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BULL***T

IT has been hailed as Scotland's greatest victory over the Auld Enemy by everyone from Robert the Bruce to the Tartan Army.

But now the National Trust have decided that the Battle of Bannockburn was "not England v Scotland".

The claim, made at a meeting to plan today's annual re-enactment of the 1314 battle at Bannockburn Heritage Centre and monument, has outraged historians.

National Trust Scotland's West Regional director Michael Hunter said it should be seen as a feud between two kings - Robert the Bruce and Edward II.

In a taped record of the meeting, he claimed: "We have to be quite careful how we present the battle - it is not England v Scotland.

"It was two kings fighting against each other."

David Ross, convener of historical group Society of William Wallace, said: "Every jaw hit the floor when it was said.

"They are trying to re-write history. This was Scotland's defining moment, when Robert the Bruce led Scotland to independence.

"It is political correctness because they are scared of offending anyone from England. But they are denying history."

Historian Craig Mair said: "Bannockburn was a battle between Scotland and England and it is ridiculous to say otherwise."

But the Trust's property manager at Bannockburn, Alison Corley, said: "If you just make it a Scottish and English battle then you are not doing it justice.

"The battle changed the way people fought - it is about economics and politics.

"It's not just a case of Scotland against England. That's like saying WWII was only Germany v Britain."


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A fight between two Kings one was Scottish and the other English! so how come its not SCOTLAND v ENGLAND Go awa and blaw the smoke oot yer arse!


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well said admin 2

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Just in case they missed it:

#2. A fight between two Kings one was Scottish and the other English! so how come its not SCOTLAND v ENGLAND Go awa and blaw the smoke oot yer arse!

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Twice on a Sunday too


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700 years on, still battling over Bannockburn... 

THE National Trust for Scotland has defended its portrayal of the Battle of Bannockburn as "two kings jostling for position" as opposed to a battle between Scotland and England.

The controversial claim was made by Michael Hunter, the trust's west regional director, during a meeting held to outline the guidelines for the annual commemorations and re-enactment held over the weekend.

Alison Corley, the trust's property manager at Bannockburn, defended the "historically accurate" comments.

She said: "Our view may not be the most popular take on what happened at Bannockburn, but it's a historically accurate one. Our intention is to educate and engage people by presenting a full, holistic point of view of events. Bannockburn can't be described as a battle between Scotland and England. There were people fighting from Ireland, Wales, France, and Germany. It changed the history of the British isles, and was a turning point in history. We're trying to give an honest portrait.

"I am not saying that Scots and English didn't fight, but that it is not just a case of Scotland against England. That's like saying World War Two was only Germany versus Britain."

However, David R Ross, convener of the Society of William Wallace, who attended the meeting, said: "It was incredible. In front of a room full of people, they said that Bannockburn was not a fight between England and Scotland. They said it was simply between two kings. Every jaw hit the floor when it was said.

"It was shocking and offensive. They are trying to rewrite history. This was Scotland's defining moment, when Robert the Bruce led Scotland to independence. The Scots were fighting for their very liberty.

"It is political correctness because they are scared of offending anyone from England who might come to their visitor centre. They were also scared that English people attending the re-enactment might feel isolated."

Stirling historian, Craig Mair, author of Stirling: The Royal Burgh, said: "Bannockburn was a battle between Scotland and England and it is ridiculous to say otherwise, although men from other nations certainly took part in the fighting. But both kings represented their countries. The Scottish nation was clearly emerging as a concept following the earlier efforts of William Wallace, and it was certainly there by the time of Bannockburn.

"Indeed, Bannockburn was a rare occasion on which Highlanders, Lowlanders and Borderers all fought for Scotland."

 

Comments:

1. somerferg, oz / 1:58am 25 Jun 2007

Me thinks there are moves afoot to quell any patriotic feelings in Scotland. I mean imagine this a battle where all Scots worked together for the benefit of the whole country against the English!! Yup the SNP victory certainly has some English nerves jangling.

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2. Keren, It's time / 2:23am 25 Jun 2007

Political correctness gone mad is the right phrase - also agree with the above comment!

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3. DSA, USA / 2:41am 25 Jun 2007

When Rangers play Celtic or Hearts play Hibs - yes - there may be players from different nationalities in all 4 teams but it is still these teams playing each other.

Whereas I fully understand taking a holistic viewpoint to what transpired at Bannockburn all these years ago - it was, without doubt and to all intents and purposes - Scotland V England.

