What’s wrong with British nationalists?

Few of us are surprised that the British government could have locked down earlier but didn’t, that it could have tested more but didn’t, that it could have provided protective equipment but didn’t. What is truly amazing is that there are still British nationalists on social media who are getting upset by Scottish things having Scottish names. They’re not going to be happy until Scotland is abolished and becomes The North North of England. And if you are unhappy with that idea they’ll scream at you it’s because you’re an anti-English racist. Amazing eh, the all-powerful all-conquering Brits, oppressed by a hospital name.

It seems that the closer we get to independence, the more that it becomes an acceptable and mainstream idea in Scottish politics, the more that support for an independent Scotland spreads amongst the public, the more intense that the cringe becomes in that minority who define themselves as primarily British. It’s gradually becoming more concentrated and more virulent as the pond water of British identity evaporates away in Scotland.

So while we’re on the topic of names for places, a subject particular dear to the heart of a person whose hobby is producing maps in Gaelic, the moans of the British nationalists only serve to remind us just how colonised our public spaces are. We have Union Streets and George Squares, settlements and farms bearing 18th century estate names which replaced the original Gaelic or Scots. It’s a sign of just how used to this colonisation of our mental landscapes that we’ve become that the idea of a map of Scotland in Gaelic should provoke such fury amongst British nationalists. How dare anyone seek to produce a map of this country in one of its own languages.

It might have taken the coronavirus epidemic to bring it into focus, but recently there’s been even more panic than usual from British nationalists in Scotland who are complaining about the most anodyne expression of a Scottish identity. We’ve had Ian Smart bemoaning the public service announcements from NHS Scotland on account of the fact that they contain the word Scotland. We’ve had the yellow dress wummin who was on Question Time and was then found to be the treasurer of her local Tory party before she was suspended from the Tories for being too unpleasant even for them, which is quite the achievement. She was girning that she’s not going to sign up for the scheme that’s been set up to encourage volunteers to help out our hard pressed NHS and other social services during the epidemic because it’s got Scottish in its name and that’s just not British. And then we had Wee Dougie and his pursed lips, twitching the net curtains of his Twitter account to snipe at the decision to name the new temporary hospital that’s been set up in the SECC the NHS Louisa Jordan, after a Scottish nurse who worked in field hospitals in Serbia during WW1.

Wee Dougie has been joined online by hunners of beeling British nationalists, about whom we have to make the usual disclaimer that they’re not nationalists because they’re British and their nationalism is better than other nationalisms by virtue of not being nationalist at all. To be fair, this is a population group which is at much higher risk from coronavirus than the rest of us. Being spittle flecked is a recognised means of transmitting the virus. The green ink gang from Scotland in Union must be shitting themselves.

The staunch mob are insisting that it doesn’t matter what the Scottish government calls the new hospital, “everyone” is going to call the new hospital the NHS Nightingale. That would be “everyone” in the sense of the dollies that they use to point out the body parts where the nasty cybernats touched them. I’m going to start calling the new hospital Seirbhis Nàiseanta Slàinte na h-Alba Ospadal Liùsaidh Nic Shiùrdain just to annoy them even more. If these people were as staunch as they claimed to be they’d refuse treatment at anywhere except the Queen Elizabeth or the Royal and insist upon being seen by a doctor wearing a union fleg face mask who’d recite Winston Churchill’s fight them on the beaches speech instead of giving them any medicine. Sadly, there is no cure for chronic cringe.

Of course what is really getting the red white and blue goat of the perma-angry British nationalists is that they realise with every passing day just how tenuous a grasp the UK has upon the sympathies of most people in Scotland. The head of state in waiting, Charles Windsor, sparked off genuine fury amongst a huge segment of the Scottish public with his selfishness and entitlement. He did Britishness no favours by associating it with a pampered thoughtless man who spread the coronavirus in Scotland by ignoring the advice not to travel to a holiday home or the countryside that the rest of us are expected to abide by.

