2014: When Good Councils Go Bad…

| September 24, 2013
Authentic Mediaeval Warfare.. With Sidewinder Missiles.

Authentic Mediaeval Warfare.. With Sidewinder Missiles.












Last week we reported on the problems facing Bannockburn’s 700th anniversary celebrations. Their reenactment event held up as a centerpiece event in the 2014 homecoming year was dealt a blow when they discovered that nearby Stirling was to host Armed Forces Day on the Saturday of the same weekend. This free event attracts around 40,000 visitors and is a major draw for tourists.

The National Trust for Scotland who run Bannockburn and Unique Events who are organizing the Bannockburn Live event are behind the scenes furious but are publicly putting on a brave face.  The logistics of having two massive events happening next door to each other are extremely difficult; notwithstanding the problem of traffic and making sure people can get to the events there is the fact that a historical reenactment of a battle that took place in the middle ages is going to be upstaged by fighter jets and the Red Arrows display team screaming overhead.

Last time out I alluded to the fact that this seemed a bit too much a coincidence; there was a very strong suggestion that Stirling council knew exactly what they were up to and deliberately kept quiet.

Evidence now coming to light not only backs this up but also quite shockingly suggests a sequence of events that led to the cancellation of the 2014 clan gathering.

Lets look at a timeline of events: over 18 months ago the MOD invited applications from cities to host Armed Forces Day 2014, At that time Stirling were just announcing the 2014 gathering, then things went quiet. In October Stirling canned the gathering event claiming ‘budgetary concerns’ as the reason. Two months later the MOD received Stirling’s application to host Armed Forces Day. This application was not thrown together overnight so you can be sure they were working on this at EXACTLY the same time they were throwing the plans for a clan gathering in the trash can, knowing full well they could never manage to organize both.

Just today I have learned that a senior figure in Event Scotland warned Stirling Council not to go for Armed Forces Day as it would clash with Bannockburn. What we now know is that not only did they ignore this advice but they then kept plans under wraps, did not reveal them to the NTS who were running Bannockburn (even when asked directly at planning meetings about potential event clashes) and did not inform the Scottish Government or any other official bodies. This is nothing short of a gleeful and willful attempt to undermine the Homecoming 2014 schedule of events.

Not only that but they passed the responsibility of hosting the clans over to Bannockburn while they were secretly planning to upstage this event.

Just be aware of this, what Stirling Council have done is take what could have been a ‘take two’ of one of the largest and most impressive clan gatherings that has ever happened and thrown it away in favour of scoring political points in the lead up to next year’s referendum. They have mocked the clans, the National Trust, The Government and thanks to dragging Armed Forces Day into a political mire have mocked thousands of brave men and women who put their lives on the line daily by turning what is THEIR day into nothing more than a political rally.

This is not acceptable to any of the above.

What makes this so galling is that they think they have ‘played a blinder’ catching the Scottish government off guard, since any attempt to criticize the hosting of Armed Forces Day can be twisted to be a criticism of the military.

We started this blog way back in October last year. Back then it was going to be a resource for the tens of thousands of visitors who were expected to pile into Scotland to attend what would have been an incredible gathering event and then travel off into the Scottish regions to trace their roots and go to soak up everything else this great country has to offer.

Thanks though to the tortious interference of a town council being controlled by parties in the UK government we don’t have that, we do not have the chance to welcome so much of the world as we would like to and we will not have the benefit of the dollars and euros that these people will spend here. We will have some visitors but not in the numbers we expected and everyone will suffer as a result.

Come to Scotland in 2014, you will love the peace and quiet!

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Category: Stirling

About the Author ()

Rodger is the owner of ScotClans.com. ScotClans is Scotland's largest clan resource funded via website retails sales. 'We are independent and represent the unofficial voice of the clans"

Comments (38)

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  1. Alex Cunningham says:

    My clan will be at Bannockburn and unlike Edinburgh 2009 we will have Scottish based hosts on our tent to welcome our visitors from the diaspora. Bannockburn will be a unique opportunity to proudly show what we Scots can do, all credit to NTS, they have not ignored the Scottish clans and invited American based clan societies to host the tents as happened at Edinburgh in 2009. Armed Forces Day events take place all over the country on the last Saturday in June of every year so I think we can live with the clash of dates.

    • Alex: AFD does take place all over the country BUT every year one city hosts a large scale event, In past years it has been Edinburgh and Nottingham i believe. This one large event has a huge draw with displays and live music etc.

      I’m glad Cunningham will be at Bannockburn. I recall they had issues in 2009.

