“We’re a’ Jock Tamsan’s Bairns”

Today is Burns Day (or Night as we tend to call it at home) and it’s probably the one day of the year where I do go a bit ‘Tartan’. It’s not a noticeable amount really. Maybe I’ll listen to a Burns song or a poem (of which there are many on youtube etc), or talk (more like lecture) to my better half about how much of a top bloke Robert Burns was and how he’d beat Bill Shakespeare in a square go (Battle of The Bards) with consummate ease.

More to point, it’s also a time when the rest of the world get to be all ‘Scottish’ for the day, whether their ancestors hail from there or not. I think it’s great that we get to share this with everyone (as the title of the blog entry would suggest). Fortunately, for those who don’t have a chip on both shoulders (or in other words – are not Scottish themselves) , they get back to normal and generally let us be until the next big piss-up. It’s a fair trade I think.

However, one of the things that has come up in discussion in my classroom and amongst friends has been the recent media interest in the proposed Scottish referendum. I’ve just finished a job where I was teaching teacher’s from government schools, mostly to help improve their English and hopefully to give them a bit more cultural background as to where I’m from and ‘aw that. Most of them were perplexed as to why they don’t teach Gaelic in all Scottish schools, given the fact that we are so fiercely proud of our heritage? Or why in high school’s (English) ‘Higher’ examinations that no Scottish novels or plays were studied up until now.  And just what is all this referendum malarkey about?

My friend Bryan, a ‘proper’ journalist (as in – he’s fond of a few shandies and gets paid for writing) has written a couple of great pieces on the subject that is well worth a read. There’s also a very simple breakdown of the issues involved here. My favourite, however, has to be those crazy Taiwanese (it must be their love of Irn Bru that does it?) who gave us this…

So far so good, eh? Well, it wouldn’t be very Scottish if you couldn’t make an arse of it. First, we had some mad, Shortbread Warrior-type, going off on one on those who opposed independence as being anti-Scottish. As a riposte (and quite a funny one too), this guy ended up losing his job (although one less politician isn’t necessarily a bad thing) for producing this video about the aforementioned ‘Tartan Terrier’.

Next, there was the question of whether ex-pats (I guess that’s me and my like) should be allowed to vote in the referendum, and it seems to causing quite a stooshie going by the comments underneath the article. And just to add fuel to the fire comes this. My biggest concern has to be how much all of this is going to cost and just how much more they (as in the politicians) can manipulate the situation further for their own gains.

As it stands just now, I’m a ‘NO’. I don’t think there’s enough proof to suggest that we’d be able to go it alone. The opponents want a referendum where there’s a simple yes/no question for us to answer, and to my mind that seems to be the easiest and fairest way to decide the matter in 2014 or whenever they can get hold of Mel Gibson to do it. That said, I’m still as cynical as ever and can only echo the sentiments in this video.


Author: From a Late Night Train

Teacher. Musician. Ponderer. Had lived in Seoul, South Korea since 2000. Moved back to Glasgow, Scotland in May 2017.

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