Bonnie Prince Charlie's sulky letter to his top strategist is straight out of The Thick of It – Scotsman comment

Politics is a messy business as anyone who has been in The Thick of It – television or actual version – can attest.

The Jacobites' hopes of installing Bonnie Prince Charlie as king were dashed at Culloden just months after the newly discovered letter was written (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

One minute you are riding high and everyone is all smiles, the next, the whole thing appears to be collapsing and former friends are at each other’s throats.

It was ever thus as revealed in a newly discovered letter sent by Bonnie Prince Charlie to his top strategist and military commander Lord George Murray just a few months before the Jacobite army’s defeat at Culloden.

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Things were going so badly that Murray – who might have been a special adviser or “spad” had the two men lived a couple of centuries later and sought to win power in today’s peaceful, democratic contests – had just resigned his command and decided to fight alongside lowly volunteers instead.

The Prince replied sulkily: “When I came into Scotland, I knew well enough what I was to expect from my Enemies, but I Little foresaw what I meet with from my Friends… My Authority may be taken from me by violence, but I shall never resign it Like an Ideot.”

Granted, it’s not quite as strong as some of the things being said amid the falling out between former fellow travellers on the road to Brexit, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, but this was still the Early Modern Period.

And that sense of the greatest betrayal being by those closest to a defeated leader, who may or may not be desperately trying to explain away his own failings, is likely to chime with those who walk the corridor of power in parliaments and community councils alike.

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