Yesterday marked Remembrance Sunday.. And on a day when we had Flowers of the Forest playing its mournful lament, we also heard the rousing chorus of Flower of Scotland vocally blasted out with great passion as Scotland hosted The AllBlacks at Murrayfield.
One song of Flowers remembers those who died at the Battle of Flodden in 1513
The other refers to the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314
Two entirely different battles with two entirely different outcomes.
The Battle of Flodden was instigated by King James the 4th of Scotland and was an invasion of England, in support of the Auld Alliance, France.
It was played by chivalric rules, game on old boy, between noon and 3pm.
It should never have happened, it need never have happened,and if King James was the Craig Levein of his day, He lost his job,by being inept and by being killed on the battlefield. Unfortunately..war is no game!
And many brave men lost their lives on that day, fighting a battle which really they should not have been part of…It was a battle between Royal aristocracies.
At least King James, fought in the front line, unlike the warmongers of today, who stay as far away from mud and the dirt and the blood and the grime,as they possibly can get, while sending others to die.
Floddens 500th anniversary will be next year, I doubt that many will be celebrating it!
Flower of Scotland on the other hand refers to the Battle of Bannockburn, of which we have heard more than plenty. In that battle, King Edward of England was the aggressor, and the Scots didn’t play by any chivalric rules, they used brain and guile, and decisively won that contest…But in this case, they were fighting for their freedom and Independence.
As everyone must surely know, it’s anniversary falls in 2014, and much has been made of that, by the Better together campaign, but not by Scottish nationalists.
Those Scots peacefully fighting for Scottish Independence today,are not reliving old battles, but instead looking to the present and the future.
Whether Flowers of Flodden or Bannockburn are sung, is immaterial and irrelevant to our today, or for our tomorrows. They belong in a different time,and a vastly different world.
However, the British nationalists don’t see it that way. They see the Bannockburn anniversary as being simply a Saltire flag waving exercise, and worse still, it coincides with more saltire flag waving, with the Commonwealth games,and the ryder cup scheduled here in the same year….And they don’t like it! Not one bit.
There is a very simple reason for their fear, they use every excuse possible to try and make us feel more British, by waving Union Jacks and events such as Royal Weddings, Jubilees, and the Olympics to distract us from the real crap that is going down.
The last thing they ever want is for Scots to actually feel good about themselves…that would never do.
The most despicable thing, is that a good number of themselves, are Scottish! And they would be the first ones to take false umbrage, if it was even suggested that they were not acting in Scottish interests. They sure have a funny way of showing their Scottishness.
And so, bearing this mind..they come up with a spiffing wheeze…lets make the 100th anniversary of the 1st world war a celebration!
If you can find anything much more perverse than celebrating the greatest carnage ever inflicted in war as that, you would be struggling.
The total number of military and civilian casualties in world war 1, from direct or indirect reasons,such as famine amounted to around 37 million people.
The population of the United Kingdom at the time amounted to 45 million… The immediate military deaths were in the region of 887,000 and the wounded amounted to 1,664,000
Of the 157 battalions which comprised the British Expeditionary Force, 22 were Scottish regiments…
Of the 557,000 Scots who enlisted in all services, 26.4 percent lost their lives. This compares with an average death rate of 11.8 percent for the rest of the British army between 1914 and 1918. The main reason for the higher-than-average casualties among the Scottish soldiers was that they were regarded as excellent, aggressive shock troops who could be depended upon to lead the line in the first hours of battle.
To put this in another perspective, out of a total population of around 4.5 million Scots, over half a million of them fought, and over a quarter of them lost their lives.
For what? An Imperialist war which the British Empire just had to be involved in.
That is a cause for celebration and union jack waving? I sure don’t think so!
And yet that is what David Cameron and the Unionists have said will happen.
Remarkably a Unionist supporter, accused a nationalist friend of mine the other day of being unpatriotic and disrespectful of the war dead, by supporting Independence for Scotland.
That is quite a horrendous accusation. Scots have always given disproportionately of ourselves in these major wars. They still do!
But just because they have fought and died in these wars, does not make them not be Scots! Scots had been promised home rule in 1913, and it was sidelined because of the 1st world war. They then presented over 2 million signatures in 1921,( more than half the adult population) to Westminster demanding home rule..only to be ignored. Does that make them all British?
Meanwhile Cameron goes selling guns and bombs to the middle east, and has a cheek to look all suitably sad faced wearing a poppy at the cenotaph. All the while they still send our young men to die on more foreign fields, and insist on parking their nuclear bombs in our country.
No war…Flodden, Bannockburn, or any other war should ever be part of our independence campaign.That is disrespectful of those who gave their lives.
Scotland has barely ever fought with anyone as a country,and when we have fought others, it has mostly been for our own Freedom. We are a Nation renowned for our fighting abilities,and we have had our mercenaries for sure…But as a whole we live and let live.
An Independent Scotland, ensures we no longer fight just because someone else demands it,and damned be them who try dragging us into their power games. We shall decide..If we fight, who we fight,and what we fight for!
Our drive for our freedom of choice, should be looking to what we can become,and what we can peacefully aspire to.
And just as a little reminder to our jingoistic British national friends.
I will leave you a very poignant song written by a Scot..Eric Bogle, and performed here by the Corries.