In his Dec. 18 article, “Is a U.K. breakup in sight?,” Sir Hugh Cortazzi gives the impression that the Scottish connection has meant nothing but good for Britain, saying the Scots are “a canny lot” and “It would be hard to find a British company or organization without a good proportion of people of Scottish origin in responsible positions.” In the interests of a balanced view, it is useful to look at some of the deleterious effects of the Scottish connection.
As Cortazzi points out, in 1603 the Scottish king became the king of England, too. James I lost no time in persecuting those with whom he disagreed, with the result that many Puritans left England to escape him, founding a colony at Plymouth Rock.
James I also had Sir Walter Raleigh, a man whose boots he wasn’t fit to lick, beheaded for not finding gold in South America [and for attacking a Spanish outpost]. His son, Charles I (born in Dunfermline in Scotland), lost no time in ruling without Parliament and raising taxes without their consent, and was directly responsible for the English Civil War of 1641-1648. His son, James II, was likewise at loggerheads with Parliament and was finally kicked out in the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688. His son, the Young Pretender, came back from exile, stirred up some of the Highland clans against the government of the day, led them to disaster, and abandoned them after his defeat at Culloden in 1746.
The Stuart dynasty was a collection of incompetent fools compared to the Anglo-Welsh Tudors.
In more modern times, the Scots’ Gen. Douglas Haig in World War I got the nickname “Butcher of the Somme” for his inept leadership. The land commander at Gallipoli (1915), Sir Ian Hamilton, showed similar callous incompetence in refusing an immediate evacuation urged on him by the English general Birdwood and his Australian officers. And then we have Tony Blair, who packed his Cabinet with self-serving Scots and involved the United Kingdom in the completely unnecessary Iraqi fiasco — against the wishes of over 80 percent of the British people.
The total lack of canniness of the aforementioned Scots “in responsible positions” is uh, well, uncanny.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.