Alasdair Gray has been strutting his Scottish stuff, complaining about “English settlers”, especially in the arts. You can read the full text of his piece here, rather than rely on what the media say. The artist, John Byrne, disagrees with him.
There’s nothing unexpected in Gray’s article; it’s standard material from the left wing point of view (although I’m sad to see he’s fallen for the old-fashioned nonsense about the Normans invading England because it was a “poorer” nation – England at that time was not only wealthier and better organised but was generally more civilised than what passed as “France”).
Anyway, what made me laugh about Gray’s comments was that they reminded me of a visit I made to a small Hebridean island years ago. The older residents (ie those born there and native Gaelic speakers) frequently spoke of “white settlers” coming to live on the island. It turns out they weren’t talking about the English (I don’t think there were any) but other Scots, notably those from the Lowlands. There was one chap who had lived there for years who they referred to as “The Man from Stirling” – he seemed to have assumed the mantle of archetypal White Settler. Quite what he’d done to deserve this I don’t know.
And while I’m on about Scotland (beautiful place but awful, awful weather and not enough trees), I hope the racist stereotype of the thrifty Scot has now been thoroughly buried. After all it was Scottish dominance of British politics during Labour’s reign, and the catastrophic fiscal incompetence of Blair and Brown (chuck Mr Darling in as well) that has brought us to the current condition. If the moron Brown had spent more time collecting the pennies instead of spending the pounds we’d all be better off.
Where is Gordon these days, by the way? Is he still getting paid to be a MP?