As Antony Lerman gets into a tither over the publishing of an inventory and engages in a form of public therapy to blame Israel for a decision he agrees with, quarrels continue in Scotland about the ‘rightful’ home of the Lewis Chessmen; currently on partial loan to the Royal Museum in Edinburgh, from the British Museum in London.
Angus Neill, the SNP MP for Lewis is aghast at suggestions from the British Museum that the pieces were carved in Norway and not North-West Scotland, and has bloviated about the need for a Commons debate in order to transfer the full set to a Western Isles museum.
Setting aside for the moment the waning of Lewis’ presence on world trade routes in the 800 hundred years since the pieces were buried (as well as the question of whether they are chessmen), there is the question who owns Norse culture.
Even assuming the pieces were carved in or around Uig Bay, where they were discovered, this territory was part of the Norwegian Crown. So, the answer is clear: the pieces should be returned to their rightful owners.