Friday 30 March 2018

The Lies History Tells Us: the Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Divided Europe in 1648

**History is written by the victors who often tell lies and there are many mistruths or lies told in our British histories. The English civil wars – were really the 10 years “Wars of the Three Kingdoms!” So what is the real story of the Union of the Crowns and Union of the Parliament?  I’ve been reading of the histories we are not taught – the important Westminster Confessions (1646), the War of the Three Kingdoms (1638 – 1651) and the Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648) and of Elizabeth Stuart. Our history has been deliberately skewed to ignore Scotland’s part. 

What’s the strange and turbulent story of these islands of Britain  - a story of turbulence, interconneedness, drama, misunderstandings, aggression, suppression, co-operation – hope. And royal inter marriage. I was surprised to read of the importance of Elizabeth Stuart, I'd never heard of her.  Henry Tudor had his daughter  Margaret Tudor married to James IV.  His granddaughter Mary Queen of Scots son James VI became James I of England, Ireland and Scotland. Followed by Charles I, Cromwell (who suppressed Ireland), Charles II,  William of Orange and Mary I, Mary II, Ann.
 Importantly at the time of the Westminster Confessions, Scotland and England were equal partners. During Charles I reign a terrible religious strife tore Europe apart – the Thirty Years war. James I and VI had his popular charismatic daughter Elizabeth married to Frederick of Palatine, an important Calvinist. She is well known as the Winter Queen, who held court in the Hague and Prague. Her grandson was George of Hanover. Ah now I understand the connections. 

We’ve been fed disinformation and not told the truth. Does this matter? Well in our perception of the union today it matters greatly. In 1603 Scotland’s population was 1m and England’s was 5m.

The Westminster Confessions was massively significant. It took 3 years to draw up, 1643 – 1646, with standards of doctrine, confessions and catechisms which were adopted by both the Church of Scotland and Church of England. This was a joint declaration – drawn up to secure the help of the Scots against the King Charles I.
Elizabeth Stuart

Charles had attempted to impose the Anglican bible on the Scots years earlier in 1636 and the Scots would have none of it and war broke out in 1638. This was the start of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms – and NOT the English Civil wars as we have been told – not at all! The English parliament raised armies in alliance with the Scottish Covenanters.

At this time the Thirty Years War was raging over Europe. James VI had Elizabeth Stuart (his popular, charismatic daughter) married Frederick of Palatine in 1613 – an important Calvinist in the wars. And her grandson was George of Hanover. Charles I was executed in 1649 after the war fo the Three Kingdoms. 

In 1652 Charles II came back from France, he fought and lost – down near Worcester, where he hid in an oak tree. I visited the pub he was at last year! And was forced to flee again. After 10 years of Cromwell’s rule (he also invaded Ireland, which led to great disruption there) after he died his son was deposed and Charles II was brought back.

Henry Stuart
James I and VI (1567 - 1625)
II   When the union of Parliaments happened in 1707 – Scotland was to keep its ‘sovereignty’ of the people - to keep its Kirk, legal system and education. Scotland’s Protestant kirk was about people interpreting the bible for themselves which meant that every parish was to have a school to teach reading. The great teacher George Buchanan wrote about democracy for the people. 

This meant that sovereignty lay with the people – and not with any Westminster parliament and quite different to the English Anglican church. In 1696 the Scottish parliament act for setting of schools locally funded, church supervised schools for every parish. Discussion of interpretations and understanding of the bible became a way of life. 
George Buchanan
**A HUNDRED YEARS LATER - So what were the Jacobite challenges really about? When both Scotland and Ireland supported Charles II, because they did not want the imposition of Cromwell’s English parliament to have sovereignty over their nations. The Anglican Orange Lodge was set up to sow division against the United Irishmen in 1797 - there was also a Scottish Rebellion in 1797, the year Burns died. Charles II had no successors.There were primarily religious wars.

James VI and I -  Elizabeth of England has no successors, in 1603 James VI became James I of England, Ireland and Scotland. After his death Charles I ruled less successfully.  His older brother Henry died and his older sister Elisabeth Stuart became the Queen of Bohemia – the Winter Queen. She held court over in Prague and in the Hague Europe.

