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Newsletter for 10th March 2023

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  • Newsletter for 10th March 2023

    Electric Scotland News

    It seems to me the human race is growing more intolerant and less likely to consider compromise. The war in Ukraine is one where Russia is clearly a bully as is China when it comes to Taiwan.

    Nuclear war has been prevented due to the assurance of mutual destruction. If you remember the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Russia going into melt down. I remember that we were advised not to eat lamb due to the nuclear fall out that spread to Scotland from that incident.

    I have had several emails in lately asking me to support a Scots Diaspora legal challenge to be compensated for the Clearances. Where do people think that money is going to come from?

    In Canada claims in the billions for Native First Nations people to compensate them for happenings in the residential schools system. So all Canadians now have to pay money to them despite most of them having nothing to do with these schools. No wonder the so called Truth and Reconciliation system is not working.

    And of course with Canada having the third largest reserves of oil and gas in the world we can't even build a pipe line to our coasts so we can export it. It can only be shipped to the USA and of course they don't pay very much for that privilege. Germany thought we might help but we didn't show any interest.

    I've been reading about shortages of fruit and vegetables which people in the UK are blaming on Brexit. However we could be importing these from Australia, New Zealand and Canada but it seems our Political MP's don't know how to do this due to them not understanding the opportunities that a true Brexit offers.

    I've been reading the Scottish Review for some years now and one of their lead reporters seems fixated on Westminster and seems to mostly ignore local Scottish problems. I think it's time they retired him.

    I also note that the newspaper industry is in permanent decline. The one newspaper in Scotland, the National, which has a clear Independence leaning is down to just 4,000 of a circulation. Social media is taking the place of newspapers and they are biased in one direction or another. It's really hard to find non biased news these days.

    I read the occasional post from the Chokka Blog where Kevin Hague comments on the Scottish finances. I do trust him. I also read CapX where they usually speak some sense and I often wonder if our Political class ever read there posts.

    It seems that the Scottish Daily Mail is the largest circulation newspaper in Scotland and I do cast my eyes on them from time to time. I also read Conrad Black's column in the National Post in Canada.

    I also cast my eyes on the Daily Express and the Daily Record but frankly the Daily Express is all over the place with it's commentary and I get quite depressed reading it. I do read the Sunday Post and usually find something of interest to read there each week.

    I have tried to point out to the various newspapers the problem with many of their sites that have a paywall on them meaning they won't let you read some articles unless you are a subscriber. The problems in that I can read news articles for free from the BBC, STV, Daily Record, Daily Mail and Daily Express as well as CapX and others so I can usually find a story somewhere on the article they produce under their paywall.

    I don't actually know of a newspaper that is pro Brexit so we end up getting biased reporting. Brexit to my way of thinking merely means the UK can do mostly what it wants to do and not be constrained by the laws of the EU which has to take into account all their individual members which doesn't mean they are in the UK's best interest.

    Then I look at the mess that Brexit has caused due to our lack of knowledge on what Brexit can do for the UK. Like we could be doing a much better deal within the CANZUK group and thus getting good supplies of agricultural and other products. What are our Grocery stores doing to counter this?

    And of course here in Canada I don't get any increases in my UK pension whereas if I lived in the USA I would. It just seems odd to me that this is possible.

    You might want to read the 7 page report at:
    as I believe it shows the reasons we are not doing as well as we should be doing.

    I remember talking to the supplier of tinned Ox Tongue asking why they don't export their product to Canada. They said they don't export. Now there is a company that could export their products and perhaps it is time we talked to them about doing so and they could then expand their business and employ more people. I wonder how many other companies are in a similar position?

    That is one thing I liked about Kate Forbes running in the SNP elections as she is pro growth and perhaps might make Scotland a better place to do business and thus make people better off.

    Like it makes no sense to me to see the UK increasing Corporation tax when it really needs to be lowered. We've already seen companies deciding against the UK due to this and so we're losing out on inward investment with all that entails.

    In my view the political class is letting us all down. Most of them have ego's from hell and don't understand how business works. I think it's time that we raised the standards for people wanting to be a politician. They should have to have been in business for at least 5 years and be at least 25 to be considered. I also wonder if we should cap the number of years they should be able to serve.

    I am also concerned about the civil service as they don't seem to be as competent as they should be. They get a very good security of tenure and great pensions so they should be held to better account. It seems to me that the treasury department isn't very good at figures as they keep making mistakes in their forecasts.

