Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Unlike certain other historians and classicists, I’m not proposing to offer my ha’penny worth on the Scottish Question, for all that it would probably do temporary wonders for my visitor stats. Rather, I run the risk of annoying people on both sides by declining, and/or being unable, to choose. I can see merits in the arguments of both sides, as well as serious flaws; I can feel something of the emotional and cultural charge of both; I have been inspired and energised, in quite contradictory ways, by passionate voices on both sides; and I am all too aware of how far my own situation and interests influence my evaluation of the debate – which is to say that, if I were living in Scotland and so actually had a vote, I suspect I would still be undecided, even at this late stage, but in rather different ways from my current uncertainty. It is, one might say, the stance of the typical historian; congenitally incapable of not seeing how complicated, ambiguous and uncertain everything is.

What I did want to comment on was a remark in one of the letters in the Grauniad this morning, addressing the article on Scotland and its relation with the Tories by Tom Devine.

Tom Devine seems to show that while historians are good at analysing the past, they are no better than the rest of us in making political judgements about the present or the future.

Well, yes. (more…)

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