It was made even worse by reports that an Acute Respiratory Infection team had to leave their busy posts in the local hospital to travel to his holiday home to test him, his wife, and their retinue. There are also reports which NHS Grampian has neither confirmed nor denied that “protocol” demands that an intensive care bed in the local hospital is reserved in case Charles or one of his household requires it, so that there’s one less bed available for a local person who needs it, at a time when there’s already a shortage of intensive care beds. We’re all in this together, indeed. If we could ensure that it was one of the union fleg waving sychophants who had to go without in order to make sure Charlie is looked after, it might not be so bad.

Meanwhile we have the nauseating sight of Conservative Health Minister Matt Hancock, who has had a surgical operation to remove what remained of his spine, saluting “our immigrant NHS workers”. Matt wants us to forget that his party have spent the past decade demonising migrants, underfunding the NHS, and now he wants to pose as a champion for wiping out NHS trusts’ debt to the UK government without wanting us to wonder what sort of government causes the NHS to get into debt to it in the first place. But Charles Windsor is well looked after at your expense. There’s your real British values right there.

The British nationalists are angry and afraid because they can sense that the UK is changing, and it’s changing in a way that weakens even further the already diminished sense of Britishness in Scotland. This epidemic, and the many and manifest failures of Boris Johnson, will have political consequences once it’s over. We’ve learned that the British model of politics as pursued for many years is fundamentally broken. We’ve learned that it’s low paid staff who are the ones who are truly essential in order to keep things running in a crisis. It’s the supermarket workers, the delivery people, the NHS staff, the cleaners, the transport workers. We’ve learned that public services are crucial to the maintenance of a civilised society, and that farming them out underfunded and under resourced to private sector franchises weakens and undermines all of us. And we’ve learned that the so-called wealth creators who have been feted and rewarded by successive British governments are looking after their own interests and demanding bail outs from the safety and comfort of their country homes.

A crisis always has political consequences. The bigger the crisis, the greater the consequences. There have been no crises greater than the current one since WW2. Those who are best placed to make political gains following a crisis are those who have the answers to the problems that the crisis highlighted. In Scotland, that’s the independence movement, not the intellectually bankrupt British nationalists complaining about names, flags, and a lack of deference being paid to cosseted royals.

The frothing British nationalists on social media can sense that too. That’s why they’re so angry. It’s because they’re afraid. Confident and self-assured people don’t need to get angry over symbols. They have no ideas, no vision of a better Scotland. But we do, and that’s why we’re going to win. Theirs is the terror of an ideology that knows it is history. That’s what’s wrong with these people. We on the other hand have the confidence of a movement that’s making history.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…

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74 thoughts on “What’s wrong with British nationalists?

  1. One of the benefits of all this Britishness is that you get these British people telling everyone that we’re all British, and then they go on to say that all Indy supporters are anti-English.


    Just point out to them that there’s no such thing as English since we’re all supposed to be British so we can’t be anti-English and their heads explode.


    • Re “North North of England” – the name “Scotland” was banned after the 1745 rebellion, when Scotland was known as “North Britain”. This continued until after the Battle of Waterloo, which as the Duke of Wellington said, “Was a damn close run thing.” Things might have been tilting towards Napoleon until the North British Dragoon Guards (previously and subsequently the Scottish Dragoon Guards) launched a counter attack, with the battle cry, “Alba gu brath!” (Scotland Forever). This counterattack prevented Napoleon from winning and bought enough time until Bluecher and the Prussians arrived and turned the battle.

      Subsequently our name was restored and then Walter Scott and Queen Victoria invented a ‘palatable’ myth of Scotland.

      The charge is memorialised in a huge painting in the lounge behind the House of Lords and called “Scotland Forever”.

  2. Stirring stuff. I can feel it too, the panic and the inevitability. I have never seen the UK look so threadbare and exhausted. Much pain to be gone through, yet. But you have cheered me up, for which, my thanks.

  3. I remember this nonsense during the indyref.

    The raged when the Saltire was on display at Wimbledon. They fumed at the idea that Scots athletes would do a parade in Glasgow, with the Saltire on display. David Cameron asked Sony to take a tv show of the air, because it was set in Scotland in the late 16th century. Labour in Scotland behaved like total arseholes by refusing to even use the word Scottish in the media. I could go on, but you get the point.

