historical reality.

    140. Morag says:

      Yes, Patrician, I completely agree. From the Jacobite broadswords engraved “for Charlie and no union” right on to the present. I just had to start somewhere and the coronation was as good a place as any.

      One can come up with all sorts of constitutional reasons for dong it the way it was done, but the fact is that the coat and hat and the infamous handbag, and the non-wearing of the Crown, were deliberately chosen to provide a visual display of Scotland being a vassal state (in practice if not in theory). And how much worse if they really did have to crown her but did it in a side room away from the cameras to deprive Scots of that sight!

      And it backfired spectacularly. Several people above have testified to the offence and indeed outrage caused, especially by the handbag. But they never learn, thankfully.

    141. bookie from hell says:

      @fter the YES vote

      the queen will be the first on the phone

      what do you want me to wear

    142. Morag says:

      😀 😆

    143. Albert Herring says:

      Hey, Morag. Don’t knock the ocarina!

    144. Morag says:

      Most people would like Scotland to be independent, it’s just that too many think that we can’t be independent. They’re not saying no to “should Scotland be independent?”, they’re saying no to “could Scotland be independent?”

      That was really what I was getting at, that and what Patrician said. The desire never went away right through everything, and that’s what they’re terrified of.

      And yet, up till recently they seemed quite confident No would win. I don’t believe the Edinburgh agreement would have been signed if Cameron had believed there was any serious chance of a Yes vote. Which is entirely contrary to their apparent belief for the previous 60 years.

      Has the desire gone? How likely is that, in the very generation when it has become a possibility, there for the taking? But if people who feel the desire are really planning to vote No because they’re afraid, we’re doing it wrong.

      We need to do more to counter the scare stories and let people realise the truth. I can see that’s where the posters are coming in, but we need more.

    145. Morag says:

      Hey, Morag. Don’t knock the ocarina!

      I’m not. But you can’t play any tune with a range of over an octave on an ocarina, and that includes Flowers of the Forest, even the Skene manuscript version.

    146. Morag says:

      Having just clicked on that link, how is she doing that? Is that multiple ocarina units made as one instrument to give a wider range?

    147. Morag says:

      Ah, this one makes it fairly clear that the instrument has several chambers and she’s switching among them. I never knew you could get such a thing. Very interesting. Seems to require a high level of virtuosity.

      The one I have is only one chamber, and tuned to C#. Or as someone said jokingly but apparently correctly, it’s a baroque ocarina in D. It’s D at A = 415 Hz.

      Now I want one like what she has.

    148. gerry parker says:

      @bookie from hell,

      Aye, and the subsequent invitation will say, come unaccompanied.

    149. Dick Gaughan says:

      Morag says:
      I recall seeing a TV interview with the sculptor who made the copies at the time.

      But the cream o the joke still remains tae be tellt
      Fir the lad that wis churnin thaim oot on the belt
      At the heat o production wis sae sairly pressed
      That the real ane got bunged in alang wi the rest

      Sae if ever ye come oan a stane wi a ring
      Jist sit yersel doun an appoint yersel king
      Fur thair’s nane wad be able tae challenge yer claim
      That ye’d crount yersel king on the Destiny Stane

      (from The Wee Magic Stane, J McEvoy)

      Great article, Morag, by the way.

    150. JWil says:

      Now Robertson’s answer to his comment that ‘devolution will kill nationalism stone dead’, seems to be that his prediction has not yet been played out. Well he has had to make some excuse as he is being ridiculed endlessly about it. He cannot make an appearance with his attention being drawn to his rash comment.

      My reaction to his recent faux pas is that he has damaged himself beyond recovery on anything he says now. Such a silly man. Thank goodness we got safely through his tenure at NATO. He was of more danger to the world than the Nuclear weapons he was responsible for.

    151. Albert Herring says:


      There’s also the use of ocarinas, and swannee whistles, to magical effect in the 2nd movement of György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto.

    152. Lorraine says:

      “Start here:

      I said “sourced”.

      Not via a conveniently subscription-only website.

      Let’s see how long it takes to show that these numbers are dross.

