Monday, February 18, 2008

Interesting article in The Independent today; the leader of the Church of Scotland (Rt Rev Sheilagh Kesting), claims that "anti-English" sentiment in Scotland is just as big a threat to the well-being of Scottish society as sectarianism.

She (yes, a woman!) also said that the anti-English feeling is not conducive to a "healthy society" and that "banter" between the Scots and the English during sporting events could be harmful and lead to more sinister behaviour.

Now, normally I don't listen to religious leaders at all, specifically ones that refer to things as "sinister" and wish to oppress all the fun things in life, but I wondered if Miss Kesting had a point. Then I read this bit:

"Miss Kesting, 53, also revealed she had experienced anti-Englishness as she was growing up in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. She added: 'I grew up in the north-west, in a part of Scotland where English people tended to settle and there was an antipathy towards them. They weren't altogether welcomed.'"

Might this just be a case of wounded pride after all these years?

Being a Canadian in Scotland, I always just assumed that the Scottish and English relationship was similiar to that of Canada and America. Canadians have a charming inferiority complex, love to bitch about America, make vast generalisations about American people, and would sooner go through life without Tim Hortons coffee than have ANYONE assume they're American. And yeah, I'm one of those kinds of Canadians. This dynamic, however, is generally all one-sided as America is too busy policing the world and making movies and what-not to notice our passive-aggressive attention-seeking ways.

And so I just assumed that the Scottish viewed the English in the same way as Canadians to our cultural colonizers, America? Except that the Scottish were sorta part of the same country as the English? And except Scotland had oil and not England?

Needless to say, I sympathise with the Scots because well, I live in Scotland and I'm Canadian so really it's just natural that I empathise with the underdog. Who knew I was up to something "sinister"!?

The article continues:

"[Miss Keating was] echoed by the Rev Elisabeth Spence, an anti-sectarianism campaigner and Glasgow minister, who said: 'If you say something which is sectarian, people will spot it and challenge. It will no longer be tolerated. People still laugh off anti-English remarks as just a bit of fun, but they are nothing of the sort. They are racist and offensive.'"
Offensive? Ok, maybe but racist? SINCE WHEN ARE THE ENGLISH A RACE?! Fuck's sake, lady!


Gareth said...

I'm an Englishman who has lived in Canada (and who has a Canadian wife) and Scotland and I think the relationship between Canada and America is much better natured than that between England and Scotland.

There's a little country syndrome that Scotland and Canada share due to having a much larger and culturally imposing southern neighbour, but the Scots are far more nationalistic than the Canadians.

If anything the England-Scotland relationship is closer to the relationship between Anglophone Canada and Quebec.

Jennifer said...

"I think the relationship between Canada and America is much better natured than that between England and Scotland."

Really? You're married to a Canadian and you STILL think that?

While the relationship between England-Scotland may be closer to Anglophone Canada and Quebec in hostility and dynamic, I would disagree overall. Quebec culture/ politics has little influence over the rest of Canada, whereas England has major influence over Scotland.

Also, aren't you an English nationalist?