Monument To First Duke Of Sutherland 

I am honoured to publish on this site an academic paper on a very important topic. Lynda Baird is married to my good friend Professor Alf Baird and clearly has the same talent for explanation of important matters in Scotland. I firmly believe educating our fellow citizens about how colonialism worked in Scotland over the centuries and is still ever present in today’s Scotland can make a huge contribution to our nation winning our freedom. So get your tea or coffee ready and sit and enjoy reading about our past and how it still influences our future today.

A rather exotic photo of Lynda supplied by Professor Baird.

Monument To First Duke Of Sutherland

Lynda Baird

(Lynda Baird has a BA Degree in Archaeology. Her main interests are in Cultural Heritage Management and Egyptology. She is currently undertaking research for an MSc in Archaeology.)

“Every statue, whether of Faidherbe or of Lyautey, of Bugeaud or of Segeant Blandan – all these conquistadors perched on colonial soil do not cease from proclaiming one and the same thing: ‘We are here by the force of bayonets’.”

(Frantz Fanon 1970, 66)


In recent times statues have been toppled in the wake of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Also known as ‘fallism’, statues have been toppled in many countries around the world, particularly in instances where imperialism and colonialism occurred (Dirks 1992). 

In this paper, the monument selected for analysis is the Duke of Sutherland statue near Golspie in the Scottish Highlands. This is a controversial and contested monument for a number of reasons. The essay provides appraisal of values and significance of the heritage from the standpoint of different stakeholders, with discussion of tensions between memory and forgetting in representation and commemoration, also taking into account postcolonial aspects of values in this context.

The 1st Duke of Sutherland

Duke of Sutherland was a title created by William IV in 1833 for English aristocrat George Levesen-Gower, 2nd Marquess of Stafford, the latter also holding a range of subsidiary titles in England (Richards 1999). The Scottish title came into the family in 1785 through the marriage of the first Duke to Elizabeth Sutherland, 19th Countess of Sutherland.

The Duke was appointed ambassador to France in 1790 and he and Lady Sutherland witnessed the French Revolution (Richards 2004). Subsequent Scottish clearances may have been a crude reaction on their part to reduce risk of revolution, which was real in Scotland as news from France spread (MacAskill 2020). 

The Duke was also an MP and one of the richest men in England. Born in London, his family originated from Yorkshire and married into a wealthy Stafford family. The Duke and his family were English aristocrats who owned large tracts of Scotland, as was the case throughout much of Scotland. The Duke acquired additional land in Sutherland, bringing the proportion of the County he owned to around 63%, or 1.5 million acres, the largest private estate in Europe. 

Concentration of English land ownership in Scotland intensified with government forfeiture of Jacobite sympathisers lands after the Scottish ‘rebellions’ in 1715 and 1745 (Pollard 2009). After the 1745 uprising, the clan system in Scotland was emasculated as a policy of the London government to prevent further nationalist sentiment (Pollard 2009). Head of the British army, the Duke of Cumberland (son of King George I, known as ‘Butcher’ Cumberland) planned to remove inhabitants of Highland glens to the colonies and burning their homes became part of that ‘process’ (Plank 2003). The enforced removal of Scots was therefore British Government policy.

British/English elites viewed the 1715 and 1745 ‘rebellions’ as culturally driven by Highland clans. The Scots language/culture had already been discarded by Scottish elites; however, Highlanders retained the Gaelic language which government viewed as a threat (Stewart 2021). The 1747 Act of Proscription banned Gaelic language, bagpipes and tartan; cultural oppression was combined with oppressive economic policies. Scots were viewed as inferior people, which is racism. Landowners helped pay the cost of transporting Scots to America and Australia. 

Policies had the desired effect: in the early 18th century one third of Scots lived in the Highlands, by the end of the 19th century this had reduced to 15%. Of those who remained, many were put into the British army, sent to fight foreign and colonial wars. The ‘Heritable Jurisdictions Act’ stated that anyone who did not submit to English rule automatically forfeited their land. Empire Resettlement Acts provided added ‘incentives’ for Scots to leave. Legislation was therefore employed by British governments to remove Scots, take their lands and obliterate their culture, which is the aim of Cultural Imperialism (Phillipson 1992).

The ‘Mannie’

When the Duke died, his wife decided to erect a statue of him on the top of Beinn a’Bhragaidh (397m) near Golspie. Locally the statue is referred to as ‘The Mannie’, which in Scots means ‘little man’. The statue is described as ‘huge’, being 9 metres and set on a plinth making the total height 33 metres. Its construction was considered a feat of engineering, and it is visible from land and sea for many miles around (Figure 1). Payment for the monument was raised from the estate’s remaining tenantry.

The Duke’s statue sits in a prominent and significant position atop a hill, in full view of communities in and around Golspie, and in sight of travellers on the busy main A9 trunk road and adjacent Highland rail line from Inverness (Figure 1).

The statue (Figure 2) is classified as a 19th century commemorative monument to the first Duke of Sutherland (Canmore 2021). Site name is: ‘Beinn A’ Bhragaidh, Monument To First Duke Of Sutherland’. Site Number is NC80SW 43, NGR NC 81441 00914, Datum OSGB36 – NGR, Permalink

The monument, erected in 1836, commemorates the Duke. This may be contrasted with his infamous involvement in Highland Clearances, evictions undertaken throughput many straths and glens from 1790 onwards (Figure 3). That plan was to restructure the estate into sheep farming to secure higher returns. Evictions of over 15,000 people occurred on the Duke’s estate.

Figure 1: Location of Duke of Sutherland monument. Source: CANMORE (2021)

The Duke and Westminster governments running Scotland post-1707 were regarded as imperial tyrants (Clark 2020). Debate relates to events referred to as ‘Clearances’; however, elsewhere forced displacement of an ethnic group is known as ethnic cleansing, with those responsible prosecuted by international courts were they still around. 

It is argued that educators seldom adequately cover the subject and that British propaganda sought to sanitise events (Kay 2006). In terms of memory, the Duke’s family and British elites wanted him remembered, and state educators arguably still deliver the historic narrative from that pro-British ‘union’ perspective that ‘clearances were naughty, but not genocide’ (i.e. criminal).

Figure 3: Map of the Highland Clearances. Source: Mapmania (2021)

Perceptions may also be influenced by an Anglicised education system and narrative, and elevation of Anglophone elites and discourse, as opposed to indigenous Scots culture and language; this is considered a legacy of Cultural Imperialism (Phillipson 1992). The statue honours a man who made a desert of the land which he had acquired through marriage and who, it is argued, betrayed the people whose families had lived there for centuries; former MEP Winnie Ewing is reputed to have said that it was like having a statue of Hitler outside Auschwitz (Clark 2020).

Contested Cultural Heritage 

It is important to understand how heritage is valued, and by whom, and to consider the period when a statue was installed and what was happening at the time. A range of heritage values and typologies are applied in heritage management (Harrison 2013). Values-based approach “seeks to identify, sustain and enhance significance, where significance is understood as the overall value of heritage, or the sum of its constituent ‘heritage values’ (Fredheim and Khalaf 2016, 466). Values-based approaches may fail, however, where “decisions are based on incomplete understandings of heritage and its values” (Fredheim and Khalaf 2016, 467). This may be due to mis-understanding of the heritage and cultural environment in question. 

What exactly does the monument commemorate? The purpose of Imperialist monumentalism and symbolism, and the values it seeks to express, is part of Cultural Imperialism, which “is the practice of promoting the culture or language of one nation in another” (Phillipson 1992); this enforces an alien culture on a people, reflecting an unequal relationship (Tomlinson 2001), influencing beliefs, attitudes and ultimately behaviour of the oppressed people (Schiller 1989).

Alois Riegl (1902) referred to the ‘Modern Cult of Monuments’ in which six types of values are set out  (historic, artistic, Age, commemoration, Use, Newness); these became fundamental principles of the 1964 Venice Charter (ICOMOS 1964). The ‘age value theory’ and ‘theory of historical evolution’ suggests whatever history has since changed is irreversible and hence more or less set in stone as an artefact or building. This implies that, whilst the original idea or concept may no longer be considered authentic, the building or structure continues to exist, handed down to future generations who continue to interpret its meaning.

Postmodern ideas and shifting values require us to re-evaluate our definitions of monuments (Ahmer 2020). Riegl sought to protect cultural heritage in the context of a collapsing Austro-Hungarian empire; here there is a need to (re)consider the aims of such Imperial and colonial regimes. 

A ‘peoples’ national cultural inheritance is important in reproducing and sustaining the nation concerned (Gibson 2015); this is especially so after a period of oppressive imperial/colonial rule by another dominant nation/people and culture. Cultural obliteration leaves a legacy of symbols and monuments commemorating oppressor elites (Fanon 1970). Much of Europe is defined by colonialism and the imposition of dominant oppressive cultures (Dirks 1992); oppression of cultures is a feature in that process, resulting in different versions of the past (Harrison and Hughes 2010).

In decolonizing colonial heritage in terms of memory politics and heritage, Scotland may be viewed in an internal colonialism context (Hechter 2017); this means we need to apply decolonial thinking to understanding cultural heritage (Knudsen et al. 2022). Conservative authorities and elites responses to anti-racist decolonial activism (and toppling) seek to defend imperial/colonial structures and narratives (Mignolo and Walsh 2018). 

In the context of a building or monuments glory and sense of ‘voicefulness’, and how its beauty and maturity is considered over time, John Ruskin emphasised his ‘Seven Lamps’ or guiding principles: sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory and obedience (Northern Architecture 2021). Such typologies may be helpful for multiple stakeholder groups, aiding current understanding, judgement and taste (Barassi 2007), also in regard to legacy heritage due to oppressive exploitative regimes (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Ruins in a cleared highland village. Source: Scots Roots (2021)

Values include morals and principles, guiding actions and decisions; understanding the range of values attached to heritage requires mainly an anthropological perspective (Mason 2002, 27). Herein lies the importance of ’culture’ in determining significance of heritage influencing value assessments. There may be a range of values in a given heritage site, implying ‘heritage is multivalent’ (Mason 2002, 8) e.g. spiritual, historical, aesthetic, economic, and political/symbolic. Values differ for different stakeholders/cultures, hence multivalence as an essential quality of heritage value assessments.

