Posts Tagged ‘scotland’

.

The sun is set, but the sky is still awash with the golden glow of her passing. The clouds are inky black and lined silver, just as the old adage goes. The moon appears in disclike wrent of cloud, a sliver of celestial magic framed with a backdrop of cosmic luminescence. Below him, Venus lingers peeking at the night. A mere pinprick of brilliance, a bank of ominous cloud dwarfs as she skims low over the dark spine of the Rhins of Kells. Beneath it all, the lies the quieted glen, smudged by swirling tendrils of mists that shroud the river. The riot of autumn colour cladding the hillsides is muted in the Gloaming, faded to soft browns. The village appears as a brief splash of colour as night creeps over it with dewy fingers. Above it, Bennan hill seems to rise, conical and sinister as Mount Doom, smeared with haze and the mirk of encroaching light.

I wrote this 18months ago, but decided it would be nice to repost it here because the sentiment remains the same.  I get sick of being called anti-English just because I am pro-Scotland.  It really doesn’t follow.

 

england

 

Ok, I’m being blunt here, but it’s true.  If we’ve got two years to settle this Referendum for me this is something I want off my chest and out of the way before we go much farther.

Yes, I am Scottish and do not identify with the word British except as a geographical and historical concept.  I certainly do not choose to conflate it with the word English.  I find many connotations of the historical aspect of the word British abhorrent, in much the way I find the British National Party abhorrent.  The jingoism and the superciliousness I associate with the BNP and the colonial British Empire are things I would not like other people to associate with me.  I apologise if you personally associate with those words in a different way and my stance is offending you, it would be hypocritical of me not to.  Can we choose to understand it as a dispute of linguistics, and not of personal Identity?

Yes, I have voted and will continue to vote for the SNP.  Just because it is simple to switch an S for a B on paper does not make the two parties similar in pretty much anything else.  Weren’t the BNP recently forced to change their party membership rules  because they were blatantly racist?  By contrast, our Nationalist Party have a fundamentally inclusive philosophy in their politics.  It’s Nationalism isn’t about birthright, it’s about living in the country of Scotland.  In fact, if you go have a look at this New Statesman article you will read that:

 

 according to Professor James Mitchell of Strathclyde University, these attacks are odds with the reality of contemporary nationalism. In his recent study, The Scottish National Party: Transition to Power, Mitchell argues that the party’s understanding of national identity is perfectly consistent with the standards of 21st Century liberalism. He writes,the SNP is civic in the sense that its policies are among the most liberal of any party in the United Kingdom on citizenship, emigration and multiculturalism. Additionally, very few of its members would define Scottishness in exclusive ethnic terms. The SNP membership accep! ts a plurality of ways (being Scottish).” In other words, for the majority of SNP members, Scottishness is something an individual chooses, rather than something he or she has foisted on them by birth or through the bloodline.

Yes, I would be willing to call myself a Scottish Nationalist, or perhaps, worse still, a cybernat, but just as the good professor explains above, that doesn’t actually have to make me anti-english at all!  I do what I do because I can see their is an opportunity to be seized upon here, a chance to make things better for Scotland and the folk who live here simply by allowing ourselves the freedom to make all the decisions about Scottish affairs here in Scotland.

And finally, yes, I will be voting Yes in 2014.  This has got nothing to do with wanting to cut Scotland adrift at Hadrian’s Wall so we can physically isolate ourselves from the English.  Actually, if that were possible and we could row Scotland to the Caribbean for better weather, then I’d want to take the English with us too, frankly.  We’re all a bit pasty and lacking in vitamin D here in the British Isles.  Can someone give Ireland a tow too while we’re at it?

Oh, wait, I’ve ticked all the anti-English boxes there, haven’t I? I’ve said Yes, I’m Scottish, not British. Yes, I am an SNP voter.  Yes, I am even an activist  and I will vote Yes in the Referendum. I’ve made my Declaration of Scottishness and declared common ground with the anti-English party.  You may now feel that you can now be at liberty to call me anti-English with impunity,but that really does offend me, because a fundamental part of what I believe in is an all-inclusive society.  In fact, I want the charge of anti-Englishness put to bed now so we can get on to real reasons why we would want to go down this path.

There could be some vision in someone’s head, doubtless, of an SNP conference gathering sounding like something out of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but in the negative.  In this hypothetical head, the cry will be imagined “What have the English ever done for us?” to be followed by some horrendous list of charges of stealing all our oil, our industries and dumping their toxic waste on us. But that’s not reality, sorry.  For starters, nobody in Scotland truly lays the blame for these things at the feet of the English people, we know exactly who is responsible for them.  It’s the Government in Westminster at fault for these things, and I most certainly do not conflate the Westminster Government with the English people.  England is a wonderful country actually, with a fascinating,  parallel, history to our  own, a long history too, with a deep culture and a wonderful language for expressing all of that in.

So, in honour of one great bastion of Englishness, the aformentioned Monty Python, here is my own little list of “Things the English have done for us.”  It’s by no means comprehensive, and it’s largely based on my own tastes, but I hope it proves my point!

 

Pink Floyd

The Beatles

The Sex Pistols

Association Football

Robin Hood

JRR Tolkien

Alan Turing

Tim Banners-Lee

The internal combustion engine

The Micro-chip

James Dyson and the Dyson

The corkscrew

The magnifying glass

Sir Isaac Newton

The small pox vaccine

The first motion picture camera and projector

Stephen Hawking

Comics

Seth Lakeman

Black Sabbath (and Ozzy Osbourne)

Withnail and I

Watership Down and Richard Adams

The Rollling Stones

Richard Dawkins

Richard Attenburgh

Brian Cox

Jackie Morris

Stonehenge

The Swinging Sixties

The Word

Ready Steady Go!

Leicester

Shakespeare

All my English family and friends *hugs*

Stephen Fry

The Mighty Boosh

League of Gentlemen

Blackadder

York

Alastair Crowley

High -Tea and Sandwiches

Romantic Poets and Artists

Siegfried Sassoon

Lewis Carroll

FC Barcelona

 

 

And I could go on, but this is more than enough to start with!  Thank you, England, I love all of these things you’ve given us, but I’m sorry but I still think I’m going to vote yes.  Why? because you gave these things to the whole world, and I just want my wee northern nation to be part of that whole world.  And, I’d like to see you become part of the whole world too, because I think you secretly want to be able to just call all these wonderful things English and be done with it, and I’m entirely behind you on that one.