Dear Scotland: 34 things England is not sorry for
Scotland has some legitimate gripes with the UK. But there are some things that you just can’t complain about.
The Guardian recently published an article listing apologies from the English to the Scottish. Some of the points were fair. Cameron doing a pro-union speech in the London velodrome was a dumb move. Dumping our nuclear weapons (and America’s) on you isn’t cool.
But, it did get me thinking – there’s a lot that we shouldn’t be sorry for. So here’s a list of things that: we can’t be blamed for, you deserved or brought on yourselves, actually benefitted you, or just aren’t important.
We will not apologise for:
1. Laughing at kilts. Sorry, but they’re skirts for men. They’re silly. The weird bags hanging in front of the crotch? Really silly.
2. Beating your national team at every sport. They’re games. If you get upset by sports results, you deserve your misery.
3. Killing Mary Queen of Scots. You deposed and imprisoned her because she was psychotic. She gave you the slip, and we dealt with her for you. You’re welcome.
4. Not liking Braveheart. It’s stupid, it’s historically inaccurate, it feeds off the worst stereotypes (Scottish are barbarian thugs, English are effete idiots), and it involves Mel Gibson. (He should really have played Longshanks…)
5. George. Galloway. You owe us an apology (not to mention the anti-war and pro-Palestinian activists he undermines through association). His being Scottish has no bearing on him being a twat, and he was elected in an English constituency. But you had the opportunity (and responsibility) to deal with him early on.
[Edited to better reflect the author’s perspective.]
6. Doing terrible Sean Connery impressions.
7. On that note, letting a Scottish person play an upper class Englishman (overruling the creator’s wishes). It paid off (and he’s still the best Bond), but it was still nice of us.
8. Not letting an independent Scotland keep the pound. Seriously. You’re better off without it.
9. Laughing at deep fried Mars bars. Sure, most Scottish people would never, ever touch one. But you still managed to invent them.
10. Saying bagpipes are shit. They are.
11. Saying you’re heavy drinkers. Coming from the English that is a major compliment.
12. Being effete. Better effete than unrefined.
13. Letting you have your own Parliament. We let you pretend that you have a serious political institution all of your own. Even when you covered it in random, stupid bamboo.
14. Not not appreciating Scottish contributions to the arts. Everyone loves the Fringe.
15. Maggie Thatcher. The perfect target for anyone’s seething resentment and incoherent rage.
16. Calling Andy Murray British. You know Salmond looked like a tit waving that flag around.
17. The Act of Union. It was basically a bailout.
18. Complaining about the “you can’t buy alcohol in shops after 10pm” rule. It’s cretinous, nanny-state bullshit.
19. Your “money”. Of course we don’t accept it south of the border. Just like we don’t trade with monopoly currency.
20. Letting your Westminster MPs vote on issues that only affect England.
21. Not taking Scottish Nationalism seriously. I know you think independence is a big deal, but it’s really not. A zealous nationalist is always a risible sight. (In fairness, this also applies to simpering Better Together enthusiasts. And England’s own small-minded NIMBY nostalgics.)
22. “Colonising” you. Whatever gripes you have with the Union, Scotland is not a victim of colonialism. When you bemoan the nightmares of English (or Thatcherite) “colonialism” all you’re doing is belittling the horrors that the actual victims of imperial excesses suffered.
23. Not taking your “traditional” culture seriously. Most stereotypical symbols of Scottish culture are ahistorical constructions. Bagpipes, kilts, and tartan only became endemic (or even mainstream) in the early 19th century. Before then, they were a fringe weirdness in the Highlands.
24. Invading your universities en masse. We actually pay. Of course, if Scotland becomes independent and had to abolish fees for English students (EU law and all), it’s not like there’ll be a funding issue at all.
25. Not calling the heir to the throne “The Prince of Scotland”. You’ve dodged a bullet with that one.
26. The Battles of Stirling, Roslin, Bannockburn, Nesbit Moor, and Boroughmuir. And your Wars of Independence. We let you win.
27. Letting your king be our king.
28. Boris. For all the failings of our political class we did produce Boris Johnson.
30. We gave you the Labour Party for a bit. (To be fair, I guess no one wants the Labour Party. It was kind of a shitty gift.)
31. Not understanding you. The accent can be very, very thick.
32. Gaelic. Why do you persist? Leave it. It’s basically dead.
33. Pointing out that a “Full Scottish” is just a “Full English”. Although, I guess you do swap the tea for a whisky, the beans for haggis, and the eggs for a punch in the face.
34. Thinking your sports are ludicrous. Hammer throwing? Caber tossing? Curling? These are jokes, right?