Don’t Come To Scotland

 

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Readers who protested against the UK government’s bigoted, craven action to leave Europe and follow UKip to cast non-UK nationals out of English society, you have my respect. The worst of England’s nature is a dislike of ‘Johnny Foreigner’. Some crowed it was the start of ‘Empire 2’. They’ll find no seeds in that furrow here.

If you see Scotland with all its faults as I do, and still a place of honest, decent, sane values, you attracted by our progressive ideals, I have some profound advice.

Please leave your political baggage in England. Our landfill tips are full of it.

TWELVE STEPS TO HAPPY INTEGRATION

Don’t come to Scotland because England isn’t to your liking anymore. You once ruled almost all of the green earth, and the seas too. Your nation grew rich on its resources, and off the backs of indigenous people that you ruled. You told those people they were British. But you didn’t mean British like you, that is, English. Now riddled with vast debts and a corrupt parliament, you’re first obligation is to make your own nation a better place, to fight against xenophobia, neo-imperialism, corporate greed, and the unreason England has embraced. Granted, it’s a difficult task, but not impossible. Youth will drive change if you can’t. They will rebel.

Don’t come to Scotland thinking no world is better than an English world. If you think England the greatest nation on the planet, that’s where you belong. Don’t search for a Little England enclave where you can play cricket on the green, read the Times in an all-English pub decorated with Union Jacks, and talk warmly of Thatcher. And don’t look for a substitute Tory in odious UKip. We want none here.

Don’t come to Scotland looking for an idyllic cottage in the Highlands to closet yourself away from life, or pretend you are English landed gentry, all tweeds and Barber outfits. It does nothing for Scotland’s democratic progress. Incidentally, loch is not pronounced ‘lock’. Try and get it right. And we have burns here not brooks, and glens not dales.

Don’t come to Scotland to promote English cultural mores. That’s patronising. We need no colonials. Come to learn about Scotland’s history and culture, to get involved in it, Gaeldom too. Do not attempt to portray us as inferior to your own heritage. Scots admire, indeed were educated on English culture and heroes. Please return the compliment.

Don’t come to Scotland hoping to mould our structures and institutions in the image of England. That way lies conformity and resentment. We’ve managed, just about, to resist invasion by stealth and still be a separate country. You’re here because you acknowledge we are different.

Don’t come to Scotland thinking you must become Scottish. We don’t ask that of you. In time your children will be, and their children too. Be your self, but remember you’re in another’s country. Treat us as you would wish to be treated. You will soon find many things different from your homeland, and done differently. Delight in the differences.

Don’t come to Scotland hoping to avoid Italian, Polish, Chinese, Indian, or Irish communities. They’ve been here for generations, Polish from as early as 1850. Those good people have contributed to Scotland’s intellectual thought and its economy in way we can never fully repay. We have an international outlook and proud of it.

Don’t come to Scotland thinking the standards of southern England are the standards by which all things must be judged. That really gets up our nose. London-centric is for Londoners, or wealthy Saudi Arabians and Russians buying gazillion pound properties with massive tax and rates exemptions.

Don’t treat Scotland as a dominion of England’s aristocracy. Dukes and lairds are not to be envied. You were schooled as an unequal person by a rigid class system. The duke’s great grandfather probably got a chunk of Scotland over a game of cards ‘validated’ by fake property deeds written by an alcoholic lawyer. We detest the English class system and all its stands for.

Don’t come to Scotland to use its great glens and mountains as an adult play park for hunting, shooting, fishing and climbing while littering the place with garabage. Don’t clog our roads with metal, and our mountains with old trainers and plastic bottles.

Don’t come to Scotland to buy Highland property to make a quick killing and go south again. And don’t buy land and fence it off. Everywhere is a right of way except your home. Ultimately, we want the land back in the ownership of the state – us.

Don’t come to Scotland to tell us self-governance is a risky business. Scotland wants interdependence with England to continue, but on a healthier basis, on equal terms.

Come to Scotland ready and willing to help build a happy, thriving, exalted society that will endure. Scots see themselves first as a human being, then a Scot, and a citizen of the world. Know the grass roots momentum that is termed Scottish nationalism expresses those humane values. Come prepared to elevate what is good in human nature. Exercise an open mind; be curious and wise, able to contribute to our society in joyous, positive ways. Jettison the habit of comparison. Suppress  envy, and train anger to right injustice, not to demoralise your neighbour. Be compassionate, good humoured, happy to be part of a new era in civic camaraderie and open government.

Let your affection have free play.

Come to Scotland released of fear, celebrate the vigour of our Enlightenment.

