Donald Trump’s wee chipolata-like fingers are apparently constantly hovering over a giant button that if pressed brings either nuclear apocalypse or a diet coke, I’m not sure even he knows - Melania in the meantime is hoping that one day his clumsy little fingers will find and press a far smaller button. Just like Trump’s supporters many in ‘Great’ Britain are also regressing to times-gone-by when the country was apparently brilliant. When Britannia ruled the waves, and everyone had blue passports and the plague.
In Scotland we could never pull off such a self-assured slogan. In the 2014 Independence Referendum if the yes campaign had opted for ‘Make Scotland Great Again’ it would have elicited more ‘fuck off’s’ than Malcolm Tucker sending back a starter at Gordan Ramsay’s restaurant.
Scottish history is often viewed through ‘Gibson tinted’ glasses, people picture Highland, Celtic, kilted, warriors outnumbered and gloriously battling against aggressive English invaders - with the Jews apparently being responsible for the whole confrontation. The truth is that Clansmen fought each other far more than any foreign invader and were much more concerned with their own self-interests than that of ‘Scotland’ which for the most part looked down upon the clansmen as uncivilised, backwards, even subhuman. The last King of Scotland who could speak fluent Gaelic, the language of the clans, was James IV who died in 1513.
In the Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745 many clans, and many Scotsmen, actually fought for the government against the Jacobites. Even today there are Scottish people who will actively support England at the 2018 World Cup, some Scottish people even voted in 13 Scottish Conservative MP’s in the 2017 General Election - what both these types of Scottish people have in common is an over-indulgence of their free subscriptions.
The support of the clans was very unreliable and difficult to muster in one place at any one time, they were kind of like Celtic fans in that regard. ‘Champions League’ nights like Bannockburn when a charismatic leader such as Robert the Bruce united the country and the clans to fight for it’s very existence were very rare. After the death of ‘Bonnie Dundee’ in 1689 the Jacobites were lacking in such a leader, the ousted King James was himself an uninspiring leader who probably had a diet coke button of his own.
By the end of 1690 the Jacobite cause was ‘Corbynesque’ in that it was suffering from a complete lack of leadership and had fuck all support. But like Mr Corbyn the Jacobites were assisted by an inept and evil government. After the successes and failures of 1689 and 1690 it took another 25 years before the next meaningful Jacobite Rising. In the intervening years the Williamite Government in Scotland ordered the massacre of innocent people in their own homes, single handily undermined the Scottish economy running it to the brink of ruin, and forced the country into an incorporating Union against the will of the Scottish population – so, you know, two out of three isn’t bad Theresa.
In the aftermath of the 1689 Jacobite Rebellion King William demanded all clan chiefs take an official oath of allegiance in front of a magistrate or face the full severity of the law. The oath was required from all chiefs, regardless of their involvement in the rebellion, by the 1st of January 1692. One name that was missing from the list of those who took the oath was that of Alisdair MacIan clan chief of the MacDonald’s of Glencoe. Despite William’s threats there were still plenty of clan chiefs who refused to take the oath. They however were the head of large, powerful, near untouchable clans, the MacDonalds of Glencoe on the other hand were a small clan scattered throughout the Glen living in large mushrooms-shaped houses by the river Smurf.
Alisdair MacIan had actually taken William’s oath of allegiance however it wasn’t accepted by government lawyers in Edinburgh because it had been received six days after the January 1st deadline. Misdirection, misfortune, and bad weather had hampered MacIan’s attempt to take the oath on time.
The MacDonald chief was required to take the oath in Fort William this meant crossing Loch Linnhe which required permission from the King, such permission did not arrive until the 28th of December. On MacIan’s arrival at Fort William on the 31st of December he was informed by the commander of the Fort that he could not receive the oath and he would have to travel 70 miles to Inveraray to take the oath there. On route he was arrested and imprisoned by Government soldiers and was not released until the 3rd of January. Worse still, the Sherriff at Inveraray was not present when MacIan eventually made it to Inveraray. When Alisdair MacIan eventually took the oath on the 6th of January 1692 he had been sent 70 miles from his original destination, arrived a week later than planned, was given misinformation, harassed, imprisoned, and endured a horrendous, arduous journey - and all of this was 300 years before Ryan Air was even flying.
Three regiments of Government soldiers from Argyll and Fort William comprised mainly from men of Clan Campbell - who were loyal to King William - and led by Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon were sent into Glencoe in February 1692 carrying warrants demanding the MacDonald’s quarter them - this was standard practice at this time when soldiers were out on expeditions or collecting tax arrears. After staying with the MacDonald’s for twelve days orders came through on the 12th of February, signed by the King, instructing the troops to turn on their hosts in the early hours of the 13th of February. The troops were ordered to be ‘secretive and sudden’. At 5am on the 13th of February 1692 the soldiers murdered ‘the old fox’ clan chief Alisdair MacIan as he slept in his bed. The sounds of gunfire caused panic and many families escaped into a blizzard which had prevented the arrival of supporting regiments who were supposed to block the glen off to stop any MacDonald’s from escaping. In the end at least 38 people were either murdered or lost in snow storm.
The Massacre of Glencoe was every Airbnber’s worse nightmare, but far from making an example of an insubordinate clan who dared to disobey the King, Glencoe had the opposite effect William had desired, it created a scandal and greatly improved support for the Jacobites in Scotland.
The events of February 1692 have engrained themselves on the psyche of the Scottish people and not because murder, or even mass-murder, was uncommon in the violent history of the Highlands but because it was a betrayal of almost sacred Highland Hospitality. To betray the trust and hospitality of a Highland host within a Highland home is unchivalrous and undignified – it’s why when we were at my granny’s house my mum would always make me force down her horrible rice pudding/promise not to kill her in her sleep.
Thanks to Glencoe the name Campbell is still looked upon with disdain by a minority in modern Scotland. Some Highland pubs continue to display ‘no Campbells allowed’ signs, which would be fair enough if they were talking about that fucking disgusting condensed soup surpassed only - and quite ironically in this case - by ‘McDonald’s’ in the ‘disgusting food’ stakes. There are still people in this country who on meeting someone with the second name ‘Campbell’ will assume that person is an arsehole - but then again if you are the sort of person who is willing to judge someone on their name or the actions of their ancestors over 300 years ago then you are probably a bit of a ‘Campbell’ yourself.
In truth the evillest of all the Scottish clans are the MacLeod’s of Lewis. In 1946 Mary Anne MacLeod gave birth to ‘Donald of Orange’ - or Orange Donald - the insipid, sweaty, misogynistic, ignorant, arrogant, fake-tanned, small-handed fuckwit who is currently head of the most powerful country in the world, a country where the massacre of 38 people wouldn’t even be newsworthy let alone a culturally significant historical event.
The MacLeod's have a lot to answer for, but of course Donald Trump isn't really Scottish, if he was that button of his would fetch him an irn-bru instead of a diet coke.
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