    I'd also consider banning strikes as it puts many people to considerable trouble. Like when teachers strike then many parents have to take time off work to look after their children. Train strikes also mean many people can't get to work and it costs them extra expense and time.

    And where do they think the money is going to come from? Just because you need more money doesn't mean it's available at no cost.

    And my cleaning lady has increased her fees by 25%. While I've agreed to that I'm having to consider stopping the extra one day a month she comes to do some deep cleaning for me. So that would mean she would get less overall each month. This is an example of how getting extra pay rates doesn't always work out in your favour. Like getting an increase in minimum wage means some people will lose their jobs as a result or get less hours of work which means their overall income can actually decrease as a result despite their increase in hourly rates.

    Then as we discuss slavery I note that many slaves were actually living better than many Scots at the the time. In any event slavery was a feature of our time back then and it's long gone so why are we so fixated about it now? I can't help wondering how many people will think of the people of today in a hundred years time.

    Any way I was just getting a bit depressed on the way the world is going these days so thought I'd just put some of my thoughts down in this newsletter.

    Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
    I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland and world news stories that can affect Scotland and as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines it becomes a good resource. I might also add that in a number of newspapers you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish which I do myself from time to time.

    How lockdowns not Brexit damaged UK trade
    UK TRADE has taken quite a beating from the anti-Brexit brigade since the release of some 2021 trade figures almost a year ago. Now that the full set of 2022 trade figures have been made available we can see that not only were their conclusions premature, they were wrong too.
    I highly recommend that you take the time to read this report.

    Read more at:

    Scottish post office which is oldest in the world up for sale with its own cottage
    A Scottish post office, which has been declared the oldest in the world, is now available to purchase, and it comes with an owners accommodation and even separate outbuildings.

    Read more at:

    The disputed history of the Coronation Stone
    On 6 May 2023, Charles III will be crowned on the sacred Stone of Scone an ancient symbol of Scottish sovereignty whose history is mired in controversy and legend

    Read more at:

    First Minister candidates go head-to-head in STV debate
    The candidates vying to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s First Minister traded bruising blows as they clashed in their first televised debate.

    Watch this at:

    Experts fear for the Highlands without economic support
    The Highlands are at risk of modern-day Clearances because the Scottish Government does not understand the region’s needs, according to experts.

    Read more at:

    Pioneers hail advances in vertical farming
    Empty shelves have become as common as tomatoes are rare but, according to experts, Scotland’s depleted supermarkets expose the fragility of our food supply chain.

    Read more at:

    Cromarty Courthouse Collection to go on world's stage.
    The tales, traditions and history of the Highlands and Islands will be on the world's stage thanks to a unique project.

    Read more at:

    Fading newsprint: Scotland's newspapers struggle on
    The decline of commuting, lower advertising spend and soaring costs have added to the difficulties of keeping Scotland's news presses rolling.

    Read more at:

    Kate Forbes most popular SNP leadership candidate among members of the public
    The poll for Channel 4 found Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf are neck-and-neck among SNP voters.

    Read more at:

    Electric Canadian

    William Beatty
    A short biography of the Businessman, Methodist lay minister, and politician by Adrian Eric Hayes

    You can read about him at:

    In Penetanguisbene - Old and New 1615 - 1913
    The purpose of this Booklet is to give a brief history of the Jesuit Memorial Church and Parish of Penetanguishene from its origin down to our days (pdf)

    You can read this booklet at:

    A town in Ontario providing an historical video and books.

    You can get to this at:

    A town in Ontario providing an historical video and books.

    I might add that Fergus holds the largest Scottish Highland games in Ontario.

    You can get to this at:

    Thomas McMurray
    Author, journalist, temperance worker, and settler.

    You can read about him at:

    Thoughts on a Sunday Morning - the 5th day of March 2023 Parenting
    By the Rev. Nola Crewe

    You can watch this at:

    Canadian Club of Fort William Annual
    ALMOST as many places vie with one another for the honor of being the first to evolve the idea of the Canadian Club as contended of old for the distinction of being the birth-place of Homer. But, among all the claimants the City of Hamilton seems to have the first place, the idea of the Canadian Club as it now exists having taken bodily shape under the aegis of Charles R. McCullough. The idea, however, having once taken root, grew with astonishing rapidity until today hardly a city or a large town of importance in the Dominion is without its branch of this institution.

