Category: Heritage

Shouldn’t we be more concerned?

Unfortunately, I’m no historian nor political scientist, but in light of some recent events, shouldn’t we more concerned?

Here is a kind of back and forth comparing two imperialistic nations actions against their neighbours.

Germany of first half of 1900s vs Russia today
1814 – German Confederation (a loose alliance)
1871 – Imperial Germany (included Poland)
1918 – Weimar Republic
1933 – Nazi Germany

1917 – Russian Revolution
1922 – USSR created – Russian led


1919 – Germany lost 13% of its European territory and all its colonies

1989 – Warsaw Pact (Poland, Czechoslovakia Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, East Germany) disolved
1989 – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania broke away from USSR
1991 – USSR ceased to exist
Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Azerjbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kaxakhstan become countries on their own
Russia is separate with some alliance with 5 former vassals.


Early 1930s – right wing agitation results in rise of Nazi party and appointment of Hitler as German Chancellor

2000 Vladimir Putin (former KGB officer) becomes President of Russia (President 2000 – 2008; Prime Minister 2008 – 2012; President 2012 – present)


1935 – Saar Basin reclaimed by Germany

2008 – Russia/Georgian War.
Russia occupies Abkhazia and South Ossetia areas of Georgia


1936 – remilitarized the Rhineland and supported Spanish fascists

2013/4 – Russian influenced Ukrainian President’s repudiation of closer EU alignment. Led to a political activity and a Legislative assembly change of President.


1938 – Anschluss – annexation of Austria (under the threat of military invasion) claiming Germanness of Austrians as the rationality.
Other European countries offered no assistance to Austrian Governmen

March 2014 – clandestine occupation and influenced referendum annexation of Crimea under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians. Western countries offered verbal assistance only


1938 – made claims on the Sudetenland area in Czechoslovakia (high ethnic German population).
Occupied the Sudetenland with agreement of UK and France for the promise of no further territorial demands.
However, forced Cz to cede additional territory and was upset that Allied countries didn’t give him the rest of Cz

April 2014 – attempting the further annexation of Ukrainian territory under the guise of protection ethnic Russians (approximately 40% of population in 2 eastern and 25% in the next most eastern Ukrainian provinces).
Communications intercepts indicate heavy Russian involvement.


1939 – invaded rest of Czechoslovakia
Sept 1939 – Germany Invaded Poland. France, UK, Commonwealth declared war
April 1940 – Germany invaded Denmark and Norway
May 1940 – Germany invaded Netherlands, Belgium, France

WW 2


Shouldn’t we be more concerned?

The Plaidneck

Just Suppose

As a Plaidneck, I mess around in offbeat Highland stuff. One question that comes to mind is “Is there a Saint connected with the Highlands”. I am a very amateur piper and if there is a truly Highland Saint, what pipe tunes would suit.

Here in the great white north, we seem to pipe a lot for non-highland celebrations: Robbie Burns (a Lowlander) Day in January; St. Patrick’s Day ( and the Irish have their own quite different pipes) in March; Tartan Day (on the day of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath) in early April, and St. Andrew’s Day (both Scotland but not specifically highland) in November. We play the GHB (Great Highland Bagpipe) an outdoor instrument that we play bare fingered wearing glens (I’ve had frost bight on at least 6 fingers and both ears from such foolishness). Hopefully any Highland Saint would have his/her “day” in more suitable piping weather

A while ago, someone suggested St. Maelrubha (Mellroova ??) as a suitable individual.

Maelrubha was an early Christian working in the Highlands. He founded his settlement in what is now Applecross (Aber Crossan or Aporcrossan). The peninsula where Applecross sits was known by its Gaelic name, ‘A’ Chomraich’ (or Comaraich), “the sanctuary”. His ministry also extended into the inner Hebrides.
See .

St. Maelrubha’s Day has been set as August 27th. In my part of the world, late August is a great time for piping. The dog days of summer are past, flies and mosquitos are long gone but it hasn’t yet started to get cold.

So, a Highland Saint whose day falls at a time of year with decent piping weather (at least here). What’s not to like?

Are there any suitable tunes? Apparently the Great Highland Bagpipe came into being in the 1700s. Although there have been bagpipes since ancient times, the one most known it a fairly recent development. At first it was a solo instrument playing a theme and variation type of music we now call Piobearachd (Pibrock comes close to how that is pronounced) and dance music. Pipe bands came into being in the mid 1800s with the English army. Civilian bands are from the 1900s. The piping most of us hear is heavily influenced by (British) army band playing and the demands of competition shaped by lowland organizations. There is a movement to revive a dance driven style among some solo pipers – but I digress.

So what tunes to play on St. Maelrubha’s Day. There probably isn’t original pipe music from that time. However, there are some tunes associated with the area he chose to make his mission.

I’ve done a very quick search and found a few “Applecross” tunes. Three were written by a D. McNair (“Applecross Hills”; “Mrs Platt’s Farewell to Applecross” – both listed as quicksteps; “the Applecross Highlanders” – a march) plus a “Dr. Ronald MacLean of Applecross” (probably a march) by Neil A MacDonald. There is a piobearachd (“Failte Tighearna na Comaraich) by Angus Mackay and a geographic connection between Maelrubha and “Loch Maree” (a 3/4 march).

Come August, I think I’ll just play a few of these. The Highlands deserve to be recognized as not just Scotland

The Plaidneck

Culturally inspired team names

This is the text of an email sent to CBC’s “the Current” Friday April 20.

It was with interest that I listened to today’s piece on team names. A thoughtful discussion. However, sometimes I wonder whether the topic deserves so much anguish. One other group of people whose supposed culture seem trigger a large number of sports team names are the Gaelic cousin cultures from the Scottish Highlands and the Ireland.

A few examples:
• Golden Gaels – Queen’s University Kingston ON
• Fighting Irish – Notre Dame du Lac in Notre Dame Indianna
• Green Gaels – Jr B. Lacrosse team in Bowmanville Ontario area
• Highlanders – NewZealand professional rugby team Dunedin
• St. Mary’s Gaels – Moraga California
• Glengarry Gaels – various teams in the Alexandria Ontario area
• Clansmen rugby club – Edmonton AB

Their logos/crests are often cartoonish and not very related to the true culture (ex. Notre Dame’s pugnacious leprechaun and the Dunedin Highlander’s kilted sword carrying long haired warrior logo).

Although I too rue the loss of culture (the last native Gaelic speaker in this part of Canada died over a decade ago), I usually feel good when I hear that teams called Gaels or Highlanders are active. Someone recognized we were here. Instead of negative navel gazing, maybe culturally inspired team names should be something of which we can be proud.

The Plaidneck

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