  2. thomas says:

    hi great work ,…..can u help.. do you know ,who is doing the reenactments or what groups of reenactment are taken part ,as i would like take part as an individual

  3. Andrew says:

    You are prescient. We had a large party coming over, and had planned on a clan tent but with all the nonsense at Stirling, we were growing skeptical. When the gathering was cancelled, then resurrected but watered down, we resigned ourselves to enjoying the reenactment. And so plans were made. We had booked what appeared to be a very nice inn a few miles away because the closer accommodations had all jacked their rates by as much as 10-fold for that weekend. After agreeing to a rate of 135 pounds pp back in the winter, we were informed last week that we had to now pay 270pp “because of demand.” As well, despite repeated attempts to contact Bannockburn to have our group participate in some way, we were ignored. So now, and in light of the political drama, our people from Australia, Canada, the U.S. and Wales have all pulled the plug. My cousin from Ayrshire told me ages ago it would end this way, that there was too much politics in the game, which is why he refused to join us, saying, “I’ll keep the home fires burning for you. It’ll be more than you’ll see at Bannockburn. It’s a bust.” He was right, you were right. I’m sorry, Scotland, but there are thousands more like me who are sorely chafed and disappointed by this whole business.

    • Andrew.

      2014 is a watershed moment in many ways.

      One thing that has come out of all this is that organisations are for the first time speaking to each other. The commercial sector is looking at taking a lead and our friends in the USA, Canada and Australia are working on ways to have a common voice and get involved in future gatherings.

      This is all incredibly encouraging and i see 2014 as a cathartic experience, its been watered down, tampered with and in some cases hijacked but everyone is a little bit wiser. Rest assured it will not happen again.

      • Andrew says:

        I hope not. This was a real opportunity squandered. My four- and seven-year-olds are inconsolable. They really wanted to see me chase some English back over the border.

    • McLean says:

      That story makes me both sad and very angry.

      This is the politics of the Scottish Labour party and their councillors determined in anyway to frustrate Scotland’s claim to Independence.

      The people of Scotland do not care for another Military display of the British Empire, we prefer to this imperialistic jingoism in the South where it belongs.

      We have a right to celebrate our own nation state with our far flung relatives.

      Rodger is 100% correct. Deliberate and aggressive strategy by the establishment, engineered through Westminster.

      But their victory will be pyrrhic. People see this for what it is.

      Alba gu brath

    • Melanie McKellar says:

      Andrew, that is deplorable – that a hotel can double the cost of your accomodation because of demand! Surely you had an agreement and therefore a contract with them?
      NAME & SHAME

  4. jim says:

    makes you wonder if Scotland could rule the country if it can’t decently run a couple of public events!

    • Nick Jardine says:

      Well Jim, there’s an insightful comment.

      Seems to me that the event has been sabotaged by the Tory/Labour Stirling Council – nothing to do with the Scottish Government or the country as a whole.

      It’s seems a deliberate plot from London based politicians and political parties to try and sabotage a historic and important Scottish event in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum.

    • Have no fear Jim we Scots have been providing leaders and managers to business all over the world. This cynical game being played by Stirling council shows how little the Westminster based political parties care about Scotland’s heritage. Armed forces day just serves to remind me of the decimation of the many proud Scottish regiments culled to provide money for weapons of mass destruction.

    • McLean says:


    • jdman says:

      so you think the Scottish government should just magic up a few thousand more hotel rooms just like that?

  5. Thormod Morrisson says:

    This is no less than the sordid cheap shot decision of a unionist council to scupper what promised to be a great international Scottish event out of sheer political prejudice. In so doing they have probably ruined both events by splitting potential numbers of people visiting each. A classic case of economically cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face and a political low blow on the level of a rat’s behind.

  6. Bruce Little says:

    Is it even worthwhile me spending a great deal to travel from Australia for the Bannockburn celebrations which are sounding like a fizzer? I have booked accommodation in Stirling, book a ticket to the celebration, paid airfares, etc. and now feel really let down. Stirling Council seems to be the culprit!

  7. The top military brass {and MOD} are usually right wing leaning, conservative, politicised and drummed in to be ‘loyal’ to the King/Queen – of England! {THEY know what’s best for you! Why they think they are best to be running countries, and often do}. Shame on the snivilling Stirling Council for being so underhand and sneaky – and same for the rag of the Pommie conservatives, The Scotsman. I’m not worried about being seen as anti-military {what crap} and what a cynical, spoiling dump on the Nationl Trust Scotland and Historic Scotland and the legacy of all Scotsman – MOD AND STIRLING COUNCIL’S GATE CRASHING OF WHAT IS A **ONCE IN A CENTURY!!**, NATIONAL, ALSO A GENUINE “MILITARY” CELEBRATION – MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT AND IMPORTANT THAN THEIR ANNUAL EVENT OF NO SPECIAL HISTORICAL OR SPECIFIC NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE. {contra? – will it draw in many extra patrons to Bannockburn?} ****NB **** HOWEVER, the High Council of Clan Donald Tour of 2014 will attend the 3 day Bannockburn event on the SUNDAY 29th – the Armed Forces day is the SATURDAY 28th. **** NB***

  8. Chas Mac Donald says:

    Rodger, you know my feelings on this! I find myself back in a maelstrom of fury at the entire shennanigans. If only we could raise Atlantis, we’d have somewhere appropriate to ship the lot if them iff to. It’s nothing but an utter embarrassment for Scotland.