    You can read this at:

    After the Big One: Nuclear War on the Prairies (1983) Cold War Film
    A video that I've placed on our Armed Forces page around 2/3rd of the way down the page at:

    Electric Scotland

    Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Thomas Haliburton
    Professor of Divinity in the University of St. Andrews with an appendix embracing an account of the Church of Scotland during the time of Halyburton. Issued by the Committee of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, for the publication of the works of Scottish Reformers and Divines (1848) (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    Islands of Stone - Stephanie Blankshein - ARP 2022
    Excavation of a Neolithic crannog in the Outer Hebrides has revealed a complex and captivating site, answering some questions and exposing many more regarding the construction of use of these enigmatic islet sites. Added this video presentation to the foot of our Crannog page.

    You can view this at:

    The Palatine and Scotch-Irish Settlers of Lebanon County
    Paper Read Before the Lebanon County Historical Society, August 17, 1900 By George Mays, Philadelphia, P.A. (pdf)

    You can read this paper at:

    One Hundred Years Ago
    An Historical Discourse delivered by the Rev. George Duffield, D.D. during the Centenary Celebration of the First Presbyterian Church of Carlisle, P.A., July 1st, 1857. (pdf)

    You can read this at:

    Land o' The Leal
    Home of Roosevelt's Ancestors in Bucks. The Story of a Sturdy People. Little Colony of Ulster Scots who were Prominent for their Piety and Courage. Sketch of the Home Life of a Self-Reliant Race. (pdf)

    You can read this wee account at:

    Winnie Drinkwater
    Scottish Aviator

    Added her to our Scottish Women in History page at:

    Memoir and Remains of Rev. Robert Murray M'Cheyne
    Minister of St. Peter's Church, Dundee by the Rev. Andrew A. Bonar, D.D., Minister of the Free Church of Scotland, Glasgow (1844) (pdf)

    You can read about him at:

    Brexit and UK Trade - What has changed?
    An analysis of UK trade performance good and bad by Catherine McBride February 2023 (pdf)

    You can read this report at:

    The Literature of the Highlanders
    A History of Gaelic Literature from the earliest times to the present day by Nigel MacNeill (1892) (pdf)

    You can read this book at:

    Added a picture of Pluscardyn Abbey
    Just above the link to the book History of the Religious House of Pluscardyn at:


    How the King Diddled the Kirk

    From tho first General Assembly in 1560 to that of 1579 there was no Lord High Commissioner. The Kirk invited the Regent’s presence in October, 1576. and also in 1577, but “his grace had no leisure to talk with them for occupation.” In 1578 James VI. assumed the Government, and the Assembly craved him to direct "some” to assist in its proceedings. The King “gave a very comfortable and good answer that not only would he concurr with the Kirk in all things that micht advance the trew ruligione presently professit within this realm, but also would be a protector of the Kirk.” In 1579 he requested the members “to bestow your common cares and good wilks to intertaine peace and quytness in God’s feare and our dew obedience, forbearing any proceed, and at this tyme that may touch matters heir-toloro not concludit be any lawes, and receivit in practise.” In 1580 the King sent two Commissioners to the Assembly at Dundee to assist in all things ”tending to the glory of God, and preservationo of us and our estate.” In their presence the Assembly declared unanimously the office of Bishops to be unlawful and to have no warrant within the Word of God, and ordained all persons holding such office to demit and to cease using in any way the office of pastor until do novo they receive admission, under pain of excommunication. The Spring Assembly of 1581 reiterated the condemnation forsamekle as Bishops, Abbotes Priors Prioresses, Conmnmdators, etc., called ecelesiasical persons does bruik and enjoy the rents of the Kirk, and devour hir patrimonie without exerciseing of any office in the Kirk but living as drons.”

