The Angry Corrie 11: Feb-Mar 1993
Far be it from TAC to jump on the bandwagon after bolting the stable door. Nevertheless, the gutting of Windsor Castle by one of Princess Margaret's careless discarded douts has been causing us to muse on the subject of our National Heritage.
The outcry against the public paying for the refurbishment of the castle must have a lot to do with the fact that the stuff to have gone up in smoke is a whole lot of old rugs, wooden panels and pictures of rich dead people. In fact no one apart from Lord St John of Fawningsley could care less about it, far less want to spend £50M restoring it. Sadly, our National Heritage is defined on our behalf not by Paul Morley, Sarah "Brains" Dunant and Glen Michael, who might come up with some sense, but by a self- selected bunch of old chums with a restricted pool of chromosomes. They pump vast sums of public money into the twitching corpse of opera without so much as a by your leave. Perhaps it was vindicated by the title sequence for Italia '90 when Cruyff's famous backheeler and Pele's layoff to Carlos Alberto were played out to the anthemic strains of the now disgraced fat Pav. Or perhaps not.
The real heritage of Scotland is of course comprised of stuff never dreamed of by Lord St John. Big Tam's 20 yarder and the outstretched arms of the Inter keeper; the heroic tilting at windmills of Archie Gemmill and Davie Narey; Billy Connolly on Marching through the Heather; all evoking more in the Scottish breast than all the queen's horses, paintings, or men.
For heritage must imply access. The nation can't inherit stuff that only the queue and Anthony Blunt get to see. The Spanish Inquisition sketch, a trip to Firhill, the works of Richmal Crompton, Bill Forsyth and Michael Marra are available to us all for a few quid. A stroll up the Cobbler costs us nowt. Ironic, then, that the French Polishers and painting restorers are tooling up to restore Windsor Castle out of the public purse, while Scottish National Heritage appears to be a toothless ptarmigan having no remit to take on the inheritors of power and land who sit in with Lord St John on the red benches and decide who really inherits what.