The following Speech by Alistair McConnachie, Founder and Director of A Force For Good was presented at AFFG's "Dundas Will Stand" event, in St Andrew Sq, Edinburgh, at the foot of the monument to Henry Dundas, on Saturday 20 June 2020, at 12.30pm.
It is our response to the desecration, and advocated destruction, of our British Built Heritage.
We have a Message for the People of this country, our Politicians, and the Protestors, and we end with a positive suggestion moving forward.
There were 40 supporters of AFFG present, and around 150 protestors on the other side of the Square who called themselves "BLM" and who were opposed to the presence of the statue.
WHO WE ARE
My name is Alistair McConnachie, and I am a Founder and a Director of A Force For Good, which is Scotland's premier pro-UK organisation.
WHY WE ARE HERE
And you may ask, why are you involved in this here today? Why are you and your 40 friends here today? And I will tell you why we're here today. And I've put it together in something that will go down in history as "The Dundas Declaration".
We are here because we at A Force For Good see the United Kingdom as much in moral terms, as we do in political terms.
We develop the idea of the United Kingdom as A Force For Good in the world. And so we are always awake to attacks on the country, whether on history, attacks on institutions, or attacks on its people, or our forebears. And we stand by our forebears!
If some misguided people can make people ashamed of our forebears then they can ensure that people will not stand up for them, and they can ensure that the memory of the past is, quite literally, dismantled; in the way that some people want to dismantle the physical structures of our past.
And if they can do this successfully, then they can change the mind and they can change the nature of society.
So we understand the importance of studying our ancestors and getting history correct.
And we do not seek to attack them on the basis of false ideology or on the basis of false history. And goodness me, in the last 2 or 3 weeks, this man at the top of this 150 foot column has been subjected to many unfair smears which we will put right in the course of this afternoon.
OUR PURPOSE TODAY
Our purpose here today is to defend and esteem, and educate around, Henry Dundas.
And by doing so, we will also be seen to live by our words – to stand up for the examples of our Scottish and British history – whether they are monuments, or plaques, or street names or statues or any other representation.
We do this in order to push back against what some are trying to do; to push back against this psychological warfare with knowledge.
By doing so, we give courage to the majority of people in our Great City of Edinburgh, and throughout Scotland and in the United Kingdom who are, today, being hurt by those smears on our country's reputation; and by implication, each one of us, including yourselves.
So we have a 3-point message to the People of Scotland; to the Politicians of Scotland; and to the Protestors – those who perhaps in their innocence, and understandable idealism, would inadvertently destroy our cultural Heritage, and who would remain unaware and ignorant of our precious Inheritance, which we enjoy today.
Let us begin with our Message to the People of Scotland and the United Kingdom...
[You can also view the entire 23-minute Speech on our YouTube Channel here.]
1. OUR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE
This is our Message summarised: Don't Fall for the Guilt Trip!
When someone is trying to "guilt trip" you then they are trying to control you; trying to make you feel guilty for something that you are not needing to feel guilty about.
In this case, people are trying to guilt trip us into accepting their false view of history; trying to make us feel ashamed – not only of our ancestors, but of ourselves – how absurd!
The fact is, that all the young people here today, and all the people throughout our United Kingdom have nothing to "feel guilty" about as far as things like slavery is concerned. Because every race in the world has enslaved every other race. And many are still being terribly enslaved today.
And we in Scotland and in Britain have paid in blood for slavery – and I'll get to that in a moment. And it's certainly the case that the USA has done so with its Civil War.
Furthermore, complaining about things which are patently not true will only increase bitterness and anger – as we often see unfortunately on social media.
What can we do?
It was Alexander Solzhenitsyn who said, "The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie."
When you can see that you are being lied to, you must remove yourself from that lie. You should switch off your television. Refuse to listen to the false debates built upon false premises.
2. OUR MESSAGE TO THE POLITICIANS
We can summarise our message to the Politicians of Scotland and the United Kingdom thusly: Britain is what it is, and what it is Needs No Excuses!
But it seems unfortunately that our politicians on all sides are so afraid of being called nasty names. So afraid, that they may surrender the entire cultural heritage of the United Kingdom – the entire cultural heritage of the past – simply for fear of being called a nasty name.
Well, that's weak, and that's appalling, and it's pathetic, and it has to change!
You know, our politicians in Scotland and in the UK, they need to stand up for this country's moral integrity – the inherent rightness and righteousness – of British society; and they should reject the aggressive lies which constantly imply that somehow the British population is morally wrong on such issues, or that our forebears have been bad.
So let's reject that language that makes the politicians so afraid.
