That pure Cane Spirit since 1848.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Slavery & Famine & Elizabeth I & James I & Cromwell and 1746 and all that (but no Vikings) and apologies thereof.

Descendants of slaves from British Caribbean plantations often have Scottish names like McDonald, Fraser, Stewart and so on. They were owned by someone of that name. It was the same in 18th century Scotland. Feudal serfdom existed in the highlands until 1746. Your chief owned you in a system that hadn’t changed since the 11th century. Even the hero of ‘Kidnapped’ set in the aftermath of 1746, is sold into slavery.

Half my lot came to Scotland in 1840 something to escape starvation in Ireland and the other lot were forfeit a hundred years earlier in 1746.
It’s all true. I’ve seen the mass grave and everything.
It was the way of the world in 1746. If you were on the winning side you got land. If you were on the losing side it was taken off you.

150-200 years earlier, to pick up Conan’s point, Elizabeth then James had distributed land especially in Ireland to their cronies as a reward and to stop further rebellion from Irish lords. The land grab was on in Scotland at the same time. Mary, her followers and opponents alike, carved up the place to suit themselves. We the serfs, were just the chattel that went with the fixtures.

The Indian economist Amartya Sen* showed that famine has an economic cause not related to a physical shortage of food.

In Ireland, the population was halved by famine. The cause is still given as a crop disease, which is convenient as it brings Fate and God into it but the cause of the starvation was deliberate economics. The people were left to starve while food exports from Ireland were encouraged by a government hostile to the people who were starving. A government that had abolished slavery 40 years before.

There is some debate as to whether Blair should apologise for this, and Elizabethan Planters, and pitchcapping, and the Black and Tans and so on.
I’m unsure.
Would he be apologising on MY behalf? I hope not. I’m a product of that famine and a decendant of serfs.

BUT, the likes of the Dukes of Hamilton, Buccleuch, Argyll, etc., they should get down on their hands and knees.

*Amartya Sen won the Nobel prize and ended up Master at my old college. Small world eh?

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