    The Royal Commissioners enquired “in caice the Kirk damned the Office of Bishops qwhat overture they wald shew qwhereby the King be not prejudged be the taking away of that estate.” After long reasoning it was agreed that Commissioners from the Kirk should supply the places of the Bishops in Parliament, and that their civil or criminal jurisdiction should be used by the heritable Baillies. In this Assembly began what in time developed into the disastrous contests between the claims for absolute royal supremacy and episcopacy on the one hand, and for spiritual freedom on the other. Mr Robert Montgomerie, Minister of Stirling, was openly accused in the Assembly under fifteen specific charges. The King approved of proceeding against him as Minister and added that in the heads of religion he agreed in his heart with the Kirk, “albeit in sum heads of policie he was not yet resolvit.” Evidence was partly heard, and thereafter Montgomerie was cnarged ”not to medio with anj either oilice or functione in the Kirk, namely in aspiring to the Bishoprick of Glasgow, against the word of God, and acts of the Kirk,” under pain of excommunication. The Presbytery suspended him, and in the Assembly in April, 1582, he ”protestit before God he never knew of the raising of any of the said charges or exccutiones thereof.” My Lord of Requests presented a writing bearing that it was His Majesty's will that the Kirk should not trouble Montgomerie for anything concerning the Bishopric or any other cause byegone. The Assembly replied that nothing should be hand leu concerning the civil power, and nothing but uprightly, sincerely, and with just judgment. He was found guilty, and the sentence delayed for a day. Later the Moderator, and Members of Assembly, were inliibitcd by the King’s Letters from giving sentence under pain of rebellion and being put to the horn. The Assembly, however, called on tiro delinquent, but he failed to appear. On behalf of the King a request was made again to delay sentence, to which the Kirk made a firm and dignified reply, and thereupon “depry vit the said Mr Robert from all function of the ministrie in the Kirk of God, during the will of the Assemblie; and farder, ducernit the sentence of fearfull excommunicatione to be pronouncit in face of the whole Assembly, be the voyce and mouth of the Moderator present, against him: To the effect that his proud fleshe, being cast in the hands of Satane, he may be winno againe, if it be possible, to God; and the said sentence to be intimate be every particular minister at his awne particular Kirk.” This Judgment was delayed by the compearance of the delinquent craving conference of tho maist godly and learned Brethren, after which he confessed the simple truth of the charges against him, and submitted to theo will of the Assembly. He, however, accepted the Bishopric, and was excommunicated, but the Convention of Estates, or Parliament declared tho sentence null and void. The Presbytory of Glasgow refused to admit him, and the Laird of Minto, then Provost, pulled tho Modiraitor out of the Chair, assaulted him to the effusion of blood, and also imprisoned him, for which the Provost, and those who assisted him, were also excommunicated. The King again unsuccessfully interposed, and the Provost attended the Assembly, expressed contrition and was absolved. Montgomerie sat in the Parliament of 1584, which passed the Act in favour of the King’s supremacy, and the other “black Acts.” He was afterwards reconciled to the Kirk.

    Parliament had declared the King’s power to be supreme in all matters, and the Assembly being unable to meet without his consent, a grave crisis was threatened. No Assemblies met in 1584 and 1585. Broils within the realm, the rebellion of the popish Lords, and the plot for invasion by the King of Spain, however, put off the evil day, as James needed the support of the Kirk and the Presbyterian nobles. When he led the army to Aberdeen against the rebels in the North he was accompanied by some of the leading Ministers, of whom James Melville was one. The war chest being almost exhausted, Melville was sent to Edinburgh and other towns to raise the necessary supplies, and so great were his exertions that his servant died at Cowie from exhaustion. The King attended several Assemblies, and in that held in August, 1590, after his return from Denmark with his bride, he praised God that he was born in such a time as in the time of the light of the gospel, and to such a place as to be King in such a Kirk, the sincerest Kirk in the world. “I charge you, my good people, ministers, doctors, elders, nobles, gentlemen, and barrons, to stand to your purity, and exhort the people to do the like. And I forsooth, so long as I.bruik my life and crown, shall maintain the same against all deadly.” There was nothing heard for a quarter of an hour but praising God, and praying for the King. By the influence of Chancellor Maitland, the Act of 1592 ratifying and confirming the rights and constitution of the Kirk was passed.

    The King was, however, determined to be absolute in Kirk as well as state, and resented the power and independence of the clergy, but with all his cunning he made little progress with the Assembly collectively. “In the end was devysit a certain Commissioner to have power to convein with the King at what tyme and place his Majestic sould requyre, to keep concord betwixt the Kirk and King, and to intreat of all maters that might serve or apertein to that effect. The quhilk. as experience hes provin sen sync, hes devolvit and transferit the haill powar of the General As semblie in the hands of the King, and h.s Ecclesiastic Counsall, those Commissionurs, for bathe in other Assemblies, and without, they rewill all.” Over a score of Commissioners were appointed, any nine of whom had power to act, and the King called to the conferences such as would not thwart him. They “were led on, and set on by a wittie politick Prince, whose farfetched drifts and politick plots the more simple did not espye, but the more corrupt did comply with them.”

