Monday 18 February 2008

Scotland v England

This morning I caught a little preview of a programme that will be showing tonight. I think it's about how residents of Scotland have more per head spent on them by the government than English residents. In actual fact Northern Ireland residents get the most money spent on them but that wouldn't be as controversial a programme would it ?

It is relatively well known that a lot of Scots don't really care for the English but I think a lot of that is fairly tongue in cheek, I know that many Scots will always support the other team when there is a sporting event but do we Scots as a nation really hate the English ? I don't hate the English at all, I have some really lovely friends who are English but I feel very different to them.

My experiences of growing up in Thatcher's Britain have shaped me. I remember how strange and exciting it was to hear a Scottish accent on tv, we always had English voices and programming, there was a feeling that somehow our own voices were second best. Of course it's changed now and there are some fantstic Scottish programmes on now but I remember the excitement in school talking about the Peter McDougall play "Just a boy's Game" and if we had seen Billy Connolly on Parkinson. I also remember being governed by a Conservative government who had not 1 elected MP over on my side of the border. That kind of cemented the view that no matter what you voted in Scotland, it didn't matter as English opinions would always prevail due to the sheer numbers. I learned in school how much Scotland had given the world, we really did invent masses of really useful stuff and I learned how following the Jacobite rebellion that tartan, the kilt and Gaelic were banned. It does make you feel that as a union Scotland was definitely the weaker partner. I could say that Scotland took on the wife's role but that's a whole other post !

A really interesting book to read is " The Scottish Enlightenment - The Scots' Invention of the Modern World" by Arthur Herman. It makes you realise what my beautiful tiny nation contributed and incidentally, Arthur isn't Scottish.

I am a Scot living in England, my children are also Scottish and we really miss The Mother Country. I feel a profound ache living in exile. We share a border and some of us a common language but I feel as foreign here as I would living in America or in France. Every time I drive over the border into The Mother Country I play Runrig's "Coming Home" and we cheer and I often cry. I miss my country and my culture.

I know that due to my sheer incompetence in thinking ahead I will now have to live here until my children finish their education. I do not have a clear year where none of the children will not be doing exam coursework, the joy of having 3 children in 4 years !!! I would hate to move them when they are at a crucial stage of their education but if Scotland devolves, can I really still live here ? The thought of having to use a passport to go home just seems to press the point that I will be living in another country. At the moment I can still kid myself because we are still part of the UK but if devolution happens that notion goes.

I don't hate my life in England and I don't hate the English but I know that I will never be truly happy until I'm back where I belong. I have become more patriotic as I have got older and the longer I live away the more I miss it.

Being Scottish is not my defining characteristic but I do feel I would never chose to be anything other. The immense feeling of pride I have when I hear Flower of Scotland or when I see our beautiful rugby team lined up or when I hear the Murrayfield roar makes me well up. I feel immensly blessed that I had the good fortune to be born Scottish, how lucky am I ? My beautiful Scotland is my heart, Mo Chride


lisa q. said...

very touching post gwen! i can't imagine what it would be like to live away from home yearning to go back...i hope that you will one day get to return...

DAB said...

I love the scottish, even though I'm english with a wee bit of irish mixed in for good measure. Hope you get to go home soon.
(Go Andy Murray do something Tiger Tim couldn't do). TFX

Squirmy Popple said...

Lovely post. Strangely, I feel the opposite - when I was back in my home country, I knew I wouldn't feel right until I came back here.

auntiegwen said...

Lisa I hope so too

TF - like everyone else from the west coast of Scotland I've got irish ancestry too

Katie - you've been sucked in now, Scotland's got a hold of you