      Oh look – tax revenues went up from an IDENTICAL £25.962m in 1915 and 1916 to an IDENTICAL £58.6m in 1917 and 1918.

      In the middle of WWI.


    153. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Oh look – tax revenues went up from an IDENTICAL £25.962m in 1915 and 1916 to an IDENTICAL £58.6m in 1917 and 1918.
      In the middle of WWI.

      Take it up with the Treasury. They’re their figures, not ours.

      We’ve given you the links, if you can’t be arsed to check them through those channels (and there are plenty ways to access that archive free, just not from a home PC) then write to your MP or something.

      Either way, if all you’ve got to contribute to the debate is an angry, groundless assertion that the facts are wrong (and I noticed you didn’t bother refuting the other links), without offering any contradictory evidence, you can piss off.

    154. StevieMcB says:

      Great article Morag & Rev Stu
      I’ve been popping in & out of all the great links from article to comments, too much stuff on the site noo a cannae catch up.;)

      @Calgacus, good link to the Cludgie Stane of Destiny by Robby the Pict. The letters would make a good radio play in the style of the Bob Servant e-mails

    155. Taranaich says:

      Great article, as ever, Morag.

      Watching the Pathe coronation footage, I was struck by the commentary. So much was made of “loyalty,” it made them look deeply insecure, as if we had to be reminded that the Scots still considered Liz to be the Queen – as if there was some subtle fear that the Scots weren’t fully loyal. But the English idea of loyalty to a monarch is borne of subservience, of knowing your place, that your monarch knows best: Scottish royal loyalty is borne from admiration and support of their cause – which is the people of Scotland.

      It’s an essential difference, and why Liz is Queen of England, but Queen of Scots. In England, she is Queen of the Land, and all the property of it – which, even now, includes the people. In Scotland, it is the people who are most important, not the land and the holdings.

      That’s perhaps why even now, the distinction of Queen of England and Queen of Scots remains: because for all the similarities the monarchy of Scotland shared with its English and continental counterparts, perhaps one could not truly combine or reconcile the English and Scottish crowns without extinguishing one or the other. And I fear there would be only one choice in the latter situation – given the reaction to letter boxes, could you imagine the outcry if the Scottish crown, articles and states were subsumed into a British one – which would, of course, end up being merely an expansion of the English crown?

      Final rambling thought: mushrooms are a great analogy, because even concrete can’t keep the wee buggers down. Roads, walls, building foundations all buckle eventually when a determined-enough mushroom breaks through to the light. So it shall be for the Scots.

    156. Colin Laing says:

      Excellent read. I hope the real stone of Scone is found soon. The Old red Sandstone block that lay in london is most likely and in deliberate irony a drain cover from the abbey at scone, The original i’m convinced lies waiting to be found in a crack in the rocks on the north side of Dunsinain hill to the north east of the Abbey.

    157. MochaChoca says:

      “Oh look – tax revenues went up from an IDENTICAL £25.962m in 1915 and 1916 to an IDENTICAL £58.6m in 1917 and 1918.
      In the middle of WWI.

      I noticed that when the article appeared (not just those years but on other pairs of years too) and my lateral thinking suggested that for some periods the figures will have been produced semi-annually then halved to get the yearly figure. I didn’t bother to check though!

    158. Jock says:

      I find this an odd description of what actually took place in Scotland as regards the Queen’s accepting the sword and sceptre.

      It wasn’t a coronation as such, as that would mean a crowning, and there was no crowning, because the Scottish crown was long retired as a symbol of the Scottish realm and in the place of it and the English crown, the British realm was symbolised by the new crown.

      What the queen did was perform a purely symbolic act of accepting the sword (defence) and sceptre (constitutional responsibility) on behalf of the Scottish nation. It’s a ceremony, not much different to accepting your role of honour upon graduation.

      HM’s demeanour during it, shows she was accepting that responsibility with seriousness, sobriety and thoughtfully.

      I sure as hell wouldn’t expect her to be all care-free and nonchalant about it!

    159. a supporter says:

      Excellent article Morag. I thought I was reading a piece by Stu till I read the byeline. There is no better praise than that for a columnist.

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