#1
For the second time in six months, English historian David Starkey has launched a broadside against the Scots.

Six months ago he accused Scotland of being a "feeble little nation" that likes to revel in failure (and when it comes to sport, they have plenty of opportunity). One of their few successes they like to celebrate is, of course, Bannockburn - but woe betide any Englishman that mentions 1966.

Now he has accused Scotland of being medieval and self-indulgent, and that it only became a "great" nation thanks to its union with England.

Starkey also said that Scotland was full of ministers who "wouldn't make county councillors in England".

He singled out Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill - who approved Megrahi's release, to the anger of many Americans - for particular abuse, describing him as "an underemployed solicitor". When it comes to matters of justice, Scotland is separate from England & Wales, so the release is nothing to do with London.

He said: "I would say that Scotland's decisions with the Libyan bomber confirms everything I said about them."

All this comes just a few weeks after Scotland fans were heard making anti-English chants at a World Cup qualifier against Holland, which the Scots lost. So the Scots can hardly claim the moral high ground in this affair.

TV historian David Starkey launches second broadside against Scotland

Sep 22 2009
By Kevin Schofield
The Daily Record
"Scotland's Newspaper"


English historian David Starkey

SNOOTY telly historian David Starkey has launched another bitter rant against Scotland.

The arrogant English academic said devolution had turned Scotland into a "medieval" nation more obsessed with itself than the outside world.

The comment came as he slammed the decision to release terminally ill Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from jail on compassionate grounds.

Starkey said Holyrood was full of ministers who "wouldn't make county councillors in England".

He singled out justice secretary Kenny MacAskill - who approved Megrahi's release - for particular abuse, describing him as "an underemployed solicitor".

The comments, during an interview with Tory blogger Iain Dale, came six months after he described Scotland as "a feeble little nation" on the BBC's Question Time. It led to a flood of complaints.

In his latest interview, he defended the earlier slur.

He said: "I would say that Scotland's decisions with the Libyan bomber confirms everything I said about them.

"If you want to see what happens when a country becomes 'little', when you have a government that wouldn't make county councillors in England and a minister of justice that is an underemployed solicitor - that's what you get.


Scottish Justic Secretary Kenny MacAskill caused outrage in America by releasing the Lockerbie bomber. Starkey has called him an "under-employed solicitor."

"Scotland's greatness took place not in medieval history, when it was a catastrophe of a place, but in its long, long association with England and Britain.

"It has become exactly like medieval Scotland - the clannishness, the introversion."

Culture minister Mike Russell described Starkey's comments as "unfortunate and silly".

He added: "We would be delighted to welcome Dr Starkey to Scotland, so that he can discover the truth about our country.

"Sadly, there may be no point in extending an invitation, as Dr Starkey seems to relish being ill-informed and does not appear to have an open mind when it comes to Scotland."

Michael Fry, the author and historian, said: “Starkey is a typical example of English imperialism who wants everyone to be like England, and Scotland is not."

THE DAVID STARKEY ATTACK IN FULL

It was a joke! The question was did I think the English should treat St George's Day the same way the Scots and all the rest of them treat their saints' days - St Andrew, St Patrick and my answer was no. That would mean we would become a feeble little nation like them and we're showing every sign of doing just that. H.G. Wells has this wonderful phrase - "the English are the only nation without national dress". It is a glory that we don't have such a thing.

If you want to be academic about it, there are two completely different patterns of nationalism in the British Isles - the Celtic nationalism of Scotland, Wales, Ireland, which is entirely typical nineteenth century European nationalism, an invention based on folklore, supposed authentic peasant cultures which are entirely fictional, national dress, national music and some goddamn awful national poet like Burns.