The state struggles to redefine heritage in a postcolonial reality which liberates previous oppressor-dominant cultural narratives (Harrison and Hughes 2010), requiring decision makers to acknowledge and incorporate concerns. A difficulty arises in the Scottish context because colonialism (still) tends to be obscured, does not form part of the narrative of elites (mostly Anglophone), the latter holding dominant authority over culture and language (Memmi 2021).

Historic England defends contested monuments emphasising a ‘rich and complex history’ rather than ‘symbols of injustice and pain’, opposing removal; state agencies propose ‘thoughtful reinterpretation’ to allow ‘deeper understanding’ ‘adding new layers of meaning’ (Historic England 2021). Nevertheless, monuments are often reminders of oppression. Historic England as part of government does not support removal on the basis that it ‘teaches’ us about our past. But, what does it teach?

Accumulation of heritage and collective memory is influenced by forgetting, confusion further influenced by misunderstanding. Recent statues illustrate improved understanding of the past (Figure 5), moving towards heritage which reflects contemporary values of societies, acknowledging that past heritage decisions are not beyond question (Harrison 2013). The values on which criteria are based do change, and are seldom representative to begin with.

Figure 5: Emigrants memorial in Helmsdale, Sutherland. Source: The Ministry of History (2021)

Destruction of heritage is hardly a new phenomenon (Herscher 2010). Removing heritage is also about clearing the way for a new collective memory (Benton 2010), reflecting understanding of the cultural context. This gives rise to solution frameworks such as proposed by Foote (2003): sanctification, designation, rectification or obliteration, where examples include the toppling of statues.

Two dominant moral views in politics (Lakoff 2016) are that: Conservatives tend to believe that the rich are moral and not only deserve their wealth, they also deserve the power it brings, and; Progressives moral view has citizens caring about each other and acting responsibly. This division means people vote in line with their values, not necessarily their best interests, and that peoples’ values reflect primarily their dominant culture.

Institutions current focus on ‘decolonization’ relates to traditional perspectives of slavery. BLM happened following appalling state police violence inflicted on members of the black community. This led to re-evaluation of compensation paid to slave owners, not slaves, at the time slavery was abolished. There are also many records of white slavery (from Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy etc) perpetrated by African pirates such as Barbarossa’s corsairs from the 15th century onwards (Gillan 2021). Historically, many empires and colonisers were involved in white slavery, including the Romans, the Vikings, the English and Nazi Germany.

Emphasis on anti-black violence and dispossession is understandable, but the same imperial/colonial oppressions were levelled against white ethnic groups, including Scots and Irish, subjected to Anglocentric imperial superiority; colonialism is colonialism, irrespective of colour (Cesaire; Said 1994). 

People rightly question if they should have to walk past symbols of oppression and inequality. Whether statues are ‘educational’ often depends on who is telling the story and what they say. Colonised peoples and cultures were/are mutilated and plundered; imperial museums are full of stolen artefacts in which “the mass of all the museums in the world could never outweigh a lone spark of human empathy” (Hicks 2020). 

There are clearly ‘problem’ statues, such as the Duke of Sutherland monument. Is the latter merely a familiar signpost in a prominent location of being nearly home, or a symbol of colonial and ethnic oppression? Some public spaces are said to reflect a ‘white supremacist infrastructure’; the reality is clearly more complex in Ireland and Scotland where there remains an ‘infrastructure of colonialism’ directed at indigenous ‘white’ groups. We need to take a closer look at what many consider to be ethnic oppression and racism, which are features of colonialism (Cesaire 2000). In this we therefore need to better understand colonialism and its ‘values’.


We tend to think of colonialism as something that happened far away to other peoples and ethnic groups. Research evidence suggests nations within the UK and their ‘peoples’ have been and indeed remain subject to colonialism; this is reflected in continued demands for independence in Scotland and Wales, and Irish reunification (Hechter 2017). Historic dispossessions emptied the land of indigenous people, obliterating their culture and language. In their place went masses of “sheep, bird sanctuaries and shooting ranges for the well-to-do” (Devine 2018, 2). Here we move into the realms of ethnic cleansing, and genocide (Hunter 1977); in terms of ‘cultural genocide’ the process may not have ended (Grouse Beater 2021). Scotland ‘lost’ between 3-4 million of its people since the Union with England in 1707, proportionately more than any other north-western European country; this was not accidental, it was the outcome of British political decisions and policies (Anderson 2015).

Since the 1603 Union of the Crowns Scottish nobility married into English nobility, taking on an English education, language and culture; Scots elites abandoned Scottish culture and languages in the quest to become ‘English’ (Purves 1997; Devine 2012). The Scottish aristocracy, already heavily Anglicised by 1706, did not take much bribing (£385,000, termed ‘the Equivalent’) from the English government to ‘sell’ Scotland’s sovereignty and enslave its people: “bribes and money offered in advancement by the English… (to) the Scottish Commissioners…makes one of the sordid incidents in the whole history of Scotland” (Sitwell and Bamford 1948, 150). 

Clearance policies and various Acts passed by Westminster were intended to remove Scots from their country of birth and transport them to British overseas colonies, facilitating a dramatic loss of population. This was combined with inflows of a meritocratic elite mainly sourced from England, a process the census indicates continues today (Anderson 2015), resulting in a colonial picture; ethnic divisions of labour are among the most persistent legacies of colonialism (Hechter 2017). 

Ecological Imperialism’ implies that the imperial elite sought “to change the local habitat” (Crosby 1986, 196); this process was never ending as the elite imposed new plants, animals, and crops which “gradually turned the colony into a new place, complete with new diseases, environmental imbalances, and traumatic dislocations for the overpowered natives”. This reflects an imposed political system that alienated the people, destroying their traditions and way of life (Said 1994, 288). In this environment, “everything that belongs to the colonizer is not appropriate for the colonized” (Memmi 2021, 172), including his grand monuments.

An alien culture, language and cultural hegemony was/is imposed on Scotland ensuring “domination by the ruling class who manipulate the culture of that society-the beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values and mores…as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class” (Buttigieg 1992). Cultural monuments such as the Duke’s statue reflect this imposed cultural hegemony and its ‘values’.

Here we note that “colonization is, above all, economic and political exploitation” (Memmi 2021, 193). In colonialism, ‘values’, moral or otherwise, tend to be a rather theoretical concept. Cesaire (2000, 34) noted that: “between colonization and civilization there is an infinite distance; that out of all the colonial expeditions that have been undertaken, out of all the colonial statutes that have been drawn up, out of all the memoranda that have been despatched by all the ministries, there could not come a single human value.” 

Imperial/colonial procedures were also applied to “the humiliation of the white man” (Cesaire 2000, 36), an aspect confirmed in the context of imperial England’s historic consideration of the Irish (and Scots) as a subordinate “inferior race” (Said 1994, 302). 

In the new colonially manufactured environment, an oppressed people develop a ‘colonial mindset’ which leads to denial and/or downplaying of the reality of discrimination or any past history of racism; for instance, wars, clearances, mass displacement, ongoing cultural and linguistic discrimination, and institutionalised oppression may be accepted as somehow ‘deserved’. Colonial bilingualism means the colonized participates in two psychical and cultural realms, which tends to obscure the oppressive nature of the relationship (Memmi 2021). 

Colonial/imperial racism is incorporated in every act, the arrogance of the oppressor reflected in a propensity to erect monuments to his glorification and in positions which the native cannot avoid; imperial memorials and symbols represent memories of the crushing of the colonised and are intended to “keep him in his place” (Memmi 2021,147). The dominant coloniser is thus “custodian of the values of civilization and history” (Memmi 2021, 120).


Racism is an essential feature of colonialism: “Racism sums up and symbolizes the fundamental relation which unites colonialist and colonized” (Memmi 2021, 114). Colonialism aims to dehumanize the colonised, in much the same way that the oppressor “does not have a serious obligation toward an animal or an object” (Memmi 2021, 130). Colonial exploitation, always a co-operative venture aided by native elites, is the same whether in the Highlands of Scotland, potato fields of Ireland, rice fields of Asia, plantations of America, or mines of Africa, and occurs irrespective of the colour of the colonized.

The coloniser’s privileges are extended only because “he possesses a qualification independent of his personal merits; he is part of the group of colonizers whose values are sovereign” (Memmi 2021, 56). Under imperial rule it is only ever the ‘mother country’ which exudes “positive values” (Memmi 2021,104), as reflected in Supportive (i.e. conservative) authorities.

Imperial/colonial statues thus generate “incredible scorn for the colonized who pass them by every day”, celebrating only the oppressive deeds of colonisation (Memmi 2021,148). Such monuments may only be accepted by the more assimilated native who no longer learns his native tongue nor learns his true national history, whilst the coloniser ensures “he knows who Colbert or Cromwell was” (Memmi 2021,149). In other words “the crushing of the colonized is included among the colonizer’s values. As soon as the colonized adopts those values, he similarly adopts his own condemnation. This phenomenon is comparable to Negrophobia in a Negro, or anti-Semitism in a Jew” (Memmi 2021,165-166).

The statue to the Duke should be removed, as with all imperial/colonial symbols of oppression of the Scots on their land, whose (continued) oppression is no different to the Irish, Indians or Kenyans. Colonial monuments project only the alien culture and dubious values of colonial elites who erect them; as colonialism is devoid of human values, such statues have no place in any humane society.


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I want to thank Lynda for permitting me to publish her work on this site. I now feel I have much more knowledge about this particular statue than before. I was of course against this statue before I read this paper but now feel much more able to explain snd justify that opposition and it is that ability to explain my thoughts that will help me to convince others that ending colonial rule in Scotland would be the biggest possible step we could take to improve life in Scotland now and for all future generations.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland.


