End this distortion of Scottish history

Share this article
Have your say

Readers may well wish to spend a few minutes looking up VisitScotland’s “timeline” of Scottish history, where they will discover that not only is Brian Wilson entirely right about its misrepresentation of the 20th century (Perspective, 26 June), but there is an astoundingly poor account of earlier times.

It is mentioned that James Watt, “inventor of the steam 
engine”, died in 1819.

Is it too much to expect that people who are paid to inform about our history know that what he achieved was an immense improvement on the Newcomen 
engine, thereby broadening the use of steam across a wide range of industries, and in doing so played an indispensable part in Britain 
becoming the first industrial nation?

The start of the cotton industry is not mentioned, nor the tobacco lords, nor the opening of the Carron Iron Works.

The Caledonian Canal is mentioned, but not the Forth and Clyde Canal. Incredibly, no mention is made of either David Hume or Adam Smith.

By what thought processes can anyone conclude that a 
Nationalist MP who lasted all of three months is worthy of inclusion in the timeline, but not two of the foremost thinkers our land has ever produced?

All this would be bad enough if the SNP was paying for it.

No, it is we, the taxpayers, who are funding this distortion of our history. Questions need to be asked.

Was any Scottish historian consulted before this timeline was written up, and if not, why not?

Will VisitScotland take heed, and publish a new timeline that is not an embarrassment to anyone who cares about Scottish history?

Will our First Minister agree that our foremost thinkers deserve a wee mention, and that Scotland’s part in the industrial revolution should be acknowledged? Respect for the facts of Scottish history ought to be taken for granted. It’s a sad day when obviously we cannot.

Maria Fyfe

Ascot Avenue


Brian Wilson’s use of the phrase “normal service resumed”, in reference to a Labour victory in 1945 (Perspective, 26 June), is telling.

Brian Wilson, as an ex-Labour MP, and also members of the current opposition in Holyrood are still stunned that their “normal service” has not been resumed in recent years, nor will it be while they still believe they have some divine right to it.

With regard to his second point on changes in history teaching, can he not see that “a parochial view of history” was all that was “allowed” in Scotland’s classrooms for decades, that particular view being predominantly “British” or, more factually, English, history.

I learnt much more than I needed to know about troop movements in the Second World War than I did the history of my own country. These are positive changes for history teaching.

The only evidence of propaganda I could discern in this article was that emanating from Mr Wilson himself, still beating the drum for a discredited Labour Party.

C Murphy

West Calder

West Lothian