A Nicola Sturgeon-backed timeline of Scottish history for schools has been described as ‘dangerous nonsense’ by the country’s pre-eminent historian.
The Scottish Nationalist Party’s 27-page narrative, ‘The Road to the Scottish Parliament,’ begins in 1296 when ‘King Edward I of England invades Scotland’ – the ‘Hammer of the Scots’ who is sensationalised in the Hollywood epic Braveheart.
Sir Tom Devine, Professor Emeritus in the University of Edinburgh, said the widespread criticism of the SNP‘s interpretation of history was ‘amply justified.’
He told The Daily Telegraph that the document ‘reads like a simplistic piece of arrant propaganda, implying, as it does, that the development of Scottish history leads inevitably and inexorably to the climacteric establishment of the Parliament in 1999.
Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon seeks the break up of the United Kingdom (pictured: attending Scottish Parliament in Holyrood on Wednesday)
‘This is self-evidently arrant and dangerous nonsense. I am sure, and certainly hope, that teachers will see through the absurdities and not convey such rotten history to their pupils.’
Education Scotland has instructed teachers that the history can be used ‘directly in the classroom’ and that it forms a broader package designed to ’embed the key skills of political literacy in young people.’
However, the timeline disappeared from the SNP website last night and the Scottish government said that it was ‘taking steps to review the publication’ to ‘ensure the facts are reflected accurately.’
Mel Gibson starring in the hit 1995 film Braveheart, which provides a sensationalised narrative of how Longshanks (Edward I) invaded Scotland and murdered the nobles
The dossier makes frequent references to Scots being mistreated by the English, including a spurious claim that Winston Churchill ‘dispatched English troops and tanks’ to the streets of Glasgow in 1919 to crackdown on strikers.
It adds that ‘thousands of English troops remained in Scotland for many months’ and that Scottish soldiers were locked up in their barracks to prevent ‘a major revolution.’
This widely-debunked claim is one of the most mythologised among Scottish nationalist’s and frequently appears across Twitter pages without any strong evidence.
Churchill in fact advised cabinet that ‘we should not exaggerate the seriousness of this disturbance,’ ahead of the riot which erupted between police and 25,000 strikers in George Square on January 31.
The SNP’s timeline also refers to the ‘resentment of English domination’ throughout the 18th century and asserts that ‘hopes for an independent Scotland continued’ after the 1707 Act of Union.
But it omits glaring details such as the fact that there was no major political momentum to break up the union until the SNP gained traction with its anti-Thatcherite socialism in the latter half of the 20th century.
It also fails to recognise that it was a Scottish monarch, James IV of House Stuart, whose marriage to Margaret Tudor in 1503 linked the royal houses of Scotland and England.
This led to the forging of the Union of the Crowns in 1603 when Queen Elizabeth I died without issue.
The Stuarts, whose origins go back to Clan Stuart, then ruled over Britain and Ireland and its burgeoning empire until Queen Anne’s death in 1714.
The SNP history crescendos with the very recent success of Mrs Sturgeon’s party, which only gained its first parliamentary seat in 1967 – but which it quickly lost to Labour in 1970.
May 1999, it says: ‘The Conservative Party failed to win a single constituency seat but managed to win 18 seats through the Additional Member System.’
Although this is true, the SNP only managed to win seven constituency seats themselves and were outstripped considerably by Scottish Labour who took 53 seats.
Furthermore, this line about the May 1999 Scottish election is an almost verbatim copy of the Wikipedia page on the same subject.
Jamie Green of the Scottish Conservative Party told the Telegraph that the SNP was trying to use the civil service to ‘rewrite history.’
Education Scotland has previously faced criticism for the poor grades attained by pupils at state schools in the Standard Grades and Highers, the GCSE and A-Level equivalents.