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101 thoughts on “Monument To First Duke Of Sutherland 

  1. None of this is taught in schools. Part of the O-Grade History that I was taught in the mid-1970s covered what was euphemistically called “Changing Life in Scotland after 1745. The syllabus didn’t go into the brutal details of the Clearances nor did it cover the pilfering of the land from the common folk to the already rich landlords of the South. The history taught merely mentions that the Clan system was “broken up” and the land “enclosed” since the run-rig system of farming was “inefficient”.

    Coming from the West Highlands myself you were aware that you were being taught a skewed version of history. You only had to look around for the plentiful examples of the old ruined and broken down stone buildings that peppered that part of the country for proof of the ethnic cleansing that occurred.

    This was confirmed when I saw John McGrath’s brilliant play performed for BBC TV called “The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil” which, among other things, specifically covered the Clearances as enacted in Sutherland. (A must watch by the way it if you can find it on the internet with young Bill Paterson, Alex Norton, John Bett and others starring – just don’t expect the BBC to show it again!)

    Thanks to Lynda Baird for this brilliant expose of the background to this statue and explanation of why Sutherland is a people desert today.

    Liked by 18 people

    1. Duncanio, like you I am grateful to Lynda Baird for her brilliant piece of writing. Each time I pass through Golspie I remember as a young child being told by an elderly neighbour that the crofters were made to contribute to the cost of the statue – or lose their croft. I think the amount was a shilling. The old man stressed that it was a huge amount of money in those days for people who had very little. His obvious anger has remained with me. So, a huge thank you to Lynda Baird – and naturally, I agree with her that the statue should be removed.

      Liked by 13 people

      1. Incredible isn’t it Jan – extort money from the oppressed to pay for a monument to their oppressors . And STILL there are those who would defend the preservation of such monuments

        Liked by 12 people

    2. Like you, I remember history teaching at school but in my day the experience was even more dramatic. The curriculum we followed in secondary school from O level through to Higher had no Scottish history at all, with English history up to the union of 1707 and thereafter, ‘British’ history which was mainly constitutional history. Ordinary people, either English or Scottish, didn’t even get walk-on parts, since this was the history of the elite, but the English elite at that. If that is not the effect of colonialism in action in education I don’t know what is ( though it also comes under the heading of class politics and in a colonial situation both become merged and sometimes difficult to disentangle in their negative effects so that those who feel comfortable economically will fail to notice the consequences of colonialism.) It’s perhaps why working class voters were more likely to vote for independence since they suffer from the effects of both.

      Liked by 5 people

    3. This article has enlighted me both my wife and myself go up to Grannies Hellan hame often and feel a spiritual peace there. We just joined ancestry and we both found our DNA is from this area, so it is fair to say our ancestors must have been displaced from here. On my last visit the locals had tried to blow up the momument with dynamite. However I am of the mind to keep the statue to educate and remember those who where thrown and ethnically cleansed from the land. The Scottish government should put a momument to the oppressed in Golspie town and a full description of the evil Duke and Duchess deeds should be displayed in the town and on the momument.
      I remember reading that the Duchess had the town taken away and rebuilt where she could not see it from her Disney land castle. There should also be a plack up at the Castle to tell the tourist what went on here and why.
      I would like to thank Lynda Baird for her article we as a nation have had our true history stolen and rewritten by Unionists anglocentric so called historian’s in my view propagandists.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I enjoyed this very much and you only need to ask yourself – what was the New Town Edinburgh all about, other than “We Won” – have we not always taken by the sword and in the name of our Lord? Is America and Britain not still doing the same thing today around the world? and how much was the ideology at the time (as it is today) doing you a favour? When England invaded Scotland did they believe that they were in some warped way – doing it for our own good, civilising the savage Scots, or simply to grow the lands of England and stop Scottish alliances with countries they were at war with? The more I learn about Scottish history the more complicated it becomes, and the more I see modern society, the more I see humanity making the same mistakes over and over again. Education yourself is a vocation but never easy.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. I agree about Edinburgh’s New Town and the fact that so many street names glorify the Hanoverian dynasty, fromj Hanover Street itself, to Queen’s, George, Frederick, Cumberland, Charlotte Square and George IV Bridge -probably more examples.
      Co-incidentally, only yesterday I replied to an Edinburgh City Council survey on statues and other monuments, It can be found on the council website under ‘/slaverycolonialism’ and closes on the 19th!
      I made the point in my answers that the relationship between slavery and Scotland is complex as we were involved in the slave trade and many profited from it, while also being held in a colonial position by England desoite the terms od the 1707 Union.
      I would urge anyone on this site, living in Edinburgh though not necessarily, to do the survey as there is a fair amount of space to express view outside the remit.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Why stop with the removal of the statue, raze Dunrobin castle to the ground as well. However I’d be up for the idea of moving the statue to the castle and repurposing the chateau as a museum dedicated to the clearances.

    Liked by 12 people

  4. I wasn’t taught about any of this at school and it still seems to be omitted from Scottish education. Most people simply don’t understand why the ownership and division of land is the way it is today.
    We do have the opportunity, even under devolution, to at least compensate for some of this using taxation powers. Unfortunately we have a week administration in Scotland who it would seem are in the pockets of the landed gentry.

    As for toppling the statues? I’m not sure. Perhaps better to re-address their historical significance. Put a plaque next to each telling the truth. I was up in the glencoe visitor centre and noticed that the historical narrative about the massacre could easily have been the work of GB news’ Neil Oliver. You know – one Scots barbaric clan versus another. I’ll never go back and I’ll urge any tourist to stay away. They’ll get a better education in the corner of a pub.

    Going back to our school education, yes it is important to learn about the Second World War and what happened in the concentration camps citing ‘never again’, yet the same isn’t applied to the British empire. The narrative there is more ‘moving swiftly on, rather than ‘never forget’.

    I remember being taught about the battle of Hastings at secondary school. There is actually an interesting parallel about it’s aftermath and the aftermath of culloden (not that this was ever taught). After Hastings, English was very much marginalised as a working class language with the language of the elites being French for at least a couple of centuries. As Lynda has pointed out, this is very much the case with the Scots language. Let’s face it , the Scottish education system has done a very good job of eliminating the Scots language, by dismissing it as slang.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Halfway up the Sma’ Glen, there is a layby and an information board telling us that the Highland Clearances were all about people leaving these shores in search of a better life. well, anything would be better after being burned out of your house and home and left to starve. Many of the young men had been seconded into the British army (fighting for the British Empire of which Scotland was now a part,) cannon fodder for the French guns in the Napoleonic wars. only old people and children left on the land, easy enough to throw them off the land, many handed evictions notice that they could not read because they were written in a foreign language English. so they stayed on the land after the day they were supposed to leave, they were now breaking the law, so could be forcibly removed under the law.

      Liked by 10 people

      1. And the guy with the long hair and the Miss Piggy head toss , described it as ’emigration’- I nearly choked on my tea.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I have one question…why is that statue still standing?
    It is like having a statue of Hitler outside Auschwitz.

    Read the history of this period. Cottages burned with old people inside. This was often done in Winter and many perished. Those transported with the promise of money and land in Canada found themselves dumped on a quay penniless ( A third died on the sea voyage).
    The Church lectured the people that they would go to Hell if they opposed the will of their Master. That same Church that accepted and supported the 1707 Act if they could keep their land and order of service in the Union.

    The real monument is the roofless ruins that litter our land.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. I visited one of those churches in whose grounds folk whose homes had been razed to the ground sheltered in the open air during a Highland winter. They scraped their names on the windows of the church. Some wrote asking how sinful they must have been to be treated in this way. Heartbreaking.

      Liked by 11 people

    2. Well that was a good read Lynda. I did know some of it myself as I have always taken an interest in Scottish History, not that it was ever easy to find some of the information.

      I think the statue is an abomination, it should be taken down, if they wish to keep it, put it in a museum somewhere with a proper narration of who and what the Duke of Sutherland was. My husband and myself have travelled a lot in the highlands over the years, and we were always filled with a great sense of sadness when you would see some of the glens with the ruins of settlements just abandoned. The people driven away.

      We Scots should be told our own history warts and all. Maybe then some folk would open their eyes as to where we are now, how it all came about, and look at what we can do about it. They just might come to realise that independence is the answer.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. I’ve often wondered about the actual number of those forced out of the Highlands. Although we can’t say with certainty, I’m far from convinced, given that genocide accompanies colonization, that we can rely at all on the official records compiled by the colonizer. That is asking for just too much me thinks.

        Liked by 5 people

      1. Scott you could try Tom Devine’s Scot’s Clearances it’s one I remember off the top of my head. Well worth a read and very enlightening..

        Liked by 6 people

      2. You might also be interested in reading about the Lowland Clearances – less talked about and gone about in a different way.

        Liked by 4 people

    3. “The real monument is the roofless ruins that litter our land.”

      Indeed, Clootie.

      Some years ago, I used to walk from Broadford along the Skye marble road to the ruined villages of Suisnish and Borreraig. A grand walk.But walking through the villages, always gave me an eerie feeling. A sense of people standing at their doors and children playing on the cobbles. But also a feeling of foreboding. Difficult to explain, really.

      Maybe we could dismantle the statue and slice the stones to provide simple tablets to as many ruined villages as possible, with the words…….” Here lies one of many villages of The Clearances. Standing witness to colonial oppression”.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. The more you read the more it reinforces the need to expose and resist the insidious subjugation that has sought to mask the true extent of colonialism in Scotland.

    Possibly more than any country in the world Scotland is at the apex of how colonialism in all its strategies and tactics has subjugated a country – and these strategies play out as much today as they did two centuries ago.

    Britain however did not retain its Empire as colony after colony threw them out in favour of independence. That too will happen in Scotland but it is a work in progress that needs continued till we succeed.

    Liked by 13 people

  7. In that early awakening I did 40 years ago, I visited many of the places around our country which tell of her past. Neolithic tombs, pictish cup and rings, Culloden Moor and Rosal Village and more. But who are our ancestors anyway? Do that many of us trace our pedigree beyond a couple of centuries?

    We were coopted, some more willingly than others, into an expanding global empire. Our present population are whats left of a native tribe that is scattered across that globe. But it is also a polyglot society. We are intermingled with people from all around the world. Those de Brus and de Wallis were probably Norman French. The Northern isles were once pure ethnically Scandinavian. The Setons and Douglas s are believed Flemish, and Fergus Mhor MacErca came from Ireland. And we, assumed, landless peasants? Where do we come from?