    The irony is, that to be British is to be Scottish. The union cannot exist if the UK was actually a single nation. Its not an identity. Its a collective pronoun. It can’t exist without those essential ingredients. For the UK to be greater than the sum of its parts. For it to be truly “better together” – those components parts have to count for something. They cannot count for nothing. Yet in the unionists mind, there is the idea that one component part contributes nothing of value. Nothing of significance. It relies on another to lend it relevance because it has none its own. A unionist has a deep seated fear, that they are truly a member of a pointless race of people, who have never amounted to anything. They need the magic cloak of Britishness to give them relevance.

    Its why when Alistair Darling spoke for the positive case for union, he could only recount it as a benefit we never contributed to. We couldn’t have taken part in the Olympics with the British to show us how. Mr Mackie of Mackie’s ice cream whined that if the English knew is product was made in Scotland…why, the English widnae buy it . Other nations could be independent, because they had language, culture, but Scotland had none of these things, said George Robertson.
    Johann Lamont clapped and cheered when George Osborne, said Scotland had contributed nothing of value to the UK in 300 years and lives off English subsidy. Ruth Davidson said much the same. But look at these prophets of pish and tell me, when do they ever claim that Scotland is actually part of a Union or indeed British? They always have and always will describe it as a benefit. A hand out. An Identity thats merely on loan. We’re not actually British. We;re Scottish and that is code for “being shite” thats why we need the union, so we can pretend to be worth something.
    To pretend to be British. And by British, they really mean English.

    These chickenhawks sold out. They gave up on Scotland. The union is their identity. Its their nation. Its their flag. Their loyalty is to the institution not the nation the institution was meant to serve. They do it because they feel inferior. 300 years of thinking you had to back an English party to get a fair deal in Westminster will do that to some folk I guess.

    Like I said. The Cringe – its a British thing.

  4. I wish that you wouldn’t mince your words, Paul.
    Sublime, sir.
    The Southern General is still the Southern General.
    Plague and pestilence ravages the land, and Gove still appears telling lies.

    It’s comin’ yet for a’ that.

  5. Pingback: What’s wrong with British nationalists? | speymouth

    • Well she and her nurses bumped off more that they saved – maybe that’s telling those down south what the Westminster Governments objectives are, be afraid , be very afraid!

      Lovely piece Paul , thank you as ever!

      And Dave Agnew , on the money!

  6. Two things.

    If NHS debt is to be written off, will this mean that PPP payments on Scottish hospitals will also be suspended?

    On the expulsion of Gaelic culture. There is a mountain in the Cairngorms that caught the eye of Queen Victoria back when Scotland was being reinvented for wealthy tourists. When she asked its name, a local beater was asked in Gaelic and returned the correct name, which was hastily translated for her majesty as The Devils Point to save all blushes rather than the more literal Penis of the Demon. The Gaelic name no longer appears on any map.

    • And.
      The name Lochnagar was given to the mountain in the 19th century supposedly to avoid embarrassing Queen Victoria (for whom Prince Albert purchased the Balmoral estate in 1852) by using its earlier name Beann na Ciochan, the hill of the paps or breasts, there being Little Pap south of Meikle Pap.

  7. “The green ink gang from Scotland in Union must be shitting themselves.”
    As if such refined persons would ever lower themselves to so common a practice! Though admittedly they do have a great propensity for passing motions. At worst they might be stricken with a dire rear and emerge cack-handed (an déidh cac-shiubhail?) Pity we can’t dump the lot of them like the excrement they’ve become!

  8. Ironically, a true Unionist would be happy for everything to have a Scottish name and would celebrate the display of Scottish flags and symbols. A true Unionist would also be dismayed and demoralised by the government’s attitude to Scotland. A true Unionist (if there are any) would disagree with and criticise the Britnats for their anti-Scottish views.

    Indeed, a true Unionist would and should need symbols of Scottish identity more than a Scot in an independent Scotland would. The former needs those symbols to remind him/her they are Scottish. The latter doesn’t.

    • That’s a superb point.

      Even calling the cringeing attitude we’re up against “British nationalism” is doing it a favour. True Brits would be as proud of their Scottish or English heritage, their county and their town, as of the central nation state. This is one way the US still works well: Americans certainly can be fiercely proud of their own state and region. (Visit the South and you’ll see!) While still being just as sure in their identity as American.