English nationalism went through that phase under Henry VIII. But if you do really want me to go back to being abusive - I would say that Scotland's decisions with the Libyan bomber confi rms everything I said about them. If you want to see what happens when a country becomes 'little' - when you have a government that wouldn't make county councillors in England, and a Minister of Justice that is an underemployed solicitor - that's what you get. And I am not anti-Scottish, I love Scotland - my childhood holidays were there - apart from that fact it pissed with rain all the time. But Scotland's greatness took place not in medieval history when it was a catastrophe of a place, but in its long, long association with England and Britain.

The transformation of Scotland from this deeply backward Presbyterian horror of the early 17th century - where you still hang a lad in the 1690s for denying the existence of the Devil - to this extraordinary 'Athens of the North' of the Scottish enlightenment, the amazing products of Glasgow University in the 18th century, is when Scotland looks out as part of a greater whole.

What's happened of course is that Scotland is now looking in. It has become exactly like medieval Scotland - the clannishness, the introversion, chucking money at the Edinburgh Festival to make it 'more Scottish', that awful Parliament, the dreadful Parliament building. The self-indulgence of the whole thing, the complete sense of in-growing toenail; I mean Edinburgh has turned into a city where you can see its toes growing in.
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THE WARS OF SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE AND THE TERRIFYING WARWOLF

The Wars of Scottish Independence were two wars fought between the small, relatively poor Scotland and its much larger, much richer and much more powerful English conqueror between 1296 and 1357.

Despite this, both wars were won by the Scots - though 350 years later both nations unified to form Great Britain.

England's King Edward I was known as "Hammer of the Scots", and he certainly justified receiving this monicker - thanks to Warwolf.

Warwolf was the largest trebuchet ever built, and it was a very useful weapon for the English war machine, who used it against Stirling Castle.

When disassembled, the weapon would fill 30 wagons. It took five master carpenters and forty-nine other labourers at least three months to complete.

A contemporary account of the siege states, "During this business the king had carpenters construct a fearful engine called the lup-de-guerre (sic., War wolf), and this when it threw, brought down the whole wall."

Even before construction could be completed, the sight of the giant engine so intimidated the Scots that they tried to surrender.

Edward, declaring, "You don't deserve any grace, but must surrender to my will," decided to carry on with the siege and witness for himself the power of the masterful weapon. T he Warwolf accurately hurled missiles weighing as much as three hundred pounds and levelled a large section of the curtain wall.

Scotland's resistance partly came from a knight and landowner named William Wallace, whom the Scots still revere to this day. He helped the Scots defeat the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge on 11th September 1297.

A few years later Wallace was captured in Robroyston near Glasgow and handed over to King Edward I of England.

On 23 August 1305, Wallace was taken from Westminster Hall in London, stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse to the Elms at Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered — strangled by hanging but released whilst he was still alive, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burnt before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts. His preserved head (dipped in tar) was placed on a pike atop London Bridge. It was later joined by the heads of the brothers, John and Simon Fraser. His limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle upon Tyne , Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling, and Aberdeen.

That certainly showed him.

READERS' COMMENTS

(The pro-English comments are in red. The pro-Scottish comments are in blue)

Oh dear, Starkey really doesn't like Scotland, does he? But let's knock on the head this lie of a land of awful Presbyterian intolerance. I can't defend the Aitkenhead execution to which he alludes - no one can - but Scotland's record of religious tolerance is far better than Englands.

Only a handful of people were martyred during the Reformation (all but one Protestants): nothing happened here comparable to the hundreds burned to death under Mary I or the dozens under the blessed Elizabet, and the most generous estimate of the total put to death (on both sides) during the Reformation in Scotland is twenty-three. Compared to England, France, Germany or elsewhere in europe, that's an astonishingly low figure.

Scotland has the best record on treatment of the Jews of any European country. The bloodiest period of our history - the persecution of the Covenanters, from 1660 to 1988 - was at the direction of a London monarch trying to impose episcopal,Anglican-style church government - again, hundreds were killed and hundreds more tortured. And it was England, not Scotland, where men were still being hanged, drawn and quartered as recently as 1746; England where, as recently as the Second World War, the courts solemnly tried a witch; England which was three years behind Scotland in repealing Section 28.