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33 Responses to Don’t Come To Scotland

  1. Conan the Librarian says:

    Good post Grousie. Billionaire neighbours can be a pain, eh?

  2. Bugger le Panda says:

    Excellent, GB, just excellent

  3. diabloandco says:

    Yes! Yes! Thrice YES!

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    🙂 Chuckle. It’s only what a lot of us would have said, and probably have at various times.

  5. angusskye says:

    I may well print this out and pass to a few new friends from south who have moved here and are planning on moving here. Hopefully, they will remain as friends!

  6. Grouse Beater says:

    You are most welcome! It’s not much different from the travel information you’re given when visiting a new country, only to visit Scotland you don’t have to fill out forms stating your nationality.

  7. Lenny says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head again Grouse Beater.

    The problem with the English is their simplistic, colonial view of the world, a world devoid of colour or nuance.

  8. Johnny says:

    Particularly agree with the paragraph anent using the place ‘as an adult play park’.

  9. Robert Peffers says:

    The main problem that the people of England have to deal with is that they are not quite sure just what is their true identity. In attempting to engage with the average English person it soon becomes apparent that they really do not know what they are. Before they can get to grips with that wee problem they have to decide just what they mean by, “The Country”, and even that is rather ill defined.

    Often they will, if pressed to define, “The whole Country”, be faced with explaining they mean, “All Britain”, and the confusion in their minds comes to the surface when you state the obvious, “But Britain is not a country”. They will very likely then try to explain they actually meant, “Great Britain”. This makes for even greater confusion when you inform them that, “Great Britain contains three countries”.

    This will usually trigger the knee jerk response that they meant to say, “The United Kingdom of Great Britain”. At which point you have to tell them that they have just described a bipartite kingdom that contains three countries and furthermore that Westminster changed that title in 1800/1 to, “Great Britain & Northern Ireland and thus adding yet another country to the bipartite United Kingdom of Great Britain.

    The wee discussion doesn’t end there for there are plenty more confused English myths to be explored. The Truth is the average Englander, mostly decent and likeable people, just cannot define what constitutes, “An Englander”. The poor dears have been brainwashed from birth and have no clear idea of what they actually are.

    The classic is, of course, the Englander, when harassed by their own confusion, claims in an effort to explain their own confusion, “Yes but we are all English after all”, meaning of course, “But we are all British together but conflates England and Britain as mutually synonymous”.

    At which point it is much better to just excuse yourself as having another urgent previous appointment. To attempt the very risky ploy of telling the Englander that there are another four non-United Kingdom independent legislatures in Britain is to embark upon a process that will drive either the Englander or yourself into psychiatric analysis and extensive treatment.

  10. Margaret says:

    This should be posted at every border crossing in capital letters

  11. Kevin says:

    First off, this is a brilliant piece of work, Grouse dude – I wish I’d thought of this.
    Sensible countries have these words, they call it a ‘constitution’ and it’s usually formed as a guide and a safeguard for the citizens of that country.

    Angusskye; do print it off and pass to friends, of all nationalities, even fellow Scots. Why don’t you email it to your address book, as I’m about to do? Copy and paste the link

  12. Grouse Beater says:

    Kevin, readers are free to send my essays to all asunder, but I stop the press reproducing them in their entirety because they’re copyrighted (typos and all) and often get published in magazines.

  13. John Thomson says:

    Wee mistake regarding title of UK, it was UK of GB & IRELAND c1800, only became Northern Iteland after partition. (Can’t be bothered googling exact dates). Otherwise good comments.

  14. John Thomson says:

    Oops “Ireland” even😐

  15. I’m sat in a sunny garden right now, trying to suppress a full-blown Russian style bellow of ‘UUUURRRAAAA!’ from the very depths of my rib age after reading that! 11/10, Gb! 😊

  16. Grouse Beater says:

    Eleven? I turned the volume up to 11? Simple logic, I’d say. 🙂

  17. K1 says:

    Don’t come tae Scotland as a Jacob Rees Mogg and patronise us by wanderin’ aboot wi a channel 4 film crew saying yer not here to ‘influence’ the vote whilst gushing every time ye find someone who is going to vote No. All the while background music playing tumpty scottishy reels conveying tae the viewer that ‘romanticised’ notion of Scotland as some shortbread wet dream that the English upper class can’t live without.

    https://www.channel4.com/news/scotland-scottish-referendum-england-no-vote-jacob-rees-mogg

  18. Your last three sentences, GB, describe my English friends rather well, and not just the ones I know in Scotland, who are independentistas as much as I am, but also the ones still fighting the good fight down south: they loathe and despise the current regime and the parasitic Establishment at least as much as I do.

