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Patriotic songs

The census form lying on my desk awaiting completion on the due date asks me to state my nationality. I will tick the ‘Scottish’ box and do so proudly; my wife, on the other hand, will tick ‘English’. Will she be as proud as me, though? Strange but true, the majority of my close circle of contemporaries in my East Lothian village come from south of the border. That’s not their fault and I will never hold it against them; indeed I pity them, for their semi-detached, watered down nationalism. If I was stick of rock, I’d have ‘Scotland’ running through me, top to bottom. With Eileen, though, the legend would probably read, ‘Tyneside’. Same with Eric and Ann, while John’s would probably be ‘Yorkshire’, and beyond doubt Jack’s would say ‘Glossop’. Where do our different loyalties lie within this island? I’m not getting into Norman Tebbit’s cricket test, but listen if you will to the preliminaries at any Scotland – England football or rugby international. Come anthem time, you will hear us belting out Flower of Scotland, (A tuneless dirge I know, but at least it’s ours) but the other team will stick to God Save the Queen, which is in no way appropriate because it isn’t unique unto them. You see? The English don’t even know what they are. The closest thing they seem to have to an anthem of their own is Jerusalem. I rest my case.

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