“It was as if, by voting the nationalists into power, my fellow countrymen had accidentally resurrected Calvinism in woke form.” Yep, Scottish nationalism is a twisted localised form of wokeism. Its primary aim is to absolve Scotland of the sins of Empire by blaming it all on England.
Well, you’ll always gather a number of upticks by being first out, but your last sentence is a load of unqualified BS. There’s a lot more to the nationalism and independence issue than that, even though the omicron individuals in Holyrood are doing their level best to present it that way. There are an awful lot of idiots and bigots in Scotland who’ve no idea what they’re about but it’s no different to the omicron English individuals posting bigoted and cynical comments when an article concerning Scotland appears. You’re no better or worse!
Yes, Scotland is a hell hole at the moment with no prospect of improvement but the probable 50% of Scots who are repulsed by the incompetent figures in Holyrood deserve some kind of consideration instead of having their noses rubbed in the s**t. And the headline is probably true but the humour south of the border is only better thanks to the clowns in Westminster.
Too many strawmen and too much incoherence to address in detail. But if you note the word ‘primary’ in my last sentence and if you’re acquainted with the blue haired woke youth (and some old enough to know better) of Scotland you’ll know it’s true. Sturgeon and the more traditional nationalistic bigots are indeed motivated by other things but they’re nothing without the support of the woke youth and their white/post-colonial guilt at the ballot box. It’s why they want to reduce the voting age.
I don’t know if either of you live in Scotland, but if you don’t then take it from me that you are actually both right.
“The PC police remind me of the old definition of a Scottish Presbyterian : a man who has a nasty, nagging feeling that somebody, somewhere is enjoying themselves.
They are addicted to the warm glow of self satisfaction and pride that comes from demonstrating their moral purity.”*
(*John Cleese, thank you!)
Very apt, but Cleese was (mis)quoting H L Mencken.
In a huff after the Brexit vote, the globetrotting eco-doomster Emma Thompson described the UK as a ‘cake-filled misery-laden grey old island’. I think she can only have had Scotland in mind – one of her properties is there.
Perhaps Mencken was a little too optimistic when he wrote “Scotland has made enormous progress ( in becoming civilized) since the Eighteenth Century when, according to Macaulay, most of it was on the cultural level of Albania”?
As for Thompson, a childhood spent near the aptly named metropolis of Dunoon cannot have been much fun.
Some commentators here lack a sense of irony.Are they American? :]
Gosh! What a terrible thing to say!
From your style I recognise a former sparring partner. Though surprised to see that you’ve been gender reassigned!
This dammed Covid does strange things!
Not unjustified, however.
We in the states don’t lack irony. In fact, over here we’re living in the Irony Age.
What’s big, Scottish, and depressing?
answer – Scotland.
Not very big
Nothing wrong with cake.
I would never have thought that the Scots would end up being the most craven bootlickers in these isles.
Dr Samuel Johnson would not have been surprised!*
The Scots are not : Scotland (in the shape of its risible politicians) might be, but not the Scots.
Who are you calling craven, Jimmy?
I grew up in the midst of the religious divide and reached adulthood in the early eighties in Glasgow. The culture of the time, as the writer says, promoted the challenging of the establishment, which suited me. But then I started to realise that the religious bigotry is endemic to the culture, and it’s matched by an inverted, and similarly tribal, working class snobbery that saw no fault in anything Labour did – the red Clydesiders. This cultural backwardness was bad enough, but then the SNP turned latent anti-English prejudices into full blown racism – and the heady mix of existing bigotries aided this.
I dislike the current Scottish culture, and the only solution to it I can see is for them to achieve independence, and find out that they really aren’t as good and liberal as they think they are – and that they need England and it’s liberalism.
I dislike the current Scottish culture, and the only solution to it I can see is for them to achieve independence, and find out that they really aren’t as good and liberal as they think they are – and that they need England and its liberalism.
Or alternatively, they might discover, as the republican Irish have, that they are even more good and liberal than they had given themselves credit for, and they are well rid of England, with its moral self-harm and political corrupt decadence.
