Saturday, 20 March 2010

Red coat memorial

With reference to the Battle at Culloden, April 1746, a military historian has called for a memorial to be erected in memory of the soldiers who fought on the side of the Duke of Cumberland, in opposition to the Jacobite forces, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. Not much is being made of the Red Coats, as all the attention is focused on BPC. I have previously made clear that I feel that the Jacobite prince was a royal fool and incompetent to a catastrophic degree. Whilst the clan system was already on the way out in the mid 18th century, Charlie's actions served to give the Hannoverian forces the pretext they needed to go on the rampage in the Highlands and Islands.

Culloden is often marked as the occasion which marked the end of the Scotland of old. Well, in 1707, Scotland had already ceased to be an independent nation, by virtue of the merger of the Scottish Parliament into the Westminster one in London. The rebellions by the Old Pretender in 1715 and his son, the Young Pretender, in 1746, served no purpose. To this day, the people in the Highlands and Islands can be claimed to feel the effects of the disaster that was Culloden, without a doubt.

Comparing Scotland to Norway, as some politicians like to do, throws up some unpleasant home truths. The remote areas in Norway are supported, if necessary subsidised, by the government in Oslo. The remote areas of Scotland are not supported to any degree like that of the Norwegians. The fish farming industry is a case in point, where plants and companies have been taken over by foreign parties - to be closed down and asset stripped. The Norwegians would never allow that to happen in e.g. the Lofoten Islands. So, why does the Scottish Government or indeed the British Government permit it?

No, I'm not a Scottish nationalist. Far from it. This post is merely highlighting one of my pet hates, the elevation of Prince Charles Edward to the status of near-sainthood in Scottish history. The man was an unmitigated disaster for Scotland.


  1. I read the "redcoat" article on the BBC "scotland page" One part stuck out "one family had sons in the ranks of the redcoats and other in the jacobites side.Late hubby always said prince charlie seemed a hopeless wit(sorry folks his words not mine)and that the battle of culloden like so many battles was inutile.Personally I have mixed feelings on the subject I think their will be a lot of interesting replies to this post!

  2. I find the man himself a rather unsavoury character but he, or rather his commanders, did come very close to achieving their ends. It is interesting to speculate what would have happened had the Jacobite Army not turned at Derby. It is possible that they would have taken London restored a catholic monarchy and overturned the changes made after the ( so called ) Glorious Revolution. What then would have happened in Europe and the Americas? However once they turned north I suspect that the ensuing disasters were inevitable. Of course we should not forget that he was not universally welcomed in Scotland and had he triumphed there may have been further wars of religion such as were experienced in the Cromwellian and Covenanter times.
    Either way he was a real and also a potential disaster.

  3. Arnish, you may well be right about lack of support for local industries by Westminster but allow me to point out the situation in Norway involves massive subsidies - or at least did so in the '80s, when I lived there. At that time every smallholding and fishing vessel (presumably above a certain size) received a subsidy to the equivalent of £9 000 annually.This is a lot of money, only made possible by the far-sighted policy of the Norwegian government in the 1970s, to own 51% in every oil-field. The difficulties of communication in Scotland are dwarfed by the distances and mountains of Norway. Soon the communities in the Norwgian North will be thriving as the Barents Sea oil-fields are opened up, and likely also the NE Passage. Pay-back time!