24.10.04

Wha's lik' us?



I'm having real trouble getting caught up in the hysteria that seems to have affected the Edinburgh chattering classes this past week. Somehow, and I'm not quite sure how, our collective national identity has been seriously undermined by the sub-standard works of a lazy Oxbridge history don. Apparently, this so-called serious academic, whose name is David Starkey, has insulted all Scots by claiming that Scotland was a small and unimportant country prior to the Treaty of Union with England and Wales in 1707. Controversial opinion or what! Nope, I'm really sorry, but I am unable to contradict Starkey's logic here. In fact, I might even go so far as to agree with him on this point. Scotland was (and still is) a small country, and, in early-modern European terms, it was a largely unimportant country. There is no argument there. Where I do object to Starkey, however, is in his implication that England was the making of Scotland. That I wholly reject. I much prefer to say that during the 18th and 19th centuries, Scotland, England and Wales were the making of Britain. That was when the country industrialised and the Empire expanded to become one on which "the sun never set". Nevertheless, I am not going to get upset at the outdated witterings of an unimportant pseudo-academic, and his views are certainly not a threat to my national identity. I think it is time that the Edinburgh chattering-classes did some growing up, and began to appreciate that our Scottishness is not defined by England or Englishness, just as it is not defined by France or Frenchness, Spain or Spanishness or Ireland or Irishness. Your dad might be bigger, richer and stronger than my dad, but my dad is My Dad. That ought to be enough.

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