    On those travels I learned myself of our past. But travelling elsewhere that story is not unique, and it still is repeated today. Populations shift and mix. They drift through empires and escape from empires. But brutality and inhumanity are commonplace. We live in an era where we are navel gazing. We are revising our history and hoping to learn our “ past”. But while it is in our interest as shameless political operators to highlight the injustice done to “us”, its maybe wise to not jump to instant decisions.

    The Sutherlands are hated to this day. I visited Helmsdale before I was due to go to Dunrobin, and subsequently declined to pay the entry fee to their monument to inhumanity. So I have never set foot there. But the presence of that statue causes visitors to ask about it and him. And the understanding of what was done leaves with those visitors. Would a passing German or. Englishman ever know if we just built a housing scheme on the site? I have no skin in the game regarding the statue. But its not really for we living in the Central belt to impose our will upon the descendants of the Dukes victims. Leave it to the people of Golspie to decide.

    One place we visited was the Folk Museum at Kingussie. We spoke with a guide of Scandinavian ancestry. Apparently while Scots were being deported to Canada, Norwegians were establishing a whaling industry in Scotland ( Christian Salvesen ? ). She pointed out that the people were displaced by sheep. Wool being in great demand. But that the descendants of those people put their old landlords out of business. Their merino wool from Australia and New Zealand out competed them. What goes around, eh?

    Our diaspora have seemingly done very well. They did not all willingly leave, but they have arguably built better Scotlands, with Scottish cultural influence to this day, than we who are left behind. We should concentrate on what their example shows, of how much better Scots can do freed from the malignant rule of our neighbours. Independence is about a better future, not dwelling upon our past.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder what motivated you to dismiss so lightly what happened to those people?
      If you do not learn from history you are doomed to see it repeated. That is why Scottish History was not taught.
      By you argument the success of Israel is down to Hitler. That deportation to Australia was an opportunity.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. I worked with a woman who told me her father helped to try to blow up the statue and that his only regret was that he should have waited until after he’d had his military training – because then he might have succeeded.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. Good essay but perhaps a little ‘Highland focused’. Cumberland’s divide and rule, and characterisation of the 45 as a ‘Highland’ rising casts a long shadow. Starting with De Maurier’s infamous propaganda painting, commissioned by Cumberland himself. The Jacobites depicted as an unwashed rabble, with swords! literally in the dark. The Redcoats neatly turned out, bathed in light. It’s utter propaganda, but accepted as truth, even by many nationalists.

    Have a look at the Stennis Historical Society’s map of the cantonments of the British army of occupation 1746-1785. Mainly in the Lowlands, as that is where the bulk of the Jacobite Armies hailed from. Yes the Highland Clearances were particularly vicious, but don’t forget the political spin behind it. The Jacobite armies were SCOTTISH (and European) armies, not just Highland ones

    Lowland Scotland was also Cleared, as was Shetland, viciously. In Fetlar, the pre-Clearance population was 800. It is now 61 (sixty one). The sheep farms created by the Clearance of the entire west and north of the island remain in operation. In Yell, Lumbister, Volister, Hulsidale, Wast-a-Firt, South Aywick and the entirety of Kirkabister and Burraness were cleared. The sheep farms so created remain in operation. See the embedded image of Garth, Quendale, before and after,

    Only Whalsay was entirely spared, not least because the Whalsay men advised the Laird, in the tide race half owre the Whalsa Soond, that he could either Clear the island, or remain alive, not both.

    The Myth of the Jacobite Clans: The Jacobite Army in 1745, (2009), Murray Pittock
    The Lowland Clearances: Scotland’s Silent Revolution 1760-1830 (2003), Peter Aitchison and Andrew Cassel
    John Walker’s Shetland (2006) Wendy Gear – meticulously researched and devastating. Walker was a particularly obnoxious factor. If you read one of these books, make it this one.

    Liked by 11 people

  10. Superb article. My personal preference would be to keep the statue – but turn it upside down and plant it head first in the ground, but have the names of those cleared and killed marking the route up to it. Turn it into a proper monument to the clearances.

    Nowdays of course, it is not at the end of a gun we are cleared from our home country, but via Westminster economics and white flight retirement plans. Scotland – England’s Liebensraum.

    It is the Lowland clearances we are now witnessing.

    Liked by 14 people

  11. Excellent article, clearly exposes England’s relationship with Scotland, albeit with many gatekeepers here in Scotland in mind as well. I recall reading that the Ordnance Survey was originally set up to hunt down and kill Scots.

    How then do we awaken enough Scots to what has happened in Scotland in the past and what’s going on now, to further push our indy cause, I mean do they even teach Scottish history, (in the true sense) in our schools and colleges today? If not why not. How can a people begin to plot their future when they have no sense of their past.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. “How then do we awaken enough Scots to what has happened in Scotland in the past and what’s going on now, to further push our indy cause”

      I’ll repeat what I suggested in a previous article.
      Send the link to this post to everybody in your phone.
      Ask them to read it and forward it on to everybody on their phone.
      Keep on sending and distributing posts you like by Independent bloggers/historians as often as you can, preferably at least a couple a week

      Liked by 7 people

  12. What a really interesting article. Going through school in the 50’s and 60’s, taking history O grades and Highers, we weren’t even given an inkling about the mass genocide and cruelty of these times. And the shame is, schoolkids are still leaving school ignorant of these facts.

    As to the demolition of this obscenity, I would pay generously for the dynamite, but I think a better idea would be to leave it standing. It could be covered, something like Christo the artist did in Europe in the 70’s. Red plastic covering to signify the blood lost from all concerned. A large plaque could explain who this despicable character was, and all he has to answer for.

    Alf even has a monument from one of his own clan- Baird’s monument, which sits on a hill midway between Crieff and Comrie. It’s a monument to General Sir David Baird erected by his widow. He was an Edinburgh man who must have fought in every colonial war at the end of the 18th,beginning of the 19th Century. He was in India, Egypt ,South Africa, posted also to Ireland. He featured in the Sharpe series.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Just to make a wee point, thanks to Google translate. Scotland needs to invest more effort in securing those things that make Scotland Scotland. Its languages top of the list. English needs no more help from us pace Sir James Murray.

    Tha an aithris àbhaisteach ann an eachdraidh Shasainn mar aon de bhuaidh agus cumhachd «anglocentric» a tha a’ sìor fhàs. Bho Athelstan à Wessex agus na geallaidhean ìmpireil aige, air an tug nàiseantach Sasannach iomradh gu sunndach nan eachdraidh, troimhe gu spionnadh ìmpireachd Bhreatainn agus a misean sìobhalta, teirm a chaidh fhaighinn air iasad bho na Frangaich, tha e mar aon de gach leudachadh a tha a’ leudachadh. Ceangail sin uile ris na h-uirsgeulan mu Magna Charta, riaghladh an lagha, màthair pàrlamaidean msaa agus ris an leanabh sin ann an Sasainn, na S.A. agus tha droga fìor chumhachdach agad de «thaghta» air leth.
    Tha fios aig na h-Albannaich, na Cuimris, na h-Èireannaich, na h-Arabaich, Còrnach, Zulu, na Sìonaich agus sluagh Àisia a Deas a tha a’ fuireach san fhìor shaoghal air comasachd an droga seo, air a thoirt seachad mar as trice fo èiginn, agus na «contraindications» iorbhailean aige.
    Tha mi a’ toirt fa-near gu bheil a’ chlàr air beulaibh carragh-cuimhne «eilthirich» aig Bun Ilidh (Helmsdal) sa bheurla. Bheir buaidh «subliminal» nan «contraindications» sin beagan ùine gus an siostam a ghlanadh.
    Dh’ fhaodadh Alba buannachd fhaighinn bho mhinistearachd cultùir agus foghlam nàiseanta a tha gu math cumhachdach.

    Native Gaelic speakers, I beg your indulgence.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Outstanding article . Thanks Lynda . And Iain . The perfect alternative/antidote to ” Scottish ” Sunday newspapers and the Nicola Gazette ie The National

    Liked by 6 people

  15. “ending colonialism in Scotland would be the biggest possible step we could take to improve life in Scotland now and for future generations.” Yes, I agree 100%, Iain, to the extent that most of my posts on Y f S are thoroughly predictable in their posing of the, to my mind, fundamental question: How can we achieve a decolonized/independent Scotland (the same thing) without, first of all, having a national party that stands exclusively on a decolonization platform to give exegesis to the idea? We can’t, would seem to be the logical answer.

    To be ambitious as we possibly can be for ourselves, the shedding of many dearly and sincerely held preconceptions regarding what independence actually means in essence, will be necessary on the part of traditionalist nationalist thinking, particularly that of nationalist politicians. Playing along honourably by the colonial oppressor’s rules, it is essential to acknowledged, has brought us to where we stand today. Clearly, a whole new direction in terms of critical analysis—much of which can be found in Alf Baird’s Doun Haudin—must be taken if we are ever to escape from the tried-and-failed habits of of an outmoded mindset. If that sounds overly prescriptive, uncomfortable even, I can only apologise, but I certainly wont be changing my views regarding the crying need to bring the colonization of this country to an abrupt end, and as quickly as possible.

    Profuse thanks to, Lynda Baird, for her timely and immensely informative essay. And to you too, Iain, for recognising and appreciating the centrality of Lynda’s work to the decolonization debate; a debate that has yet to be truly ignited, regarding Scotland’s ongoing colonial oppression and why it must be, unceremoniously and unapologetically ended.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I’m a history teacher from Aberdeen.

    I think a lot is wrong with this article, I’m genuinely shocked if the claim that it’s in any way scholarly article is true. This is probably one of the worst articles I’ve read in regards to revisionism. Also many of the references used here are falsely attributed or taken out of context.

    Firstly the author insinuates that the clearances were caused through the Sutherland’s fear of the French Revolution and something similar occurring on their estates, this is impossible considering clearances had been perpetrated on the Sutherland estates since 1772, several decades before the French Revolution began.