Matter closed.

BTW - I have never had much affinity with the concept of "political correctness".

Burger it !

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4. Edward Spencer, Orillia, Ontario / 3:24am 25 Jun 2007

My reading of British history suggests it doesn't matter who won at Bannockburn - in 1603 Scotland got to send their King south to be crowned King of England, although the English had always imagined it would be the other way round. The Scottish Stuarts in 1603 were the real winners in the final lap, replacing the Tudors who could not even manage to reproduce themselves ...

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5. Scullion, Canada / 3:56am 25 Jun 2007

#4
A rather selective reading of history I fear. James 1 hightailed it to London when Elizabeth named him her heir (let's not even get into the execution of his mother by her) and the Stuarts became very Anglicized very quickly.
The Battle of the Boyne and Culloden can hardly be considered evidence to support the position that the Stuarts were "winners in the final lap".
In any event, let the historians present their arguments and see which one is best supported-though the Bruce's overthrowing of Baliol, his years spent consolidating his power in Scotland and the religious backing he received (unavailable to the commoner Wallace) does tend to favour a battle to revert a situation back to what it was before Longshanks was given stewardship of Scotland (not the best choice of fellows to say, "Here, hang on to this crown for a while while we sort out our differences.")
It was a battle with Scotland saying, "We'll be having our nation back thank you."

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6. Colin P / 4:46am 25 Jun 2007

History has always shown it was the Scots under Robert "the Bruce", King of Scots versus Edward II, King of England. Edward was the son of Longshanks.
This was a battle for Scottish independence from England....funny that...what goes around, comes around.

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7. Dougie Douglas, Brisbane / 5:02am 25 Jun 2007

The only people who want to see this as a Scotland V England thing are those fight picking nats.

The SNP are driving a wedge between Scotland and England, this is a prime example of nats picking away at anything, they're revisionist interpretation of this revision are sickening.

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8. Anne / 5:11am 25 Jun 2007

"A Douglas! A Douglas!"
Not this time - although the Douglases were bonnie fechters for the Bruce and Scottish indepencence.

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9. Boy Wonder / 5:14am 25 Jun 2007

This is OUR Scottish history that's being played down. Bannockburn was important due to The Bruce's success in repelling FOREIGN INVADERS on our sovereign soil. It was one the major turning points in our ancestors' war to retain our INDEPENDENCE from an Anglo-Norman warmonger of a king and others like him. Our ancestors fought for their freedom (not to put too fine a Braveheart-ish point on it)!

Read the Declaration of Arbroath. The reasons for the War of Independence is all in there and it is a founding document of democracy (kind of).

Get the National Trust TOLD!!! They can't be allowed to get away with this. And no .... I'm NOT a "natural" SNP supporter! I only voted for them for the first time at the recent election.

The lesson here is ... don't get cute with MY history!!!

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10. Royster / 5:22am 25 Jun 2007

It has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with historical accuracy. For a start, in the middle ages there were no such things as countries - only Kingdoms. The people fighting in the battle were fighting for their local warlords - a bit like Afghanistan today.

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Boy Wonder / 5:14am 25 Jun 2007

This is OUR Scottish history that's being played down. Bannockburn was important due to The Bruce's success in repelling FOREIGN INVADERS on our sovereign soil. It was one the major turning points in our ancestors' war to retain our INDEPENDENCE from an Anglo-Norman warmonger of a king and others like him. Our ancestors fought for their freedom (not to put too fine a Braveheart-ish point on it)!

*Read the Declaration of Arbroath. *The reasons for the War of Independence is all in there and it is a founding document of democracy (kind of).

Get the National Trust TOLD!!! They can't be allowed to get away with this. And no .... I'm NOT a "natural" SNP supporter! I only voted for them for the first time at the recent election.

The lesson here is ... don't get cute with MY history!!!






DECLARATION of ARBROATH...                

The Declaration of Arbroath is opne of the most important and famous documents in Scots history, so we thought you would like to see it here, in an Enlgish translation - the original is in Latin...

