IT’S not hard to see the glamourisation of the Conservative aesthetic lurking beneath the comedically wacky antics of the Kingsman franchise – a walking stereotype of a “chav” is rescued to a new life by the silver-spooned, Oxford-educated elite, reprogramming him to emit a traditional British gentlemanly demeanour, topped off with a Mayfair tailor dressing.

Many have analysed the number of Conservative ideological reflections in Kingsman, their villains’ focus on liberal issues such as climate change activism or ending the war on drugs.

Director Matthew Vaughn has even participated in the Conservative propaganda machine, making a short film for their recruitment drive back in 2008, appearing as a “Friend of the Conservatives”.

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However, Kingsman: The Secret Service and The Golden Circle’s self-reflexive edge and darkly comedic wit provide a level of disconnection with the Conservatism undertones – it’s also true that the main protagonist Gary “Eggsy” Unwin does break the mould of all the Kingsman around him. However, in The King’s Man, the ideology is no longer lurking: it’s the heart of the film. Frankly put, it takes a war criminal of the British Empire and makes him a hero. The King’s Man’s opening sequence places us inside one of the South African concentration camps at the tail-end of the Second Boer War. It’s through this war that concentration camps become popularised in warfare, thanks to Herbert Kitchener.

Ralph Fiennes’s Duke of Oxford appears “on behalf of the Red Cross”, making a passing comment to his friend Kitchener that the camps could use a “little more care” – and that is where the subject of the moral atrocity is left.

In reality, the British campaign in South Africa became an increasingly ugly one – the British Government eventually supplied aid after they could take no further pressure. Kitchener’s camps didn’t imprison Boer soldiers; they imprisoned Afrikaans citizens, predominantly women and children. Some 26,000 lost their lives officially, with the unofficial number lost permanently due to Kitchener’s lack of consideration to Black Afrikaans as important enough to record.

Only 6189 combatants were killed in the war; 10% of the Boer population died in the camps under Kitchener’s rule. But you won’t find that in The King’s Man. The true villain of The King’s Man is just as perplexing as Kitchener’s inclusion.

In Vaughn’s tale, the First World War is the orchestrated result of an organisation headed by the grandmaster, who is … a stereotypically patriotic Scot?

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Supposedly, launching the entirety of the world into what’s often described in literature as “hell on Earth” is represented as some form of Scottish retribution upon England.

To centre Scotland as the villain in a First World War period piece is hilariously tone deaf, and spitting on the sacrifice that Scotland made for Britain.

Scotland sent 690,000 men to the front, with 74,000 never returning home and 150,000 seriously wounded. Some 30,000 Scots also made up a considerable percentage of the largest British offensive for the time at the Battle of Loos, a considerable British defeat due to terrible strategies implemented.

These strategies were flagged by British commanders Douglas Haig and John French – but it was Kitchener who overruled them.

The Conservative Party has never been popular in Scotland, especially now as it faces losing every seat it holds here. It is more than a co-incidence that the roles of hero and villain have been swapped around for Vaughn’s re-telling of history as the possibility of an independent Scotland looms ever closer.

The King’s Man dangerously flirts with history – some may eventually discover Kitchener was a real-life figure and conclude his tragic heroism in Vaughn’s film a reflection of his genuine character.

To take one of the British Empire’s greatest war criminals and recharacterise them as a noble man of considerable merit, whilst villainising a country that sacrificed the lives of its own citizens for a war they felt pressured to join demonstrates a disturbing repainting of history.

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You may cry “well, this is just a film, it’s meant to be entertaining!” Of course, it is, but there’s clearly a political subtext within The King’s Man that Vaughn wants us to grasp.

This wouldn’t be such a problem if Vaughn didn’t litter his film with genuine historical figures, confusing fact with fiction; by complicating your message with real political actors, implications naturally arise associated with those included in the message you are transmitting.

Vaughn’s cowardly refusal to interrogate the bloody legacy of one of his central characters, while pushing an anti-war sentiment is not only reductive but serves as borderline Tory propaganda.

For once, the Conservative undertones of the Kingsman franchise have become all too explicit.