It’s my Opinion

THE month of June has presented natives north and south of the UK border with an opportunity to make statements of where we are as a nation. The recent Diamond Jubilee and upcoming Olympics seemed, to me, events that merited our attention.

But not surprisingly, there was a less than enthusiastic response from the north end of this green and pleasant isle, where a generally curmudgeonly Scottish public seemed not to want to embrace the celebrations.

In sharp contrast, our nosier neighbours from down south were keen to express their gratitude and support of Her Majesty’s 60 years in office.

Not usually a fence-sitter I must admit to having sympathy for both camps, for that’s exactly what they appear to be.

As I read it, the Scots by nature are less expressive, emotional, and committed to the royals. But most of all the Scots - of which I am one - do not like being told what to do, especially by our English cousins. The hint that we have got something wrong by not celebrating is the final straw for most of us, particularly when even the English living in Scotland do not have a clue about our culture, less so our thinking on domestic and international matters.

Nothing grates more than to be criticised for our lack of street parties by incomers who would be well advised to draw a veil over their misguided comments. And they exist right here in East Gordon.

On the other hand, we Scots can be scarily paranoid about ourselves, holding the view that only we can make critical observations about our own. The word prickly comes to mind.

For example, the mere mention of us being sporting inferiors gets up even my nose, even if it is the case. That said, the respective populations of the two countries should have some bearing on this pointless argument.

All this should, of course, lead to me making a case for independence, but not a bit of it, regarding as I do the diversity of the two nations as healthy, if not always productive.

Encouragingly, the presence of the Olympic torch seems to have invoked a welcoming response from those of us who look forward to the games which get under way in July. That said there is a lobby - both sides of the border who continually gripe about the costs of the world’s biggest sporting occasion.

If you really want to get excited about costs take a closer look at matters nearer to home, including the silly price of our Scottish Parliament and the Edinburgh tram fiasco to name but two. The English have their own white elephants, among which are the not-widely-publicised costs of upgrading the Westminster Parliament, which were far in excess of the building of Holyrood.

But if you really want a fight this month, just raise the issue of football which is currently dominating our TV screens - not that you need any reminding.

Fear not, the media will lose some of its interest once England come home before the final on July 1.

But whoops, there I go, lobbing in my own observations...