Monday, 10 September 2007

Filtered History


'Until the teaching of history becomes more genuine and less of an 'approved version' it will become increasingly difficult for genealogists to place their family history in context.'

Here in Scotland that applies particularly to politics and political history. An article in 'The Herald' newspaper in 2005 revealed that a secret report was presented, in 1975, to the then Labour government by Dr. Gavin McCrone, a leading economist. The report stated that if Scotland was an independent nation the oil revenue would 'transform Scotland into a country with a substantial and chronic surplus'. This information was also released to the Scottish National Party under Freedom of Information legislation. Back in the mid to late 1970's it was continually said by the UK government that the oil would run out in a few years. This sort of 'sanitization' is nothing new. In the book 'The Scottish Insurrection of 1820' Peter Berresford Ellis writes in the Preface to the 2001 edition -

'...the fact that it was an aim of the Scottish Radicals to set up a separate parliament in Edinburgh has been met with skeptical posturing. Yet this was clearly spelt out by Glasgow Police Chief, James Mitchell, in his letters to the Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth, of March 18 and 29, 1820.'

While searching several US newspapers online for items about the Scottish Parliament elections in May this year I found that only one of them made the effort to visit Scotland during that election campaign. The rest had included their coverage as part of the various elections that were being held in the UK, mainly those in England. These newspapers were reporting from London which suggested a London 'filter' was operating. A saying I recall from the 1970's is -

'In order to be an internationalist you must first be a nationalist'.

3 comments:

Dianne Bergstedt FSA Scot said...

Michael, I was going to answer your comment to my post with another comment. Then I decided I wanted to take a look at your blog, and I am so very glad I did.

I have to tell you that this particular post struck a chord with me. "Filtered", indeed. More like a complete whitewash (here in the US, too).

Thank you for the book list. I will add the books to the link column.

Most importantly, I wanted to ask your permission to include your list in a post, as well as a link to your blog.

I do hope you post again soon.

Dianne

Michael Follon said...

Dianne, thanks for your comment and I would be pleased for you to include the list of books in a post and link to my blog. Here is another of my favourite extracts from p.59 of 'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' -

The fact is that, contrary to the beliefs and hopes of those who framed it, the treaty of union has proved to be a mere scrap of paper, to be torn up at the whim of any British government.'

Dianne Bergstedt FSA Scot said...

Michael, I've posted the book list and included your blog link.
I hope you will continue to share with me your comments, views and book suggestions.