    These Commissioners petitioned Parliament without any authority “that the Ministers of the Kirk should haiff voit in Parliament. Quhairupoun thair wes ane Act passed that suche of the Ministeric as would become Prelatis, sic as they war of old in the papisticill Kirk, sould be admitted to have voit in Parliament, the Estaites of Parliament thinking indeed that no honnest men in the Ministeric wald undirtake such ane office, againes the quhilk the forme and tennor of thair doctrine had so longe, and mychtilie soundit.”

    Tho King called meetings of the Assembly at dates fixed by himself, and anticipated and prorogated fixed diets, and changed the places of Meeting. He paid no heed to the Kirk’s complaints. Ministers were prohibited from preaching, and others put to ward (that is, imprisoned). Of those who went to the Assembly appointed to be held at Aberdeen in 1605, fourteen were summoned before the Council, of whom seven were committed to prison, and six of them afterwards banished as rebels for declining the jurisdiction of the Court. This was followed by other eight of the leading ministers being called to London by the King, where every wile and stratagem was used to lure them to approve of prelacy, and for the purpose of converting them they were “boarded out” at various Bishops’ and Deans’ houses. At the same time eight other of the ministers were lying in prison, so that the opposition was greatly weakened. The King proceeded with the appointment of Bishops, and ten of them rode betwixt the Earls and Lords at the Parliament held at Perth in 1606, where an Act was passed restoring them to the old rents, livings and privileges which their predecessors had in time of poperie. This was followed by the Assembly of 1606, agreeing that there should be constant (fixed) Moderators of Presbyteries and Synods, who were to receive 100 a year, over and above their fixed stipends.

    The King was now preparing to play the last Act viz., to get the Assembly to ratify and sanction the office of Bishop. In 1608 the Earl of Dunbar got a Commission of Lieutenancy for all the north parts of Scotland, and came down from Court, accompanied by some Deans and Doctors, whose errand was to gain proselytes, and persuade all "that there was no difference betwixt their Kirk in England and cures, but onlie some few indifferent things, and chiefly concerning th0 government of the Kirk.” Thereafter the King in May, 1610, gave Commission to Dunbar to call a General Assembly, and sent letters to each Presbytery to send those ministers named in the letters (who had been selected by the Bishops) with unlimited commission, and letters were also sent to these ministers asking them to attend, whether the Presbytery appointed them or not. Sundry Noblemen and Barrons, and also other ministers were also asked to attend. The Assembly accordingly met on 8th June, when Archbishop Spottiswood usurped the place of Moderator, and the first day was spent as a day of fasting and humiliation. The following day a privie committee was appointed, who agreed on certain articles, which were put to the Confirmation of Bishops and Bishoprics. After it was carried “than the pelf (gold) was distributed among those that voyced affirmatively, and some got more, and some less, according as the Bishops though: they deserved their reward.” Calderwood says that one who had been specially employed informed him that one Bishoprick had cost the King 1000 stg., “and more than he and I could spend all our dayes beside,” and that it “the advancement of the whole work, for the space of eight years may be estimated at many hundred thousands. Row says that the King in buying in their benefices ... in buying votes at Assemblies, in defraying all their other charges, and promoveing of all their adoes and bussines, as comeing to, and going from, and liveing at Court. prelat-like, that is sumptuouslie, and gorgeouslie in apparrell, hous, dyet, attendants, etc., did employ above the sum of three hundred thousand pounds sterlin money.”

    Immediately on the conclusion of the Assembly, three of the Bishops hastened to London to report to the King, who received them graciously. In October they were consecrated by the Bishops of London, Ely, and Bath. These three “returning to Scotland in the month of November did to the Archbishop of St Androes. in St Androes, as they were done withall at Lambeth as neare as they could possiblie imitat.” Thereafter the two Archbishops consecrated the rest.


    Weekend is almost here and hope it's a good one for you.


  • #2
    A thorough litany of contemporary decline Alastair, thanks for putting it together. I too am tiring of the Scottish Review and would add our bloated CBC to your list. We fund them to the tune of nearly $2 billion a year to tell us what a terrible country we are, except for the Liberal party.


    • #3
      I agree with you on the CBC Rick and I normally just watch CTV these days myself but I do also like to read about what Conrad Black is saying.