The most prominent - indeed legendary - heretic alive today, is a Scottish Nationalist Republican by the name of Ian Hamilton. His is an act of pure, premeditated sacrilege. Leading an expedition of Scottish nationalist students to Westminster Abbey on Christmas Eve, 1950, his act of ballsy thievery involved swiping the Stone of Scone, the coronation stone, from St. Edward's Chair, the coronation chair. That he broke the ancient stone in two pieces while attempting to escape from the Abbey, amplifies his larceny from a mere "touch of treason" (to use his own autobiographical words), to a crime against humanity's great treasures. Thanks to his perfidy, the Stone of Destiny is now a reconstructed Scottish ruin.
Two images of the Stone of Scone under the seat of King Edward's Chair in Westminster Abbey, the traditional coronation chair of English monarchs since Edward I commissioned it in 1296 to house the historic rock. The Stone of Destiny, the ancient coronation stone of Scottish Kings and Queens, was captured as a spoil of war by King Edward from its Scone, Perth resting place, and brought to Westminster where it sat for 700 years, as a symbol of monarchical power and dominion over Great Britain. The Stone was permanently loaned to Scotland in 1996, and now sits in Edinburgh Castle.
Upon learning this gross betrayal against the King in the dead of the night, the British Government became understandably apoplectic, and ordered a major search for the stone, which turned up some three months later on the altar of Arbroath Abbey, in the safekeeping of the Church of Scotland. In "repatriating" the busted jewel, the adult punks (Mr. Hamilton was 25 years old and a law student at the time - hardly the antics of a prankish juvenile!) had managed to navigate around the police roadblocks, and eventually had it passed to a senior Glasgow politician who arranged for it to be professionally repaired. Once the London police were informed of its whereabouts, the Stone was returned to Westminster, and Hamilton and the others were threatened with prosecution by the Crown.
But alas, no prosecutions were ever made as thousands of Scots took to the streets to demonstrate in their favour. Also, official predictions were that any court proceedings would eventually require ownership of the Stone to be lawfully asserted and proved - potentially embarrassing the Crown, some were inclined to believe. What bosh. (Yes, yes, and while we're at it, maybe we should consider returning Napoleon's cannons to their rightful owner). Apart from Queen Mary, every monarch since Edward Longshanks has been acclaimed, enthroned and annointed on that Stone, including a line of Stuarts who had no doubt about it's hitherto firmly acquired location and ownership.
(Imagine the Italian Mafia sneaking into the Louvre to "repatriate" the Mona Lisa, and in so carrying out said repatriation, inadvertently tearing a gaping hole in Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece as they make their frantic escape.)
The mind boggles at the dark humour and irony of modern justice, a process that repeatedly rewards the culprit over the aggrieved. In a political calculation of monumental stupidity, Michael Forsyth returned the Stone to Edinburgh castle in 1996 (a clearly irritated Duke of York made it quite clear that the Queen was only lending it to Scotland), hoping that this gesture would revive Tory fortunes in Scotland. Forsyth's gesture was in vain and every single Tory lost their seat in the 1997 general election. To add insult to injury, Ian Hamilton was invited to the repatriation ceremony, but refused!
Of course, Labour is just as susceptible to the same silly old game of trying to buy off the nationalist separatist vote to no avail. During the official opening of the newly devolved Scottish Parliament in October 2004, Ian Hamilton was on hand to tell the assembled crowd that "every fibre of my being has been geared towards today and the declaration of a Scottish republic". "Farewell Britannia and advance Scotland." Eat your heart out Tony Blair.
In another era, Ian Hamilton would have lived to the ripe old age of 25, having been either decapitated, drawn and quartered, left to rot in the Tower of London or strung up by his oversized gonads. But this being the 21st century, the popular and otherwise pleasant man of words is having the time of his life as an interesting blogger, watching happily and confidently as his native Scotland creeps ever so deliberately towards full independence:
".. enduring is the thing. Just going on being Scots, and damning the consequences, and damning those in every generation who sell out to go over to the other side. Without bombs, without violence, without hatred, although it is difficult sometimes not to hate the Quislings, we must plod along. The Scottish race was here, under whatever name, long before the English were woad-painted savages. It reached a low ebb in the early twentieth century, but the tide has turned, and the flood now flows.." - Extract from "A Touch of Treason"
"Damning the consequences". Ian Robertson Hamilton, Q.C., wrote the book on damning the consequences. Whether or not he is ultimately rewarded in the process, depends an awful lot on what happens to Destiny.
UPDATE: HE MOCKS US STILL.
The Great Larkster, unrepentent to the end, has visited us in the comments!