Unionist politicians feel the need to preface their every statement with “I’m a proud Scot …” possibly because they realise that what’s about to follow demonstrates no real pride at all. It’s what psychologists call a compensation strategy. I could quote Wikipedia’s entry on the topic, but Wikipedia is a by-word for inaccuracy, at least amongst people who’ve never seen a BetterTogether press release.
A compensation strategy is what happens when major failures are covered up by seeking gratification in another achievement, real or imaginary. Like prattling on about how the UK “punches above its weight, and Scotland’s a part of that” while ignoring annoying wee facts like the UK being one of the most unequal states in Europe and inequality is projected to get worse. The growing numbers of people in poverty in Scotland, and in the UK as a whole, are not punching above their weight. They’re being punched in the groin.
But what makes Unionist proud Scottery a behaviour in need of psychotheraputic remedy is that the claims made on Scotland’s behalf usually fall into the “imaginary” category.
Saying that Scotland achieves a higher international stature due to its membership of the UK is frankly delusional, as anyone who has ever lived in furren pairts and learned the language can testify. Due to the economic policies of successive UK governments, Scotland probably has a larger population of furren dwelling furren speaking exiles than most. So it’s doubly delusional to think that they’re not going to tell folk back home. Especially after they’ve got home.
The Dug used to live in hot and dry Spain before discovering the joys of muddy puddles in Glesga pairks. In Spanish speaking furren pairts the colloquial term for the UK is Inglaterra and its inhabitants are los ingleses.
Ah but, the more pedantic minded Unionista might say, the proper Spanish word is británico. And if they mean “proper” as in “a word considered formal and literary and not widely current in colloquial speech, where it is in any case understood as a synonym for inglés” then they’d be correct. Because I can do pedantry too.
On the other hand, the colloquial term for “my Scottish friend”, frequently heard when your Spanish speaking friends introduce you to other Spanish speaking people, is mi amigo escocés-no-le-llames-inglés-porque-le-cabrea. [my Scottish-don’t-call-him-English-because-it-pisses-him-off friend] Very expressive language is Spanish.
So it’s the ejercito inglés that is fighting in Afghanistan, it’s Inglaterra that’s falling out with everyone else in Brussels, it’s la reina inglesa who’s got her face on stamps, Davie Cameron is the head of el gobierno inglés, and a certain former secretary general of NATO was a político inglés.
Can you spot a wee theme here?
Scotland does not “punch above its weight” in the international sphere, Scotland isn’t even in the game – not even as good natured losers who got put out in the qualifiers. The moral of this story is, if you want an international presence, you actually have to be an independent nation first.
It’s true that in recent years, people in Spanish speaking countries have become far more aware of Escocia and los escoceses. But that’s only because they know we are thinking about independencia, and we’re giving the Catalans, Basques and Galicians ideas. They’re following our debate very closely indeed. And we are giving them ideas.
There’s almost as much coverage of the Scottish debate in the Spanish language media in Spain as there is in the UK media. Unfortunately it’s of much the same quality, but you can’t have everything. The Catalan language media is a whole lot better.
If just the possibility that Scotland could soon become an independent state is enough to create a very real Scottish influence in the wider world, just imagine what we could do if we really were an independent state. Sadly, Unionist politicians lack that imagination.
A case in point is George Robertson, the former secretary general of NATO who used to be a político inglés, who when appearing at an independence debate at Abertay University gave a long speil about what a proud Scot he was, before going on to tell the students that Scotland didn’t really require independence, because we have no distinctive culture or language. Aye right. Gaun dook fur chips ya muppet, agus pòg mo thòn while ye’re at it.
When Georgie and other soi-disant “proud Scots” are not being proud of imaginary things or confusing their own careers with the awareness of people in other countries of the existence of Scotland, they’re invariably expressing pride in the achievements of those who are long dead. It’s dead easy to be proud of the achievements of dead people. They’ve already done the hard work, so all that needs to be done is to mouth some platitudes while basking in the reflected glory.
But the best thing about being proud of dead people is that it doesn’t even cost the two coins to pay the ferryman over the Styx. This is very handy when you’re a Westminster politician, as they can only justify expense to the public purse if it’s going to lead to a boost in the share price of ATOS. Or if they want to, ahem, “commemorate” the start of WW1 in George’s Square in Glasgow with a red white and blue patriotfest the month before the referendum vote, entirely coincidentally of course. How very dare you imagine they’re trying to influence the outcome.
The second best thing about being proud of dead people is that you don’t have to consider what the dead people themselves actually believed or what their motives really were, you can safely hang any auld Unionjackery on their achievements. The dead are in no position to say: “It was for the right of small countries to decide their own fates.” Which is exactly what Scotland is doing.
Proud Scots are also often proud of the achievements of professional sportspeople. Running about really fast or having a killer serve in tennis is all very well and good, but in the wider scheme of things it doesn’t add any more to the sum total of human happiness than LOL kat pictures. LOL kat pictures at least have the advantage of not generating about half of what passes for news on Reporting Scotland. They only constitute about a quarter. Anyway, more people would complain if you tied a kitten into a sack and threw it into a canal than if you did that to a sports commentator.
I’m not a proud Scot. I’m not proud of being patronised and lied to by politicians who can’t tell the difference between their own careers and Scotland’s standing in the world. I’m not proud of a media that patronises and infantilises the country it claims to serve. I want something better.
I’m not at all proud that in a country which has energy resources coming out of its friggin ears there are people who can’t heat their homes. I’m not proud that in one of the richest countries in the world there are people who depend upon food banks in order to fend off starvation.
And I’m positively sickened that one of those who caused the need for food banks in the first place posed for a photo-opportunity when a new food bank opened in his constituency.
Danny Alexander was very proud. If he was capable of normal human emotional responses he’d have realised the appropriate reaction should have been to hide his miserable face under a large rock, where he could atone for his sins by repeatedly ramming a tin of Morrison’s own brand baked beans firmly up his Union-jacksie while repeating out loud: “Better Together with foodbanks, my arse.”
I’m not a flag waver. I don’t want to run around gushing about how proud I am of my country. But it would help not to be ashamed of it. It would be nice for people in other countries to know that it existed. It would be great if it was governed by people who had the well being of its citizens and residents as their sole concern and who weren’t enthralled to the financial companies of the City of London. It would be fabby if we didn’t have nuclear missiles just up the road from our biggest city.
It would be most fantastic of all if I was able to invite my Spanish speaking friends to visit the new tourist attraction in Nairn, the Screaming Rock of Alexander, but I don’t realistically expect a Yes vote to bring that about. The rest, they’re a very real possibility, and that’s plenty to be going on with.
Then when people asked me if I was proud of my country I could say: Och, it’s no bad.