If you detest the UK government’s bigoted, craven action to leave Europe and follow Brexit to cast non-UK nationals out of English society, you have my respect. If you see Scotland with all its faults, as I do, 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 the resources of other nations, 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, your first obligation is to make your own nation a better place, to rid it of 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 the odious UKip or Brexit party. 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. We have our own language, two when you count Gaelic.
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. 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 genocide and now by stealth and yet 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 yourself, but remember you’re in another country. Treat us as you would wish to be treated. 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 as early as 1850. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s mother was Polish. Those people have contributed to Scotland’s intellectual thought and its economy in ways 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 come to Scotland and treat it as a dominion of England’s aristocracy. Dukes and lairds are not to be envied. 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 a play park for hunting, shooting, fishing and climbing while littering the place with garbage. Don’t clog our roads with caravans, and our mountains with old trainers and plastic bags and 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 inter-dependence 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, one in which challenging authority is not considered subversive. 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 – together with small nation pride. 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 others. 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 from fear, celebrate the vigour of our Enlightenment.