0ctavias0fferings is my selling handle (the 'o's are zeros) and you'll find me under that name on both Squidoo and Zazzle. Also on Zazzle with IndependenceX, check it out if you love Scottish independence.
I'm a Scottish Grandmother, living the quiet life in the Cairngorm National Park area of the Scottish Highlands.
I've been here on Tumblr for a while now and I still keep saying 'I must blog more'.
So, I hear Dodgy Dave wants to stick his nose into the Scottish Independence Referendum debates again and he’s going to concentrate on “Britishness”. Well done, Dave, that’ll be a winner … aye, right.
First of all, what is “Britishness”? The Scots, Irish (from both sides of the Irish border), Welsh and English all live in what is known as the British Isles. As it happens, many people who might consider themselves to be of a different ethnic origin also live in the British Isles and have done so for generations.
In the sense that we all share these islands as our home, we are all British, including the inhabitants of Eire (the larger part of the island which lies west of England) which has been an independent nation for many years now. I bet they don’t really think of themselves as particularly “British”.
It’s going to be interesting to see what Dave comes up with to try and persuade us, the Scots, to remain in the UK on the basis of “Britishness”.
The culture and heritage of each of the component countries in the British Isles is quite different one from another. For example, while England was conquered and ruled over by the Romans, Scotland remained wild and free, we do not have the same heritage at all.
You could choose many aspects of our history, from which our culture has arisen, and you would find great differences between England, which is the largest of the countries making up the British Isles, and Scotland, Wales, Ireland.
But you don’t have to delve into the history of the British Isles in the last two millennia to see the differences which exist even today. In my own childhood I had the misfortune to move house from Scotland to England and the cultural differences, even though I was only 7 years old, were stark.
I had been doing a project in school in Elgin on the subject of Mary Queen of Scots, a personal heroine, but when I took my schoolwork to the new English school I attended the work was rubbished. Apparently Mary wasn’t the amazing historical person I knew and loved, oh my goodness, no, she was a very bad person executed by the magnificent Elizabeth, Queen of England.
In a way, I am ever grateful for that episode, though it shocked me at the time, because it was an early introduction to a simple fact: when two countries write about the same historical event, they will not view it in the same way but each will tell the story from their own standpoint. A liberator on one side of a border can be an oppressor on the other, or one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It’s an understanding which has always served me well.
In the mid to late 1950s there was a remarkable amount of ignorance around. Sweeping statement, I know, but you must remember this was in the era before the internet which allows every man, woman and child access to as much information as they would like. I know there are still plenty of people who ignore that simple fact but, in any case, the world wide web didn’t exist and the lives of most folk were much more insular.
Even television was a new thing then and very few people had one in their house. Private telephones weren’t common. A refrigerator or washing machine was a distant dream for most housewives. The World for most people revolved around the place they lived. Even so, at the age of seven I discovered that some English people thought Scotland was a town. This may explain why it was so common for someone hearing a Scottish accent to invariably enquire “You’re from Scotland? Do you know (insert name here) she / he lives in Scotland”
But there was another difference I knew from living in England for a couple of my childhood years. I had never been called a “Jock” before but it was crystal clear it was an insult. I was also left in no doubt that my Scottish accent was hilariously funny and marked me out as a lesser species, a second class citizen. This was racism in England in the 1950s, racism against those born and bred in the British Isles (ask any Paddy, Jock or Taff). Just at a time when an influx of people from the “Colonies” were moving to England.
As a child with a Scottish accent there were no real role models in England. If you didn’t speak the “Queen’s English” you didn’t get anywhere in life, learn to speak with marbles in your mouth and you might have a respectable future but a regional accent was out of the question, it meant you were common. So I learned to lose my Scottishness, or as it was described in England “Scotchness”.
These weren’t the only lessons I learned in England but they have stuck with me in the decades since and it still rankles.
I can guarantee that what Dodgy Dave thinks of as “Britishness” does not include any aspect of Welshness, Irishness, Scottishness, nor even Geordieness, Cornishness or any other kind of ness. Dodgy Dave’s idea of “Britishness” is almost guaranteed to be a very exclusive kind of upper-class South-East-of-Englishness. It’s just not cricket, Dave, you need to get with the programme.
So go for it, Dave, do your worst and let’s all see how out of touch you really are with reality. Give us all a great big laugh at your expense because “Britishness” simply doesn’t exist and, regardless of what you may believe, Dave, an independent Scotland, just like the Republic of Ireland, will still be part of the British Isles and therefore by default can be described as “British”.
Perhaps we’ll get as big a laugh as we did this week when one part of UKgov decided to tell us they might annexe Faslane if Scotland votes for independence, in order to retain somewhere to park their nukes, only to be swiftly ruled out of order by another part of UKgov as a ludicrous idea. What was ludicrous was the announcement of that scaremongering threat to annexe (yet another) part of Scotland’s territory on the same day that darling Alistair was trying to tell us the positive case for the union … we’re still looking for that. Could it be there isn’t one?
So come on down, Dave, waltz into the discussion with your upper-class marbles in your mouth and tell us all how much better off we would be if only we would surrender all our rights to the ruling elite residing in the South East (of England). After all, as I learned at seven years of age, you’re so far superior to us that we should be grateful you take the time to save us from actually thinking about our own best interests.
Alternatively you could simply keep your worthless, privileged, Tory opinions to yourself and let us Scots get on with our business our way.
We’ll let you know in due course what we’ve decided and then you can hand us back the large area of Scottish waters annexed by England under Tony Blair – just one of a modern day parcel of rogues. The settlement we’ll see about when the time comes then you, or a subsequent PM, will have the job of explaining to the rest of the UK how you’ve got rid of a bunch of subsidy junkies but because they took their oil and gas, their renewable energy, their food and beverage exports and so many other things which belong to the Scottish people, England is going to be so much worse off.
What happens when our revenues don’t flow through Westminster’s coffers any more? Scots will be better off, that’s what happens. Scots can decide our own priorities for spending our own National Income – think of the fortune we will save by not contributing to nuclear weapons and think of the hospitals, schools, public housing etc etc that all those squillions of wasted money could benefit.
Sorry, Dave, but it’s a no-brainer. If you want a better future for Scotland and the Scots there is only one way and that is to vote for independence in September 2014.
As a footnote, I find it interesting that the integral spellchecker on my machine recognises Englishness but not Welshness, Scottishness, Irishness or even “Britishness”. There’s something very telling about that.