[To the most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, the Lord John, by divine providence Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman and Universal Church, his humble and devout sons Duncan, Earl of Fife, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, Lord of Man and of Annandale, Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March, Malise, Earl of Strathearn, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, William, Earl of Ross, Magnus, Earl of Caithness and Orkney, and William, Earl of Sutherland; Walter, Steward of Scotland, William Soules, Butler of Scotland, James, Lord of Douglas, Roger Mowbray, David, Lord of Brechin, David Graham, Ingram Umfraville, John Menteith, guardian of the earldom of Menteith, Alexander Fraser, Gilbert Hay, Constable of Scotland, Robert Keith, Marischal of Scotland, Henry St Clair, John Graham, David Lindsay, William Oliphant, Patrick Graham, John Fenton, William Abernethy, David Wemyss, William Mushet, Fergus of Ardrossan, Eustace Maxwell, William Ramsay, William Mowat, Alan Murray, Donald Campbell, John Cameron, Reginald Cheyne Alexander Seton, Andrew Leslie, and Alexander Straiton, and the other barons and freeholders and the whole community of the realm of Scotland send all manner of filial reverence, with devout kisses of his blessed feet.

Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts-, and, as the historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.

The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this-. that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith. Nor would He have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles -- by calling, though second or third in rank -- the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter's brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron forever.

The Most Holy Fathers your predecessors gave careful heed to these things and bestowed many favours and numerous privileges on this same kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the Blessed Peter's brother. Thus our nation under their protection did indeed live in freedom and peace up to the time when that mighty prince the King of the English, Edward, the father of the one who reigns today, when our kingdom had no head and our people harboured no malice or treachery and were then unused to wars or invasions, came in the guise of a friend and ally to harass them as an enemy. The deeds of cruelty, massacre, violence, pillage, arson, imprisoning prelates, burning down monasteries, robbing and killing monks and nuns, and yet other outrages without number which he committed against our people, sparing neither age nor sex, religion nor rank, no one could describe nor fully imagine unless he had seen them with his own eyes.

But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert. He, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and bore them cheerfully. Him, too, divine providence, his right of succession according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and King. To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King- for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself

Therefore it is, Reverend Father and Lord, that we beseech your Holiness with our most earnest prayers and suppliant hearts, inasmuch as you will in your sincerity and goodness consider all this, that, since with Him Whose vice-gerent on earth you are there is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman, you will look with the eyes of a father on the troubles and privation brought by the English upon us and upon the Church of God. May it please you to admonish and exhort the King of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs to him since England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave us Scots in peace, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at all, and covet nothing but our own. We are sincerely willing to do anything for him, having regard to our condition, that we can, to win peace for ourselves.

This truly concerns you, Holy Father, since you see the savagery of the heathen raging against the Christians, as the sins of Christians have indeed deserved, and the frontiers of Christendom being pressed inward every day; and how much it will tarnish your Holiness's memory if (which God forbid) the Church suffers eclipse or scandal in any branch of it during your time, you must perceive. Then rouse the Christian princes who for false reasons pretend that they cannot go to help of the Holy Land because of wars they have on hand with their neighbours. The real reason that prevents them is that in making war on their smaller neighbours they find quicker profit and weaker resistance. But how cheerfully our Lord the King and we too would go there if the King of the English would leave us in peace, He from Whom nothing is hidden well knows; and we profess and declare it to you as the Vicar of Christ and to all Christendom.

But if your Holiness puts too much faith in the tales the English tell and will not give sincere belief to all this, nor refrain from favouring them to our prejudice, then the slaughter of bodies, the perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that will follow, inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we believe, be surely laid by the Most High to your charge.

To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty calls us, ready to do your will in all things, as obedient sons to you as His Vicar-, and to Him as the Supreme King and Judge we commit the maintenance of our cause, casting our cares upon Him and firmly trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring our enemies to nought.

May the Most High preserve you to his Holy Church in holiness and health and grant you length of days.

Given at the monastery of Arbroath in Scotland on the sixth day of the month of April in the year of grace thirteen hundred and twenty and the fifteenth year of the reign of our King aforesaid.

Additional names written on some of the seal tags: Alexander Lamberton, Edward Keith, John Inchmartin, Thomas Menzies, John Durrant, Thomas Morham (and one illegible).

Endorsed-. Letter directed to our Lord the Supreme Pontiff by the community of Scotland...]


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                                                              A Short History of Scotland.

Scottish flag

Scotland occupies about one third of Gt. Britain and has a violent and tragic past. Today the legends, songs, ancient castles and ruins retain Scotland's proud past. The Scots have been moulded by its history and harshness of weather and land.

