Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Don't Leave Us Fair Alba

It's been a second home to us since we bought the caravan in St Andrews and I hate to think of Scotland breaking away from the United Kingdom and going all independent. I haven't had time to listen to Alex Salmond's arguments in favour of the break. He was on all the screens at the gym last night but I had forgotten my headphones and couldn't hear what he had to say; I entertained myself on the exercise bike playing Words With Friends on the iPhone and watching his face inspired me to SMUG (42 points with a double letter and triple word) - thanks Alex.

The Scots have always had a reputation for being dour and my experience of some Scots (or to be honest one particular Scot) in England backed this up. But perhaps this perceived dourness has been due to their being fish out of water and away from their homeland as, in Scotland, I have never found the people to be anything but cheerful  and friendly. I'm not saying that in a patronising way it's just that, even in a big supermarket, you are a hundred times more likely to strike up a conversation with a fellow shopper than you are in England (in Southport at least - unless it's your best friend - and even then you might just nod); and the conversation does not end the minute they hear your English accent.

The other type of Scot, the stereotypical beer swilling, whisky drinking, deep fried Mars bar munching lard arse is certainly not in evidence in St Andrews. Okay so St Andrews in not exactly typical but the same goes for all the towns we've visited including Dundee and the wonderful Edinburgh which, London apart, has to be Britain's most exciting city; I'm pretty sure that he's a figment of some lazy journalist who has never been north of Watford's imagination.

There is certainly a strong sense of pride and national identity in the country and it's good to see the traditions and local costume - long may they continue. I know that we English have got a lot to apologise for but Culloden was almost three hundred years ago now and we've been quite a united kingdom for the last hundred years. I'm not going into all the political or economic arguments about the referendum here. I'm sure that there are strong arguments both for and against but, however eloquently the politicians express them, I very much doubt that the vote will be won on those arguments. I'm sure that it will be won on how much Scotland feels wanted by the rest of the UK. So now and for the next 1,000 days it's time for us English, Welsh and Irish to let the Scottish people know that we really want them to stay.

We're off to one of our film days in Liverpool today. We've got The Artist at 1pm and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore at 6.30pm at the wonderful FACT in Wood St.  Hopefully that will give us plenty of time to have a decent lunch as well and have a look at FACT's Republic Of The Moon exhibition. We can also go and have a look at the latest "Banksy" that appeared the other night just down the road and guess if it's genuine or not - it'll have to be a guess as we won't have a clue.

I'll end with a message to all my Scottish readers from Jimmy Somerville with my favourite vicar the Rev Richard Coles on piano.