You can’t always have your haggis and eat it

Some of you may read this after the Scottish independence referendum result is known but I do feel my sentiments will be valid, whatever the result.

Politics, for an ignorant bounder like me, can be dull and bland. But even I have been excited by the political hot potato of Scotland’s possible break from the union has created.

As the Scots vote today, we are watching mesmerized as all the political heavyweights weigh in, including the ever engaging and opinionated George Galloway with his splendid Homburg hat. The bars of London are buzzing with chatter that, for once, doesn’t involve an overpaid sportsman or X-factor performer.

Sport is, though, never far from my thoughts. A balletic Paul Gascoigne laconically flicking the ball over Colin Hendry’s towheaded mullet, then accurately volleying past a toothless and paunchy Andy Goram – in what was near football transcendence – is my favourite ever football goal.

Like Gazza my hair then was blond and my cheeks rosy. I remember tearing around my garden in delight, not at Scotland’s plight but at England’s achievement.

There is always more schadenfreude at beating Scotland than vitriol. However when the boot is on the other foot, it is swung with a gloating malevolence. With the vote on independence polarizing Scotland (whatever the result), we are discovering a lot of pent up antipathy towards England from all clansmen.

I am certain the Jocks ought to stay as part of the United Kingdom – if something isn’t broken, why try to fix it? We have coexisted like awkward cousins for such a long time that it appears foolhardy and mutually destructive to split.

Everything about the referendum feels ill conceived – almost like a group of lads in Tam o Shanter hats, who got a tad over sentimental whilst watching Braveheart, and have taken the streets singing Burn’s poems and crying “freedom”.

Someone called their bluff.

It has all got rather out of hand with Alex Salmond’s oily charisma leading young Scots towards a dangerous cave and a bleak future. I am not entirely sure that anybody wants this dissolution, but now that people have had to take sides they are too proud to back down.

Between endless rounds of fizzy lagers and Jaegerbombs my friends in the city offer their differing views on what would be a boon for England. Possible short term problems for us will probably be transformed in to long term problems for the Scots.

However the boys in the city were unanimous that, as always, they latch onto the uncertainty and make “loads of moolaah”.

Fiscal issues aside it is ultimately a bar room dispute between politicians that unwittingly involves the innocent public.

The polls have it almost 50/50 – the loser will believe that there is equal footing and a counter vote. As an Englishman I feel I have no right to tell a Scot what way to mow his own lawn. That said I do admire David Cameron’s tireless efforts to push for the No Vote.

You can’t always get what you want, and lament at that, but often when you do, you realise that it is not as shiny as you once thought it was.

Good luck Scotland, and let’s continue to enjoy watching this engaging politics.


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