Don’t cringe, embrace your inner Braveheart

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By Christian Wright
 
Since Unionists are forever poking Braveheart in our face as a pejorative, it is time that we took ownership of it and defined it.
 
Braveheartism: Advocates that Scotland’s past is integral to it’s future. That its history and mythology play a key role in the creation and development of the Scottish identity.

By Christian Wright
 
Since Unionists are forever poking Braveheart in our face as a pejorative, it is time that we took ownership of it and defined it.
 
Braveheartism: Advocates that Scotland’s past is integral to it’s future. That its history and mythology play a key role in the creation and development of the Scottish identity. That it is legitimate for Scots to take pride in the accomplishments of their forebears, including their struggle against an implacable and powerful foe. That Scotland’s mythology and ancient history are the roots of a continuing development that is manifest in and integral to the character of Scotland’s culture and people today.

Braveheart: A person who believes in and espouses Braveheartism.

The British State has set aside £50m of taxpayers money to celebrate the centenary of the commencement of the Great War in August 2014. Why would anyone celebrate the start of such a bloody war? Among other things, this seems deliberately designed to compete with and overshadow the June 2014 anniversary of Bannockburn in the run-up to the referendum.

While promoting their odd remembrance, the Unionists, particularly the likes of Lord Jim Wallace, Lord Forsyth, and Lord Foulkes, are at pains to ensure we should forget Bannockburn on its 700th anniversary.

It’s seven hundred years since“, the noble lords will admonish with mocking tone – “for goodness sake, no one cares!” – It’s not relevant – it’s clownish braveheartism, braveheart, BRAVEHEART!!!

… We are told to grow up and get real.

There is method to their madness, and I think those of Nationalist persuasion – most of us – have fallen for it. We are sheepishly apologetic and readily agree to demean and dismiss Bravehearts and Braveheatism. We deny “Ourselves” in doing so.

The Unionist “Braveheart gambit” – seeks to denigrate Scotland’s historical fight for freedom against a belligerent neighbour whilst vigorously promoting Britain’s colonial wars and continental wars.

They would have us forget Bannockburn and how the bravery and guile of brave men helped forge this nation and temper our national character.

I call it the Braveheart Gambit because usually the focus of their derision is not really the film about the life of William Wallace, but rather Wallace himself, and the attack on Wallace remains the template upon which all other such attacks are made.

Mythologies are an essential ingredient of the glue than binds a people and creates a national identity. That is why icons of Union and Empire were paraded endlessly by the broadcast media in London’s Olympic pageant of 2012.

Yet simultaneously there has been a concerted effort by the chattering class and the jocktocracy in the Lords, to delegitimise that phenomenon where Scotland is concerned (whilst as noted, promoting the notion shamelessly where Britain is concerned).

None speaks to the heart of our people like the deeds and the persona of Wallace and events like Bannockburn, and no Scot should feel embarrassed to embrace that narrative, so shamefully demeaned and ridiculed by Westminster’s pet jocks and their counterparts in Holyrood.

Whatever you self-identify as, carries with it an encyclopaedia’s-worth of historical and cultural defining referential events. They are the very essence of a polity’s sense of itself. They have been used and abused since the dawn of civilisation by the unscrupulous to further their nefarious ends, and by visionaries to build nations.

Scotland has a rich and glorious narrative from which to hew an identity and it is on the cusp of creating a richer one yet. The battles of independence continue to this day and the prize not yet won.

We can acknowledge and embrace our inner braveheart and celebrate it, or spurn it and cringe. But I would ask you to consider who it is that would have us deny and dissolve the glue that binds us, and why they would have you cringe.

It is they who dismiss and delegitimise national aspiration and scorn the enabling and inspiring notion that tomorrow can be better than today. Their vision and message is that this is as good as it gets. Their only plan is to tell us what we can’t do.

The past determines the present, and the present, the future, and ours awaits.

Of course, this does not mean that anyone will make a decision in 2014 solely on the basis of ancient history and mythology, but that we should look to the past for an understanding of how we came to be who we are today, in order that we may more fully contextualize the alternatives that confront us in this referendum, and choose the direction of our tomorrows.