Response to Sandy Lindsay's Plan to Move Statue of Duke

Thursday, 15 June 1995

From: Alasdair McKay
To: Janet MacKay

Subject: Re: Sandy Lindsay re statue!

} Didn't Mr. Lindsay phone late this afternoon, our time!
} Told him about the Article on Scots Mag, but he seems adamant
} that the statue be removed. Compared it to Hitler's statue,
} if one exists to represent Germany.

If the statue remains in stucturally sound condition, I consider it a thorough waste to remove it. The removal would be an unnecessary labour and cost for the local council and would be an insult to the skills of the masons and other artisans who built it. When it comes to the stage where the thing is in need of major and costly repairs, I might hold a different opinion, but I do not believe that such considerations arise at present.

I am sure that Hitler has been portrayed in Madame Tussaud's in London -- I'd be surprised if an effigy of him was not still there. It is a matter for the Germans, not for us, as to how they choose to remember him in Germany. I think, however, that the analogy is a very poor one.

Germany may wish to forget Hitler because he attracted wide popular support (he was democratically elected after all) and people do not like to remember when they have been responsible for doing something which was detrimental to themselves, whether they were tricked into it or not. It is this psychology which allows confidence tricksters to go un-reported and which sustains gambling and the like.

The case with Sutherland is different. There is no reason whatsoever for the descendants of people cleared from Strathnaver and elsewhere to want to forget the Marquess of Stafford and his minions, and no reason why a statue of him will not help keep such memories alive.

We must ask Sandy Lindsay to re-think (or perhaps just THINK ) what he is proposing ------ get rid of a statue so that people will forget.

This is not at all sensible - we want people to remember, not to forget.

The statue should stand and a loud signal must go out from Nova Scotia to that effect.

Lindsay is probably just indulging in muddled thinking on the matter, but if he remains unpersuaded we must begin to look for his ulterior motives. The man is a politician. He probably wants to be remembered for something, and the demolition of the statue may be his last chance.

There is a distressing tendency for Nth generation Scots in the former Colonies to accept pontifications emanating from the homeland. While I agree with Tom McRae's attitudes on the need to suppress idiotic spurious "traditions" arising in the U.S., it is equally important to fire a broadside back at modern home-bred Scots when they show signs of backsliding or general madness. I consider Lindsay's stance to be madness.

I hope we will not display this except as a means of alerting people to the whole issue. We should have a counter-petition to stop any possibility that the activities of the Marquess of Stafford (and even more importantly of his minions) should ever fall into oblivion.

Lindsay may have in mind to further his claim on being remembered by posterity by extorting yet more money out of the colonies to let him build a new "Memorial to the Clearances". This would be totally unnecessary, just as is the new expensive "peace" ("piece" would be a more appropriate description) monument which we have acquired on the Dartmouth waterfront.

Let us be frugal and mindful of the efforts and skills of common folk who built the pillar and statue and let us keep it until it becomes structurally unsound. It is a perfect monument to idealistic economic reform and development gone seriously and sadly awry.

If, in centuries to come, the monument could simply be allowed to crumble under the forces of nature, its decaying condition would be an even more dramatic reminder. I think that it stands where it could well be left to decay without endangering anyone. It might need a barbed wire fence around it, if it does not already have one to keep the sheep out.

We must get these arguments over to Golspie and into the Scottish press.

> Says he has had response from New Zealand, perhaps elsewhere, but
> none from Canada yet. Quite pleased we contacted him, really.

Thought the kiwis had more sense, at least after their recent financial crisis.

Alasdair McKay

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