John Sullivan 1993

Review: Jeff Fellow, Revolting Scotland


Source: Revolutionary History, Volume 5, no 1, 1993. Prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.


Jeff Fellow, Revolting Scotland, Luath Press, Barr, 1992, pp 127, 5.95

This radical cartoon history attempts to present the real history of Scotland, which has been obscured by kitsch tartan images produced for tourists. The illustrations are well drawn in a bold, simple style. However, the historical content is not up to the standard of the graphics. Like individuals searching for noble forebears, Scots nationalists have to construct an ancestry from the materials at hand. As Scots history, tartans and customs were invented, mainly by Englishmen, to please the tourists, Fallow has a hard job to create a radical myth in opposition to the tacky version peddled by a Scottish arts establishment dominated, so we are told, by English administrators.

The Scottish people are urged to rise, reclaim their revolutionary tradition, and demand... a Scottish Assembly, control of defence policy, and an end to the importation of the cheap tartan goods which are ruining native craft-workers. The problem with trying to restore Scottish life and culture, cleansed of the grotesque tartanry the author describes, is the doubt that anything actually exists beneath the tacky commercialism. Fallow, wisely, does not challenge the myths about the 1745 Rising and highland dress. His alternative culture seems utopian, genteel, and, dare it be said, terribly English.