    They claim it was the Duke of Sutherland who was the main cause for these clearances, again that’s impossible, as the Duke of Sutherland married into the Sutherland estate in 1785, the Scottish born duchess of Sutherland had been committing clearances on her estates over a decade before the Duke showed up.

    Even after the marriage the duchess was still in charge of the Sutherland estates as her husband was busy with government work, it was under her orders that clearances occurred. The Duke isn’t innocent, but the idea he was the sole perpetrator isn’t exactly fair.

    The author uses English and British interchangeably which is frankly a rookie habit, and really does nothing for the legitimacy of this paper.

    The author claims that the burning of homes immediately after culloden (an act actually perpetrated under the orders of Scottish born Caroline Frederick Scott) means there was a British government policy promoting land depopulation in Scotland half a century later, which is frankly a ridiculous and ludicrous claim not backed up by anything. That would be like me saying the US has a policy of depopulating Japan today because they firebombed Japanese cities during world war 2.

    The author claims the acts of proscription ‘banned the Gaelic language’. No it didn’t. It impeded its usage in court and in government, it at no point implemented a blanket ban on the language.

    The author insinuates that there was a large exchange of land ownership to ‘English landlords’ which caused the clearances. This is absolutely untrue, in fact (even regarding Scottish born duchess of Sutherland) literally every single clearance was committed by a Scottish born landlord.

    “Scots were viewed as inferior people”…I mean, some of the highlanders likely were….but for two of the major points of the highland clearances the prime minister of Britain was Scottish (1760s lord Bute, and 1850s George Hamilton Gordon). The idea there was blanket racism towards all Scottish people is nonsense when you consider this fact.

    The author claims many highlanders were ‘put’ into the army, I’m not sure if the author is insinuating there was mass forced conscription of highlanders, but that’s again completely false.

    The author claims the heritable jurisdiction act “stated” that “anyone who didn’t submit to English rule would forfeit their land”. A completely fictional statement which appears nowhere in the heritable jurisdiction act. The act (which was voted in favour by literally every single Scottish MP) prevented clan chiefs from treating their estates as mini kingdoms, ending medieval style feudalism and ensuring the clans obeyed the law of the land. ‘English rule’ isn’t a thing, these policies were overwhelmingly written up by government bodies made up overwhelmingly by scots. The same for the acts of proscription which was literally written by William Kerr, who was Scottish.
    I’ll never understand why people think the heritable jurisdiction act was a bad thing, unless you believe oppressive feudalism was a good thing.

    The author then talks about the empire resettlement acts, but conveniently fails to mention the fact these occurred in the early 20th century, not during the highland clearances. They overwhelmingly helped British (English Scottish and welsh) people migrate to Australia or Canada.
    She claims that it was a deliberate policy to ‘remove scots and take their land’. It was a voluntary program, the empire resettlement act didn’t force anyone to leave their homes. This is probably the worst example of revisionism in this article. It’s a blatantly false statement.

    I do agree that the highland clearances were absolutely ethnic cleansing, what I disagree with is this insinuation that it was committed solely by the English. The highland clearances was nearly entirely committed by other scots who cared more about profit than the welfare of their tenants.

    This article is clearly fueled by nationalist Scottish political sentiment, I get it, but this borders on revisionist anti English sentiment. The supreme focus on the one English persons semi contribution to the clearances and the total willful ignorance of the vast majority of the clearances (committed by other scots) is telling.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. By all means, take your time and try Debunk anything I’ve said. I’m willing to debate any of my points and will provide supporting evidence for literally every claim I made. Again, rather than attacking my character, debating the subject is better for everyone here.


      2. I’m fascinated that someone who claims to be a fan of history is so opposed to historical debate simply because I have a viewpoint that differs from your own. You instead attack me personally. It’s childish Iain. You should know better.


      3. You claimed that modern English immigrants to Scotland were ‘settlers’/colonists/invaders. Yet you claim you’re not anti English? What a vile ideology to have. The English are our neighbours and more than welcome in Scotland should they choose to move here.

        Again, instead of actually debating me, you spewed personal insults against me, insulted my profession and didn’t even attempt to debate the subject. Just attack me. That’s childish. You should know better.


    1. I wouldn’t like to be taught history by you Ostrich Pistachio.

      Not sure what kind of nonsense you’d be feeding the kids. That of course assumes that you actually are a history teacher which I doubt.

      As to your comment about some of the Scots likely being inferior people, I think most people will take that as your hallmark of the racist British troll that you are.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I agree Willie. I think a real history teacher would be confident of using his real name rather than a alias. I will leave it up for a while to let folks examine the attempt to decry Lynda’s article.

        Liked by 6 people

      2. How about this Willie, rather than being an actual troll (that is attacking me personally rather than debating the subject), try and actually debunk anything I’ve said. Try and discredit my criticisms. ‘Racist British troll’. I’m not sure who you think I’m being racist towards considering I am Scottish.

        I get it, you’re a Scottish nationalist and this type of diatribe fits your skewed narrative of Scottish history where we are the perpetual victims. But again, be specific, try and dispute what I’ve said. Read a few history books by accredited historians and hopefully you can educate yourself while also realising everything I’ve said is correct.

        I frankly don’t care if you believe I’m a history teacher, the reason I use an alias is because last time I dared to tell truthful Scottish history rather than the sensationalised nationalist version people contacted my work place and tried to get me fired. But frankly I could be a chimney sweep and my comments are still no less legitimate.


      3. The only point you made was that much of the Highland clearances were carried out by the native Scottish landowning class. Few would dispute that here or that the same landowning class often had the authority of the state behind it(police, militia, military, and parliament). Many here, who you dismiss as by dint of us being Scottisdh Independence supporters, have made the same points over and over again. Including Wullie. The ruling hierarchy had shifted and our former Chiefs/lairds/landowners changed with it and the common people often suffered the consequences

        This article centre’s around the Sutherland clearances and your main criticisim of it is that the self colonising Highland elite in the form of the Duchess was at the ethnic cleansing long before she married an Englishman (who joined her in this endeavor). It is hardly a strong basis for what appears to be your real aim here denigrating this site and dismissing the folk and by extension Scottish nationalism as anti English.

        Liked by 9 people

      4. Obair – the supreme hyperfocus on the one English person who was remotely involved in the clearances is suspect when I’ve literally never heard a Scottish nationalist even mention other clearances committed by scots.

        I’m not saying Scottish nationalism is anti English, I’m saying some people who are Scottish nationalists are anti English and they engage in that anti English rhetoric using these kinds of underhanded methods, for instance insinuating the highland clearances were committed by the English, which any historian will tell you is nonsense.

        I voted yes, I support Scottish independence, and would vote yes again, but I refuse to engage in this ‘we’re a victimised poor country who are innocent of all crimes, and the stuff we did do, the English made us do it’ which is the constant rhetoric promoted on pages like this. We tend to ignore our overwhelming participation in the British empire and Scotlands overwhelming oppression of other scots by trying to blame it all on the English.

        Lowland scots have done more toward the destruction of the highland Gaelic clan culture than the English have ever done. But that’s something people love to deny.


    2. I will leave the author to deal with the substantive issues that you are making and claiming but I would just mention that as the French Revolution is generally considered to have commenced with the storming of the Bastille on 14th July 1789 your description “1772, several decades before the French Revolution began” is perhaps somewhat exaggerated.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Alright. I admit I was 3 years off of being correct by my statement of ‘several decades’. But surely you agree that’s a menial correction, and doesn’t change the core meaning of my point, that is that the French Revolution couldn’t have influenced the clearances on the Sutherland estate when they began in 1772. 17 years before the events of the French Revolution started.


      2. ostrichpistachiocharon291 you said:

        “Alright. I admit I was 3 years off of being correct by my statement of ‘several decades’”

        Several means “more than 2” (check out any thesaurus) i.e. a minimum of 3. In your usage you therefore mean at least 30 years or as a minimum close to double the reality.

        Best to avoid the hyperbole … people may question the veracity of your other claims.

        Liked by 6 people

      3. Well done, you’ve won your menial argument which doesn’t discredit the main point I was trying to make. Congratulations. I’m sure the point of your menial point scoring is to discredit the other things I’ve said. But frankly I find it telling that you haven’t challenged any of the other points I made, and again went for a literally meaningless error in my response.


    3. ostrichpistachiocharon291

      Thank you for your comments, and to everyone else too.

      I note that you do not refer to any of the extensive literature mentioned in the paper that is related to either cultural heritage management or postcolonialism, which represents the main thrust. You therefore dwell primarily on purely historical aspects, which somewhat misses the main point of the paper.

      The paper does not in any way suggest clearances were ‘caused’ by the French Revolution. It merely notes that the Duke was British Ambassador to France during the period of the Revolution there, and that the British aristocracy were indeed worried that a similar fate could befall them, as noted in the reference to MacAskill (2020), and that action was considered necessary by British elites to stop any potential revolts.

      You suggest that the Duchess of Sutherland was responsible for clearances. That could only ever be part of the story. The point is made that removal of inhabitants began after the ‘rebellions’ in 1715 and 1745. However, by the time the Duke came on the scene, clearances thereafter intensified, reflecting also his personal acquisition of much of the rest of the land in the county of Sutherland, also coinciding with the implementation of new land management practices.

      The point is made that the statue is representative of colonial and hence cultural values involving oppression of the native people; the individual which the statue commemorates is not necessarily the same thing. The statue itself represents colonial and hence oppressive values which devalue the native/oppressed.

      The fact remains that the landowning aristocracy was also the government of the time and therefore their values and policies reflected the laws of the time, and the elite’s priorities. This included a range of measures which were intended to remove the native inhabitants of Scotland, and which continued in various guises until well into the 20th century.

      That Scottish elites were involved in assisting British state policy with the removal of the native population and in other forms of ethnic oppression (e.g. linguicide) should not be so surprising given that ‘colonialism is always a cooperative venture’, as is still evident in Scotland. The point is made that Scottish elites had been casting off their supposedly ‘inferior’ Scots languages and culture since at least 1603 (see Devine) in order ‘to become English’. This represents a colonial norm which is still evident in Scotland today, and is reflected in the fact that peoples in self-determination and hence colonial conflict reflect a linguistic and cultural divide.