    As you say: “Suppress envy, and train anger to right injustice not to demoralise your neighbour. Be compassionate, good humoured, happy to be part of a new era in civic camaraderie and open government. Let your affection have free play.”

    It is a sad reflection on these times that so many of the decent people in England – yes, I know I’m arguing from the particular to the general, with a good dose of stereotyping for added extra – at least toy with the idea of coming to Scotland as a refuge of compassion and sanity away from a place that is turning ever more dark and nasty – and in fact, their yearning for Scotland as an idea, as a spiritual home, is proof that their place down south has indeed become dark and nasty. They also understand that their yearning is as nothing to the real need of, say, unaccompanied Syrian children for a safe haven, and would give it themselves if they were allowed.

    Common humanity, common human virtues, compassion, acceptance, empathy, understanding, friendship.

    Never talk to me about “British values”.

  19. Grouse Beater says:

    Ah yes, the great generalisation that blocks out out a nation’s history, we’re all the same, British. “Never talk to us about “British values” – I like that. I like that a lot. Send the assay to your friends; comments from our English domiciled friends are welcome.

  20. Lenny says:

    One thing that bothers me is rich English people buying up property and pricing Scots out of the market. Perhaps there should be some sort of special tax for them.

  21. grumpydubai says:

    Grouse Beater,

    I should make more time to read your blog/articles and although you said earlier that this one is only what we have all said at one time or another, it is good that you brought these points together in the one piece.

    In short your article is SUPERB.

    Although you mentioned it could be used by anyone but not verbatim, have you consider getting together with YES2 to put it in leaflet form?

    I agree with a comment I saw earlier, elsewhere, where it was considered leaflets could be a way to engage with the elderly. If this wa done on the basis of a series of leaflets covering multifarious issues, it might help change minds over the next 2 years.

    Ian

  22. Grouse Beater says:

    Not sure about leaflets; the hardened unconvinced tear them up.

    I did, however, send a copy of this essay to JK Rowling … a hardened unionist. Were it to be published on a leaflet I’d edit it to make it easier to read on the move.

  23. grumpydubai says:

    Appreciate and understand your point of view. Good luck with JKR. I look forward to hearing of her Damascean moment!

  24. Marconatrix says:

    True, in fact there *is* no official Scottish nationality anyone can sign up to. Had there been I would have done so not very long after I arrived. (I wasn’t born in Scotland, so that’s my cred gone I suppose, now that I’ve admitted the fact, but I was rather young at the time so you can’t really blame me!) Also I left Scotland when I was more or less being evicted from the house I’d lived in for many years (how traditional can you get?) Nothing much was happening in Scotland at the time and there were projects elsewhere I wanted to support.

    After coming to Scotland I became Scottish, after leaving Scotland I remain definitely Scottish.

    But how can I ever convince you? Hell, I lived in a caravan once, so that’s my chances *****ed! Honestly this piece has confused me, I sort of agree and nearly ‘liked’ it, but fear that to agree would be inviting permanent exile. I can’t be alone in this.

  25. Marconatrix says:

    Four legislatures?!? If you mean the IoM and Channel Isles, those are crown possessions but outwith the UK.

  26. Grouse Beater says:

    When writing it I had two sorts of incomers in mind: the one that has never set foot in Scotland, never taken any interest in it, but now sees it as a sanctuary. And the kind of individual who is here working yet sees here as a stepping stone to better things elsewhere.

    The latter irks the hell out of Scots who feel patronised, but the former is usually welcomed so long as they don’t remodel everything around them as little England. For a start, it screws up our architecture to have areas of faux Tudor housing spring up amid the Scottish vernacular.

    You can witness the same imposition in Spain where entire streets are English and next to nothing that’s Spanish exists.

    I hope the essay says remember and respect that you’re in another country, albeit a friendly one that needs no passport or identity papers.

    As you imply, it’s a matter of attitude. When I lived in London I disliked being called Jock as soon as I spoke, or parking machines refusing Scottish notes, or I was told stupid jokes about porridge and kilts. I felt more at home in rural areas where people didn’t judge you by the car you drove, and they had a craft they sold like blacksmiths, furniture makers, potters and the like. I could relate to those people, and respect their industry.

  27. Marconatrix says:

    Partly the ignorance is due to the way information flows. If you live in Scotland you can’t not be aware of England, it’s media, politics, culture. E.g. you get a vote for both the Scottish and the (effectively) ‘English’ parliament. You will probably need to go to England from time to time for meetings and events etc. depending on your particular trade or profession, and so on. But the reverse is definitely not true for someone south of the border. They don’t vote for Holyrood and Scottish politics are hardly reported, at least not unless the colony is getting restless. They will rarely need to visit Scotland other than to use it as a recreation area. In short while the Scots are generally well acquainted with England, for the English, Scotland is “a far-off place of which they know little” (and most of what they think they ‘know’ is probably wrong!) You can’t blame them for their ignorance, rather we should perhaps pity them. The old colonial arrogance though, that’s a very different matter indeed, although again it may largely be a matter of ‘education’ in the broadest sense.