We must all Play Our Part

We live in very challenging times and its not okay to sit on the fence anymore. In her book Left Bank, Agnes Poiries writes of the citizens in Paris who stood by and did nothing during the war. The war taught people that indifference bred only chaos, and that everyone must take sides and engage with the world.
The Tories are fighting to save a failing British elite's empire days. Also as with Theresa May, they say how caring they are, while they refuse to take in abandoned Syrian children; expel the Windrush Generation, bomb Syria and leave people starving. They are experts at putting on this 'I'm so caring' face and trying to fool their Daily Mail readers.
Today we have weak leadership and It should not be about who shouts the loudest on Twitter! Musician and writer Pat Kane wrote in the National, about us all being fully mindful and of the “innovative spirit “ of small nations such as Iceland, Finland, Estonia and how we must all be more aware and alert. ‘ He added there is 'no shortage of inventions and reforms are pursuable under indy … but it all has to be rooted in a fully mindful population. Many of us felt as citizens, fully awake in 2014.’ (March 2018).
How do we get our message across? The UK government may not imprison us, instead they tie our hands with no media or tv outlets. By contrast how does Catalonia manage to have not one, but five tv channels! David Mundell, now with an expanded Scottish office, uses tax payers money to target women without university educations. Unbelievable! 
The Tories are not only cruel and heartless, they are inhumane and I fear there is no decent opposition either. These are life and death issues and we must all play our part: this is not a time for those who want to sit on the sidelines saying, well I am okay. It is time the people spoke up. Who can live on £60 a week job seeker allowance? We have returned to Dickens times it seems, with Amazon the new workhouse and no workers rights, as the tiny super rich defend their right to even more money. This 'them and us' culture perpetuated by the British establishment elites is not constructive, its destructive for our society's well being. Its time now for progressive socialism - capitalism for business along with a more caring, rounded society.  Our best hope is gaining Scotland's freedom, the sooner the better. 
In a free trading block of independent or federal nations, everyone pulls together – from the bottom up and NOT top down directives. ‘Sovereignty’ is with the people. We’ve had great thinkers in Scotland - from the Declaration of Arbroath to philosopher and poet George Buchanan, who taught James VI, and who wrote one of the most important books on democracy for all. Later his work on democracy was suppressed and his memorial is just north of me at the bonny village of Killearn. These are not simple black and white, yes or no issues. Many politicians are in this for power and not the best interests of the people, time for the people to speak up!

Wednesday 14 March 2018

The Year of Young People 2018

There will be programs and festivals to celebrate young people's voices this year.
I attend Celtic Connections festival every January in Glasgow and enjoy the diverse mix of cultures and music. One of the most interesting aspects is the platform the festival offers young emerging talent –

*The young musicians who drew attentions this year –  Talisk, Siobhan Miller, Siobhan Wilson, Friel Sisters,  Rura, Alasdair Roberts, Kathryn Joseph, Misha Macpherson. Elephant sessions, Saltfishforty.I have also been reading of the backward looking Brexit nonsense – young people did not vote for these poorer futures – 16 and17 years olds were not allowed to vote in the 2016 referendum.

It’s a tough world for young people these days. Many have no prospects of ever owning their own home or ever having a pension. I worry many are distracted by online game playing too! MEANWHILE many pensioners spend their massive drop downs on holidays and renovating homes. The UK depends on this false London housing bubble that will surely burst.

With Brexit there are very serious issues over the Northern Ireland border and Scottish rights. I read of a British/Irish Convention which sat 10 years ago, which addressed questions such as the Irish language. There is talk of holding another convention over the question of a hard border. Westminster purposes an electronic border but is this really workable?

My first thought was - bring in the teenagers, students, twenty year olds to discuss what kind of future they want. There is far too much emphasis on what the old want, and it is not their futures.

This could most certainly is not be about out dated empire building or 300 year old European religious wars. Many young people are very angry and their futures are being neglected by selfish baby boomers and their large drop downs.   
Our links to Europe – There are the great European literary traditions from Greece to Rome, to the Renaissance through the Reformations. 

The latest Brexit is that May wants to leave the EU customs union and single market – in order to join a new EU customs non -frictionless trade arrangement where the UK can make their own rules on certain things and abide by the EU rules on others? First we’re in Europe with Opt Outs now out of Europe with Opt Ins! What’s really going on. Scotland never voted for this foolish Brexit, it makes me angry and sad. 

Apparently the significant Scottish Youth theatre is to loose its funding., in the Year of Young People. 

‘We need to remind ourselves that,  as Europe is a whole (and still, in it progressive mutilation an disfigurement, the organism out of which any world harmony must develop) so European literature is a whole, the several members of which cannot flourish, if the same blood-stream does not circulate throughout the whole body.

The blood-stream of European literature is Latin and Greek – not as the systems of circulation, but a one, for it is through Rome that our parentage in Greece must be traced.’   TS Eliot lecture to Virgil society 1944