OUR world is in crisis, the economy broken and the Westminster Government in disarray. However, in the twilight world of The Daily Telegraph the writing highlight of last week was a “wonderful piece” debunking the historical accuracy of the Mel Gibson epic film Braveheart.

How do I know this? Well the editor himself, a Mr Chris Evans, sent round an email saying so and so keen was he to avail everyone of the opportunity to read this literary masterpiece, that he placed it on free to view beyond the Telegraph’s paywall.

I took up the offer and what I found, penned by former men’s magazine editor Tom Fordy, was not a “wonderful piece” at all but merely a hackneyed, hatchet job of recycled drivel.

I should say that Braveheart does not really need a champion. After all, it claimed five Oscars and grossed more than three times its budget at $200 million. It is not just an epic but a classic – a “warcry of a movie”, as it was once described. However 25 years ago I was somewhat smitten, not so much by the rugged Mel Gibson, but by the moody, tortured portrayal of Robert the Bruce by a young Angus MacFadyen. And therefore it is as his champion that this Chelsea-born, Asian-bred Scottish nationalist will give it a go in defence of Braveheart.

What really caught my interest was motivation. Why 25 years on should the Telegraph editor care enough about Braveheart to debunk it beyond the paywall? The Tory Party house journal, like the party itself, is not in the business of giving anything away – unless it is really, really important to them.

READ MORE: Cummings debacle is the perfect cover while Tories plunder the poorest

The central weakness of the Fordy piece tells us why. He starts from the supposition that a Hollywood blockbuster owes a prime duty to history. It does not. Indeed it makes no claim to do so. The duty of a movie is to make good cinema and this Braveheart did in spades.

As it happens, Braveheart is not bad history. Of course “mistakes” there are aplenty, but the essence of the story is correct. In the late 13th century Scotland was exploited, invaded and almost subdued by Edward I, the most ruthless and successful prince in all of Christendom. Deserted by most of its conflicted aristocracy and its pathetic “toom tabard” excuse for a king, Scotland somehow found itself. This was largely through the inspired leadership of William Wallace, a man who, though by no means a peasant, came from well outside the normal magic circle of barons and nobles. His story, Wallace’s story, has inspired people through the ages, from Robert Burns to Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Fordy’s piece leans heavily on a variety of quotes and opinions, mostly from people whose qualifications on early medieval Scottish history seem at best insubstantial; for example, the Oxbridge-educated screenwriter Alex von Tunzelmann, who has made something of a personal speciality of attacking films for lack of historical accuracy, and who clearly doesn’t like Braveheart. Von Tunzelmann is a poor choice by Fordy. She recently wrote the script of the film Churchill, starring the brilliant Brian Cox. I loved that movie but it has been vigorously attacked by historian Andrew Roberts and others for “numerous historical inaccuracies”. Ouch! Meanwhile, the one critic cited by Fordy who does know something about this period of Scottish history, Professor Iain MacKinnes, has his quotes, I suspect, deployed rather out of context.

The National: Brian Cox as Winston ChurchillBrian Cox as Winston Churchill

Fordy himself is not above the occasional blunder. He discovers that Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace leaned heavily on the heroic account, The Wallace, of medieval rhymer Blind Harry, or “The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace”, to give the poem its full title. Full marks to Fordy for at least finding that out. In this he is one step ahead of most of Braveheart detractors. However, Fordy then blots his copybook by dating the blind minstrel’s work to the wrong century! The article then displays a rather tenuous knowledge of the film itself by confusing a still of Wallace being knighted with our hero “accepting his fate” at his execution!

READ MORE: The devolved nations are right to ignore Boris Johnson's ramblings

The Telegraph also takes a swipe at Braveheart for gay stereotyping of Edward II. This might be a reasonable point, except it wasn’t Braveheart who started that game but the medieval English nobility who had a gruesome habit of dispatching that unfortunate king’s male favourites, not to mention the English parliament, who posthumously dismissed their freshly murdered monarch as unfit to rule because he was given to “digging ditches and other diverse matters”. Legitimising regicide by accusing someone of the high “crime” of being a gay gardener seems one of the historic lows of the green and pleasant land!

And then finally we reach the nub of the Telegraph’s real beef with Braveheart – they hold it responsible for the upsurge in Scottish nationalism over the past 25 years. In the fevered imaginations of the editor of the Torygraph and his hired gun Fordy, it is all Mel’s fault that the Empire is crumbling. If it had not been for that pesky Aussie then the Scots would have stayed in their box. And if Alex Salmond had not exploited the film then the SNP would never have become political box office.

I may now be taking some liberties with known history, but I like to think that some 725 years ago Edward I used to rant and rave in the cloisters of the Palace of Westminster, whining that if it wasn’t for these seditiously inaccurate chroniclers among the Scottish monks then Wallace’s rebellion would never have got off the ground.

It would never occur to a Plantagenet, nor to a Daily Telegraph editor, that Scots might believe themselves to be a nation, and act accordingly, not because they are being misled but just because they are.