A lesson in History


It’s 1960 and a group of visitors from the UK are touring Leningrad in the Soviet Union.
They have travelled on an organised trip. My future father is with the group.
He’s from Glasgow and he’s a member of the Communist Party.
It’s now 1979 and I’m at school. The next lesson will be History. I enjoy History, it’s one of my favourite topics.
I have lots of books covering historical subjects, especially Scottish History. My parents have taken my brother and I all over Scotland, visiting National Trust for Scotland locations, castles, battlefields and visitor centres. I’m no expert but I do understand the general sweep of Scottish History and the main characters.
As expected my History class at school is covering Magna Carta. The lesson before was about the Norman Invasion.
The next lesson will be about some other aspect of English history. I’m no fool. Even at this tender age I can see what is happening, however I have an ally in the class, someone who is prepared to be a subversive and deviate away from the set curriculum of English History and touch, briefly, on Scottish History. I hope he doesn’t get into trouble.
My ally? The History teacher, of course.
You see, I was blessed with a teacher who was prepared to go against the accepted wishes of those who policed the accepted norm.
Bless him and his kind.
To quote George Orwell, ““He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
Or to put it in the context of a young boy at History class in Scotland, “we were taught English history masquerading as our own.”
My History teacher recognised this and was prepared to do what was right.
So what does Leningrad and the Scottish History curriculum have in common?
Answer; they both use aspects of totalitarian process to control society. The difference being that those who deviate from this in 1960s Soviet Union get sent to a Gulag. The Scottish History teacher in 1970s Scotland may just lose his job.
Now, in 2014, I consider myself a reasonably enlightened person and I can see clearly regarding what is best for Scotland.
My History teacher deserves and will always receive, my gratitude for that.
And my Father? He went on, from a position on the Left, to recognise the benefits that Independence could bring and supported the SNP from the late 1960s onwards until his death in the late 1990s.
The moral of this story?
Independence for Scotland can be embraced by all, from all positions of the political spectrum. In addition, there exists an anti Establishment streak that runs through Scottish society that speaks for honesty. Certain Politicians please take note.

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