      Federalism, eh? These self loathing toadies wouldn’t recognise it if it spanked them on the arse.

  9. It is reported on BBC Breakfast Jackanory that The ‘Prince of Wales’, (not the ‘Duke of Rothesay’), will ‘open’ the Florence Nightingale MASH Pandemic Unit in London by video link this morning.


    Because we all look to the Royal Family for leadership and guidance in times of English ‘national’ emergencies?

    What a fecking farce.

    The Windsors have fled London, but somehow the Pandemic London Prefab will never function unless a ‘Royal’ snips the ribbon virtually from his Jock Hideaway?

    What Queen of Hearts lunacy.

    • Take it that you’ve ordered your FREE churchill coin from the Royal Mint.
      Can’t make ventilators but can turn out coins of lizzy, churchill and possibly the doris to come.
      Have a look at the site, I was hard pressed to find a Scottish Seaside town coin, in fact I’ve not found one yet.
      Maybe there’s a Mint in Edinburgh.
      Hell they’ll even sell you off old coins in sets like EdwardVII, funny they don’t have Edward VIII, BUTT then he wasn’t crowned.

  10. “We’ve learned that the British model of politics as pursued for many years is fundamentally broken. We’ve learned that it’s low paid staff who are the ones who are truly essential in order to keep things running in a crisis. It’s the supermarket workers, the delivery people, the NHS staff, the cleaners, the transport workers. We’ve learned that public services are crucial to the maintenance of a civilised society, and that farming them out underfunded and under resourced to private sector franchises weakens and undermines all of us. And we’ve learned that the so-called wealth creators who have been feted and rewarded by successive British governments are looking after their own interests and demanding bail outs from the safety and comfort of their country homes.”

    We haven’t learned these facts due to the C-19 epidemic Paul, because we already knew all of it before the first case had even been confirmed in Scotland. These facts have simply been writ large for all to see, if they care to look. The people of Scotland simply have much more time on their hands to pay attention to what is really going on in this poisonous Brutish state, and are realising – if they hadn’t already – that they are being had by a corrupt cabal.

  11. It’s not British nationalism. It’s English nationalism. The above article confirms that. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck it is a duck. RT’s excellent recent three-part documentary on Northern Ireland involved Alex Salmond having in-depth discussion with every flavour of Irish & NI politician on what happens after Brexit. Consistently, his guests talk about ENGLISH nationalism. Call Whitehall/Westminster out for what they are.

  12. A couple of things we have learned from this crisis which brings into focus the failings of the British state.
    The economy is the people.
    You can have as much money creation scams as you like but without people it is useless.
    As others have said,bankers and hedge fund managers serve little purpose without people.
    If you fail,as they have,to ensure the health and wealth of the people,your economy will tank.
    Those governments who have attempted to provide adequate support for the health of their people,are going to have much better outcomes than those who haven’t.
    Those who do not wish Scotland to have better outcomes than England during this crisis,are not fit for public office in our country and pontificating about Scottish identity at this time only reinforces that view.

  13. its that bad being British the chancellor has been forced to deny he wanted to break up the union and for england to go it alone HURRY UP AND DO IT DO NOW

  14. In this neck of the woods in the north, many streets, roadside eateries and other places are named after places in England which were once the fiefdom of a man who married into a local landed family and proceeded to forcibly (often by burning down their meagre homes) remove thousands of his tenants off the land to make way for sheep and the huntin’/shootin’/fishin’ brigade. Sadly, he did it with the help of Lowland Scots who were utterly ruthless, one of them the ancestor of that well-known Etonian socialist with the ultra-posh and ridiculously over-the-top accent, Tam Dalyell. Needless to say, this particular Scot became an MP and died in London where he is buried. Tam Dalyell himself was, of course, only one of many priveleged Scots over the centuries who have been educated in English Public Schools.

