THURSDAY’S National was a belter, possibly the only reliable paper to include oor wee country’s place in the world with its past and present right into the future as one big continuum. Compare that to the mess meejah, whose blatant propagate tells us we have no past, no present and no future.

Lesley Riddoch dared to ably compare and contrast Scotland and Ireland with her own personal knowledge, past and present (Ireland shines a beacon that lights the way beyond Brexit, April 12). Hamish MacPherson reminded us of an enforced Cromwellian so-called “Commonwealth” “Union” (Scotland’s FIRST union with England, April 12). Irish folk memories are more enduring than ours. They sing about it more often too and better than we do, as Lesley points out. Every Irish person has the Cromwellian massacre of Drogheda burnt into their psyche. English nationalist historians, as usual, whitewash and minimise the event. How many Scots know, or care, that the same Cromwellian forces ran amok in Dundee for four days in a much worse massacre?

The Scottish MacDonnell Gaels in tartan Highland belted plaidies with their great Heilan bagpipes – from Antrim and Rathlin Island, just 14 miles away from Scotland – joined in the “English” uncivil war melee, mainly to recapture their auld clan lands from the Campbells. With their Irish Catholic Confederates they resounded the airs of the Braes of Atholl with sporadic musket fire to celebrate the Great Montrose, a Presbyterian, taking charge of their army.

Montrose introduced the dice on Heilan bunnets to distinguish themselves from the Covenanters, and the diced bunnet endures to this day. From my army days, the story goes of a Cameronian sojer returning to barracks from a nicht oot, with a cow pat oan his heid. Replying to the furious duty sergeant, he explained, “I loast mah bunnet in the field and ah hid tae try 14 oan afore ah goat wan tae fit”. Even the Sassunach Glasgow gangbuster, Sir Percy Sillitoe introduced the “Sillitoe Tartan“, in the shape of diced polis hats, now adopted worldwide. So we managed another wee bit o keltic cultyerr tae the big glen o’ the warld oot there.

The brave Campbells contemptuously shoved the Covenanting troops out of their way to deal with MacDonnell’s great Highland charge, to defend their plot of land. MacDonnell sent a drummer bouy tae parley with the Covenanters of Aiberdeen. They killed him and his forces sacked Aberdeen in revenge. “The Bonnie Lass o ’Fyvie Oh”, is one song about a lass and her lover from a “Troop o’ Irish Dragoons” that endures today. The Heilan and Irish “Highland Host” quartered on the Gaelic-speaking Covenanting fouwks of Gallawa‘, prompted one local Gaelic Gallwegian speaker to say, “I could jist aboot mak oot thay Heilantmen, but I couldnae mak a word oot o’ they Irishtmen”. About 600 of that force are buried outside the north wall of Edinburgh Castle today.

Hamish describes the defeat of Dunbar and the enforced march to the Tower of London and slavery in the Bahamas. General Leslie was an experienced European commander. The “Phanatics” overruled him in favour of a Meenister Commissar, who had them all kneeling in prayer before Cromwell cannons after they left the vantage point on the hill.

Do we ever learn? Elsewhere in The National a reader pleads for the unity of the Yes movement. One thing the world never learns from history is that there is nothing more divisive than unity. Divided oor wee planet of mass obscene poverty stands, amongst extreme wealth. United we stand, goading each other on, amidst the threatening mass of nuclear stockpiles. At home, we are more concerned with fighting Old Firm anti-bigotry laws and sectarian myths designed to combat divisiveness and keep us in the dark ages of ignorance and hate.

Donald Anderson