The Canons' Gait pub, until Thursday best known as the home of some of the finest accoustic and traditional music available in Edinburgh, was not always known as the Canons' Gait.
Its previous incarnation commemorated The Blue Blanket, the ancient banner run through the streets of Edinburgh to rally the citizenry in defence of their King, their Country and their Own Rights whenever any of these were assailed. By tradition, it was also flown from the walls of Jerusalem by a corps of Edinburgh crusaders during the First Crusade in 1099. The silken version of the banner was granted by James III in 1482 to the Hammermen (blacksmiths) of Edinburgh by a grateful King after they freed him from Edinburgh Castle where he had been imprisoned by 2 of his uncles and the uppity nobility.
The Edinburgh Mob has a long and fearsome history. So much so that on 5th April 1603 James VI gey near keiched his breeks on seeing the assembled crowd in the Canongate as he set off to inherit the Crown of England, but was pleasantly surprised to be cheered to the rafters. The Mob had seemingly been in douce retirement for 300 years since the riots following the sale of Scotland by a Parcel o' Rogues for personal profit by the Act of Union in 1707 (save a wee outing to lynch an over-zealous Captain of the Guard on 14 April 1736). The Edinburgh Mob came out of retirement on Thursday 16th May 2013 and, though Thursday's demonstrators would still have been in their perambulators when the pub's identity changed, I like to think that they rallied to The Blue Blanket honouring the ancient tradition.
The threat to our ancient Rights came when Nigel Farage MEP, in typical condescending Little Englander fashion, thought it would be a good idea to hold an impromptu pub press launch for his party's bid for the North East Scottish Parliamentary by-election in a pub on Edinburgh's Royal Mile rather than a pub in Aberdeen. Presumably the Head Honcho of the Little Englanders thought any part of Scotlandshire would do (they're all the same aren't they?). However, could you imagine him even contemplating launching a bid for a seat in Leeds from Birmingham?
Having suffered innumerable, fawning column inches over the previous week since the "Fruitcakes, Loonies and Closet Racists" became "respectable" in the Prime-Minister's eyes by taking @ 23% of the votes in the English local elections, it took the youngsters of the Radical Independence Campaign to challenge Farage and provoke UKIP into exposing themselves for what they really are:
The Canons' Gait returned to its more usual clientele last night for The World's Room / Seòmar an t-Saoghail traditional singing night and Steve Byrne of Malinky fame revived yet another old tradition with an excellent, ex-tempore Broadside Ballad about Thursday's shenanigans.
Update 19/05/13: We now have a recording of the premiere of Steve Byrne's Lament on the predicament of the Member of the European Parliament for South East England from Friday night at the very same Canons' Gait bar.
Aside from the odious nature of UKIP, on returning home I found a report on Facebook from a GP friend who is wont to work up in Wick from time to time which perhaps illustrates why they'll gain no traction in Scotland:
Back in "terra firma" so to speak. There was a big police raid in Wick this week with 12 illegal immigrants arrested. 10 were Indian 2 Chinese. The Chinese restaurant is now closed and the two Indian restaurants just about closed.
Scotland needs immigration. Telling an Englishman who lives in England to "Go home to England" is not a racist gibe - had he been an Englishman domiciled in Scotland then it would have been racist.
UKIP may well be irrelevant in Scotland, but while the union persists it is not irrelevant to Scotland. I salute the RIC's reincarnation of the Edinburgh Mob and their dutiful rallying to The Blue Blanket.
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