The 250th anniversary of the American Revolutionary War “a chance to lift the ban on haggis”
Ending the US ban on haggis and Boston’s transatlantic tea parties were among suggestions made in parliament to mark the 250th anniversary – or half-centenary – of the American Revolutionary War.
The ideas came as a government minister was asked to ‘put on his thinking hat’ ahead of commemorations of the revolutionary conflict that took place from 1775 to 1783 and saw the colonies break away from British rule.
Protests marking the historic insurgency that gave birth to today’s superpower are due to begin in 2025.
Liberal Democrat Lord Purvis of Tweed highlighted the close ties between Scotland and the United States.
On possible gifts to mark the upcoming anniversary, he said: ‘Perhaps the minister could think of a bottle of aged whiskey, which I know the minister and both appreciate, but that’s also an opportunity for America to withdraw its ban on haggis. ”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have two tea parties, in Boston, USA, and in the wonderful city of Boston, Lincolnshire, with the US President attending the second and Prince Charles attending the first?
The traditional Scottish dish has been banned by the United States since 1971 because it contains sheep’s lungs.
In response, Tory frontbencher Lord Sharpe of Epsom said, “I will certainly withdraw the haggis suggestion, although I’m not sure I can make any promises.”
Conservative peer Lord Cormack proposed that suggestions be submitted to the Anglo-American parliamentary group.
He said, “I will submit one now. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have two tea parties, in Boston, USA, and in the wonderful city of Boston, Lincolnshire, with the US President for the second and Prince Charles for the first? »
This was a reference to the 1773 Act of Defiance in which colonists dumped a cargo of British tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxation.
The question of plans for the “half-fiftieth anniversary commemorations” of the American Revolutionary War was raised in Westminster by Labor peer Lord Faulkner of Worcester.
He pointed out that there had been a state visit by the Queen to the United States to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the declaration of independence in 1976, as well as the loan of an original copy of the Magna Carta.
Lord Faulkner said: ‘Would the Minister like to put on his thinking hat and come up with some equally imaginative suggestions for 2026?’
He suggested a joint project to identify and rededicate the graves of British soldiers on Revolutionary War battlefields.
Lord Sharpe said: “I thank him for his question and also for the rare opportunity to use the word ‘half-quincentenary’ in conversation.
“The United States’ planning for the 250th anniversary of independence in 2026 is still in its early stages, so plans are not yet fully formed.
“He makes some very good suggestions that I’ll happily take up, as I particularly like the idea of the battlefield.
“There are no immediate plans for a state visit, but I’m sure it’s something that will be considered.”
Earlier, Lord Sharpe told his peers: ‘The closeness of our relationship today is testament to the work of generations of Americans and Britons over a quarter of a millennium.
“We’ve come a long way since 1776 and the American Revolutionary War, and we look forward to marking and celebrating the success of the modern UK-US partnership in 2026.”
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