    Andrew. I’m frankly gutted at your experience. Furthermore, I’d like to know who that inn was that doubled your prices overnight. That’s just appalling. I can honestly say, I’m embarrassed to be Scottish in the midst of all of this. Not only has an opportunity been missed to do some good trade (unfortunately more important to some folks than it should be), but also an opportunity to confirm our credentials as a welcoming nation.

    Come to Lochaber in late July. We have very deep lochs for dunking miscreants in!

  9. Andrew says:

    I too am disappointed. Our little family of four alone would have dropped more than $7,000 into the Scottish economy with our week-long trip. All the other people from the U.S., Wales and Australia in our gang would have added thousands more, and that doesn’t include the whisky! I am the president of a Canadian clan association and was trying to get as many of us there as we could and had even approached our chief about a tent. It’s all gone to pieces with this nonsense. Initially, we had contacted the King Robert hotel. The normal rate for a family of four like mine is 109 pounds B&B. For the two nights of the Bannockburn weekend, it was 800 pounds, which is $1,325 in my money. So I looked elsewhere. 21 km away, in fact. I was quoted 139 pounds B&B for the four of us and told we had until January to pay a deposit. Then last week I was told it had gone to 270 due to demand and please leave your deposit now, oh, and there’s now a three-night minimum. As my dad used to say, “gi’ stuffed.” PM me if you really want the name of the establishment (which appears really very nice, BTW).

    • Andrew ive just been having a look at hotel prices in the area. for a double room in the King Robert hotel Bannockburn that weekend its £400. The same hotel two months later middle of high season is £240. However from looking at the online booking sites some of the budget chain hotels ‘holiday in, premiere inn etc’ are actually cheaper that weekend, no price hikes.

      Top tip seems to be go for the very small b&bs who dont seem to have hiked up prices or go for the big budget chains but stay away from large independents.

      • Andrew says:

        Yes, it was 400 pounds a night, as I say, so I went elsewhere. Found a small independent lovely inn 21 km from Stirling. And then they bumped the price. Heads would roll if that happened here. We call it gouging.

  10. Magnus Orr says:

    Dear Rodger,

    Your site provides a great resource for people visiting Scotland in 2014. However, having organised a number of large outdoor events including the Millennium Piping Festival, The Tartan Day Parade in New York and Pipefest 2005 – I would disagree with your article.

    I attended the Armed Forces Day in Edinburgh – I remember, my son was born on the same day! – I would estimate the event attracted a family audience of around 10-15,000. Scotland can cater for much larger crowds – 85,000 T-in-the-Park, 72,000 at Murrayfield and an expected 250,000 visitors at the Ryder Cup. Stirling is ideally placed in the centre of Scotland to attract visitors from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and surrounding areas.

    It is fantastic that there will be a great buzz in Stirling – this will all add to a positive atmosphere. This year the Edinburgh Fringe attracted one of its largest audiences – nobody complained about the number of people – rather enjoyed the atmosphere. As an event organiser this is what we all strive to achieve!

    Lets get ready to give all visitors a huge welcome in 2014.


  11. McLean says:


    Is there a place that everyone, home and abroad can write a letter of complaint?

    Strongest possible language.

    It should make it clear that it blames Labour and Tory councils and will deprive these parties of a vote.

  12. H Scott says:

    Scotland is a small country and Stirling is pretty much at the centre of it. The accommodation options are therefore a lot more than what can be got in the Stirling area itself.

  13. Linda Urquhart Allan says:

    Definitely a conspiracy. The MOD should stop being a tool of Unionist propaganda.They should delay or find an alternative date or site for the Armed Forces day parade, so as not to conflict with the Bannockburn celebrations.The Armed forces parade is not a celebration of our military forces but yet another London government based propaganda event.

  14. Andrew Morton says:

    The answer is simple. The National Trust must try to ensure that as many people as possible go to Bannockburn and that as few people as possible line up for Armed Forces Day. That’s a shame for the soldiers who will be parading but Stirling Council are responsible.

