I could not believe my eyes when this article appeared on the BBC News website. It says that members of a secret society, called A Circle of Gentlemen, aims to march from Derby to London to petition 10 Downing Street for a state apology for alleged war crimes, committed following the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
It is a matter of historical record that atrocities were committed by
Hanoverian forces after Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s defeat at this
battle, fought near Inverness, in April 1746.
In my personal opinion, I do not feel that it serves any useful
purpose to hark back to an awful event, which occurred 265 years ago.
Nothing that happened since will be changed by a state apology, and
neither will any state policy towards the Highlands and Islands be
altered as a result.
I think it is rather more pertinent that an apology be sought over the Battle of the Boyne,
of 1689, the repercussions of which include the euphemistically called
Troubles in Northern Ireland. Is anyone going to go to The Hague,
Netherlands, to demand an apology from Queen Beatrix for the misdeeds
resulting from the actions of one of her predecessors, 322 years ago?
And is anyone going to go to Ankara to seek contrition from the Turkish
government over the battle of Kosovo in 1389, as a result of which a bloody civil war was fought in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s?
In recent years, the government of Australia has apologised to the
Aborigine population of that nation, for the way they had been treated
until very recently. From now on, this should result in the Aborigines
being treated in the same way as everybody else in Australia. That is a
positive, constructive result from that apology. I see no constructive
outcome of any apology for Culloden. It’s too long ago, and I have
pointed out the two other historical examples to highlight the dangers
of living in the past.
Furthermore, to really put the cat amongst the pigeons (but longtime
readers of this blog will be familiar with that attitude), I think that
Bonnie Prince Charlie was ill advised to commence this campaign to claim
the English throne. He did not have the full backing of all Highland
clans, his military strategy were seriously flawed. Charles is
responsible for the consequences of his actions. He gave Cumberland et
al the pretext to commit the atrocities they had been itching to