Some Dates are forever destined to be remembered.On these dates we are reminded of the specific historical event which has written itself into our Nations History and Folklore and Myth.
When really great events take place, they often tend to be spectacular or vastly unexpected. Not all of these events will make a great or significant change, but some do. What they will have in common with each other, is that their passing has marked some occurrence which has spoken loudly to the Nations collective Psyche.
One such event was the audacious and startling simple opportunism of a small group of Scottish Nationalist Students in repatriating the Stone of Destiny(clach-na-cinneamhain) from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1950. I do not use the word ‘steal’ but rather ‘repatriating’, because the Stone was originally stolen from Scotland by King Edward in 1296.
The event itself is not historically significant, nor did it change anything, but it still spoke to the Nations Psyche, and much has the story been retold and sung about. Oran an Cloiche (The Song of the Stone) is a prime example.
What it did do, which is maybe of more significance, it gave the Scots a good belly laugh at the British Antics and reminded them very symbolically and significantly of their own proud independent heritage and history.
The Stone was subsequently returned to Westminster, before returning home again as a sop to Scotland by the then Scottish Secretary of State Michael Forsyth, on St Andrews Day 1996, in a symbolic response to growing dissatisfaction among Scots at the prevailing constitutional settlement. Much good it did them! And is it the Real Stone anyway?? Aha, that is a horse or stone of a different colour.
A more significantly Historic date is the decisive battle in the First War of Scottish Independence.The Battle of Bannockburn on the 24th of June 1314. Many stories have sprung up about that day and the surrounding events. Again, Song has immortalised it and holds it fresh still in Scottish minds. Scots Wha Hae and Flower of Scotland being two such well known songs.Flower of Scotland which references it in ‘And stood against him, Proud Edwards Army,and sent him homewards, tae think again’
It is no great surprise that the 700th anniversary of this battle for Scots Independence should be highly touted as a possible date for the Independence Referendum, which Alex Salmond and the SNP Government have promised in the second half of this present governments tenure. That second half begins in 2014.
The Battle of Bannockburn and The Flower of Scotland all figure largely in the mindsets of Scots. A battle against the odds against much superior fire power,won with cunning and guile and local knowledge of the terrain.
But lets not forget the Burns’s Parcel of Rogues of 1707 also existed in 1314, when Ingram de Umfraville, a former Guardian of Scotland, and his kinsman the Earl of Angus, as well as others of the MacDougalls, MacCanns and Sir John Comyn of Badenoch,all fought on King Edwards side.
These Rogues have always existed, they existed then,and they exist today. I am sure you wont need to think too hard in order to name some of them.
Expect them all to play their part for their own self interest.
Bear also in mind that while Bannockburn was the decisive battle for Scottish Independence back in 1314, the English did not officially recognise Scotland as its own kingdom once more, until 10 years later. So even should the Referendum be won conclusively in 2014,we will not actually see Independence until somewhat later, perhaps as much as 10 years? Much will have to be negotiated, and much is at stake. It will be a long protracted process.
This time the battle is not with an English king or the English people. It Is with the dying remnants of a British State and fallen Empire.Yet again we Scots are facing much greater resources.The British Governments State organisation,The BBC, The Unionist Press,and FUDS of All Unionist Parties. The battle may be less Bloody, but It will require Alex Salmond to be as wily as Bruce, and the rest of us of all parties and none,SNP,Green,SSP,Independently minded Labour,Conservative and Liberal voters and supporters, to come together as a determined political fighting unit.
I believe that May 5th 2011 is a significant date in History already, but It could still become much more significant yet.
But don’t assume as many do, that 2014 with all its significance in Scots History will automatically become the next date with destiny.
As the ground was being prepared for Bannockburn back in 1314. The battle was won through planning and misdirection and using the oppositions much clumsier larger forces against themselves. Using their assumptions, and making them believe we were, where we were not.
The Unionists are prepared for 2014, because it is logical to assume that Alex Salmond would make the most of the events surrounding Bannockburn, The Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup for ramping up National Feeling. After all they will be using the London Olympic Games, and the Queens Jubilee to Flag Wave and promote their Pseudo British Nationalism, so its only natural that we would do likewise.
But remember the great lessons of Scots History. The events of Bannockburn and the reclamation of our Stone of Destiny, teach us one important thing above all else. When dealing with determined Scots, do not expect the expected, but instead, expect the unexpected!
A wee bit of Fun does not go amiss either.
The Song of the Stone
Flower of Scotland
This Time we are not going Into battle on a Sports Field
Nor are We going to War
This Is much Greater than any minor skirmish or battle or War
This Time It is all about our Destiny as an Independent Nation
And more importantly still, our Childrens and Grand Childrens Destiny, as the bearers of a Proud Nations Social Traditions
They are our countries future, let us make it a place they can be proud of, and to give us the opportunity to make it happen for them.