HeraldScotland: Iain Macwhirter Unspun banner new

Every BBC programme now has to have a Black Lives Matter dimension.

Even Landward, BBC Scotland’s excellent farming, and heritage programme.  A recent episode, about the island of Raasay off Skye, told us as much about Scotland’s involvement in the slave trade as it did about sea eagles or Sorley MacLean, the Gaelic poet who was born there.  

Raasay was an example, we were told, of how Scots share collective guilt for the transportation of African slaves and their brutal exploitation.  George Rainy, a Raasay man, made his fortune in the sugar plantations of Demerara in the early 1800s.   He was the son of a church minister but somehow reconciled his Christian conscience with destroying the lives of black Africans.

But should the ordinary people of Raasay hang their heads in shame?  Do their ancestors really shoulder collective guilt?  Hardly - most of them were ruthlessly cleared off the land by Rainy in the 1840s after he bought the Island with his slave wealth.  


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