Fightback in Scottish history teaching!

A ‘Unionist fightback?’ What, have we finished correcting all the mythological accounts of how good a thing the British Empire was? Do they want a fightback against accuracy? Do they want the weans and bairns to hear more on the positives in mass slavery, genocidal military campaigns, organised famines in India and Ireland, the theft of resources, my ancestors role in terrorising the good folk of Ireland, India, Aden and god knows how many other parts, and the many many other horrors typical of empires?

I left school in 1969 with a Higher History, knowing all about Wellington’s campaigns and the Corn Laws but SFA about the above. My History-teaching colleagues in the 1980s had, at Glasgow University in the 50s, been unable to take a single class in Scottish History.

Yet, Tom Gordon tells us:

A SCOTTISH Tory MP has backed a controversial plan for the UK Government to root out “undue nationalist bias” in the teaching of British history in schools. Andrew Bowie said the idea was one of “a series of feasible policy recommendations” that could help “a Unionist fightback” against the threat of independence.

The Scottish Tory MP is Andrew ‘Smug’ Bowie:

Smug – itisintruthnotforglory

Here’s an extract:

Britain is the rump of an empire. The dominant Tories still have an imperialist mindset, increasing spending on weapons and reducing aid, sending gunboats to resolve fishing disputes. Give them longer in power and who knows what adventures they’ll dream up.

As for the authors, Stokes is a critic of US imperial adventures writing for example: ‘America’s Other War: Terrorizing Colombia’ in 2006. He claims an interest in social justice but, of course, not for Scotland. Has he been got at and moved from left to right for safety reasons?

Biggar, born in Castle Douglas but then privately educated in England and now a deacon in the Church of England, is a more obvious source, known already as an apologist for empire:

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/dec/22/oxford-university-accused-of-backing-apologists-of-british-colonialism

Oxford students have corrected and failed him here:

Colonialism was not good for the colonised, and those who think it was must be challenged.

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15 thoughts on “Fightback in Scottish history teaching!

  1. If he would just include the stripping out of undue English nationalist bias, maybe , just maybe, I could go a wee bit with him……..
    Don’t know how much would be left to teach, though.

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  2. When real history becomes non-history…And when real history becomes inconvenient, well we’ll just re-write it. We do not have a Conservative Government, we have a real Fascist Government.
    It was only days ago that we were remembering our fathers and grandfathers as young men storming the beaches of Normandy in 1944 to put an end to the very same people who last thought like this.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I would have thought the terms of the Treaty of Union would have put Scotland’s education beyond the grasping mitts of our big neighbour and their Scottish “agents”.
    But that is the historical aspect, and politically, overmighty Westminster seems able to override any constitutional impediment if it wants to.
    I too, learned of Waterloo at school, with “England” facing up to the terrors of France and Boney. Why “England” when Scots and Irish troops were there (and soldiers from all over Europe), it was asked?
    But England had an Empire, called the “British Empire”, fighting the French Empire and preventing a German Empire from forming.

    And “England” was the term used in our history books, and “England” was the descriptive term used for our Monarch (QE2), Prime Minister (recently had been MacMillan, grandson of a crofter, but always, always Prime Minister of England) and the country we lived in.

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    1. At the time of Waterloo, the name “Scotland” was proscribed. It was North Britain. At a crucial juncture in the battle, which Wellington (an Irishman) described as a ‘damn close run thing’, the Scots Dragoon Guards (known as the North British Dragoon guards at the time) made a counter attack which halted the French advance delaying things until Bluecher and the Prussians arrived and won the day.

      When the Guards charged, they shouted “Alba gu brath!” (Scotland forever!). There is a huge painting of the scene in the sitting room adjacent to the House of Lords in Westminster and the Title is “Scotland Forever”.

      Our name was restored shortly after Waterloo.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Little wonder they want to hide the crimes against humanity committed under the United Kingdom flag. It did not gain the name of the “Butchers’ Apron” by accident.
    No thought given by the Unionists to the 3 million people of Bangladesh who died of famine in 1943 because of UK policies or the other estimated 20 million or so who died as a result of “The British Empire”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I seem to remember during a debate at Holyrood on the teaching of Scottish History in Scottish Schools, that one of the Tory members, a lady, said that the teaching of Scottish History in schools was. “adequate”. I thought at the time this was a strange word to use, and still do. Anyone remember that?

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I came across a great comment from Hilary Mantell “History’s what people are trying to hide from you, not what they’re trying to show you. You search for it in the same way you sift through a landfill, for evidence of what people want to bury”
    Andrew Bowie’s support for reimagining history to block out Scottish, Welsh or Irish perspectives should be up there with the crimes committed by Gove & Hancock. Even if it only succeeds in England, think of the damage being done to English children growing up thinking they are superior to other nations

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Let us not let Labour off the hook about the British imperial past: Here is Bodger Broon as Chancellor in 2005 speaking on ‘Newsnight’: “I think we should celebrate much of our past rather than apologise for it and we should talk, rightly so, about British values.” Earlier that year, in Africa he told a newspaper: “The days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over”.

    This guy is working with Michael Gove and the Royal Family to save ‘our precious union’. He has the ear of Mr Keir Starmer and remains influential in the tiny rump which is the Labour Party in Scotland.

    Why does the term ‘Quisling’ come to mind?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How very sinister, and do the English nationalists in government in London not know that education in Scotland is actually not in their remit, it’s not up to them what the children and young people of Scotland are taught in school.
    Indoctrination of children, brainwashing the population, via taking and having full and total control of the so called media, removing Scotland’s status as a nation, is this 1930’s Germany.

    The pro independence parties having won the election in May, it seems ages ago!) against huge odds of the BritNat states’ round the clock propaganda, and we have the fascists at WM acting as a dictatorship over Scotland, and their little jobsworths, their lackeys in Scotland, facilitating the ‘war’ on Scotland’s partial autonomy.
    The English Nationalists are terrified of losing their cash cow. The desperate take desperate measures, democracy is very vulnerable in the British Nationalists’ UK.

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  9. Hi John, not sure when in the 50s your History teachers were at Glasgow Uni but I did a course in Scottish History and Literature then as part of my English Language and Lit degree, though not a requirement. Alexander Scott did the literature, introducing us to Dunbar, Henryson and Gavin Douglas as well as later ones, while Prof J D Mackie, in his last year before retiring (so a bit demob happy) did the history. Edwin Morgan was a lecturer in English Literature then too,

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  10. More stupidity and assaults on truth. But I guess it is just the other side of the “colouring in” of portrayals of historical events by the more woke sections of the film industry. If we are to put up with the obvious untruths of depicting people of colour as full and equal participants in societies, not being oppressed and discriminated against, which we know from history is just bollocks, then we have to put up with portraying imperialist plunder as benevolent and glorious. Truth was always an important part of history when I learned about it. These days it is all about narratives and whose version of events has more power to influence general understanding. I am not saying that history is not or should not be political. I do feel however that there is room enough – even inside the fragile and sensitive minds of the next generation – for the truth to be told and for us to accept it and move on. As the wise man once opined; those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

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