      There is plenty of evidence, even until the 1960s, that a significant proportion of native Scottish men, especially within the working class, were afforded little employment option (aside from emigration) other than to join the British armed forces. This has since altered with the shift towards technological warfare and the removal of Scottish regiments.

      The prevailing rose-tinted historical unionist narrative explaining mass emigration of millions of Scots and their families tends to ignore the fact that: a) these people were not given adequate socio-economic opportunities in their own land; b) most were escaping endemic unemployment, poverty, poor housing, and poor health inflicted on them by British state social and economic policies (i.e. narrow industrialization specialization on the ‘internal-colonialism model’ – see Hechter), and; c) the removal of a native population (and their ongoing partial replacement by a meritocracy mainly from the colonial/imperial power) helps dampen demands for national self-determination of colonised peoples.

      It is not ‘insinuated’ in the paper that clearances were ‘committed solely by the English; rather, the point is made that removal of native inhabitants was a function of colonial oppression and imperialism. In this the native elites who tend to cast off their own language and culture in favour of the coloniser’s language/culture play their part, as is always the case in colonialism; but of course the imperial power also has a part to play in this, not least via its laws, also given that colonialism itself ‘is force’. However, it should seem obvious that colonialism cannot exist without the coloniser, and in this regard you appear to be confusing anti-English sentiment with colonialism.

      Liked by 10 people

      1. Scotland isn’t a colony. Scotland isn’t a victim of colonialism. At no point has England invaded Scotland, sent English colonists to Scotland to rule over the native Scottish. The literal definition of colonialism is this: “ the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers”. Where are these English settlers?
        Such an event never happened. Scotland isn’t a colony nor is it a victim of colonialism.

        I’ve had this debate many times. Your argument here is that the only reason Scottish people did bad things was because the English forced them into it. I’ve always upheld the view that Scottish elites have had these views before England had any legal influence in scotland. You even mention events from the early 1600s, when Scotland was politically independent. King James VI, a man born and raised in Scotland implemented the statutes of iona which forced highland chiefs to send their children to the lowlands of scotland to be educated in English.

        You seem to believe that English (or at least an English based language such as scots) is a foreign language to scotland, yet I argue that scots/Anglo Saxon based languages are as foreign to Scotland as Irish originated Gaelic is. Neither are Pictish/Brythonic celtic which is the language of scotland before either of those languages showed up.
        The population of the southeast lowlands of scotland including Edinburgh has never
        Spoken Gaelic as a first language. So the idea that the lowlanders preference for English is somehow Englands fault isn’t exactly fair.

        The Scottish born duchess of Sutherland controlled the land, she was in charge of the events that occurred on the estate. She ordered the clearances. As I’ve said the Duke isn’t innocent as he did nothing to stop it, but I’ve always found it strange that people are hyper focused on the Duke, yet rarely discuss his wife’s overwhelming culpability let alone the countless other Scottish born landlords who committed a vast majority of the clearances across Scotland.

        You insinuated the English considered scots inferior, as I’ve said that’s a baseless claim considering two prime ministers during the clearance period were themselves Scottish.

        You claim that the statue is a sign of colonialism against the native population of Scotland…yet have ignored the fact that it was a native woman who commissioned the statue be contructed.

        Your argument hinges on the idea that the English somehow brainwashed the Scottish Elites into doing what they did. Yet I can give examples of Scottish elites acting in an identical manner while it was fully independent. How about king James IV and how he brutally put down highland opposition? He also cleared lands in the highlands and even replaced the populous with sympathetic settlers. Was that somehow the English?

        You talk about how many scots were forced to emigrate due to socio-economic situations. I don’t disagree, but I fail to seen it’s relevance as it was no different anywhere else in Britain. It was probably truer nowhere more than poverty stricken areas of England. There is nothing Scottish specific about your point here.

        When looking at ACTUAL places which are victims of colonialism such as India, Africa, Australia, America, the idea that what happened there is comparable to Scotland is almost laughable. Especially as scots played an active and willing role in literally every British colonial expansion. Scotland is as guilty as England in the grand scheme of colonialism. The idea that scotland, with population proportionate representation in parliament, with every single individual freedom/right an English person has, which has even recently had a vote on independence is comparable to countries which have actually been colonised is frankly an insult to them. Like the idea That if I had a time machine I could go back to the 1850s india, watch a Scottish landlord massacre hundreds of peasants for rebelling, and then tell that same landlord (who came from modest background in Scotland) that he was oppressed and a victim of colonialism it’s just laughable.

        And before you insinuate that Scotlands colonialism was ‘all Englands fault, Scotland was busy colonizing while it was independent, see the ulster plantations ordered by Scottish king James VI and see the Darien scheme.


      2. You clearly know nothing of Scotland. You claim to be an Aberdeen history teacher. I worry for our kids. You ask where are the English settlers. The answer is all around us. Tens of thousands arrive every year. Your post is still up for the sole reason I want the author of the article to respond to your points. Believe me you will be gone when she has done so. You seem to have conceit about yourself that shows through in your writing and your condescending admission when others point out your errors.

        Liked by 8 people

      3. Again, attacking me personally rather than arguing the points. I have no doubt that you’d love to silence me. I’ve brought up points which are undeniable and poke huge holes in the narrative being expressed here. This isn’t the first time someone has wanted to silence me for daring to not jump on the nationalist band wagon. And as per usual, you’ve gone for petty personal attacks rather than mature debate. Typical.

        So you have an issue with English immigrants coming to Scotland? You consider them ‘settlers’? And you claim to not be anti English? What a vile viewpoint to have. You understand 1/6th of the Scottish born population lives in England right? If anything we’ve settled England more than they have here. How dare you promote such a bigoted viewpoint. Some of my good friends are English and they are more than welcome in Scotland, and I don’t see them as ‘settlers’. Also, English and Scottish people migrated to and from Scotland and England long before the act of union, again, there was no invasion nor was there any colonisation by settlers. And no, modern English people wishing to live in Scotland aren’t colonists or settlers or invaders. They are our welcome neighbours. Shame on you.


    4. Without a bibliography, you might as well be whistling-in-the-wind. Why should I or anyone else give what amounts to nothing more than a personal opinion any particular credence, laden as personal opinion necessarily is with all of the prejudices and learned behaviour of those holding them? Who amongst us didn’t know, for example, that the forbears of our indigenous and still, to-this-day, underdeveloped middle-class were often at the forefront of the clearances as subaltern enablers on-the-make, or engaged in the many other activities related to colonisation, such as banking, insurance, shipping and so forth?

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Ok, if my comment is a personal opinion with no legitimacy you have two options. Ignore my comments as (as you’ve stated) my comment has no credence and scroll on by (why would you waste your time right?)

        Or, easily disprove my comment which you’ve insinuated is somehow incorrect. Since it’s apparently all biased personal opinion surely you can easily and confidently disprove my claims right?

        This is the Internet, I’m not going to write a scholarly dissertation as a response, but I’ll happily present supporting evidence to any claim you believe to be incorrect or false?


      2. Lord Brocket in Knoydart post-second world war. Tory MP. English coloniser? Settler? Population reduced from over 1000 to under 100 in the century or so previously. He wanted to reduce that population further against plans to increase the population. Does he count?

        Liked by 5 people

      3. You’re referring to a period after the highland clearances. Because the knoydart clearances were committed overwhelmingly by the McDonnell of Glengarry family (who were Scottish and again conveniently ignored here).

        Lord brocket simply purchased the land, he’s no different to any other immigrant who purchased land in Scotland nor any different to 1/6th of the Scottish born population who moved to England and likely now owns a house or land.

        You claim he wanted to ‘reduce the population’ of knoydart. Do you have a reference for that claim? Because if you’re referring to the 7 former British soldiers who went to his estate and tried to stake a claim to land there that he eventually evicted, you’re seriously reaching.


      4. Brocket was post-second world war. I forget the details of it now but that was modern times. He stood in the way of serious plans to bolster the population and restore life to it. Returning soldiers from Knoydart took matters into their own hands, some were jailed for raiding. That was the system. it wasn’t an isolated incident. Who has power and where power is, matters.

        Liked by 6 people

      5. Immigrants to Scotland are not ‘settlers’. We’re talking about colonialism. By your standard China has colonised Scotland too because a few thousand Chinese people live in Scotland. An offensive and ridiculous claim. You know it is.


      6. I hope your more specific about the information you impart to your pupils. Those listed leaving Scotland are to multiple countries, many will be going to England but by no means all. Secondly tens of thousands entering a country with over 55 million is very different impact than tens of thousands entering a country of 5 million. But you would know that being a history teacher.

        Liked by 9 people

    5. You are obviously an Anglo centric historian and have a warped sense of history viewed through imperialistic unionist eyes. The sheep didn’t force people from the land a British aristocracy did along with the quislings Scots aristocracy. One in the same I think . 4 million people where displace in Scotland more than any other nation including Ireland. After the clearances well lets give it is proper name, ethic cleansing and genocide ,only left 15% of the indigenous population were left. Your Empire was as Evil as the Nazi’s you must try and understand you own history to move forward. As a Nation the English need to reevaluate Brexit and their need to dominate other against their will.

      Liked by 4 people

  17. Years ago there was a dramatisation of a book on the radio .
    In another dimention Scotland’s religion is Buddhist and the
    national instument is not the bagpipes but the accordian.
    The independence movement is an undercover oganisation
    calles” The Dirma Bamms”,

    One of the halfhour episodes contained a scene where The Bams
    blew up the Duke of Sutherland statue. When asked why, the reply
    was “tidying up the skyline” .

    I wish I could remember the title of the book or the author,
    but the name eludes me, anyone recall this?

    The weird thing is, I am sure it was brodcast on Radio Scotland!
    Fat chance of it being repeated.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I only got two years of secondary History at school (opting for sciences for my O- Grades and Highers).

    But at Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell in the late 1960’s I was taught a great deal of Scottish history in those years – real Scottish history – now wonderfully augmented here by Lynda Baird.

