Siol nan Gaidheal


The Scottish Brits - Argument 2

For nearly fifty years with, it must be admitted, very little success, I have been arguing the misuse by my compatriots of the word "Britain" and its cognates. There used to be an association of apparently patriotic Scots called The Thistle Society. This organisation existed for one purpose only; to pester editors and authors with fatuous letters demanding that the words "Britain", "British" and "Briton" should be used, no matter what the context, in place of "England", English" and "Englishman". To the members of this ridiculous society the word "England" was anathema, but so, too, was "Scotland". These people did not realise that their activities were harming their ancient country and nation. So stupid were they that they actually thought they were helping it. Unfortunately, there are far too many of this type in existence; and they do not all belong to the upper and middle classes, as "the workers" always assume.

Never once on TV or radio have I ever heard a Trade Unionist - a so-called Scot - refer to his own land except as part of "the country as a whole". The "whole" being, of course, that amorphous thing called "Britain". These people even refer to the "British nation". There is no such thing as a British nation, and it is about time that the Scots began to recognise that. This off-shore bit of Europe contains four nations: the Scots, the Welsh, the Cornish, and, of course, the almighty English.

Ignoring the self-styled "workers" from now onwards, note that, except for a few true Nationalists among them, the people of Scotland who are most conscious of their Scottishness are no longer the working class; but to discuss that matter in depth would need a separate article - and a very long one. It is only necessary to explain the stupidity - the genocidal stupidity - of all the Scots who claim to be British.

To begin with, how many Scots - Nationalists even - are conscious of the undeniable fact that, geographically and politically, no such thing as "Britain" exists? Think that one over, and then consider that no Scot ever called himself "British" until after the Union of the Crowns in 1603 when that cunning and vastly conceited homosexual, James VI, having succeeded to the English Crown, proclaimed himself James I of Great Britain - a state which at that time did not exist except in his imagination. There were still two separate states, as there are now one main state and two or three "regions" - among them a bankrupt England supported by a fairly rich Scotland. All on the edge of the European market place, a market place which, from the squabbling among the stall-holders, appears already to be fated to be dismantled.

But back to the main argument. To the Romans the southern part of this island was Britannia; the northern part was Caledonia; and though many of the so-called Caledonians - particularly after the imperial frontier had been stabilised - were Brythonic Celts, they were certainly not Anglo-Britons in the modern sense. Following the Roman withdrawal, there was for several centuries, as everyone is aware, a period known as the Dark Ages - a time of flux of which we are, to a great extent, ignorant. However, we do know this much: that for a century or two Celtic Cumbria was part of Celtic Strathclyde, just as part of the Lothians was included in the Anglican kingdom of Northumberland. Incidentally, English and Anglo-Scottish historians always make much of the "Anglican" conquest, but keep very quiet about the Battle of Dunnichen and the way the Angles were slaughtered there, or were driven back south over the River Tweed. Anyhow, nothing changed the make-up of the people. By that time the people of Scotland had more or less coalesced; but unfortunately - under Court and other pressures - were beginning to lose their Celtic language. To discuss how that came about would take up far more space than I have at my disposal. But they did retain their own culture - if any way of life at that time could be called a culture - and they were still, as they are today, mainly a Celtic people. Picts, Brythons and Celts were all conscious of being Scottish. Even the marauding Viking rapers of the Western Isles had become Albannaich, as had the few Angles remaining in the south-east.

But south of the border an extraordinary mongrel people emerged. The indigenous Brythons had, for the most part, been pushed into or had been left in the mountains of Wales and Cumbria, or had retained a tenuous hold on part of Devon and the Cornish peninsula. The Brythons who had remained in what is now England had become entirely Romanised: but that did not mean that their women had married or mated with nothing but pure Romans, for the Legions were composed of mercenaries and conscripts from almost every corner of Europe, from Asia Minor, and from North Africa, which really means that for four hundred years these Romanised and slave-minded Brythons had intermingled with as bastard a scum as could be found anywhere in the world.

When Britain (that is, the southern part of the island) was deserted by the legions, there came the Angles, the Saxons, the Frisians, the Jutlanders, and eventually the Frenchified Normans. This English nation - if the term nation can be applied to such a conglomeration - occupied a country bounded on the north by the Cheviot Hills and the Tweed, while their middle-land was separated from the Cymraeg on the west by Offa's Dyke, and on the far south-west by the River Tamar.

But this most mongrel "race" was never content simply to be English. They wanted to be Britons too. At least their scribes, who, of course, wrote in Latin, as often as not used the old Roman word "Britannia" to describe the land they occupied. As the Norman overlords came slowly to accept the description of "Englishmen" for all who lived south of Scotland and east of Wales, the word "Britannia" became little more than a romantic description: just as "Caledonia" and "Hibernia" became poetic names for Scotland and Ireland. But while the plain people of Scotland rarely if ever called themselves Caledonians, the English began to use the term "Britannia! In its anglicised form of "Britain" as a synonym for England. We find that Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton and, if I remember rightly, the first accepted English poet, William Langlands, used the words "Britain" and "England" indiscriminately. Worse than that, there was one scribe in the fourteenth century, whose name escapes me, who was known to have used the term "the British Empire". He was probably thinking of what the English thought they might be able to do on the Continent.

I know that now and then Tacitus called the Caledonians "Britons"; but against that it must be known that all the English and most of the Scots and Welsh call the Bretons "French"; and the Bretons are no more French than we are English. I know, too, that the great Scots-European philosopher, Duns Scotus, was once or twice called "British" in continental ecclesiastical documents written in Latin; but there is no record of him ever having described himself as other than Scottish. Nor, so far as I can discover, did any other Scottish philosopher, poet, warrior or anyone else ever refer to himself as "British"; and it should be noted that European cartographers always carefully distinguished between Scotland and England. It is true that the phrase "the British Isles" did come into use before the accession of James VI to the English throne; but that was likely due to nothing more Anglo-Norman conceit and arrogance after England had conquered Ireland.

Shakespeare's infamous lines about "This sceptr'd isle… this England" must be dismissed as the poetic ravings of someone who knew no better. A man who could give a coastline to Bohemia in the heartland of Europe was capable of any geographic error; and, as such trade as passed between Scotland and England was mostly sea-borne: Leith to London; or, on the west coast, across the Solway, it is quite probable that Shakespeare believed that England really was an island and that Scotland, like Ireland, lay over the sea.

So far, I have indulged in that most damnable of Celtic traits: living in the past. It is time that I came right up to date, although I cannot avoid a sour glimpse at the nineteenth century, when the Fenians were operating in Ireland. Forgetting the Clearances and the aftermath of Culloden, the Scottish Victorian bourgeoisie and their imitators, the respectable and most consciously Protestant working classes, being very anxious to keep in with authority and to avoid doing anything that stank of Popery, became - apart from their accents - almost more English than the English; and pusillanimously and hypocritically took refuge in describing all things Scottish as "British".

So we got - and so we still have - that peculiar creature of today: the British-Scot or the Scottish Briton, the laughing-stock of Europe and the joke of America; and the flag of Scotland, the Saltire of the once-proud Scottish Nation, swamped in the detestable Union Flag, has become the crooked cross of the most brainwashed and slave-minded people of Europe.

Ronald MacDonald Douglas, 1992
These arguments are, in the main, derived from some of the author's articles which appeared originally in 'Catalyst' Magazine (The 1320 Club, Edinburgh) and 'The Irish Book' (Talbot Press, Dublin) and reprinted from the Siol nan Gaidheal magazine, 1992.


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