[Marxism] the kilt: a tool of working-class enslavement?

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 24 08:49:35 MDT 2008

"After all this [previous examples from Trevor-Roper on myths of Scottish
nationalism], it is hardly a surprise to learn that the kilt and tartan,
too, are not quite the Scottish traditions that they seem. Sad to say, the
kilt was invented by an Englishman, Thomas Rawlinson, who came to Scotland
in the 1720s to manage an ironworks in the Highlands. Rawlinson observed
that while the actual native costume of the Highlanders — the long belted
cloak called the plaid — might have been suitable for rambling over hills
and bogs, it was "a cumbrous, inconvenient habit" for men working at a
furnace. So he hired the tailor of the local army regiment to make something
more "handy and convenient for his workmen" by "separating the skirt from
the plaid and converting into a distinct garment" — the kilt. This symbol of
Highland tradition, as Trevor-Roper notes, was "bestowed ... on the
Highlanders, not in order to preserve their traditional way of life, but to
ease its transformation: to bring them off the heath and into the factory."
As with so many of the tales Trevor-Roper has to tell, the truth may not be
as romantic as the legend, but its irony makes it no less compelling."
Anyone know anything about this?

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