    But I was extremely fortunate in two respects:

    My School was in no sense hung-up on Great British History still less the hagiographies (posing as “History” of imperial war criminals (quite the reverse).

    But even more importantly, my History teacher was the late great Anthony JC Kerr – the very man who brought the keeper of this great website into the fold of the Scottish Independence movement – that he ever-more importantly adorns in these New-SNP revisionist times .

    He sowed the same seeds in me – though I was unaware of it at the ages of 12-14.

    I was just enthralled at revelations of our country’s real history.

    For this I am eternally grateful

    Liked by 12 people

    1. @John O’Dowd

      My questioning began at around 13 years-of-age when my class teacher told me that more or less everything that was produced in Scotland had “Made in England” stamped on it.

      Liked by 3 people

  19. I remember an old woman from Embo telling me that the statue was built back to front She claimed the statue was meant to overlook all the Dukes land instead it looks out. to sea.I got the impression she took some comfort from this

    Liked by 4 people

  20. This is from Wiki re the lady who initiated the Sutherland «cleansing».

    Lady Elizabeth Sutherland spent most of her childhood living in Edinburgh and London, where she was educated between 1779 and 1782. On 4 September 1785, at the age 20, she married George Granville Leveson-Gower, Viscount Trentham, at St Marylebone Parish Church, London. He was known as Earl Gower from 1786 until in 1803 he succeeded to his father’s title of Marquess of Stafford. In 1832, just six months before he died, he was created Duke of Sutherland and she became known as Duchess-Countess of Sutherland.

    More than a touch of the «mi rùn mòr nan gall» in her upbringing perhaps.
    It is incontravertible that the stake through Scotland’s heart has forms of racism and supremacism written through it. The Union with England did little to ease the situation of cultural friction. The sad state is that for so many in century 21 Scottish culture is associated with the tat for sale on the Heichgait in Edinburgh, Hollywood digital retellings and a kilt, an English dialect word, worn at weddings. Not a few, sad cases, rage that there is no such entity. In my birth culture there are many of those too. They luxuriate and pontificate in their craven ignorance.
    In some respects the relationship of the Inglis later Scottis element with the other elements in the cultural mix foreshadowed the current one dimentional anglocentrism. Lowland Scots settlers are not remembered with much affection in the Orkney/Shetland archipelagoes. Check out the steady decline of the local Norse language.
    However, that is, I trust, now in the past. Lessons have been learnt, division is injurious to cultural wellbeing, psychological health and political development.

    An antedote to the volumes of anglocentrism in history telling can be found in Norman Davies’ The Isles.
    Needless to say many in the Oxbridge school do not consider him a «proper historian».

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Regarding the discussion above concerning the Duchess of Sutherland (NOT the earlier Countess) and her role in the clearances, there is in the literature some authoritative commentary in a well-known book by a world-famous author:

    “When the present Duchess of Sutherland entertained Mrs Beecher-Stowe, authoress of Uncle Tom’s Cabin with great magnificence in London to show her sympathy with Negro Slaves of the American Republics, sympathy she conveniently forgot with her fellow aristocrats during the Civil War, in which every “noble” English heart beat with the slave owner, I gave in the New York Tribune, the facts about the Sutherland slaves (epitomised in part by Carey in “The Salve Trade”, (Philadelphia, 1853, pp 203-204).

    My article was reprinted in a Scotch (sic) newspaper and led to a pretty polemic between the latter and the sycophants of the Sutherlands”.

    Notes in Part VIII – Primitive Accumulation, Das Kapital – Karl Marx.

    The dates of publication are 1867–1883. From this we can undoubtedly indict the latter Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, although the newspaper article to which Marx referred clearly predates 1853, the date of Carey’s book..

    Liked by 5 people

  22. Very good article which certainly provokes thought , but I have to observe that the monument and its removal are not the problem . The real problem is the that it stands inside an estate of hundreds of thousands of acres that was purloined by the current Duke’s ancestors from the rightful occupants of that land centuries ago.. Until the Scottish Government have a viable plan for the restoration of all Scotland’s stolen acres( not buying it back! ) then the problem isn’t just preening colonial power but the political cowardice of us and our leaders.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. The land was owned by the same person who cleared it, and her family for centuries before her. The Scottish born duchess of Sutherland was the one who is responsible for clearing the land, she was doing it a decade before she met the English Duke. Who exactly do you plan on returning this land to exactly?


      1. What do you care , your head’s stuck in the sand , I don’t think anyone mentioned anything about returning the land but how about making the land – which fundamentally belongs to the Scottish people if anyone , more productive for the people who live in that area rather than the playground of wealthy people who get their rocks off killing living creatures

        Liked by 13 people

      2. Your responses to people who disagree with your views by calling them vile is very reminiscent of another poster who posted a similar comment to yours on this site and has frequented WOS BTL berating all and sundry for having opinions of their own , his attempts at demonising and denigrating people included using what he considered epithets of blood and soil nationalists , or nativists in an effort to render their opinions invalid or venomous

        I personally don’t give a fig whether it was the 1st duchess , the 2nd duchess or the duke who instigated the clearances , HISTORY proves that it happened , and the fact that it happened doesn’t excuse any of the sutherland clan , if they were so concerned about their public face they would hand back the land to the Scottish people

        You maintain that you are Scottish , voted for indy and would do so again , I find it very strange that any Scot writing about Scotland , England and Scots or Scottish people would capitalise England and lower case Scotland Scots or Scottish as you did when responding to people

        I am one of the people who wants all the land in Scotland to belong to the people of Scotland not some false pseudo aristocrat who inherited the land from their forebears as a reward for aiding the english monarchy against the Scots , and I would go further that only Scots can own land in Scotland

        Liked by 6 people

  23. Instead of real weapons, London has weaponised money. The government backed financial ‘services’ industry has stripped the wealth out of the people of the UK by financialising land and property. Thatcher, then brown and blair’s lack of regulation or credit guidance, saw property and land prices triple in just 15 years. The ball should have been burst for the spivs in 2008, yet they were the ones bailed out. I remember reading the sob stories of bankers who were going to have to send their kids to state schools because they would no longer be able to afford private education (the horror). Of course, in the end, the spivs were saved and the people were dumped on. The bank rescue remains the biggest liability on the uk balance sheet, whilst Scotland’s oil is the biggest asset.

    There is nothing remotely free-market about the London/SE economy. It is a state backed Ponzi scheme and wealth extraction machine. The negative effects of that state-backed purchasing power are now all too evident in areas of Scotland where we are supposed to celebrate a ‘property boom’. Boom for who though? This and of course a paralysed Scottish govt, not only too afraid to take on the land speculators, but now pretty much in cahoots with them. The clearances never really stopped did they.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Changing demographics across our towns and cities would bear you out. It is a system that allows a decreasing number to be able to live wherever they choose while most move essentially in order to survive. There are no wide-open spaces in far-flung places left to colonise for people (at the expense of the native people) so a gradual system of ghettoisation is instituted on a sliding scale that is set for the generations.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Indeed, financial regulation is reserved (another reason the devo max is a non-starter). There are things the current Scottish Government could have done to stop the rot. Sadly not to be.
        Just reading about rent controls legislation being delayed. It seems there is a not insignificant number or MSPs who are landlords

        Liked by 7 people

  24. Marx describes the role of the Countess (later the Duchess) of Sutherland in the ethnic cleansing of “her” lands as follows

    “It was only after 1811 that the ultimate and real usurpation was enacted, the forcible transformation of clan-property into the private property, in the modern sense, of the Chief. The person who stood at the head of this economical revolution was a female Mehemet Ali, who had well digested her Malthus – the Countess of Sutherland, alias Marchioness of Stafford.

    Let us first state that the ancestors of the Marchioness of Stafford were the “great men” of the most northern part of Scotland, of very near three-quarters of Sutherlandshire. This country is more extensive than many French Departments or small German Principalities. When the Countess of Sutherland inherited these estates, which she afterward brought to her husband, the Marquis of Stafford, afterward Duke of Sutherland, the population of them was already reduced to 15,000.

    My lady Countess resolved upon a radical economical reform, and determined upon transforming the whole tract of country into sheep-walks. From 1814 to 1820, these 15,000 inhabitants, about 3,000 families, were systematically expelled and exterminated. All their villages were demolished and burned down, and all their fields converted into pasturage. British soldiers were commanded for this execution, and came to blows with the natives. An old woman refusing to quit her hut was burned in the flames of it. Thus my lady Countess appropriated to herself 794,000 acres of land, which from time immemorial had belonged to the clan. In the exuberance of her generosity she allotted to the expelled natives about 6,000 acres – two acres per family. These 6,000 acres had been lying waste until then, and brought no revenue to the proprietors. The Countess was generous enough to sell the acre at 2s 6d on an average, to the clan-men who for centuries past had shed their blood for her family. The whole of the unrightfully appropriated clan-land she divided into 29 large sheep farms, each of them inhabited by one single family, mostly English farm-laborers; and in 1821 the 15,000 Gaels had already been superseded by 131,000 sheep.

    A portion of the aborigines had been thrown upon the sea-shore, and attempted to live by fishing. They became amphibious, and, as an English author says, lived half on land and half on water, and after all did not live upon both.”