Records show that the first hunters and gathers inhabited Scotland over 6,000 years ago as the last remains of the ice age moved north. The first recorded history of Scotland was in the first century A.D. by a Roman historian who referred to the Scots as savage and fierce enemies. The clans of Scotland united to fight of the invasion of the Romans who had conquered the rest of Gt. Britain. Unable to conquer Scotland, Hadrian's wall was built separating Scotland from the southern part of Gt. Britain.

The Romans left the British Isles shortly after 400 A.D., and Scotland began to emerge as a Nation of peoples, the area at this time was called Alban and the four main Clans were the Pics, Scots, Britons and Angles. Invasions by the Vikings followed and by 843 King of the Scots of Dalriada, Kenneth MacAlpin and Duncan1 combined forces to retain their lands. War between Scotland and Norway was constant though peaceful with England, infighting between Scottish Clans was Common.

A Scottish invasion of England by John Balliol was fought off by King Edward 1, who then rampaged through Scotland and captured the Scone Stone upon which Scottish Kings had been crowned for seven centuries. The stone was placed in Westminster Abbey until it was taken back by Scottish Nationalists in 1951. In 1996 the stone was formally returned to its rightful place in Scotland, and is now displayed in Edinburgh Castle.

Scots continued to free themselves of the English. Robert the Bruce was at the forefront of these struggles, his uprising was defeated, but Bruce continued to harass the English armies. By 1314 Robert the Bruce had driven the English out of every town in Scotland except Stirling.

1372 saw Robert Stewart crowned King of Scotland, the first of a long line of Stewarts (Stuarts). There was much trouble when James IV came to the throne, but he managed to control lowland rebellion and tried to make peace with the highland Clan Chiefs.

In 1502, James IV signed a treaty of perpetual peace with England and married Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England.

The Stuart line came to an end with Mary Queen of Scots, who became Queen of Scotland when she was just one week old. Henry VIII arranged for Mary to marry his young son and when Mary's mother rejected the proposal, Henry responded by pillaging and burning Edinburgh and the Border Country. Mary returned from France at 18 years old, strong willed and a catholic, Scotland at this time (1557) had renounced the Catholic Church in favour of Protestantism. Her attempt to rule was difficult and she was forced to abdicate in favour of her 1 year old son James VI. She fled to England, to her cousin Queen Elizabeth 1. Due to her claim to the English throne Mary was imprisoned in the tower of London and later beheaded in 1587.

James VI escaped form his Protestant kidnappers in 1583 and resumed the throne of Scotland. Elizabeth 1 died in 1642 and as James was her only heir, he became James of England as well as James VI of Scotland. James most lasting legacy is the King James bible, still favoured by many Protestants. However this union of crowns failed to put an end to Scotland's struggles.

In 1642 civil war broke out in England Between King Charles1 Cavaliers and Oliver cromwell's Roundheads. Cromwell was the victor and ordered the execution of King Charles 1, the Scottish proclaimed Charles son as their King, This incensed Cromwell who invaded Scotland and united the two Countries under a strong, central, civil Government. When Cromwell died the English Monarchy was restored to the throne. The Scots felt that they had lost their independence and the stage was set for uprisings.

The Jacobite wanted the return to a Stuart King in Scotland and frequently took up arms to this end. By 1707 the English line of Succession had passed to the Queen Sophia of the German Hannover family, the Scots agreed to a union of Parliaments and a Hannoverian succession in return for commercial equality, their own legal system and the Presbyterian religion. The Jacobite rebellion grew as did opposition to the union. In 1715 James Edward rallied the Scottish Clans and was proclaimed King of Scotland, however the great families of Scotland were not united and the uprising was defeated.

Despite attempts by the English to disarm the Clans and to ship the Jacobites to America, the Jacobites rose again. Bonnie Prince Charles gradually drew support and eventually led 3000 men to Edinburgh to reinstate his father, James Edward as King of Scotland. After winning several battles in Scotland, Charles crossed the border and pushed southward toward London, just over 120 miles from London a decision was made to withdraw to the highlands to raise more troops. Scotland was however still divided, with many Clans supporting the Hanoverian side, and a large well equipped army was facing Charles. Finally on Culloden Moor in 1746, Charles tired and hungry Highlanders were slaughtered by the English cavalry, Charles however escaped to the Isle of Skye, and even though the English put an enormous price on his head, no one ever betrayed him.

The English response to the uprisings was harsh and extreme, whole villages were burned and Clansmen were killed or shipped off to the American plantations. The English tried to destroy the Clan system with the Disarming Act of 1746, no Scot was allowed to bear arms and the wearing of Clan tartans were banned. The penalty for wearing any part of the highland dress was six months in prison.

