Many Scots are convinced there exists a world-wide conspiracy to deny us our rightful measure of respect and esteem, if not downright adulation. Radar, telephone, adhesive postage stamps, penicillin, television, anesthesia, digestive biscuits, if it was not invented, discovered or stumbled upon by a Scot we think it was not worthwhile inventing, finding or doing. We may not have invented the wheel, but a Scot invented the pneumatic tyre around it.
Admittedly we did invent golf; but be fair, one mistake and the rest of the world never lets us forget about it.
Unfortunately this Scot finds himself in the position of scorning the erection in London of a huge statue to a Scot. Normally this would be considered right and proper. If there is one thing which would improve London immeasurably it is the erection of more public statues of Scots.
St Thomas’ Hospital has decided to erect a ten foot high statue of Jamaican born Scot Mary Seacole. Voted the ‘Greatest Black Briton’ in a BBC poll. Mary Seacole, nee Grant, had a Scottish father and three Scottish grandparents. This means she would have more right to play for Scotland than many present members of our rugby and football squads. Given their performances perhaps she would have been an improvement. Mary was proud of her Scottish heritage,’I am a Creole, and have good Scots blood coursing through my veins. My father was a soldier of an old Scottish family.’
Unfortunately Mary is being used as a political weapon by the progressive media establishment. Who runs the BBC , ITV and other arms of the media is more important than who runs the Conservative or Labour parties. Political parties adjust our taxes, the media shapes our perceptions.
Seacole is touted as a symbol of heroic black endeavour being ground down, slighted and ignored by a racist establishment. There are many British blacks whose achievements have been airbrushed out of history because of their race. Mary Seacole is not one of them.
An out and out capitalist, Mary came to Britain, not to pursue a nursing career but to look after her gold investments, ‘My share in the Palmyra Mine speculation’. This clearly is not something to endear her to the cultural fascisti who determine what is right to think and say. She was a good, decent person who ran a restaurant/bar/takeaway for officers during the Crimean War. In her memoir ‘Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands’ Seacole described her ‘British Hotel’ as a ‘mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers’. In her memoir she gives entire chapters to her meals and catering.
Mary never formally applied for a nursing post. She did make personal approaches, sometimes to the wrong people. Possibly she was refused because of her heritage, but there is no evidence she was. Apart from starting to apply after the first two batches of nurses had already gone to Crimea she was old for nursing, lacked hospital experience and didn’t submit the documents required of others.
Although mainly concerned with serving officers lobsters and champagne Seacole did help ordinary soldiers. When she first arrived and her restaurant was yet to open she served hot tea, lemonade and cake to the injured waiting for transport to hospital. She also did some first aid work on three known occasions. In her memoir Seacole admits to ‘lamentable blunders’ and trying remedies that later made her ‘shudder’; she claimed few successes.
The BBC in their ‘Horrible Histories’ children’s series, one of the funniest programmes on television, had a sketch showing Mary being rejected four times by Florence Nightingale because of her race. The simple historical fact is that Seacole and Nightingale met once and in her autobiography Seacole describes it as perfectly cordial. The sketch also appeared on the BBC’s Learning Zone, an educational, online resource for children. Progressives love getting to children in primary school, they can then shape their minds for life.
No primary sources indicate that Mary Seacole was a nursing pioneer frustrated by a racist establisment and then airbrushed from history. Yet the BBC, the British Council, and the entire establishment elite are bent on projecting her as something she wasn’t.
This goes in concert with efforts to destroy the reputation of Florence Nightingale who did nurse in the Crimea and who did work tirelessly at home to reform hospitals and establish nursing as a profession. Nightingale, a steely determined, authoritarian, self-disciplined Protestant did not display the values preached by progressives, she had to be displaced. The vehicle chosen was Mary Seacole, a good natured hotelier with a knowledge of herbal healing, who was not white.
Delegates at the 1999 conference of the Health Service union Unison voted overwhelmingly for a motion deeming Florence Nightingale an ‘inappropriate role model’ for modern nursing, as her image ‘represented negative and backward-thinking elements’.
Once history was about the discovery, selection and interpretation of facts. Today history, as so much else, is about image and how that image fits the progressive project. The facts of Seacole’s life are immaterial, it is what she can be made to represent that is important to the progressive. A decent, hard working, enterprising, black businesswoman making her way in the world does not fit in with the project in the same way a downtrodden, abused, rejected, black heroine of care and compassion does.
Consider that even greater icon of progressivism, Che Guevara, the face that launched a million T-shirts. Guevara was a misogynist, racist, incompetent, vicious sociopath. “Hatred is the central element of our struggle!” Guevara raved in his 1966 Message to the Tricontinental Conference in Havana:
“Hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him a violent and cold-blooded killing machine…We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow… These hyenas [Americans] are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”
Yet oh so progressive Robert Redford made a film glorifying the man who jailed or exiled most of Cuba’s best writers, poets and independent film-makers while converting Cuba’s press and cinema, at machine-gun point, into propaganda agencies for a Stalinist regime.
Be aware of how progressives operate, and call them on it every time.