Letter: Culloden commemorations

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The Independent Online
From Mr James Shaw Grant

Sir: A good deal is being proposed in the Highlands to mark the anniversary next year of the battle of Culloden. Some of the proposals are excellent, some verge on the bizarre or even offensive. All of them, so far as I know, are local and backward-looking.

The 250th anniversary of the battle of Culloden, however, is a national, not a local occasion. If Drumossie Moor were in Kent or Surrey, we know the sort of preparations which would now be in progress for a national celebration of the last battle fought on British soil. If Ian Lang and John Major are serious in their support of the Union, it is time for them to consider how the British Government is to mark 16 April 1746.

Inverness is one of the most rapidly growing towns in Britain. It is now to house a single-tier authority responsible for what must be the largest local government area in Europe. Would it not be appropriate to give such an important local government centre the dignity of city status? It is time the Highlands of Scotland had a real capital and there could be no more appropriate day for creating one than the 250th anniversary of the day which inaugurated a long period of neglect and repression.

It would be a fitting antidote for the unhappy memories which will be revived in the Highlands next year to have a declaration of government support for the proposed Highland University with dispersed campuses, linked electronically.

In 1746 the Highlands were crucified to strengthen the Union. In 1996, those who support the Union should make amends. It would do their image good throughout the whole of Scotland.

Yours etc,



22 May