Tartan Day

Today is the anniversary of an important event in Scotland’s history. It’s 690 years since the Declaration of Arbroath was submitted to Pope John the XXII as a universal declaration of Scotland’s national sovereignty and independence from the feudal overlordship of the King of England. The stirring nationalist rhetoric and the sentiment it invokes have even been claimed as an inspiration for the American Declaration of Independence.

You’ve also no doubt noticed, if you’re in Scotland at least, that this solemn occasion has passed without a single solitary event to mark it. Meanwhile however in Canada and the United States hundreds of thousands of members of the Scottish Diaspora are holding parades, parties and official functions to celebrate their Scottish ancestry and cultural heritage. Visit Scotland, the tourist organ of the Scottish Government, has shamelessly tried to hijack these distinctly American events by using them for free advertising, but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The image many Americans, and even Canadians, have of Scotland are often far removed from reality.

Not that they have much choice in the matter. Those without direct Scottish relatives can only go by the way Scotland is often portrayed in the media. The image of a kilted, red haired and often drunken Scotsman is a universal stereotype known, and dare I say loved, across the world but it’s not really Scotland is it? It’s not the Scotland that I see in the street when I’m going about, it’s not the Scotland I read about in the news and it’s not the Scotland that I’ve read about in history. These people have so much enthusiasm, and so much pride in their Scottish ancestry.

It makes me embarrassed to be a Scot when I see them on the news holding parades with pipe bands in honour of their heritage. I start to wonder, as I watch, why is it that they can look on a culture such as ours, which many of them are ten or twenty generations removed from, with more pride than your average Scot? Where are the parades down Princes Street,the banners in George Square or the twenty-one gun salute from Edinburgh Castle’s battlements?

There’s nothing, not a single event to mark the Declaration’s place in our history.  I find myself confounded by the people of  Scotland. People who would rather turn out every year to parade in the memory of a Dutchman who, leading an army made up predominantly of Irish Protestants, Dutchmen, Huguenots and Englishmen, managed to kick a catholic Frenchman with his army of Irish Catholics and Frenchmen out of Ireland.

So fuck tartan day, and fuck your shortbread eating, whisky drinking, haggis herding, kilt wearing, tight-fisted, red haired, drunken, foul mouthed, aggressive, see-you-jimmy-hat wearing, sheep shagging and all those other stereotypical good for nothing ideas you’ve all got stuck in your head. I say unto thee. Get on a plane, come over here and show the miserable residents of this miserable little country, and especially the talking shop in Edinburgh, what it means to be proud of your history, your folk and your country.

1 Response to “Tartan Day”


  1. 1 MCDOWALL April 9, 2010 at 22:22

    The best post you’ve written on here my friend; hitting your stride perhaps!

    And need I remind you YOU voted the talking shop in Edinburgh to power! J’accuse!


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