July 12, 2008

The Elgin Marbles issue exposes the SNP’s duplicity

Posted at 7:56 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

John Huntley’s letter last week has prompted this response, highlighting the differences in the approach of the Scottish National Party between cases where they can gain politically (such as the Lewis Chessmen) & cases where they believe that supporting it will not help drive their nationalist agenda (sch as the Elgin Marbles). This is a clear case of politics over-riding any moral or factual reasoning that might lie behind either of the cases.

The Scotsman

Marbles expose SNP
Saturday, 12th July 2008

John A K Huntley’s thought provoking Alternative Take (8 July) on the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles exposes Alex Salmond’s government for what it is in relation to Scotland’s supposed influence and power for good in the world.

It is quite clear that where there is political capital to be had from talking up all things Scottish, SNP government ministers will assume the moral high ground and pontificate relentlessly to those who might listen. However, suggest a situation where an eminent Scottish personality might be deemed to have acted beyond the pale, and the SNP doesn’t want to know. Even where the outcome (however unlikely) could have resulted in the repatriation to Athens of artefacts held in a British Institution.

Compare their reaction to Mr Huntley with the debates surrounding the Lewis Chessmen or the Stone of Destiny (neither of which were “stolen” from their original locations) and one can only marvel at the SNP’s political gymnastics.

Baird Terrace

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1 Comment »

  1. Tom Minogue said,

    07.17.08 at 6:15 pm

    Please find full text of a message, the edited form of which was published in the Scotsman:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Tom Minogue
    To: letters_ts@ scotsman.com
    Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 10:06 AM
    Subject: Elgin cheated at marbles.

    Sir, I do not agree with Bill Goodall (letters 11 July) that the lack of action by the Scottish National Party on the repatriation of the Elgin Marbles exposes a hypocrisy that is unique to the SNP, when compared to the strong political stance taken by them on the Lewis Chessmen and the Stone of Destiny.

    The SNP government is after all made up of politicians. Politicians tend to act out of their instinct for self-preservation, and their prime concerns usually reflect those things popular with their electorate.

    Though only a rough old piece of sandstone the Stone of Destiny was of great emotional value and totemic to a large number of the people of Scotland—especially as it was stolen by Englishmen—and as such was an important issue with the Scottish electorate.

    The beautiful Parthenon Marbles are works of art crafted from white pentelic marble which were also stolen—by a Scotsman—and are every bit as dear to the heart of the people of Greece as our coronation stone is to us, but their return won’t win votes.

    Those of us in the UK who sympathise with the Greek’s plight and believe Elgin cheated at marbles can and should do something about this injustice in our name. In this regard, in 2004 I complained to the Commissioner for Standards of the Westminster Parliament and Fife Constabulary to the effect that because Elgin did not have the proper authority to remove the marbles and lied to parliament in 1816 with regard to this, the government had purchased stolen goods and the British Museum was in receipt of this swag. My allegations of criminality had no success.

    Mr Goodall’s letter will spur me on to renew my efforts in having this criminality punished and I will, as a matter of priority, lobby afresh the new Commissioner for Standards at Westminster and the new Chief Constable of Fife.

    However, contacting my MP, MSP or MEP will be my second priority as the return of the Parthenon Marbles and other booty taken by Elgin is hardly a vote-winner, or loser, and with no elections imminent our politicians (of all parties) are unlikely to take much notice of any complaint that I might make, but it is worth doing nonetheless, simply because it is right.

    Yours, Tom Minogue, 94 Victoria Terrace, Dunfermline, Fife, KY12 0LU. Tel: 01383 729869

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