…but then the SNP turned latent anti-English prejudices into full blown racism
English and Scots are the same race—physical genetics. I think you mean “full blown ethnocentrism”—cultural grouping, or “nationalism”—political affiliation.
Great piece, written with knowledge and authority.
God, it needs to be shouted from the rooftops! Freedom of speech matters, because if you give them an inch, they’ll end up taking your job, your family, your peace of mind, your hope to live unmolested and unwatched by interfering authorities!
It depresses me to see it happen in Britain. It looks like our noble culture was far more fragile than we knew. Or perhaps that we aren’t our fathers, I don’t know.
My one hope is that we’re in the middle of ‘Good times make weak men; weak men make bad times.’ If the next stage is ‘Bad times make strong men’ there will still be hope in the future, when all this wokery is cast out.
Scotland, like Russia, still has a wicked sense of humour, especially the Gallows variety. However, it is now increasingly indulged in private: could this be some indicator of a totalitarian state?
I am so glad my experience of Calvinism is so different from that of the author!
My experience of the profound and heartwarming Calvinism of the 19th century preacher Hugh Martin has been delightfully different.
An interesting article. I don’t live in Scotland but I did in the early 1980s.
Scotland is a little like Scandinavian countries but not as extreme. They have a lot more darkness in winter than we do in Southern England and the temperatures are a couple of degrees cooler. This makes for depression in winter and there were definitely more serious drinkers when I was there – in fact, Rab C Nesbitt became a hero in those times.
In Scotland there was a camaraderie, a feeling that things were tough but we were all in it together. The government often became the enemy, especially in pubs at chucking-out time.
Today, with some working from home and working hours being shorter and hobbies which mean sitting alone in a room looking at a computer, I suspect that people still think about things but the camaraderie has gone. Hence the feeling that people are just doing what they are told.
Society wise Scandinavia’s nothing like Scotland, weather wise it’s becoming more similar with damp and changeable weather and drink wise they’re even more serious to a degree where the state alcohol shops in Sweden shut for the weekend at 15.00 on a saturday and encourage people to abstain from purchasing and consuming. As I remember the camraderie tended to degenerate at closing time where the camraderie and not the government became the enemy.
Scotland is a bit like lesbians: not very interesting, permanently in a rage, best ignored and left to get on with it by themselves.
So just like those who live in Englandshire then…
A slur on English lesbians!
Sad, sick misogyny… enjoy kicking unavailable women, do you?
Jon, If you can’t post anything less omicron then please desist
Another misogynist unlaid clown without a brain.
There are plenty of people in Scotland (and England too) who don’t care a fig for the admonitions of the Great and Good. Although they are not particularly great or good in Scotland.
Shame they don’t vote.
Very true, although to the contemptuous all politicians look the same.
I have lived in Yorkshire for most of my life and have heard that Yorkshire folk are like the Scots but with the humour forced out of them!
Being Scouse born and bred, I recognise that quality in the city I live in.Liverpudlians are more outgoing and humerous.We also have a reputation for being thieves and scoundrels.I think many stereo types reflect an element of truth.
The SNP have not surprisingly become the strongest ally of Unionism. For a start the cabal’s “big men” (and I include Sturgeon in that) don’t want independence as it would end their grubby tenure of Holyrood.
They are also despised by all free thinking male Scots ( the ladies fight a different more primitive corner). Hopefully as the lack to any proper economic plan becomes evident and society crumbles through attacks on family and freedom of conscience they will be investigated and despatched before any further damage can be inflicted.
Scotland is one Barnett formula cheque away from destitution and one referendum vote away from ruin.
I genuinely pity anyone who’s pension is based in Scotland after independence. The ensuing currency crisis will wipe you out.
I’d be worried about house prices too. The primary asset of many families.
Seriously, anyone thinking of living in Scotland should reconsider…even the Scots.
It would seem life is slowly but surely becoming a damp-squib for Scots, then. There they all are now, huddled in the drawing room, awaiting the entrance of their inquisitor. He arrives. A stern, upright man looking down on everyone from his medium height. The announcement is made that here before them is Hector Pry-Roe, the well-known inquisitor from “Bel…, Bel…, Bel…”, an unfortunate spluttering of coughs ensues as the announcer folds over having let his tickly throat get the better of him.
