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Observations of a ‘Scot’, living therein.

If Camus said: “All that I know most surely about morality and obligations I owe to football.”  I could say that everything I know most surely about my nationality I owe to the Scotland football team – couldn’t I?  Probably a daft thing to say, right?  Well, I don’t know much about football, and even less about Scottish politics so any reference might be sensible.

Wait though, there may be a more relevant connection, albeit a purely emotional one – isn’t anything to do with Scottish football?  The connection is this:  watching a Scotland football game at Hampden is the only time I have felt noticeably Scottish.  There, I’ve said it.  Upon reflection, I’ve decided that any stirring of emotion felt when observing David Cameron having his balls metaphorically cupped by Nick Robinson’s shaking caresses on the BBC is merely anger[1], and should not play any part in a reasoned piece of writing.  So I’ll leave the anger until the next crop of hysterical lickspittles are wheeled out on the next ‘Question Time’.

The last time I was at Hampden it was great, we didn’t get the result – natch – but it was still great: the humour, the optimism and passion; the tide of drink; the strains of – Oh!  Soundtrack of a nation! – Runrig.  Yeah, it was intoxicating and yeah it was tangible.  However, I would be hard pushed to tell you, that if the flags, scarves and songs were taken away and replaced by other stimuli, whether or not I would have the same response.  A toga for a football shirt?  A bean and tattie pie replaced with a bean and tattie stuffed dormouse?  Booze with. . . booze?  Footballers for gladiators?[2]

This feeling has not been repeated at any point during my everyday life, despite many musings upon the subject.  Not during my education, not during any point in my career or at home or ‘at abroad’.  Perhaps because I live in a world where I expect to be judged on my personality first, everything else second.  A modern world.

However, the real ‘bark your shin on a table and then hurt your hand punching the same table in rage’ maddening thing about this is that the political classes involved in coaxing the nation towards a referendum do not seem to realise the fleeting and artificial nature of nationalism but don’t have the integrity to take on the position of: “ Whoah, calm doon and let’s see what we’re on about.  Oh and let’s tell some folk what we’re thinking.”  Grrr.  Kick the table again.  Apologies, I know, I know – ‘Question Time’s not ‘til Thursday.  I’m not a close political observer by any stretch of the imagination – not even ‘Question Time’ any more because it stops me from sleeping – but I am an adult, I have a reasonably sound mind, and I have a vote.  Yet, even with the continual controversy about independence I do not know one concrete fact that puts me up or down about Scottish independence.  Political parties take note.

I know that North Sea oil is an issue, yet I am not aware of anyone nailing their colours to the mast by explaining why Scotland might be entitled to revenues.  I know that commerce is an issue, and I get the impression that we will be at the beck and call of larger, more powerful markets, if Alec ‘the pragmatist’ Salmond’s ability to put prawn sales to the Chinese ahead of human rights is anything to go by.  Does Salmond’s decision to go with this mean that he puts financial concerns ahead of moral?  In that case does he believe that Scotland has a moral case for independence at all?  Which makes the whole debate a little more prosaic, in a boring, ‘pointless meeting at work’ sort of way.  Oh yeah, and ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ how come no-one in Scotland knows what’s going on?  If that screws up, ‘Al’, say goodbye to electoral credibility.

So just tell us the facts, even honest, impartial projections, about how we will stand if we are elected.  Get rid of the spin and just let us make our minds up, so I can get back to feeling ‘properly’ Scottish again – at Hampden.

[1] Shit, hope it’s not jealousy. . . fuck.

[2] No, I wasn’t alluding toRome ! – TheFife Junior Cup Final 2007.


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