Miraculously many of the Scottish traditions survived and flourished, making the Clan tartan one of the most powerful symbols of kinship, gradually the restrictions were dropped and Scotland entered a period of peace and prosperity which continues today.


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A Scottish baggage handler who attracted worldwide attention for tackling one of the men who attacked Glasgow Airport denied Wednesday that he was a hero.

John Smeaton stepped in when two men crashed a car into the front of the main terminal at Scotland's busiest air hub, helping police and others to overpower one of them.

The 31-year-old's story was broadcast around the world after he was interviewed by television crews immediately after the incident, which came a day after two failed car bombings in London.

His fame was fuelled further after a website was set up to pay tribute to him, at http://www.johnsmeaton.com/.

But on Wednesday he expressed surprise at the furore surrounding what he had done, saying: "I was only one of a number of people who went to the assistance of the police dealing with the incident.

"I do not regard myself as a hero as I was only doing what other people may have done in similar circumstances," he said in a statement to the Scottish Press Association news agency.

Possibly what called people's attention to Smeaton's role in the Glasgow attack was his have-a-go response.

"What's the score? I've got to get this sorted," he told television reporters, recalling the moment the Jeep Cherokee slammed into the airport's front doors.

"I thought 'That's not right' and ran over to assist," he said. "All that was going through my mind was 'I've got to help the policeman, I'm not letting these guys get away with this."'

Fans have launched a campaign to buy Smeaton 1,000 pints of lager, while he has also been invited to appear at Scotland's T in the Park music festival this weekend, when stars like The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Brian Wilson and Avril Lavigne are set to perform.

"To the many, many people who have sent messages of support and their good wishes, I send in return my heartfelt thanks at their generosity," he said.

"These messages are very important to me, much appreciated and will be remembered by me for the rest of my life."


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Quote:

His fame was fuelled further after a website was set up to pay tribute to him, at http://www.johnsmeaton.com/.

 


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What a day. Today is the day that Smeatomania genuinely shook the internet to its very foundations. The day that the buzz got turned up to eleven.

Pint pledges? The 1,000 pint mark was passed with disdainful ease.

An Honour from the new First Minister? All in a day’s work.

First Minister Alex Salmond has said he plans to honour emergency workers and members of the public who reacted to the attack on Glasgow Airport.

Sort it out Sal-meaton! But what honour can the First Minister give the Smeatonator that will top the thousand pints and counting YOU have already given? Ec’s going to have to pull something pretty sweet out of the bag to beat 1,000 pints at the Glasgow Airport Holiday Inn. What honour do YOU think it appropriate for Scotland to give Big John?

Well, how about renaming the airport to Smeaton International Airport? I’m sure we would all be up for that.

Then we had the Six O’Clock Smeaton - our John’s antics reported by the BBC with po-faced sincerity. But, hang on, isn’t that a wee smile we see playing across Alec Salmond’s lips as he says how willing Glaswegians are to get involved? Get in about ye ‘Ec!

Then the T In The Park Campaign clamour kicked in. Heightened security preventing the nation’s hero from meeeting his public? Who are they kidding? John Smeaton IS heightened security. No matter. There is still time for T In The Park to see sense. Get in there at the Campaign page and add your voice.

JohnSmeaton.com will not rest until it sees The Man on the Main Stage on Saturday night. I can almost hear the crowd chanting “Smeato…Smeato…Smeato” right now. I can picture the banners waving, the flourescent vests (sure to be the next fashion craze) worn with pride. And there we will stand, with tears in our eyes, honouring the phenomenon that is He Who Need Not Be Named.

Then there was the mystery of Smeato’s alleged disciplinary action at Airway Handling. Can anyone shed further light on this travesty of justice? The word is that the bosses there marched him in and said Smeato - you shouldn’t have spoken to the media, big man. What kind of mad World do we live in where someone attempts to gag the new Braveheart? This is not right. We’ve got to sort it out.

Smeato No-Show?

But where, in all this insanity, is The Man Himself? Has he spurned us? Has he discarded the scrawled note, handed heart-a-flutter, to young Daniel Maddis in Arrivals at 2200 hours last night?

The World clamours for him. Grasping hands reach out for a touch of that fluorescent vest. To feel - just once! - those red stripes that show he is Senior Ramp Assistant. To watch with reverence as he re-enacts the famous punching motion.

The eyes of the World quest for him. And yet still he remains a stranger to us.