    This is what concerns me about the British Nationalist Scot. They lose all sense of identity which other nationalities are proud to have. It doesn’t have to be a dangerous kind of nationalism, just a pride in your wee hearth and home, but the minute they cross the border (and you can see that with the MPs who over the centuries have gone to Westminster) they become so absorbed in the other place that their own identity becomes almost anathema to them. The same applies to ordinary Scots who move south to settle and work and are so willing to make negative comments about their homeland. To me that’s the saddest thing of all. If you don’t have pride in your country, it will never thrive nor reach its true potential while people with talent will leave for something better – as we know to our cost!

    • The ‘Welsh’ Tudors and the dismantling of Wales post ‘the Acts of Union, 1535 and 1542’.

      Would make a great title for an essay.

      Twas ever so – the big wen sucks in the local aristocracy and bleeds the home country dry. And then they accuse us of being the subsidy junkies.


    • Not all Scots do. I lived for ten years in England and never once felt anything but Scottish and being proud to be Scottish and making sure my two young (then) children were proud to be Scottish too.
      They still live in England, both married to English partners, but are still proud to be Scots and believe in an independent Scotland.
      You either believe in being Scottish and an independent Scotland or you don’t. Doesn’t matter where in the world you live.

  15. As p.s just in case anyone has been alarmed by the big increase in deaths yesterday and took Severin Carrell’s version to heart, the First minister did explain absolutely fully during her press conference that many of those were deaths in the community collated over days and not just a big jump overnight.

    The MSM are forever misleading and inaccurate either through carelessness , idiocy or deliberate manipulation – they are untrustworthy and not worthy of your money.

  16. Under the regulations brought in by the Labour/LibDem Coalition in Holyrood does the signage for the new ‘hospital’ not have to be in English AND Gaelic?

    I do hope so. Imagine wee Dougie et al’s response to that.

  17. wee Dougie is just feart that he will lose his status. Englishman second class. And after Scotland becomes independent him and his ilk will be thrown to the wolves.

  18. >>I’m going to start calling the new hospital Seirbhis Nàiseanta Slàinte na h-Alba Ospadal Liùsaidh Nic Shiùrdain

    Careful now, there’s vulnerable people with heart conditions out there already!

    • Then wouldn’t be the best place for them? 😉

      We often have to face idiotic monolingual dinosaurs who pose the question: ‘Would you refuse to be saved from drowning by an English speaker?’

      I ask them: ‘Would they refuse to be operated on by a Welsh speaking surgeon?’

      End of conversation.

  19. 6th of April! The 700th anniverasry of The Decloration of Arbroath. Although Radio Scotland will celebrate this occasion via Billy Kay on the 4th,5th and 6th of April daily at 1.32pm.I have not been able to find out if BBC Scotland tv will broadcast any reference to this unique and historic document.Not holding my breath!
    But I did root out a photograph of the cheering torie goverment “successfully” voting down the bill to awarding the nurses an increase in wages in 2017. Ah , happy days!

    • You’ll be delighted to know that the BBC (*perhaps* not for viewers in Scotland or Wales, then again perhaps, yes) are going to show ‘classic sporting events’ from the past in order to ‘unite the nation’ at this time.

      I’ve yet to see if they plan a re-showing of a certain football match from 1966 – but I wouldn’t put it past them.

      ‘United Kingdom’? – No, thanks.

        • Jim, I watched the full game on YouTube the other day.
          We were magnificent.
          Men were men then. No subs. Jack Charlton hobbled about for 80 minutes, badly injured and still managed to score a goal for the Auld Enemy.
          Law Bremner Baxter ‘Wee’ Willie Wallace, Bobby Lennox Big Ham ‘n’ Eggs Greig, McKinnon Gemmell McCalliog Mc Creadie and Lennon, and Ronnie Simpson in goal.
          Yes and Baxter did play keepie-uppy for a brief spell at when we were 3 – 1 up.

          The following month both Old Firm Teams competed in European Finals, and were paid relative buttons compared with today’s prima donnas.

          Boy could we play fitba’ back in the day.
          On the day we were literary ‘World Beaters’.

          Bizarrely a military band struck up God Save the Queen at the end of the match and the crowd, well half of them, joined in.
          Can’t see them trying that on nowadays.

