Back Pages: Whatever happened to the Tartan Monster?

6 Sep

Iain Macwhirter

It seems a light year ago, but there was a time when many Unionists seriously believed that Alex Salmond had set the referendum for September 2014 in order to exploit a surge of nationalist emotion that would follow the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Well if he did, it was a pretty poor call. Blue face paint and claymores have been conspicuous by their absence this summer, as has hatred of the auld enemy.

The claim was always facile. The First Minister was more concerned that the referendum should not happen in the midst of the deepest economic recession in 80 years. He also thought the European elections should be out of the way before Scots could think seriously about the nation’s future. Bannockburn was never going to be anything other than the commemoration of a remarkable historical event: the limit of Plantagenet expansionism in medieval…

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