Sunday, January 21, 2007
On the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union Scotland appears to be going through one of its Independence Now phases. They should be encouraged solely because this would maximise the embarrassment of uber-Scot Gordon Brown. However, I fear an independent Scotland may not thrive. Scots suffer from a compulsion to parody themselves. On my recent visit I entered a small shop. I was followed by a small tweed-clad man. 'Hellooooo, Finlay!' cried the woman behind the counter. 'Helloooo, Susan!' he cried back. Both spoke in a comedy Scots falsetto, which, I am convinced, was dropped the moment I left. I have also heard that on the Isle of Skye they switch into Gaelic at the sight of any foreigner and switch back to English the moment they think are alone with their own folk. Now the Scottish nationalist Alex Salmond has suggested the Edinburgh assembly should impose a £1 million toll on every Trident nuclear warhead that enters Scotland. This is brilliantly witty but ill-advised - obviously we would retaliate with a swingeing impost on claymores entering England. Is there something fundamentally unserious about contemporary Scotland? And, if so, can they hope to rule themselves without sinking, giggling, beneath the gloomy waters of the loch?
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:33 pm