    Liked by 9 people

  25. Apologies if this appears of topic , but the photo at the head of the article , supplied by the esteemed Prof Alf Baird of his wife Lynda on a horse spurred me to include this comment

    We all know that Alf has been edumacating and enlightening us readers for a while now about colonialism and the debasement and devaluation of anything Scottish , a much enjoyed pastime by those we lovingly (or otherwise) refer too as house jocks

    I watched a programme on the reviled bbc Scotland last night Saturday, about the world renowned Clydesdale horse , a beautiful emblematic embodiment of Scotland as it once was and could again become , a vision of strength , power and beauty which holds itself aloft with unashamed pride , a truly magnificent creature

    The programme followed an owner researching the DNA and bloodlines of the Clydesdales remaining here in Scotland , the results were shocking it found that the animals here were mostly a result of inbreeding and if nothing was done to alter that situation Clydesdales would disappear from Scotland

    It seems as usual that the best of the best was sold abroad mainly to Canada who then became the main market of repute for these animals , who then exported them to other countries

    My wife and I used to go for walks in Pollock Park and I would always visit the Clydesdales stables owned by GCC , the programme visited the stables which were now seriously dilapidated and an arial view from a drone was horrific

    I could go on elaborating on the programme and I would encourage anyone interested in Scotland”s heritage and these animals to watch it as an individual who unfortunately I cannot remember her name is DETERMINED that these animals will flourish in Scotland again

    The comment was only to highlight and reinforce that we will not be beaten and the colonisers and their quislings have to win every battle every time , WE ONLY HAVE TO WIN ONCE

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I watched that programme too – miraculously , a programme about a purely Scottish subject on BBC Jockville SHOCKER ! ) and felt the same dismay as yourself .

      I also spent many a happy hour in Pollok Park in my youth . Nice of them to plough a motorway through it eh ?

      Liked by 8 people

      This is the programme, and the woman is Janice Kirkpatrick. This was first on some months ago. I watched it – it is one of the best programmes produced by BBC Scotland in recent years. Fascinating and inspiring. What a shame they don’t do more like it.

      As regards the article, I agree that it is skewed and anti-English. I don’t agree that the Duke came late to the game of Clearances, as suggested by ostrichpistachiocharon291. As has been laid out in one of the history books I’ve read, the Duke obtained more income from just one of his coal mines in England than from the whole of the Sutherland estates. Yes, he and his missus did attempt `improvement` through the kelp industry and creating harbours for the development of fishing, but the Sutherland clearances were particularly brutal – so their `improvements` were mainly to try to increase their own income, not to help out the tenantry. John O’Dowd’s selections from Marx are interesting, as they do reinforce that the Clearances were part of the driving force of capitalism in Scotland.

      As to the land itself? Sutherland is bleak, bleaker than most of the Highlands, but if you pay attention to ecological clues and have some knowledge of upland ecology and Scottish history, you will know that the `poor` land had far greater value in the past, before it was subjected to centuries of overgrazing and muirburn. I don’t think that Tom Devine takes such information into consideration. A couple of links to read to back this up:-

      Liked by 4 people

      1. “skewed”; anti-English”? In which case, excepting the writings of apologists, every last work written about colonialism over many years is, by default, anti-English. Why would so many authors of so many different nationalities around the world hold such a view?

        Liked by 3 people

  26. The Romans believed that if you Romanized the élite of a province, that is a territory subject to imposed Roman law, the territory was less liable to be bothersome. Except in their eastern provinces, the stategy worked.
    The British aka the English employed similar in the annexed/conquered territories. Scotland’s «élite» was thoroughly anglicized to the point of considering the English and their culture superior.
    It is of little consolation to realize that Scots were not the only people drawn to the flame of national self immolation.
    Kicking the habit of flying into the flame is more in the domain of psychology than that of standard politics.

    Liked by 9 people

  27. ostrichpistachiocharon291 – you’re wrong about English occupation of Scotland. It happened twice – both times for a not insignificant period of 18 years – during the Wars of Scottish independence, in which Wallace and Bruce are the most famous figures, and during the Cromwellian occupation. I don’t agree with the notion that the English oppressed the Scots, but the English state certainly did work to undermine Scotland and its ambitions. It’s ironic that you refer to the Darien scheme, which was spectacularly undermined by the English state, in spite of the fact that this was under the same monarchy as England. I certainly regard the Scottish aristocracy as having been `bought and sold for English gold` long before Defoe got his hands on them. Buccleuch was one of those most assiduous in marrying into English money after the Union of the Crowns. Their pursuit of wealth ruined Scotland. Ironically, the plunder of Argyll’s oakwoods by English merchants may very well have undermined the strength of clan Campbell, which was supported as a good Protestant counterbalance to the other Highland clans by the British establishment. Clearances of Campbells began much earlier than in the rest of the Highlands, weakening their military capacity in the lead up to the Jacobite risings.

    Liked by 5 people

  28. Some further points – ostrichpistachiocharon291 – you’re also mixing up the English and Scots languages. Scots was routinely referred to as `Inglis`, as compared to Gaelic. You’d also be surprised to learn that Gaelic was spoken in Galloway and Carrick until the 18th century.

    And James VI began the plantation of Ulster after his accession to the throne of England. He only returned to Scotland once or twice after this.

    Liked by 5 people

  29. Fiona I don’t know why you bothered responding to someone insisting that folk are abusing them when there is no such evidence of abuse – a game player of only nuisance value . Obviously YFS is doing too well and the usual suspects try to disrupt – they are best ignored.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Ach, it gives me a chance to engage with others who have an interest in history, to show that Scottish history is absolutely relevant to today – and that he’s not being as accurate as he thinks he is! I don’t think the issue of colonialism is as cut and dried as both sides are implying. To me, it is more about exploitation of the land and people by the rich of whatever ethnicity. I think the ongoing influx of English `white settlers` should have been addressed as an issue a long time ago. Getting the voting franchise changed in a way that is fair is now going to be more difficult. One obvious way is to stop second home owners from voting, another is to put restrictions on ownership of second homes and land. However, some people need to acquaint themselves with the biblical story of Ruth and acknowledge the fact that a lot of those who they would claim are English by birth have Scottish parentage and have lived in Scotland for all but a few years of their lives – like me. Lots of people spend portions of their working lives in England and elsewhere.

      Liked by 4 people

  30. Keep ’em coming Iain! You are providing us with education, enlightenment and entertainment through your own articles and those commisioned from guests. These are providing the ammunition to help us win independence and so should be widely dissemminated.
    From my own studies of Scots history, trying to make up for the inadequate version taught me when young, this seems a well argued and researched piece which well merits a place in your ongoing collection. It sets the arguments about the statue of the Duke of Sutherland in an international and historical context showing the universal disdain of the coloniser for his victims, and the insidious way that indigenous people are persuaded to help those they see as superior and to be emulated, whereas the coloniser probably disdains such as them even more.
    Look at the current examples of the London Tories’ attitude to their Scottish counterparts in parliaments in both Holyrood and Westminster.

    Liked by 7 people

  31. The following Gaelic is a (more or less) settled poem. The English is just a provisional translation for this comment. The final line should be read as if in italics. Regardless of this poem I do think the removal and relocation of public statues should be debated and decided by due process. They should not be wantonly destroyed by mob vandalism. And an often overlooked factor is the artistic merit and provenance of the work. A statue by Michelangelo should not be heaved into the harbour.


    Ceann slìom ròin a’ tighinn am bàrr
    gu h-obann os cionn nan tonn

    ach chan ann idir cho fìor àrd ri bathais
    ìomhaigh mhòir sian-lìomhte Diùc Chataibh

    air a’ chnoc chian ud mar fhamhair ri faire
    le sùilean-cloiche spìocach gun aithreachas.

    A-nuas sròn chrom leòmach a’ dùr-amharc
    ris an tìr seo a mhion-phronn a dhòrn teann,

    ri lìonmhorachd nan ìochdaran bochda
    air na rinn e dìmeas, gun iochd a nochdadh

    ach le crathadh-guaille reasgach gan sgapadh
    mar ghainmheach sa ghaillean ga greasad

    mar na mìltean de ghràinean nan sìoban
    a chì mi ag èirigh a-nis mu mo chasan

    gan sìor thogail gun chiall às an àite
    gan sìor leagail gun rian san t-seòl-mhara.

    Ach tha spìc-dhealanaich mar bhuaic air do chlaiginn
    a nì coinneal-cuimhne dhìot latha dhe na làithean.

    Thèid d’ ìomhaigh rìomhach a thalmhachadh fhathast!

    Sleek head of a seal suddenly appearing
    above the waves, though not so head-swimmingly

    high as the cloud-wreathed brow of the Duke
    of Sutherland’s statue on yon distant hill,

    ever-vigilant sentry of stony-eyed surveillance,
    colossal monument to hard-hearted impenitence,

    gazing down over haughty curved nose
    on this land his clenched fist once pulverised,

    a multitude of impoverished Gaels
    cold-shouldered with no mercy shown,

    but with irascible shrug scattered
    like sand blown in fierce storm

    as the myriad grains now upthrown
    sough past me with whispers forlorn,

    relentlessly displaced without sense
    relentlessly dispersed to retching tide.

    But that lightning-spike your skull boasts is like a wick
    which will one day ignite you as a memorial candle.

    Your vainglorious effigy will yet be earthed!

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Excellent article which merits several readings and thank you for the detailed bibliography which I will enjoy following up. What caught my eye was the Memmi quote “Colonial bilingualism means the colonised participates in two psychical and cultural realms, which tends to obscure the oppressive nature of the relationship”. I think the combative “history teacher” may benefit from reflecting upon that! S/he has clearly entirely missed the whole point of the dissertation which offers a great deal of food for thought in terms of not just a contribution on the relevance of statues within our culture and politics but how our history is selected, presented and assimilated within our current history and culture and the impact of this on our national psyche today.

    Liked by 5 people

  33. Excellent work. These colonial agendas and historical erasures are still ongoing today and are far more pervasive than we’ve yet to consciously acknowledge as a deliberate design…

    ‪‘Gleichschaltung Gaslight: The Eradication of Scots Historic-Cultural Identity’ (2017)

    Johnny McNeill
    #GaslightingGilligan (© 2017) 
    Twitter: @GasGilligan (free download)

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Some Anglohones protest the lack of democracy in foreign lands, but oppression, genocide and ethnic cleansing on the door step committed by the British state is invisible it never happened. Colonialism in denial the reinvention of history the benevolent empire that educated the world and gave us railways. You ungrateful lot ,Brexit wasn’t anything to do with English nationalism god forbid its patriotism of the red white and blue variety. Nationalism is bad . Democracy is ok when the English want it . It’s not for you the indigenous Scots, just eat your porridge and get on with it . The arrogance of the self appointed master race knows no bounds or their self entitlement, they all suffer from right man syndrome. Shove your Devo Max , I want the full Monty.

    Liked by 4 people

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