    • I dont think its fair that the men and women of the armed forces should be put out and have their day tarnished. There is a paper trail of blame and its pretty clear where it leads; UK sec of defence Phil Hammond’s office. Stirling have been complicit in what clearly appears to have been a cheap stunt. The heads of the unholy coalition should be on spikes along with s roasting for Hammond. he can be contacted at hammondp@parliament.uk

  15. Wullie Pullar says:

    To those who don’t see what the problem is with this cheap unionist stunt. Stirling is a small city with limited accommodation and infrastructure. The Bannockburn event will draw 15-20, 000 visitors per day and the national Armed Forces Day will draw up to 70, 000 visitors. Its not rocket science to work out that by holding both events at the same time; all accomodation will be sold out at two or three times the normal rate, the roads in and around Stirling will all be gridlocked, public transport to and from the event will be full to capacity. In short Stirling will grind to a halt.

    Stirling Labour/Tory councillors, the MOD and the UK government have shown a tremendous lack of respect for our Scottish history and culture by hijacking what is, a once in 700 year anniversary, in order to undermine the independence movement with its grotesque display of military might. There are plans afoot to allow the Red Arrows to fly over Stirling the very day a historical reenactment of the Battle of Bannickburn takes place.

    At least people can now see the union for what it is..

  16. Callum says:

    I live in Stirling – obviously, we welcome all visitors to Stirling and we’ll promise to show you a good time when you’re here!

    Stirling Council Labour and Conservative groups formed an unholy alliance based on their shared “unionist” political leanings (i.e. they do not believe Scotland should be a country) even though their political beliefs are at each end of the spectrum.

    They would do ANYTHING to ensure that nationalist (i.e. those who believe Scotland should stand on her own two feet and be proud to be a nation) values are undermined.

    2014 is also the year of the referendum; so we are seeing huge political shenanigans here in Scotland. The state broadcaster has endless programmes on TV about “why the UK is great” etc and hugely biased against Scotland.

    I would ask, nay, plead all of our Scots cousins to come home – One question being asked here in Scotland is that we don’t exactly see New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA queuing up to re-join the union – so why can’t Scotland be a nation again – but remain great friends and trading partners with the other UK and commonwealth countries?

  17. Billy Connor says:

    I will be travelling from North Fife for the Banockburn event…it only takes an hour..if Stirling is to expensive get a hotel anywhere if Fife/Edinburgh, the distance to Stirling is not prohibitive.

  18. Alan J. says:

    I’m tempted to rent my 2 bed flat for £1 per day and stay with a friend for the duration for the benefit of visitors. This would be more like the required welcome to visitors for such an event. AFD can take the back seat. Any visitor may enjoy the 9 mile walk to Bannockburn.

  19. Andy MacPherson says:


    Now that you know for you and countless others, the worldwide 2014 celebrations have been ruined by the lying and unionist Tory/Labour administration at Stirling Council – what are you going to do about it?

    Combine that with this: http://wingsoverscotland.com/without-honour-in-their-land/

    and you can see what their agenda us.

    I call on all sons and daughters of Scotland to destroy the Tory/Labour administration at Stirling Council (by peaceful means).

    They are not fit to hold office.

    Doing nothing is admitting liars and corrupt politicians have won. So I urge you all to bombard them with emails, letters, use cultural connections, friends in high places, tell all your family and contact government ministers.

    End the misery this unholy alliance is causing the people of Stirling and Scotland.


  20. Betti says:

    And tonight (Thursday 10.10.2013) Stirling Council are discussing the flying of the union jack instead of the Saltire above Council offices, further proof of their lack of real interest in Scotland’s Bannockburn Celebrations. This is in addition to discussing all the services Stirling Council plan to cut and put out to private companies as that is ‘cheaper’ than the already bullied and downtrodden Council employees continuing doing their jobs. FOIs recommended for all of Stirling Council’s spending on all the office moves as well as the ‘interesting’ background of the new deputy chief executive and where the money is coming from to pay for all the extra preschool childcare. Even more interestingly the chief executive trained as an accountant so how come he hasn’t been able to balance the books in all the years he’s been in Stirling, but then he doesn’t live in Stirling does he, so what does he care that my brown bin don’t get emptied at the time of year I’m busiest filling it!

  21. dennis mclaughlin says:

    Watched how the ‘representatives’ from Stirling District Council squirmed and weaseled their way through questions from the Scottish Parliament.
    They and their Tory bumchums tried to scupper the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn for their own shortsighted political aims.
    I’m sure the Scottish public and friends from overseas will make the best of what is on display an unforgettable occasion despite those ‘dark forces’ Lord Robertson is so fond of mentioning :)…
    2016 should be a good year to look forward to when we here in Scotland regain our sovereignty and start building the Scotland our children will be proud to call home.
    Alba gu Brath indeed !.