Scottish folk are a passionately patriotic bunch and some of us have genuine concerns about the preservation of our culture in this ultra-British Brexit environment. Anyone from a Celtic nation would truly feel and understand this.
(edit) The portraits of Charles going up in schools, Westminster parties draped in Union Jacks, demonisation of immigrants, power centralisation, the mocking of Scots language, the abhorrent shift in discourse used by MPs whose standards and compassion for people seem to have dropped off the face of the earth... I feel like we're being steered away into something we're not.
And yet the agenda to paint Scottish politics as one that’s a silly ‘grudge’ or a nonsensical problem exclusive us ‘daft jocks’ soldiers on.
I’m writing today calling this out specifically. Our feelings matter and it’s about time we were given a bit of respect.
I visited a friend in Ireland this summer and we went to a ‘trad’ festival in the village of Feakle. Hadn’t seen ma pal in ages so thought I’d make the trip over, especially for a worthwhile event.
‘Trad’ as in ‘traditional’ – featuring all things Irish and their love for music.
Some of Ireland’s best fiddle players were there. Concertina players. Singers, dancers, story-tellers… and it was absolutely outstanding.
Stood inside a quaint wee pub, absolutely packed to the brim with folk, all surrounding a circle of musicians having a ‘session’ – in other words, hoofing pints of the black water and playing tunes all night.
Would just take one look, a ‘shall we do this one’ and a nod… off they went beltin out this tune for absolute treks. Unbelievable talent.
And as traditional Irish music always does, it raises the spirits of people around them. Everyone’s there having a laugh, enjoying the music, singing and dancing outside. Straight good vibes the whole weekend. So wholesome and an almost palpable sense of love and warmth for their country’s music and culture.
There wasn’t an ounce of arrogance either. People came fae all over and the welcoming bunch that they are were so friendly and genuinely delighted you were there to enjoy everything their way of life had to offer.
Nor was there any of the ‘whit you daein? You’re no from here’ attitude. As if to say naw this is our thing, away back to the UK. Nae aggression whatsoever.
The pal I was with was an Englishman for instance. He lives over there and treated absolutely bless as per.
Aye, few jokes about the historically uncomfortable political relationship between Ireland and Britain… but all in good nature. Like one boy in the lavvy who asked him if he was going to apologise for centuries of oppression, before laughing away and asking where he was from n that.
“You gonna apologise for 500 years of oppression, fella?”
Or another boy that messed with me asking ‘what part of England are you from?’ Knowing fine well he’d get a reaction from the one person wearing a kilt at the festival.
‘Dinnae you start wae that’ is how I replied before having a laugh about it.
This brings me quite nicely to my point - I’ve genuinely got the fear that the question over separating the UK’s political union is being used as a vehicle to drive out Scottish culture.
I had real envy of the Irish that weekend. Jealous they all spoke their native language with every school in the country teaching it. Embarrassed when asked to sing a Scottish folk song and I couldn’t think of any.
Ended up beltin out Caledonia, completely out of tune with the jigs and reels everyone else was singing… granted my mind drew a blank being put on the spot but I found myself gawn through all the Proclaimers tracks in my head, simultaneously hinkin how the f*ck is this all I’ve got man.
Couldn’t even remember the last time I went to a ceilidh, with my first in many years being at that festival. In Ireland.
A few bittersweet moments to say the least. I genuinely felt a sense of sadness at times.
Aye, the countless pints of Guinness probably had the emotions exaggerated in my head at the time but it’s been lingering ever since I got home. People, like myself, sense our Scottishness is deteriorating and we’re being made to feel like fools because of it.
And this all really hit home when columnist Alex Massie was gawn on about how the SNP’s hate for the English is there for everyone to see. He used the word ‘dislike’ in the headline but we all know what he had in his head.
Despite shaudy efforts at justifying the point through describing their backing of Plaid Cymru’s bid to end ties with the Union having nothing to do with the SNP political outlook (ignoring obvious affiliations between the two parties)… it aptly fits a pattern of union-favouring politicians calling discussions over the constitution petty and unreasonable.
So much so, can’t help but think it’s not a coincidence.
While many may disagree with the idea of independence, I genuinely find this line of thinking insulting. This issue is on the political agenda in Scotland because people feel it.
Scots have express their democratic right, they vote and the SNP have been a major force for years now.
That isn’t by accident or manipulation… people have genuinely bought into their message. Whether others like it or not.
A cannae get that journo from Politics Live I mentioned the other week out my head. The one that pure sneered at the Labour politician for the party having association with devolution.
He went: ‘Do you not regret granting them a Parliament? It’s turbo-charged nationalism?’
Eh, naw mate. People have always felt Scotland gets a shaudy deal out of Westminster and that’s why the SNP have dominated for so long. Our voice has always been here, it’s just only now getting the recognition.
More to the point but… having these feelings that I have doesn’t tie you to the hip with the Scottish independence movement. People need to wake up and realise that.
There will be plenty folk out there who want to keep sharing the currency, the postal service and the army with the UK but also feel like British nationalism has gone way too far since Brexit.
An likewise, there will be plenty folk out there voting in favour of independence for reasons surrounding the economy, social justice and the evident democratic deficit between the Scottish vote and what translates into seats in Westminster.
In other words, not for the preservation of Scottish culture.
Just look at Kezia Dugdale, a massive figure in the ‘Better Together’ camp pre 2014, who now openly admits she’d choose a European independent Scotland over Boris’ Brexit Britain – an opinion I’m sure shared by many union-favouring thinkers that are too scared to voice this over political tensions.
So you know who you are when I say this… dinnae even start with this patter that Scottish politics is a just a nonsense and we’re getting worked up over nothing. Our feelings matter and the constitution is an important talking point for us. Nobody should feel ashamed for thinking that.
And dinnae be spoutin nonsense like Scots specifically have a chip on their shoulder and everyone down south is all perfect… I got called a ‘Jock C*nt’ when I was down south just visiting my mum recently, followed by two guys flashing their cash and patronisingly asking if I wanted any money. There’s good and bad everywhere in the world.
The preservation of Scottish culture and traditions is tremendously important. I’ll campaign for this as long as I’m breathing.
That doesn’t make me a looney nationalist. It makes me someone who loves their country.
And too right cos we’re f*ckin class.