Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shelburne Town Hall


“Military men susceptible of friendship are much to be pitied.”
Chevalier de Johnstone, Battle of Culloden, 1746.

The Scottish Highlanders fought tenaciously for Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden, the swansong of great Scottish clan battles. Ultimately they were routed by English grape shot, bayonet and the tactics of the “Butcher Cumberland” who saved the day for his father, English King George II (King of Scotland too since the Union of the Crowns in 1707). I vividly remember a visit to Culloden Moor when I was a kid and seeing the burial sites with the Campbell graves apart. I am a Campbell and it was they who with Lowland Scots fought with the English. Here is an explanation Duncan Forbes gives which illuminates Campbell allegiances. Cruachan incidentally is the Campbell war cry.
“It has been for a great many years impracticable (and hardly thought safe to try it) to give the Law its course among the mountains. It required no small degree of Courage, and a greater degree of power than men are generally possessed of, to arrest an offender or debtor in the midst of his Clan. And for this reason it was that the Crown in former times was obliged to put Sheriffships and other Jurisdictions in the hands of the most powerful families in the Highlands, who by their respective Clans and following could give execution to the Laws within their several territories, and frequently did so at the expense of considerable bloodshed.” Thus it was clans such as the Campbells of Argyll and Breadalbane policed the highlands and grew more powerful with the prestige and perks that role offered.
John Prebble, Culloden, p35, Penguin Books, 1967.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Still Kicking

Here's a chuckle at the expense of some ignorant Member of Parliament. In a debate in which he thought the opposition should support a budget he heckled "Judy, Ed Broadbent would be rolling in his grave." He was alluding to the former leader of her party. A fellow MP beside him had to enlighten him Broadbent was still alive. The MP absorbed the news then shouted "Judy, Allan Blakeney would be rolling in his grave." Blakeney was former premier of Saskatchewan (1971-1982) and leader of a party of the same political stripe as Judy. Here he had to be told Senor Blakeney was still alive and kicking too to which the ignoramus retorted "Well who's dead over there?"
McLean's Magazine, April 13th, 2009


What must one accomplish in a lifetime to have posterity remember you by adopting your name to describe some truism? Here are my own thoughts on what each of these mean, not having gone to the encyclopedia to see if I’m hitting the mark I’ll have you know.

Faustian – somber thoughts and bad omens about things to come
Freudian – deep psychological explanation for quirky and normal behaviour alike
Darwinian – survival of the fittest explains a natural outcome
Hobbesian – social economic theory from industrial age explains a modern economic outcome
Aristotlean – philosophy will explain away conundrum
Platonic – no need to get into their pants mutual admiration
Hegelian – clash of dramatic political wills with dire consequences
Dickensian – insight into the human condition brought to us from the industrial revolution
Sisyphian – as useless as rolling a mammoth boulder up a never ending hill, average work day?
Quixotic – well meaning bumbling with eccentric or inane outcome
Churchillian – stolid, never-say-die redoubt building