This is not a man interested in a cheap shot at his 15 minutes of fame. Oh no. As al-Qaeda found out on Saturday, when Smeato acts, it is on Smeato’s terms.

And yet - somewhere, perhaps in the wilds of Renfrewshire, he waits. He watches. Maybe he has nipped out and is having a fag right now. Maybe he’s reading this site right now, passing anonymously among us, like that bit in the basement of Lou’s Tavern in Fight Club. Maybe he’s even posted under a fake name. Mary? Amy? Mamy? Your guess is as good as mine.

But I have faith. I am staying resolute, with the JohnSmeaton.com mobile phone ready for his call. Whatever the time he chooses, I will be here. Resolute and unflinching.

But there’s more. Credible sources at BBC HQ in Pacific Quay tell me that the Smeat is going prime-time tomorrow. I’m not talking some silly item with pictures of websites and the Smeatster Photoshopped as Superman on the sideshow that is the Six O’Clock News.

I’m talking: John Smeaton, giving his first interview to the media since that fateful night - tomorrow. On Reporting Scotland. This is going to be a media event, the magnitude of which has not been known since the days of Viv Lumsden. We’re talking cutting edge television here.

Smeatomania at 11? Prepare for it go to 12.


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'All I could feel was pure hatred.'

SPINNING round, fag in hand, the man dubbed Britain's answer to 24's Jack Bauer looked in shock at the mayhem unfolding before him.

In front of John Smeaton, a Jeep Cherokee exploded into a roaring ball of flame.

In his hand a half-smoked cigarette fizzled out as he stared aghast at the blazing carnage.

"I ran up there to leather him. He was swinging at me, shouting Allah this and Allah that."

John, 31, felt the white-hot blast from the inferno lick across his face.

Astonished, he watched as a 6ft man stumbled from the wreckage and began to ATTACK police officers.

"I just shouted, ‘F***ing come on then' and dashed towards him," said John. "I didn't think — there was no time. I just acted."

Have-a-go hero John today reveals for the first time the full story of the Glasgow Airport terror attacks.

He captured the hearts of the nation with his electrifying account of the failed car bomb on TV news — and coined catchphrases such as: "This is Glasgow — we'll just set aboot ye."

A hilarious website has been set up in his honour, where proud Brits have clubbed together to put 1,200 pints behind the bar for him at the Glasgow Airport Holiday Inn.

But despite his international fame, John himself has been elusive since the attacks. 

Now John, from Erskine, Renfrewshire, has given a gripping minute-by-minute account of what unfolded in front of the terminal last week — and offers his own no-punches-pulled verdict on terror in the UK today.

He said: "I don't know what's not getting through to these people. "We already understand that you don't like us. Killing an airport full of innocent men, women and children is not going to make us understand that any better — nor is it going to change who we are.

"Then I saw other Glaswegians weighing in too. They were all giving him what for. "

"I hope my actions and the actions of everyone else that day show that Britain will not stand for it.

"And if any more extremists are still wanting to rise up and start trouble, know this: we'll rise right back up against you.

"New York, Madrid, London, Paisley...we're all in this together and make no mistake, none of us will hold back from putting the boot in."

The night before the attack last Saturday, John had little idea what lay in store for him.

He said: "I knew it was going to be busy because it was the first day of the school holidays.

"I got down to work at about 11am and the place was mobbed. I was due to look after terminal two, but my mate Kit Kat — we call him that because he's always having a break — wanted to swap, so I agreed to look after the main building.

"If I'd gone to terminal two, I would never been involved. Call it fate, call it whatever you like."

As more and more cases arrived to be loaded onto the planes and the shift wore on, John forgot about a stack of six golf bags due to leave on a Thomas Cook flight at 2.55pm.

He said: "I was tied up with something else so I shouted over to Fred Slaughter to see if he would take the golf bags out to the plane.

" I've never seen a man fighting with such anger before, not even at kicking-out time in Paisley."

We call Fred ‘The Wingman' because he once drove the baggage truck into the wing of an EasyJet plane.

"Fred got straight on it, but I knew that even so, the flight would end up delayed and I was going to get rapped.

"Old Paw Broon — he's Paul Brown, my boss — saw I was looking upset, so he said to me, ‘Don't worry about it, just go for a fag'.

"So at about three o'clock I was going outside for a smoke. I only got two or three draws into my second one before I heard a commotion at the front of the building. I thought, ‘What is that?' and walked round the corner to see what was going on."

