CRASS, insensitive to the changed circumstances in Scotland, and downright insulting to those people who claim ancestry in the Highlands and Islands.

The decision by Historic Environment Scotland to continue with the name of the Redcoat Café inside Edinburgh Castle is ludicrously stupid and a gloriously missed opportunity to right a very considerable wrong – and I say that as a strong supporter of Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

Yes I know the café has had the Redcoat name for many years, and I know there’s a Jacobite room in the castle, but that’s what really appals me – those who point to "both sides of the coin" are missing the point entirely.

There is no moral equivalence whatsoever between the Jacobites and the redcoats.

Who were the redcoats?

The Jacobites did not butcher their opponents after victory at Prestonpans, but the redcoats – and yes, many of them were Scots – committed what would now be considered war crimes on the battlefield of Culloden on April 12, 1746 by slaughtering in cold blood their wounded enemies on the direct orders of the British commander the Duke of Cumberland (below).

The National: The Duke of Cumberland, known as "Butcher" after the Battle of Culloden

Not for nothing was he known as Butcher Cumberland, and it was his redcoats who then carried out a campaign of murder, rape and robbery across the Highlands in what was nothing more than an attempt at genocide. 

The brutal suppression of Highland dress and weaponry was carried out by redcoated troops, and left generations scarred at the loss of their culture. 

The red coats of Scottish regiments were worn to signify Scotland’s absorption into the British Empire project, and yes, many Scots made fortunes out of that Empire, but many, many more fell on foreign fields as the Empire crushed its enemies. 

READ MORE: Tom Devine weighs in on Edinburgh Castle's Redcoat Cafe row

That’s what the redcoats signify: The worst excesses of the Hanoverian government in the mid-18th century and the outright devastation of whole countries, entire peoples, in the pursuit of British wealth and "glory".  

'Evolving history'         

There has been a trend for many years for misguided people to reinvent history, and as HES admitted on Monday “the way we interpret history is constantly evolving".

That’s been so true in recent years as politicians and political parties use history to justify their claims, and unfortunately they take advantage of the ignorance of history on the part of entire populations to promote their narrow interests. 

That ignorance is widespread, so I await, for instance, the opening of the Bomber Command wine bar in Dresden, Germany, the Oliver Cromwell (below) pub in Drogheda, Ireland, and the Lee Harvey Oswald diner in Dallas, Texas. And if you don’t see my point then I suggest you get googling.

The National: Oliver Cromwell.

The point about history is that times change and different generations interpret the past according to their mores. Hence the outcry about monuments to those who made fortunes out of slavery

I decry the violence and damage caused by such campaigns, and always say the same thing – make sure people know the history, the facts, about such issues as slavery. 

In the meantime, those who object to the Redcoat Cafe have a simple response to make – no, not firebombs or damage, but just simply don’t go there.