March 24, 2005
The official spokesman for the English nation, alias Jeremy Paxman, may well feel unhappy about what he calls the Scottish Raj bearing down on him but he should take heart: all is not well among the Scotia Nostra.
The idea that there is a united Scottish force, ready and waiting to take over what bits of the British political establishment it doesn't already control when Gordon Brown inherits the keys to Number 10, is a bit of a myth.
The Great Broon probably does have a master plan to insert all manner of extra Jocks into the higher reaches of government when he descends from Mount Olympus, gets rid of Alan Milburn, wins the election for Labour and assumes the title of leader.
However, there is still one significant object, other than Tony Blair, in his way.
I refer to John Reid, the Scot who runs the English health service. Paxo impertinently referred to him as Labour's "attack dog", but he is better described as a Blairite attack dog. The only red meat Reid really wants to get his teeth into is the Chancellor himself.
They hate each other with an intensity that would, in any other nation, be beyond comprehension. Brown and Reid are living proof of the Scottish Labour dictum: "A long memory is much better than a good memory."
I have to admit I rather like that phrase Scotia Nostra. The column finishes with one of those little lingustic flourishes, factoids that I so enjoy:
However, there are many more raised eyebrows in Scotland at the decision of the devolved government to allow homosexuals to inherit the Highland crofts of their partners.
The surprise is not directed at the wisdom of the decision, more at the idea that there might be any takers for the new law.
After all, there is no word in Gaelic - the native tongue of the West Highlands and Islands - for homosexuality.
The absence of a word from a language doesn’t actually prove very much, it could be that the thing itself is unknown, or that it is unremarked. Anyway, any Gaelic speakers want to refute the contention? I’m sure that in both Welsh and Erse there are words for homosexuality, what about Scots Gaelic?
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Teuchter poofter? I do hope not.
Posted by: dearieme | Mar 24, 2005 10:52:12 AM
There was a good programme on a Channel4 'gay' strand some years ago (I've got a recording of it somewhere) which dealt with just this topic, curiously enough. Not specifically with crofters, mind you, but with homosexuality in isolated Highland communities. It certainly exists, even if it isn't talked about much. Just as alcoholism exists in some of these isolated communities. whatever the local Free Church may say about the dangers of the 'demon drink' to its flock. None of these 'problems' are imported, by the way, they are all authentic Highland phenomena.
Posted by: Bill | Mar 24, 2005 1:49:46 PM