Who Helped the Scotsman Fly
If we should fall due to austeric cuts, think only this of us:
That there is a corner of northern England
That will be forever Scots.
If you get the chance to enjoy the beautiful Scottish Diaspora Tapestry then you will see that a significant proportion of the English panels hail from the historic South Yorkshire market town of Doncaster. These include Sir Walter Scott (author of Ivanhoe, which was inspired by Doncaster’s Dearne Valley), Sir Nigel Gresley (designer of The Flying Scotsman, which was built in Doncaster) and the never knighted (for obvious reasons) working class hero, Jock Kane (ardent union activist). But I would like to focus on the panel which portrays Prince Henry.
Henry was son and heir to the crown of King David I and the grandson of St Margaret, Queen of Scots. Who was also known as Margaret of Wessex; the House of Wessex being the true lineage of the Anglo-Saxon crown traceable to Aethelstan, the first King of England. Henry’s titles included 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, Earl of Northumberland and – what I’m guessing was probably his most proudly held title – Lord of Doncaster.
The times in which Henry lived (1115 – 1152) were a period of great upheaval. With control of the Kingdom of England already hotly contested, Kind David of Scotland – who, as descendent of the House of Wessex, had legitimate designs upon the English crown – sought to create a Scoto-Northumbian realm which included Scotland and the ancient Kingdom of Northumbia; an area which once stretched from Edinburgh to Sheffield. King David seized control of many northern regions and rather than fall into all-out war Kind Stephen of England signed the first Treaty of Durham. A document which awarded Henry his titles and Scotland areas of land which included Doncaster.
History moves on as history does and not only was King David’s vision for a Scoto-Northumbian kingdom never realised, but 21 years after the first Treaty of Durham the forces of King Henry II recaptured the lands held by King David. But in a strange twist of fate, when the new treaties were drawn up Doncaster was never formally rescinded. It does appear to be the case, legally speaking, that Doncaster is still officially a part of Scotland.
If the United Kingdom were truly united, and if the people of Britain were treated in fair and equal measure, then this quirky little fact would only interest historians and pub-quiz researchers. But in reality the people of Doncaster have suffered the same injustices and betrayals at the hands of Westminster (or ‘Westmonster’ as The Artist Taxi Driver, Mark McGowan, has christened it) as the people of Scotland. Indeed during the 1984/85 Miner’s Strike the Westmonster state machine invaded the mining towns of Doncaster, physically attacked its people and destroyed one of the region’s key industries; leaving a 30 year recession in its wake. Now, wearing the Mask of Austerity, it seems determined to kick us when we’re down.
The people of Scotland have voted to rally against the Westmonster and deny it its cruel desires. But what of the poor and the vulnerable of England? Through no fault of the Scots a bitter, black-hearted minority hold the reigns of the beast and the English have no political mechanism whatsoever to protect themselves from the ravages of austerity. So I beg of thee Scotland. Gaze upon Doncaster as a child of Alba. As a child in need. Welcome us into thy bosom and allow us the choice between the tired old tyranny of Westminster and the progressive promise of Holyrood.
Not that we would deny the people of Doncaster their say. Unlike Westminster we believe in true democracy and true representation. Let us hold a ‘Doncaster Referendum’ where the people of Doncaster can decide what nation and what parliament is better for the future of our region. Give us the right to determine our own fate. And then give that right to the rest of the former Kingdom of Northumbria – I know plenty there have a highland heart. And then, when the North is won, give it to every other town and region in England.
As Freeborn English shouldn’t we have the right to be Scottish if we do desire?
Don’t get me wrong. As a self-confessed Anglarchist I love this beautiful land and its equally beautiful, ever-mongrel people; I share in the joyous visions of Williams’ Blake, Barnes and Morris; I live by the values of tolerance, diversity and fairness; and I am immensely proud of Magna Carta and the Liberties of England. But while the politicians show a blatant disregard for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society; while the Bank of England is willing to sacrifice the health and well-being of one section of the country to line the pockets of another; while bigotry and bitterness cloaks itself in the folds of patriotism; while we have no equal voice, England will remain divided. And while the North continues to receive relentless body blows from Westmonster it will continue to have more in common with Edinburgh than it does with London. So please, people of Scotland, bring Frae Bonnie Donny into the fold so that we might take the lead in the secession of the North.