Prime Minister Tony Blair has condemned attacks on a seven-year-old boy and 41-year-old man who were wearing England shirts in Scotland.
Primary schoolboy Hugo Clapshaw was punched in an Edinburgh park and disabled Ian Smith was attacked in his car in Aberdeen.
Oh, well done, Scots; how fucking brave can you get, eh? The boy was assaulted by a man supposed to be between 24 and 30; what a brave man he is. What an admirable person.
The disabled man was dragged from his car and duffed up by a man of about 40. Another fucking hero.
Well done, Scotland the oh-so-fucking Brave.
(UPDATE: More footie-related assaults. Can we ban this game yet?)
At least one blogger has argued that my The time has come... post sounded a little sour. Yes, it does, and Squander Two sums up, in a post inspired by the above stories, far better than I could, why that was the case.
Like me, he is an Englishman who spent many years in Scotland; like me, he loves the Scots (who are generally a nice bunch of people and who certainly know how to have fun); like me, occasionally, he gets tired of all of the flack and flys off the handle.
I'm English and I lived in Scotland for eleven years. I'm lucky enough never to have been physically assaulted because of my nationality, but I was very much aware of the possibility during my time in Scotland.
I, of course, have been. Luckily, other than some minor dental work needed, various cuts and bruises, I got off quite lightly. Another English friend of mine had his jaw broken in five places and had to suck food through a straw for six weeks or more.
And while we are parading our Celtic origins, my mother is half-Welsh and half-Scottish (which makes me Scottish enough to play for their rugby team, apparently); my father is quarter Irish. It makes fuck-all difference: I sound English and when you are down on the ground trying to protect your head, you aren't worrying about attempting to communicate your Scots credentials.
It's difficult not to be, if you're English in Scotland. Even without any violence, the constant background racism can get wearing. I'm pretty thick-skinned, and I love Scotland, not least because it's full of Scots, who are great people, but, sometimes, I snap. Slag someone off for long enough, and, sooner or later, they'll stop liking you. And, being English in Scotland, you don't half get slagged off.
And, yes, you get really rather tired of it. As I said in my previous post:
Don't get me wrong, I love Scotland and, generally, I like the Scots. What I dislike is that I, who had always called myself British, have had the indentity "English" forced upon me by pusillanimous, parochial bigots who hear only an accent.
It is this attitude that prevents me feeling at home in a country in which I have lived constantly for nearly a decade. Do I resent it? Yes. Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction: my reaction to the resentment that many Scots, usually erroneously and based on a pitiful knowledge of their own history, have for the English is... welll... resentment. This is why I took the English side in my previous post.
Back to Squander Two. [All emphasis mine—DK]
Various people have observed that there is an increase in anti-Scottish feeling amongst the English these days. That's "the English". I think that's probably true. One might come up with any number of reasons why this is so. My own opinion is that any reason that is based on recent events is probably not really it. Recent events might have given some people a little push, but the real problem is that if you slag someone off for long enough, sooner or later, they'll stop liking you. There has been a significant, notable, highly offensive level of hatred emanating from Scotland towards the English for at least as long as the French have hated America.
Spot on. Even if much of it is in jest, it becomes very wearisome. It's a big like the office joker, the one who tells you the same joke (or type of joke) day after day; first you feel pity, then you start to get irritated, and then, finally, you get really pissed off and actively dislike him.
When Braveheart was released, there were more violent attacks on students in St Andrews (where I was studying at the time) in the first six weeks of term than in the entire previous year. (And there were a lot in the previous year, because Scots travel over from Dundee to St Andrews especially to beat the shit out of anyone who looks like they might be English or who answers a question in the wrong accent.) Someone staggered into the Union with blood pouring down their face pretty much every night. We all had to be very careful about walking around in public, and it was a bad idea to go out after dark.
This is a shitty state of affairs in any civilised country. One could say that these beatings are done by ill-educated, violent thugs; but there seem to be so many of them in Scotland. A Scottish friend, with whom I was having a lively discussion last night, agreed that there was a considerable amount of violence in Scotland (and deplored it).
