While Olisoga is an informed historian, and consulted many experts and this is a highly watchable if it times biased program.
However he at times skims over relevant sections of the 320 years of the union between Scotland and England 1707 and later of the four nations to form the United Kingdom is 1801.
For instance he focuses on the hardships in Ireland and of their being bribed to join the United kingdom union in 1801 – but does mot mention the mass murders and of the obliteration of the highland way of life in Scotland after the Jacobite 45, when the clans were disarmed. There is no mention of the Scottish Parcel of Rogues who sold Scotland for bribes.
The only way to be able to wear the kilt was to join the British highland regiments.
After the JACOBITE 45 rebellion Olusoga states “ the British state, with the help of some clan chiefs, launched a campaign to repress the Scots” –what they really did was mass murder of women and children and the destruction of the highland way of life. the huge contribution Scotland, as the workers of the empire made to the empire is ignored, while England were the rulesr is ignored.
By the 18th century – one in 10 lived in London – which became the centre of Printing, key port, trade artery, parliament, monarchy, finance, banking, theatre, arts and culture. Why is it good that so many had to travel to London to make their fortune?
Then there’s the episode Four on Union and Disunion – which focuses on Wales and Ireland, with only a mention of the closing of Ravenscraig steel work at Motherwell – but no mention of Scotland’s oil which was used by Westminster to increase spending on London.
Olusoga had a chat with A professor from Oxford who stated, ‘There isn’t a long history of power being spread outside the capitol…the starting dates of universities in the north, many are just over a 100 years old. Civic buildings are not that old.” This by implication gives the strong impression that the rest of Britain, outside of London, is backward and uncultured. This is basically untrue.
Scotland boasts 4 of the UKs oldest universities – Oxford and Cambridge were initially centres of clerical teachings late 1090s: in the 1400s it was Scottish universities which were the four leading centres of learning – St Andrews 1410, Glasgow 1451, Aberdeen 1495, Edinburgh 1583. And it wasn’t until the 1800s that England set up its universities - Manchester 1824, London 1826, Durham 1832.
Olusoga also misses the crucial point that Scotland’s self-determination is about democracy and democratic rights and NOT identity at all.