I always thought that this was a ringing declaration uttered at the height of some international crisis. On googling, I find that it was just a typing exercise like ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dogs.’
Whatever. A prosaic title but one which fits my purpose. My country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. My nationality is British of Scots origin. Within the next two years, I will be asked to decide whether I want Scotland to leave the Union. The debate will undoubtedly be acrimonious but it will, hopefully, be more informed than the heat and light that is being generated at the moment. Just a few initial thoughts.
Firstly, I am the product of my upbringing. Born an army brat in Hamburg. My early years were spent in West Germany, Singapore, Scotland and England, knowing that I would have to move on in two years to make new friends in new schools when Dad got his next posting. Not a problem but I was always a wee bit of an outsider and an observer as a result. I think that said upbringing may have cursed me for all time with a desire to try to see where the other person is coming from. As some may know, my favourite phrases are ‘in my opinion’ and ‘I could, of course be wrong.’ This could be a worry given what is about to kick off in Scotland.
My second problem is that I am a Scottish Tory and, allegedly, as scarce as a hen’s tooth in Caledonia (stern and wild). This is utter keech. We may not have many political representatives in Scotland but we are still at least 15% of the population and in a Unionist majority when added to Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters. This referendum is for us to lose. We must make sure that we do not.
Thirdly, there is a strong streak of Radicalism in Scotland which I admire but do not share. Doesn’t stop me appreciating it when somebody from that background hits it right on my button. In a post on Boadicea’s site, a visiting associate editor made a comment. Bearsy, quite rightly, drew attention to an apostrophic error. Moving on, I was drawn to her website to see why the ‘Mairi’ was in the Nominative case whilst the ‘bheag’ was Vocative.
Turned out to be total serendipity. Marie Marshall and I will probably never be friends. She is no lover of the Blessed Margaret and (more and worse) she lives in or about Dundee, otherwise known as the armpit of the Universe for anybody from Perth. She is, nonetheless, a very witty writer, in my opinion.
Add incisive. As my first counterblast against the Salmond heresy, I can do no better than quote (selectively) from her post on the death of Jimmy Reid who was a great man, albeit wrong.
‘By the 1970s the unions were arguably too institutionalized, and therefore in a decadent state. But they could still produce people like Jimmy Reid, and still by their constitutions be more of a participatory democracy than the country as a whole. By the 1980s they had been crushed by a grocer’s daughter – I shall not even name her. This was a turning point in the history of Scottish radicalism. As shipyards and mines and factories closed and working-class culture evaporated, there was a gradual shift away from the political left in Scotland and towards the petty separatism of the Scottish National Party. Before these days an ordinary working person from England could journey to Scotland and feel as though he or she was amongst friends, brothers, sisters to a large extent. By the time Mel Gibson, that meddling Australian, had made “Braveheart” any person with a trace of an English accent could expect naked abuse – yes, I have had it happen to me – and kilted, bluefaced Soccer fans could tramp through a station (on the way to a Scotland versus Lithuania match) chanting “We f*cking hate Eng-land, we f*king hate Eng-land, we f*cking hate Eng-land…” ‘
‘Say what you like about the rights and wrongs of the medieval Plantagenet Wars in Scotland, but Wallace was an ethnic cleanser who didn’t care if he slaughtered men, women, or children, and the Declaration was signed by a handful of Norman nobs who promised to fight to the last one hundred Scottish serfs (who had no say in the matter), and a significant number of those signatories were, within about a year, imprisoned for treason against Scotland! But it is from these that people who are ignorant of, say, the Weavers’ Revolt of the early 19c, or of the Battle of George Square just after WW1 when tanks were deployed against protesting working people, now draw their self-image and national myth. To my mind, my ancestral country has lost its way.’
It’s a start and one strand in the strong defence that we Unionists have to build against the torn-faced, wastes of space that are trying to destroy my country. Rotting in Hell is too good for them.
In my opinion.