“Belgium?” inquires an elderly woman from the group assembled.
“No, … Belfast.”
The groans resound around the room. The tension becomes even more palpable. The stakes are raised. Plunged into the ground, they are.
There’s more than just one guilty party, now they know.
Evokes Beckett, Joyce, and Dylan Thomas, and made me chuckle.
I am glad. I wonder about the origin of the word chuckle. I shall look it up. And report back.
Late Middle English, from chukken, to cluck (imitative). However, a constrained kind of laughter.
But don’t hold back.
Chortle is more interesting.
The Scots are a true ancient people whose roots go back far beyond the modern shoots of Calvin; they’ll be back, probably rustling your sheep in the process…
In fact all the way to the Glens of Antrim. Such bad luck.
Great article. Thank you.
Thatcher implemented the Poll Tax a year early in Scotland at the direct request of (Tory) Scottish MPs. It wasn’t an “experiment”, they actually thought it would be popular. Or at least, better than the alternative of a long-delayed Rates Revaluation which always provokes howls of protest.
I haven’t read much of Burns, but the best anti-Puritan satire I know of is Samuel Butler’s Hudibras.
I would have liked to hear actual stories and the feeling You experience contrasting Scotland to your life in Texas during that visit.
The Texas Governor is a very mixed bag, but is from another planet than Sturgeon. The people, place, and every day things must be wildly different when one just flies in, and later out, full of impressions.
America’s a third world shithole. Lived there for years, back in Scotland now.
The problem with Scotland is it’s full of Scots…
The problem with Brave heart was his poor impersonation of Mel Gibson.
The problem with Braveheart was that it wasn’t Rab C Nesbitt
I gather that the real William Wallace was a giant of about
6’ 4””, whilst Mel Gibson Esq is a 5’ 5” Australian pygmy.
The best review of Braveheart I ever read had the line that ‘ had they included a small plasticine figure and called it *Wallace and Gromit* it would scarcely be less historically accurate….
The problem with Scotland is that it’s full of Scots.
Most of whom came from Ireland in the 5th century.
….to colonise , first Dal Riada before exterminating the indigenous people, the Picts, and almost completely eradicating any trace or memory of their culture.
Not that the average nationalist on social media will ever admit it…
Precisely, well said!
It’s not what you’d call news though, is it?
My country, Portugal has probably the oldest borders of Europe. There’s been an united Portugal for almost 9 centuries. I lived in the Republic of Ireland and I’m somewhat familiar with their history. Portugal and Ireland paid a very high price for their independence. A price exacted in mass emigration and endemic poverty. That’s why I dispise the “casual independence bros” of Scotland and Catalonia. It’s an idiotic performance. Were they willing to pay the price they would have been independent for centuries. Spoilled children!
Interesting that this ex pat thinks so much of a poet who was not only a slave master but also quite awealthy man and so part of the establishment at the time.
There are still many Scots who do not worship at the altar of Nicola and who still have a healthy contempt of government. Maybe you just have to live among it to see it, rather than do flying visits with rose tinted glasses.
Burns accepted a job as bookkeeper on a slave plantation but never took it.
The reason that he contemplated it, was because he was not, as you claim, “quite a wealthy man”.
He had a couple of good years of book sales later on in his 37 years of life, and his talent earned him support of some wealthy backers but that’s about it.
He wasn’t a slave master …but neither was not being wealthy any sort of unusual circumstance or excuse. Most of the Scots or English (Irish and Welsh of course as well) who went off around the world weren’t wealthy. Of course attitudes to slavery were different then but we pretend to forget that these days and judge all of history from our own pedestal.
I quite like the sleek hypocrisy of mind that particularly amongst Celts today celebrates colonialism by rebranding it as ‘the diaspora’. And happily talk constantly of blood and soil ethnic identity as ‘true Scots’ while accepting very slender bloodlines, and no experience of Scottish soil at all, for any hard running centre who can carry a rugby ball.
“Scotland” and “rose tinted glasses” belong in the same sentence like “Stevie Wonder” and “driving test” belong in the same sentence.