There is, of course, a wide spectrum of anti-English feeling in Scotland. There are the bastards who physically attack English people; there are the non-violent customers who go into the same shop every day, not to buy anything but to tell the English sales assistant that they've stolen a Scottish job; there are the nationalist politicians who have built their careers on blaming all of Scotland's woes on England; and there are perfectly civilised, nice, friendly, wonderful people who will happily marry English people but who still routinely use the phrase "fucking English cunts". They'll tell you it's harmless banter, and, often, they're right. But it's a symptom of a general social atmosphere.
Anti-English sentiment is so prevalent, so woven into the very fabric of Scottish society, that it is simply not noticed.
Absolutely; all part of a low-level buzz of bigotry. Although one does need to point out that Glasgow, where Jo was, is a different kettle of fish to Edinburgh, which is far more Anglified. And yet... And yet...
A significant number of Scots — and by this I don't just mean a majority; I mean something kind of similar to "the French": I mean that their attitudes are broadly dominant in Scottish society — a significant number of Scots take every opportunity handed to them to slag off the English; they complain regularly about the "imperialist bastards" who "stole" their country despite the fact that the Act of Union was actually England bailing out a bankrupt Scotland and the Scots managed to negotiate a deal where they were overrepresented in Parliament; now, Scots MPs get to vote on legislation that affects England while English MPs can't vote on similar legislation that's been devolved to the Scottish toy Parliament; the Labour Party only have a majority in Westminster because of votes in Scotland, and now it looks like the English are going to get a Scots Prime Minister foisted on them (can anyone even imagine any party getting a majority in the Scots Parliament with an English leader?); it's becoming more and more obvious that the Scottish Parliament is spending English money on shite; and there has yet to be a Scottish problem caused entirely by Scots that hasn't been widely blamed on the English — witness the widespread delusion nine years ago that having a parliament in Edinburgh instead of London would solve Scotland's problems: the problem with politicians, the thinking goes, is not that they're inept or corrupt, but that they're from the wrong country. The English have been largely ignoring the constant stream of bile from north of the border for decades. All that's started happening lately is that they've finally got fed up with it, especially since the bile started to become government policy.
Absolutely right. And it is because of the Scots attitude that I took the part of the English in my post about Scottish independence. Because I am made to feel English, day after day, by Scots. And it is stupid, because instead of cheering for Scotland, and taking Scotland's part, I am taking the part of their Auld Enemy.
It is their loss (I like to think) and mine.
Jo sums up precisely what I feel about the situation, so I'll just let him talk.
The recent rise in anti-Scottish feeling in England is a Bad Thing — not least because, in my opinion, contrary to the impression I've just been busy giving, the Scots are much nicer people than the English. There's a reason why I don't live in England: bits of it are quite nice, but I really don't like living there, don't much care for the culture, and can only take so much of the people.
In short, I'm not slagging off the Scots here because I'm English. I'm complaining about the Scots because they're bastards, just as I've been complaining about the English for the last twenty years because they're all bastards too and have recently started complaining about the fact that the Northern Irish are all bastards. No doubt, if I ever do move to the US, this blog will become the one-stop shop for all your Americans-are-bastards needs. But there are things to be learnt from comparing the nations' differing styles of bastardacity. And, of course, personalities are independent: Scots can become better people regardless of whether the English remain gits or improve themselves.
I'll finish by repeating my summation from a couple of years ago:Scotland is both the best and the worst place on Earth. I fucking hate Scotland. I love Scotland. Especially Glasgow. I really, really detest Glasgow, quite possibly the greatest city in the world, and, as for Glaswegians, they're wonderful, friendly people, a real pleasure to be around, the violent, malingering scum.
I stand by every word of that.
And I would agree with it generally; although Edinburgh folk are generally far less violent (unless you are in Niddry) and more polite, although Glaswegians tend to be more friendly*. Generally, like Jo, I do love Scotland. But, like him, I need a wee bit of a break from feeling so damn English...
And this is absolutely my final fucking word on the matter: I wouldn't want to piss off my many good Scottish friends...
* A couple of years ago, I was in the Maryhill district of Glasgow (essentially, it's the modern-day Gorbals) seeing a client; not having been to Glasgow very often, I was unsure which bus to get back to the station, or even where to get off. I got back safely and was assisted, in extremely friendly manner, by three separate Glaswegians, all three of whom were completely pissed. But very, very friendly.