The sight that met John's eyes was straight out of an action movie. A Jeep Cherokee had smashed into the front of the airport's main terminal building and was already ablaze.

"It was only about 20 yards away from me," said John. "My first thought was, ‘Jeez-o, that's a bad accident'.

"Then this guy burst out of the driver door covered in flames and started running about the place. A second chap got out of the passenger side. My first instinct was to help."

But a fraction of a second later, John was astonished to see one of the men rounding on a policeman.

"I saw a copper go up to him to help put the flames out, but then the other guy, who I found out later was Bilal Abdulla, just started swinging for him," recalled John.

"He was massive — and he was going straight for the polis.

"Instinct just kicked in. I heard myself saying, ‘That's no right. He's not hitting that copper — no chance'.

"I ran up there to leather him. I piled in and tried to get a kick in.

"He was swinging at me, shouting Allah this and Allah that, and at that stage I started to get a vague idea of what was going on.

"Then I saw other Glaswegians weighing in too. They were all giving him what for. I think some guy banjoed him on the side of the head.

"The fight was still going on, but I span round and saw the driver, Kafeel Ahmed. He was head to toe in flame. Abdulla was still fighting. I've never seen a man fighting with such anger before, not even at kicking-out time in Paisley town centre.

"Then Mary from security ran over, shouting, ‘This man's injured'.

"She took me to a guy, who I found out later was called Michael Kerr, who was lying on the floor with his leg broken.

"Mary and I grabbed him and dragged him further away from the vehicle because we were terrified it was going to explode.

"It was like I said at the time, if you chuck a can of Lynx onto a bonfire the flames come shooting out the top. It was like that."

After carrying Michael to the safety of the car park, John took off his fleece and wrapped it round Michael's quivering shoulders — before weighing straight back into the fray.

"At this stage the police had the culprits under control," said John. "Ahmed and Abdulla were pinned down and there were cops everywhere.

"I looked straight into Ahmed's eyes. His whole face was red raw and the skin was hanging off it. All I could feel for him was pure hatred.

"But I don't think they should face the death penalty — it would make them martyrs for their cause.

"We don't kill people over here. That's not how we do things. They should both spend the rest of their lives in a jail cell."

John gave a statement to police as the media arrived. Then TV news crews from around the world spotted John and got him to give his own account of the failed attack.

The next day, John turned up at the airport as usual — but soon realised he was in no fit state for work.

"I couldn't concentrate and kept feeling over-emotional," he said. "In the end my boss said to take as much time off as I need to get over it.

"So I've been trout fishing and played on the Xbox — they're the two great loves of my life."

For the next 24 hours, John was blissfully unaware of his growing fame — until a friend showed him the website set up in his honour.

He said: "I went straight on it and I had the best laugh I've had in years. I'm pleased people have found humour in something so serious."

On Thursday John headed south to Cambridge with his parents Catherine, 68, and Iain, 66, for a cousin's wedding, and has enjoyed the opportunity to lay low.

Now John plans to go back to work as soon as possible — and start claiming his pints at the Holiday Inn.

"I'll treat everyone at work to some drinks but I don't think I'll get through them all," he laughed.

"I'm going to see if I can get the leftover money donated to a charity for soldiers in Iraq. They deserve a pint much more than I do."

He modestly added: "I'm no hero. I know 99.9 per cent of the British public would do exactly the same thing.

"I just hope everything that happened has put the message across that we will not stand for this in Britain."


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I WILL NOT GIVE UP UNTIL I FIND OUT THE TRUTH ABOUT MY SON'S DEATH...
 
Chef David Dempsey died in what seemed to be a tragic accident-but mum Eileen has taken a forensics course to get her own answers
 

IT'S been just over four years since Eileen Dempsey lost her only son, David. The death of the chef - a protege of Gordon Ramsay and a rising star on the restaurant scene - made headlines in May 2003.

The 31-year-old was killed when he apparently plunged from an upmarket block of London flats during a drink and drugs-fuelled frenzy.

From the start, 57-year-old Eileen, from Maryhill, Glasgow, and her daughter Yasmin were convinced the official version of events must have been wrong. The chef was scared of heights, they said; he was anti-drugs and knew his tough boss Ramsay also didn't tolerate drugs, so he wouldn't have touched cocaine.

But after a string of stories highlighting minor offences David had committed while he was still a teenager, and a highprofile inquest that saw Gordon Ramsay take the stand, Eileen stopped speaking out to defend her ambitious son.

