Sunday 5 February 2012

Blethers - Racism Rant

Wee Eck's big hoose
Alex Salmond has a lot to answer for, including instigating (as opposed to inciting) racism. A serious charge perhaps, but based on a recent personal experience, it may have some merit.

In general, motoring journalists are a multicultural bunch, and as such are representative of a wider society, although those who specialise in trucks and vans form a much smaller, more eclectic bunch. There are only three full-time CV journalists based this side of the border and on last week’s trip I was the only Scot, a fairly regular occurrence.

On that basis I have often been the butt of much banter, which is mostly good natured, although there are one or two ‘little englander’ bigots around.
It'll be nice when it's finished!

Naturally, such banter is usually returned, and sometimes with an added dash of colourful celtic cultural vitriol if they are ganging up, but just the other day, I noticed the banter had a distinctly sharper edge to it.

Some of our southern neighbours appear not to have taken too kindly to the notion that some Scots are seeking to separate themselves from the rest of the UK. They see this as an affront. An insult to their long history of patronage and tolerance, and are quite indignant at the idea that WE should seek to separate from THEM – and not the other way round.

Some welcome the idea of devolution, others are ambivalent and quite a few are against the idea, but it is regarded as an important topic of discussion these days whenever we meet up. 

However, the debate has taken on a more urgent tone these days as the head politicos on both sides of the border start squaring up. On this most recent trip I noticed a distinct change in the tone of the jibes and the jokes, as each ‘colleague’ in turn tried to outdo the other with a particularly pointed remark or insult. At times the naturally competitive human instinct urged certain individuals to try to make a funnier remark than the preceding one.

You know the thing – we’ll need to build a fence – with the pretty overlap side on our side – with barbed wire along the top – no, razor wire – no, let’s build a wall – using the leftovers from the old Berlin Wall – and we’ll build a one-way tunnel – so we can send all the Scots down here back home. And there was more, lots more.

At one time this was funny, but as I said, it didn’t quite seem so humorous this time. It wasn’t venomous, but it didn’t seem as good natured as it used to.

For sure, some of the debate was enlightening sand informative, but I am concerned at this subtle cooling of relations between our two countries.

At one point I did lose it a wee bit and accused a couple of bickerers that if they were so keen to be rid of us then why hadn’t they originated their own English nationalist movement, and then accused them of being  jealous because they hadn’t thought of devolution first.

Perhaps I could be accused of over reacting or being oversensitive, but then the constant poking from a dozen folk all aimed at one individual does tend to load the odds one way. I actually got fed up defending myself in particular and the Scots in general, and suggested they should take up the issue directly with Wee Eck in Edinburgh.

Mr Salmond may only be aware of his own grand plan and his party’s hopes for the future, but at a more basic, everyday level his crusade is already affecting the lives of ordinary folks going about their daily business. He may well be unaware of this effect as he trips about the capital working in that grand palace at the foot of the Royal Mile, using taxis because there are no trams, and therefore aloof and detached from ordinary folks, but his campaign is already unsettling our neighbours.

On that basis perhaps we should have the vote sooner rather than later – I’m fed up with it already.

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