'We are all aware of the Protestant martyrs in England under Queen Mary,' writes academic H J Paton, 'but if we visit the English College in Rome, we can see - or at least could see somke years ago - a large number of not very good pictures portraying the horrible tortures of the Roman Catholics under Queen Elizabeth. The English legend that insane intolerance is peculiarly characteristic of Scotland seems to find little support in the facts.' I'm afraid David Starkey simply doesn't know what he's talking about.

John MacLeod
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And we English would like YOU lot out of our Country as well please. Especially the ones running England and the drunk smelly ones that keep asking me for change in London at every cashpoint.

Martin
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John Macleod points out that in "England where, as recently as the Second World War, the courts solemnly tried a witch;"

That is true, sir, a Scottish witch!

Anonymous
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Hi, Salmondnet. Charles II was born in England; he had a Danish granny, a French mother and a Portuguese wife. He never once visited Scotland during his reign, after the Restoration of 1660 - though his brother, later King James VII and II, did play some part north of the Border, on occasion supervising the torture of Presbyterian dissidents. (Grovelling apologies re my earlier posting for typing '1988' rather than '1688'.)The pair were about as Scottish as Harold Macmillan, their rule in Scotland was uniformly bad (and scarcely better in England, though at least they refrained there from the judicial murder of hundreds of their own subjects), and the atrocities of their consecutive reigns north of the Border - such as the two women drowned at the stake by the Solway Tide - were extensive and incontestable. In fact, the Stuarts ended up so detested in their ancestral land that, in 1746, more Scots actually fought against 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' at Culloden than for him. Might we leave the mythology to Starkey; and let him preen on the tolerance of a land that twice expelled its Jews, decreed as late as 1978 that no Roman Catholic could be Speaker or Lord Chancellor and still has the Pope annually burnt in effigy for a jolly jape - no, you read that right, and not at Larkhall, Lanarkshire; but Lewes, Sussex.

John MacLeod
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John Macleod: Tony Blair was born in Scotland, but most Scots still regard him as English. Charles and James were following in their (indubitably Scottish) grandfathers footsteps. The Wellingtonian theory of nationality applies and, even if it did not, it remains tendentious to refer to kings from a SCOTTISH dynasty as "London" Monarchs.

Further, as I am sure you are aware, the reason for the wartime witchcraft trial was, ostensibly, fraud and, in practice, a real security issue. Questionable perhaps, but not really evidence of intolerance.

As to the Lewes bonfire, if I was a Roman Catholic, or part of any other minority, I would face the citizens of Lewes (or any English town) in preference to oh so tolerant Glasgow Rangers fans, any day

Salmondnet
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"John Macleod points out that in "England where, as recently as the Second World War, the courts solemnly tried a witch;"

That is true, sir, a Scottish witch!"

and thw whole trial was stymied by W Churchill(English)

John, you really underplay the the persection of the Covenanters 1660 1688 which you say
" was at the direction of a London monarch trying to impose episcopal,Anglican-style church government - again, hundreds were killed and hundreds more tortured."

You are implying it was an English controlled plot on puir wee Scotland. The reality is it was home grown Scottish religious/political feuding of a particularly deadly and callous variety that took place long after this sort of thing had attenuated to mere non bloodletting political maneouvre in England. And it was emphatically a Scottish and not an English story.

Curiously,you also fail to mention the mob-fuelled jiudicial murder of Captain Thomas Green and three of his crew when they were hanged for trumped up charges( basically because the mob were inflamed agianst the English- shades of now!) on Leith sands on 11/04/1705,just outside Edinburgh. There were troops to hand to prevent it happening but the Scottish establishment who knew very well that what was happening was wrong, kept away from this legal lynching.

They don't talk about it to this day unless someone pursues the matter.

Anonymous

dailyrecord.co.uk
Last edited by Blackleaf; Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:15 AM..