In 2004 she wrote an emotional letter to a newspaper, pleading for privacy. She has made little comment since.

Now, a night class in forensics has inspired her to obtain documents from the investigation that followed David's death from the Metropolitan Police.

And the grandmother-of-seven is filled with renewed vigour - she is ready to battle to find out more.

"After four years and an investigation I have more questions now than I did when it happened," she says.

Eileen, a teacher of moral and religious studies at Clydebank High, approached a Glasgow-based charity, the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO), to take up her case and help win a judicial review.

"I do not think his injuries are consistent with what they said happened to him," says Eileen.

"I'm not the type of mother to say my kids were innocent, but when you are a mother, I don't care what anyone says, you always know what your kids are doing. I phoned the police the day after he died.

They said he climbed scaffolding. I thought: 'Uh, huh.' I know David was terrified of heights." According to an inquest, on the evening of Sunday, May 4, 2003, David had met up with a co-worker from Ramsay's central London restaurant, Paul Carroll.

He told Paul he'd taken a bit of "charlie" (cocaine) earlier on. After a couple of drinks David took a taxi home at around 10.15pm, complaining that he felt ill.

But less than an hour later the chef went to Elm Park Gardens, an upmarket block of flats, where he climbed up some scaffolding erected at the back of the building and proceeded to smash his way into a number of flats before climbing out a window and falling to his death.

His irrational behaviour, the inquest was told, was caused by "excited delirium" - a condition that can be triggered by cocaine use. A toxicologist said that David's blood cocaine level of 1.3mg per litre was enough to kill and his death was recorded as accidental.

For Eileen, however, the recorded version of events makes no sense - David was doing well for himself, a man with everything to live for, she says.

"The Easter weekend, just two weeks before his death, David was up in Scotland and he was so laid-back he was horizontal. I have never seen him so calm.

"There was a funeral on the Good Friday for a friend's husband.

"At the funeral I got on at him. I asked him what he was doing down there in London when he had family back in Glasgow, and he told me not to worry - he'd be back soon. He said he was opening his own restaurant and he had financial backers, the lot."

She also dismisses reports that David may have been suicidal after going for a scan, in the wake of an earlier brush with Hodgkin's lymphoma disease - a form of blood cancer.

"He told me at the funeral that the doctor had sent him for a scan and had given him antibiotics, but not to worry.

"On the day before his death he was due to get the results. I phoned him about 1pm and he said: 'It's fine, it's cool.' He said he would speak to me about it later."

She also confides David was intensely private, adding: "That's why I do not see him telling a junior chef Paul Carroll: 'By the way, I've taken some charlie.' Especially knowing the way Gordon Ramsay was about drugs."

Eileen is aware many of her convictions about David's death stem from her personal views and maternal insight. However, her fresh concerns arise from the documents from the Metropolitan police - which, for her, have raised more questions than they answered.

Among the files handed over are witness statements from residents of Elm Park Gardens that appear to conflict with each other, and a report reviewing the police investigation that was carried out after Eileen complained about the way she had been treated.

One of Eileen's biggest worries is there were not enough forensic tests carried out on David's body or at the scene of the accident, especially when it emerged that a witness whose flat David had broken into had thrown a paperweight at the chef - which he said missed - and got into a struggle with David when he tried to frighten him off with a golf club.

EILEEN says: "The pathologist at the inquest said he didn't know David had been threatened with a golf club; he didn't know David had had a paperweight thrown at him. He said if he'd known that he would have handed the case to a forensic pathologist."

The review of the investigation triggered by Eileen's complaints confirms the mother's fears about this, stating: "The pathologist should have been notified of the golf club ... this would have enabled him to consider the option of arranging a 'forensic' post mortem."

So far, these recommendations have not been pursued by police.

Eileen now says she feels "disgusted" at the way she has been treated by the justice system. But the grandmother-turned-sleuth, who is considering writing a book about her experiences, says she won't rest until she finds out the truth.

"Before," she says, "there are things I'd have been hesitant about doing, like questioning authority - but not now.

"I've probably come through this as a stronger person. I mean what else can happen? The worst possible thing has already happened."

TheMetropolitan Police yesterday refused to comment on the case.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed they'd corresponded with Mrs Dempsey, but said they could not investigate as the complaint was made before the Commission was formed.

'When you're a mother, I don't care what anyone says, you know what your kids are doing'


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