  28. Grouse Beater says:

    While England is eighty per cent of the UK a confederacy of nations will never work. England will always dominate by sheer number, and by monopoly ownership of the means of mass communication.

    Nationalist politics has never worked. What we have today, it seems to me, is nationality politics, where people try to define how their society should work for the greatest good.

    The UK is disintegrating by its own hand, and its debateable whether Scotland ever engineered that, or England brought it upon itself. But I’d rather Scotland renew itself by its own energies than feel it’s been pushed to change by forces outwith its control.

    Certainly the collapse of the Left in Scotland has accelerated that dimension. It must have come as a surprise to the Left that its imagined swathe of supporters was actually much smaller than it ever envisaged.

  29. Macmina MacAllan says:

    Excellent article thank you.
    I particularly disapprove of those who come to Scotland and want to impose their own way of life rather than integrate.
    Recently met expat English couple in Spain. Their hatred of Nicola Sturgeon based on false information would fill a blog, but more relevant to the topic-
    They had bought a rural property and intend permanent residence in Spain. Discussing potential Brexit problems they came up with the information that their neighbours were “friendly enough but none of them has bothered to learn English since we moved in.”
    I asked if they had learned any Spanish. Blank looks implying “Why should we?”
    The colonial master race mentality is surely genetic.

  30. Grouse Beater says:

    The ex-pat in Spain is a good example of living cheap and cheerfully off the sweat of another nation.

    I’ve written about the number of who can’t be troubled to learn more than a few words of Spanish, but expect everybody to speak English. And the ones I meet in the south of Spain never get their British cars MOT’d, nor pay local taxes (rates) impoverishing the very villages they say they love so much. The rest is endemic ennui.

    Spanish encourage settler tourism, outside olives and oranges but what else can they do faced with a shaky economy. Like the Greeks you base it on tourism.

    As for the Englishman abroad – they think Scotland got completely absorbed into north England in 1707.

  31. Out canvassing, I had a most interesting conversation with an English lady who had moved North.

    She started by how she hated Sturgeon and the SNP because they were so anti-English. I probed this a bit – no she’d never suffered from anti-Englishness herself – but it was ‘the rhetoric’. No, she couldn’t give me examples, but it was there….and so on. After a bit (she was very friendly and happy to talk), it turned out that she’d moved to Scotland and had expected it to ‘be the same’ as the England she’d left. And she found it wasn’t the same. And she was disappointed and upset. So she’d managed to rationalise that disappointment to herself by concluding that the difference had to be because the Scots were anti-English.

    In the same week, we had the Tory MP Gutto Bebb claiming that the sense of nationhood in Edinburgh was palpable, and this left him ‘despondent’…

    So, maybe your essay could be summarised by ‘Don’t come to Scotland if you think it will be the same place you left.’

    There’s a big failure of perception – much of which can be blamed on the English press for more or less giving up on intelligent reporting on Scottish affairs. At the extremes, the failure in perception gives us the perennial ‘whinging Jocks’ theme – but more importantly, it’s also responsible for Theresa’s lauding of our ‘precious union’ without any actual understanding of what that Union is, and what is needed to keep it intact.

    I’m concerned that as we move towards independence, the failure to understand what Scotland is, and why it thinks as it does, allows English nationalists to promote the idea that we are somehow rebels or traitors. And, as you know, that particular train of thought has a long history.

  32. Grouse Beater says:

    Andrew

    Your anecdote is a valuable contribution to the discuss. I don’t mean it coincides with my perception, though it clearly does, I mean it throws light on an attitude that is very English, probably indelible.

    My only answer to it has been to show respect to the individual, as you did, but also be extremely firm in reminding them that they’re living in another’s country.

    Pushed on the odd occasion beyond endurance I’ve added the brief but to the point “tough”.

  33. Grouse Beater says:

    What I don’t like is bitterness directed at groups of people who don’t share your views.” Ollivere

    You mean I should not do what you’re doing?

    I don’t think you know what bitterness means in the context of that essay. We can have a to-and-fro arid dispute all day, but you should understand from the outset that I take grave exception to wilful misinterpretation of my work.

    “Irish unity and independence, if that’s what the people want“? Any time soon you’ll be claiming some of your best friends are Scots.

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