But as I’ve said, there are also people who, whilst they’re very much in favour of crofting reform and improving the position of the crofters, people like John Mackay, people like ... even Alexander Mackenzie, later, Charles Fraser-Mackintosh ... they’re very much opposed to mixing up the crofter case with Ireland, for practical reason as much as an ideological reason in that they feel like public support would be alienated because the Irish are seen in such a negative light at this point, that the crofters are generally seen, if a little docile, as a positive thing for the Empire, either because they’re fighting to defend the Empire or because people like Queen Victoria or Gladstone or Harcourt, the Home Secretary under Gladstone in the early 1880s, they spend their holidays yachting around the Hebrides. And so it’s a little bit more of a shock for these people that the crofters would start revolting. It’s kind of expected of the Irish but it’s not really something they expect from the Highlands of Scotland. So whilst it’s seen that reform might be needed, mixing it up with the Irish is not seen as the way forward and this becomes even more of a problem later in the 1880s.

  • Andrew Newby
Thursday 29th April 2010