What’s It About Scotland?

Only a small minority, north of the “Highland-Line”, ever spoke Gaelic and can accurately be described as “Scots”. The vast majority (including the “national poet”, Robert Burns) are English-speakers, descended from English-speakers, who emerged from the same mixture of Germanic tribes as the English.

The Scots, an assortment of Irish tribes, invaded Caledonia in the 9th century, from Ireland, after much of Caledonia (as it was then called) had already been occupied by Angles, Saxons, Danes et al. The earliest historical inhabitants of Caledonia were Brythons, like the Welsh.

The Brythons displaced the Picts (about whom little is known) in much of Caledonia, centuries before the Romans came, and they remained the majority, throughout Roman times. They persist today, albeit divested of their Brythonic culture and exclusively English-speaking, in the Southern Uplands.

How is it then that the latest-coming inhabitants of Caledonia, who have always been a minority – and are not even the largest minority – have given their name to the entire country and persuaded the rest of the inhabitants that all of them are “Scottish”?

Enter the Normans! Duke William (1066 and all that) took steps to subdue England by parcelling her out to his feudal liegemen. Those, who were allotted estates in Caledonia, then took the opportunity to defy William, and his successors, by assuming the most romantic, and apparently authentic, Caledonian identity available, and declaring themselves “Scotsmen”. The bloody battles of the Middle Ages then followed, between “Scottish” Normans and “English” Normans, using the English, the Welsh and the Scots (in England and “Scotland”) as cannon-fodder, and with the “Scottish” Normans inviting alliance with any continental power they could persuade to help them.

Most of Scotland is still remote and romantic, but most of her inhabitants are Lowland townies, with a sooty, industrial past – and not much to put in its place today. The long struggle for a decent standard of living, against the owners of the mines, shipyards and factories, embittered the Lowlanders and, with many notable exceptions, blunted their entrepreneurial impulses. Even after the second war with Germany – and often in clear contrast to most of the United Kingdom – they elected Communists and Socialists to Westminster, in great numbers.

The appeal to continental powers continues with the SNP’s scheme to reduce all parts of the UK to provinces of the EU. How the members of the “Scottish National Party” get away with calling themselves “Scottish”, has been explained. How they get away with calling themselves “nationalist” is more difficult, and is bound to cause them problems. How can a “nationalist” campaign for his country to be absorbed by a foreign power?

At the moment, the SNP still gets away with this, because EU-propaganda – to the effect that the EU is democratic and devoted to “human rights”, the rule of law, and peace – continues to prevail in the mass-media; but the EU’s further claim – that it brings prosperity – is now collapsing. Its claim to be democratic, always weak, has virtually been discredited; and its apparent devotion to “human rights”, and (EU-) law, is increasingly being eroded by a clear conflict between these things and natural justice – not to mention the EU’s own indifference, to its own laws, when it suits the EU to bend, break or ignore them.

In effect, the SNP (along with Plaid Cymru and most Irish parties) has merely been saying that subjection to Brussels will be less painful than subjection to London; but why should this even seem to be the case, when democratic representation at Westminster (once free of the EU) would be far more complete and meaningful than representation in the EU’s “parliament”, which is really just a consultative assembly and a propaganda-arm of the EU-Commission?

The SNP (on behalf of the EU and its supranationalist backers in governments and big business) is offering the Scots a pig-in-a-poke, accompanied by the skirling of pipes and the verses of Rabbie Burns, when the “poke” is actually, totally empty; but that’s what it is about Scotland: she feels put upon (she often has been) and, throughout history, various ambitious nobles, ideologues and power-grabbers have sought to exploit this resentment, usually for their own advantage and to the detriment of Scotland.

So here we go again; but, this time, the pretence is feebler, and turning the clock back three hundred years should prove to be an unsuperable task..

Thanks to Steve Reed for this one.

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