The Greatest Traitor of All

Sometimes I look at the Scottish Cringe, and wonder how it could be so widespread. What other country is so gripped by a reluctance to commemorate, respect, or even acknowledge their past? What other people has so many of their members so eager to sneer and troll and disrespect their own history? What other nation has journalists prepared to vilify the recognition of a national hero as if it was some sort of demonic cult?

On this day in 1305, William Wallace was killed. It was called execution, because the King of England claimed dominion over Scotland, thus rendering Wallace’s rebellion an act of high treason. Even to this day, the Anglocentric view of events bleeds through, as countless “On this day” sites, wikis, blog posts, tweets, and facebook status updates talk about the execution of William Wallace for treason.

Yet by any reasonable estimation, this is a distortion of what happened. William Wallace was murdered by a foreign king, for leading his people against an invading power intent on conquest. That he continues to be called a traitor, that his death is still given the legal justification “execution,” exemplifies why I consider that word to be not a grave insult, but an honour. For the establishment, the nobility, the monarchy, those that lord above us, to call someone a traitor, is to call anyone who seeks to usurp their divine right to rule a traitor. I don’t have a problem with that.


We come here with no peaceful intent, but ready for battle, determined to avenge our wrongs and set our country free. Let your masters come and attack us: we are ready to meet them beard to beard.
– William Wallace, Statement before the Battle of Stirling Bridge (11 September 1297), as quoted in History of Scotland (1841) by Patrick Fraser Tytler, p. 121

Yet the Cringe is insidious indeed to reduce one of the great symbols of freedom to a joke. Our history is rendered parochial, narrow-minded, petty, small. Braveheart, a film which garnered ten Academy Award nominations (of which it won five), four Golden Globe nominations, seven BAFTA nominations (of which it won three), and is beloved worldwide, is ridiculed and laughed at nonstop – to the point where even pro-independence Scots are anxious to dissociate themselves from what they view as a cheesy, historically-inaccurate piece of shortbread-tin Pop Scot.

What’s even worse is treating a hero of Scottish nationhood, without whom there wouldn’t be a United Kingdom so much as a Greater England, as merely “a cover for hating the English.”

Presumably the Americans celebrate George Washington’s birthday for the same reasons? And the Indians with Gandhi? Is that it? Or does it not count because America and India are independent, which makes celebration of historical icons ok? What about Churchill, is he a cover for hating the Germans? Is Nelson a cover for Francophobia?

As ever, making this an English vs Scottish thing is facile and disrespectful. The Scottish people’s greatest foes have always been themselves: be it the Scottish clans who aided and abetted Edward’s conquest in return for land and priveleges, the Parcel o’ Rogues who sold a nation to pay their personal debts, or the Lairds who turfed their own people out to make room for sheep and grouse moors, Scotland’s troubles have always taken root at home.

And it is only at home that Scotland can deal with their troubles at last. At least now, nobody has to die for this cause anymore.


I hae brocht ye to the ring, now see gif ye can dance.
– Statement before the Battle of Falkirk (21 July 1298); as quoted in The Story of England (1909) by Samuel B. Harding

5 thoughts on “The Greatest Traitor of All

  1. Finnmacollie says:

    As it is no longer acceptable to clap, can I just say Heah Heah – well said. Excellently put.

    The Scots have always been their own worst enemy, the line from Braveheart best summing us up “they couldae agree on the colour of shite”

    Unfortunately history is always written by the victors and for years we have been taught an anglicised version of Scottish history – or not taught Scottish history at all.

    Thank you ProudScotButs for voting to enable this state of affairs to continue and such an important anniversary to go unreported in the MSM.

  2. Jim Morris says:

    “The Great Foodbank Siege”, a Kindle Book by Mark Frankland a fictional great read and only £3 (which includes all profits to First Base Foodbank in Dumfries). The underlying truth (sic) is of England’s determination to hang on to its assets by hook or by crook.

  3. “Deprive the people of their National Consciousness, treat them as a tribe and not a Nation, dilute their National pride, do not teach their history, propagate their language as inferior, imply they have a cultural void, emphasise their customs are primitive and dismiss independence as a barbaric anomaly”

    Says it all really.

  4. […] written before about the subject of treason in regards to Scottish Independence, and why I utterly repudiate and condemn anyone who calls a […]

  5. […] 23rd of August, I commemorate the death of William Wallace. Sometimes it’s something public, be it a simple post on social […]

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