          • Jack, both teams players were payed £60 for these two finals, roughly three times the top wage we were getting at the coal face. It was also the first time any city in Europe had teams in both European finals.If they would have came from London, Liverpool or Manchester they would be raving about it yet.

          • Mother-of-pearl ‘buttons’, maybe, wm, but still ‘buttons’ compared with the money they make nowadays.
            No mention of this remarkable achievement was made throughout the entire commentary.
            Wonder why?

          • Really Obscene money these day’s Jack, and it is not only the so called footballers being rewarded, don’t get me started I could go on a bit too much.

          • Hi Jack,

            Yeah, I’ve got it on DVD and watched it a few times.

            There was a rumour going round that Billy Bremner got annoyed at Jim Baxter saying to him ” Do you want to win this game or just take the piss out of them” to which Baxter replied ” Taking the piss sounds good to me”

            It’s a rumour I like to believe.

    • Keep an eye out for a new short film on it being released online tomorrow, 4th April, courtesy of Charles Stuart, Lesley Riddoch, and numerous other volunteers…

  20. Just listened to BBC lunchtime news praising NHS Nightingale being built in 9 days (although it is a refit of an existing building) as if this beats China building hospitals from the ground up in 2 weeks. They also refer to other field hospitals being put together including Glasgow as NHS Nightingale hospitals. I would laugh at the stupidity of the British State Media if it wasn’t so sad. They are clinging onto a veneer of relevance in Scotland that has long since been exposed as rotten.

  21. An otherwise great article, but…

    “I’m going to start calling the new hospital Seirbhis Nàiseanta Slàinte na h-Alba Ospadal Liùsaidh Nic Shiùrdain…”

    Unless you know that she called herself that, or wanted others to call her that, then giving her that name is taking a liberty with her identity.

    “We’ve learned that it’s low paid staff who are the ones who are truly essential in order to keep things running in a crisis. It’s the supermarket workers, the delivery people, the NHS staff, the cleaners, the transport workers. ”

    In order to keep things running, those people also depend heavily on technology created and maintained by the technical and scientific classes. They also depend heavily on the organising skill of the managerial class. All of these are equally essential.

  22. Perhaps Dougie Alexander and his pals can raise a new project once the dust settles on all this.

    Outside of the ‘British’ parliament there are 5 statues .. one is of Winston Churchill, the other 4 are Richard the Lionheart, Boudica, Oliver Cromwell and a depiction of an event from English 14th century medieval history ‘The Burghers of Calais’

    Nothing depicting any event or person from Scottish, Welsh or Irish history is displayed outside this ‘British’ parliament, only English history …… perhaps they could all get together and bitch about Westminster’s lack of ‘Britishness’

    • Woops … can’t edit my post, so just to make clear I’m well aware of Cromwell’s relevance to Scottish history .. but it certainly doesn’t make him a figure to be celebrated in our history, or Ireland’s for that matter.

  23. FFS! That is what fills their day? That is what they worry about?

    The planet is on the brink of ecological collapse. National economies are tanking. Politics and society are polarized to the point of breakdown (both fractured and mistrustful as never before) and don’t get me started on wealth disparity. But, y’know, the naming of a vital medical crisis centre after a city nursing heroine not being Yoon enough is top of their to do list. I repeat… FFS!

    Personally I’d have thought the priority was saving lives. Saving as many lives as humanly possible.

  24. The planet is on the brink of ecological collapse.
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  25. Bob, thanks for this.
    A magnificent tribute.
    Tears welled up at the closing recitation of the Declaration by so many Scots voices.
    Thanks to Lesley Riddoch and the team for producing this gem.
    I may fly a saltire from an upstairs windae on Monday as my own wee tribute.
    Scots wha hae!

    • Yes Jack, a wonderful achievement considering the circumstances and timescale, only spotted it appear earlier than announced before crashing to bed, couldn’t resist watching it and spreading the word before collapsing.
      Glad to see Paul do a special on it too, it will get well deserved viewing and sharing.
      Pretty sure most of Arbroath will have a smile this morning, although not credited in the film, the locals helped pull the re-enactment together at short notice having been abandoned by cancellation of the celebrations and helped pull other strands into play.
      Bravo indeed…

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