Many factors make me proud to be Scottish. Some of them are geographical: our islands (in particular Arran, Tiree, Whalsay). Our capital (apologies to my native city, but really Glasgow with you it’s not the place, it’s the people; Edinburgh, on the other hand – I love you as if you were a person). Some are historical. Some are cultural: Peploe’s paintings; CRM’s architecture; everything Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh set her hand to (and don’t bother telling me she was born in England. I know, but she’s ours now); Nan Shepherd’s books (if you haven’t read The Living Mountain, read it. Today); Edwin Morgan’s poems. I could go on all day.
But mostly, it’s the people. The innate hospitality of Highlanders. The way my fellow Glaswegians have an infallible bullshit detector that means toom tabards like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Mr Trump had better not spend too long there. The perjink yet multicultural society that’s Edinburgh.
And in recent times, I’d have to add to that list: our politicians. People like Mhairi Black and Joanna Cherry who speak with such passion and sincerity. Those like Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Blackford who always maintain such dignity. People like Alyn Smith, MEP (if you’ve forgotten his speech to the European Parliament the day after the damned referendum, listen again Here)
I was particularly conscious of that last night, watching BBC’s Question Time. My blood boiled as a particularly obnoxious London audience laughed and jeered when Ian Blackford, MP, made the very valid point that we Scots refuse to be dragged out of the EU against our will. I’ve never met Mr Blackford, but I’d hazard a guess he’s not one of nature’s showmen, as some of his predecessors at Westminster have been. However, he always rises to the occasion, with determination and quiet dignity. Seeing how he simply ignored the jeers and sheer rudeness last night made me very, very proud to be Scottish.
Ian Blackford, I salute you.