The fact is, we here in the United Kingdom are generally a good and moral people and we need to hear our politicians emphasise that, not kneel literally before their accusers!
These are poisonous accusations being put against the people of this country, and against our forebears. These lies are encouraging vandalism and attacks on the physical expressions of our British history and culture; as well as even worse, on people!
And we say this about us, the men and women the length and breadth of the United Kingdom who have come out to stand up for our precious Inheritance.
We respect our history, we respect our institutions and our ancestors. And We Stand By Our Ancestors.
So do not try to smear us. Do not sit in the safety and sanctity of your ivory tower and cast aspersions against those of us who take action in the real world.
Do not judge us when you are the passive observer, and not the real actor in life!
By all means please call us Statue Protectors, or Culture Defenders, but ideally, how about just calling us normal people who believe in respecting our history and treasuring our Inheritance.
And you, the Politicians, should be grateful for us!
Because it seems here in Scotland, all of our political parties don't care about Scotland's heritage. And to the extent that we hear some of them speak, it seems as if they would like to bin it!
So it is we who are protecting Scotland's heritage!
It is because of the presence of us; it is because of the British patriots who stand up for our heritage that these statues are not being defaced or destroyed here in Scotland.
So we will not be smeared by your nasty terms.
We are doing what the politicians are too afraid to do.
We are standing up for the history of Scotland and Britain.
Another word about language: We see Councils telling us we must quote "confront" our history, as if this is some sort of jury trial that we've already been pulled in front of and need to explain ourselves.
Rather than "confronting" history, we study history, we study it earnestly, and we learn from it wisely, so that we may learn for the future.
So you Politicians: Stand up for the moral integrity of our Scottish and wider British society today, honour those of our past, reject the aggressive lies being put upon the country by misguided people, and stop smearing those of us who are trying to do something about it!
And there's one more thing you can do!
Emphasise the Positive!
Emphasise about how great it is to be young and growing up here in Scotland and in the United Kingdom today.
Let's hear about all the good things about the United Kingdom, because a nation – whether Scotland or Britain – is only a nation to the extent that we remember it as a nation, and assert, on a regular basis, positive matters about it. Otherwise those who want to smear it, cover it up and bury it, will have their way.
And our final message to the Politicians: If you want to do something about slavery, then deal with it right now in the world. As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, that means sorting out proper Border Controls which will catch the illegal immigrants who are trafficking people into this country into forms of serfdom and slavery. Put resources into stopping modern day slavery!
That's our final message to the Politicians.
Stop trying to morally preen yourselves, thinking you'll get kudos from people who don't even understand history. Instead put some real life physical action into stopping modern day serfdom and slavery in this country today.
Our third part is our message to the Protestors.
3. OUR MESSAGE TO THE PROTESTORS
We say to all the young people here today: We are all Blessed to Live in one of the Best Countries in the World.
Don't be beguiled by Pied Pipers, who want to mislead you by telling you false things about history, or focusing on some things, and magnifying them out of all proportion.
Simply open your eyes and look around you.
The UK is a beautiful place to live!
We have the right to peaceful protest.
But above all, it is a safer place, a better place, than just about anywhere else on earth. It offers everyone unlimited opportunity – and it offers that to you regardless of race, colour or creed – regardless of what the race-obsessionists in the Scottish Parliament may try to tell us.
As for so-called "racism", there is no better or safer place to live in the world than the United Kingdom.
So don't be taken in by people who are using the matters of "race" and "slavery" as an excuse, as a crutch for their own anger; and realise that we're living in one of the greatest, safest, places on earth where anyone who really wants to can have a happy and fulfilling life.
Now many of you are hearing what I am saying, and are agreeing with me, and here's what we want to see going forward…
A MONUMENT in SCOTLAND to COMMEMORATE the SAILORS of THE ROYAL NAVY who FOUGHT to FREE the SLAVES
We ask the reasonable Protestors here today, to support A Force For Good's idea which is to establish a monument in Scotland to commemorate and esteem the sailors of the British Royal Navy who from 1807 to the end of the 19th century sacrificed their lives as they patrolled the High Seas to stop the practice of slavery.
According to historian Anthony Sullivan in his book "Britain's War Against the Slave Trade: The Operations of the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron 1807-1867", more than 1,500 Royal Navy sailors died of disease or were killed in action; and they captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.
Today, we should have a way to remember the sailors of the British Royal Navy, who patrolled the oceans and who fought and died to stop the practice of slavery. That is a positive goal to which A Force For Good will continue to campaign. And so why not join us in that constructive goal.