Jubilee in Scotland

Listening to the radio this weekend the presenters are full of the joys of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and it feels as though they are broadcasting from another planet. We don’t get this bank holiday in Scotland and only some people have been given Tuesday off. Neither my Framers or Printer will be closed on Tuesday. The farm is in the middle of calving so they’ll not be slowing down. It feels like a very ordinary weekend in Scotland.

On Woman’s Hour they’re doing a series on the Queens of England to mark the Jubilee. Their section on Queen Anne recounted how the Union, achieved during her reign, saved the UK from war. A number of years ago I read Magnus Magnusson’s brilliant Scotland: The Story of a Nation. In it he portrayed the Union as an act of self-interest by a group of ‘noble’ men who could hardly claim to represent the views of the Scottish people. Two very different interpretations of the same event. History is full of these different interpretations and that is how we end up where we are. And it’s not as if the Scots can’t celebrate. We are just entering Gala season here in Scotland, where villages and towns are filled with bunting and celebrations…just not for the Queen.

Interestingly, Magnus Magnusson also portrays Scotland as a culture with much more in common with its Scandinavian cousins than its southern neighbours. As someone who has given little thought to the monarchy (although I must confess I am quite partial to Kate Middleton) I’m impressed by the level of discussion given to the topic by ordinary Scots. I suspect most English people are like me. Not too bothered either way about the monarchy, the Queen seems like a great old gal, and it’s just an excuse for a party isn’t it? But people here are politically engaged in a way I’ve not seen in England. And I’ve never experienced the loathing of English people I was told to expect. Here there is a deep belief in social justice and meritocracy. If you’re prepared to roll your sleeves up and muck in, you’re welcome.

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One Response to Jubilee in Scotland

  1. Peter Turner says:

    Some sensible observations on Jubilee Celeb, Han. Couldn’t agree with you more. Alright for the dudes up in London to spend our taxes. Pa.

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