Goodbye Scotland – sometimes you’re too hard to love

The declaration: I am half-Scottish, by virtue my father being born-and-bred here, and my grandfather having lived in Scotland his whole life and having served the people of Scotland both as a soldier and an MP. I have lived here for more of my life than I haven’t, and proudly identify as both British and Scottish. So now you know.

Goodbye Scotland, you’ve made leaving fucking easy.

I really love Scotland as a country: the mountains, the food, the people, the buildings, I’m even learning to love whiskey. I feel a great affinity with Scotland, and it’s the country where I became a man, fell in love, had my heart broken, and discovered binge drinking. However, the referendum has reminded of exactly what’s wrong with the country: its endless defensiveness.

I got on with my job at the Grange today, commentating on yet another humiliating defeat for Scotland’s cricketers. For a side who were being royally thrashed, with little vigour or fight, everyone around me was desperate to defend them, without any care for the facts, figures, and attitudes displayed before them. It was not the plucky young Scotland side they portrayed it as; this was a mediocre group of professionals being taught a lesson by a New Zealand second eleven.

A little earlier in the day, a couple of journalists had staggered in late, having been stuck in traffic, and one proclaimed to the rest of the shed, “We come from civilisation!” rather amusingly. I riposted: “Do you mean Glasgow?”, engaging in the usual Edinburgh-Glasgow rivalry, rather enjoying a fiesty presence in an often empty press box.

“I mean Scotland,” he spat down at me, caring nothing for who I was or for that matter, was.

It reminded of the number of occasions in my life when people had assumed things about me on account of my accent, and how those occasions had become more frequent as the date of Bannockburn drew closer. “What do you know about Scotland?” “Why do you care about Scotland?” “What part of England are you from?” Invariably my answers to these questions have become more and more sarcastic, to the point of rudeness, but I won’t apologise for it. If Scotland finds themselves independent, they will require more friends than enemies, and as the latest polls in England demonstrated, once they’re out, they’re on their own.

Scotland’s attractiveness is one of the few things that make independence viable: its natural and human resources draw people to it, tempt people to appropriate its ways and culture. We should be looking to welcome those who wish to march under our flag, be it a Union or a Saltire, not reject them for fear. 

I shan’t live in Scotland, independent or not, for much longer, or perhaps ever more, and I was sad about that 12 months ago, but christ, you’re making it easier to go.

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