Deprived of the right
Having read Neil Davidson’s article in your Autumn 2004 issue, it appears to me that he has three strongly held beliefs:
- 1.Other historians are deliberate falsifiers or charlatans
- 2.Those who believe other historians are dupes
- 3.Imperialism is progressive
For eight hundred years now England has been invading other countries from Ireland to Iraq and has generally won because it has been more advanced. The resistance to invasion has come from the likes of the
desperate vassals forced by violence and hunger to fight for the continuation of their own feudal oppression (E&L Issue 8, pp29, Neil Davidson)
desperate vassals have been luckier than others. The aborigines of Tasmania were wiped out. The people of Scotland survive but have been deprived of the right ever to call themselves a nation because of something which may, or may not, have happened years ago.
This proves to me that we must look to the here and now to justify Scotland’s nationhood and not to the historians and archaeologists.
Serious academic work
Your correspondent Neil Davidson’s dismissal of the 1970 classic study The Scottish Insurrection of 1820 – claiming it is inaccurate – might have been considered more seriously if he had not contrived to get the names of both authors entirely wrong. If he cannot copy names from a book one presumes that he has looked at, then what else has he got wrong?
I read this study when it was first published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in 1970 and it was the first full-length study of this suppressed radical rising. It was then highly praised by the serious academic world for its amazing research breakthrough making a nonsense of Davidson’s silly and almost petulant remark.