Why English people sometimes upset Scots and where this comes from

When I was growing up in London, I didn’t really understand why my Scottish relatives got upset at the English media making silly comments mixing up England and Britain and generally over-emphasising the English perspective on British affairs.  I thought they were being over-sensitive.

I’ve thought about it more again recently and I think that there is a sensitivity among Scots, but with good reason.  The issue is political and historical.  The UK was formed as a result of English dominance over Scotland and Wales.  There has never been any national reckoning in England of our role, with a corresponding dialogue with Scotland (and Wales), followed by a mutually-agreed adjustment of the relations between our countries. 

It’s a bit like a couple in which the husband forced his wife to marry him and used to beat her.  Over time, he stopped doing this but then wondered why his wife would still get upset at his crass comments about their relationship and her habits. 

Sorting out abusive relationships means having lots of time and space apart.  More often than not, it means divorce, especially if the abuser shows no sign of facing up to their actions.  Once a relationship is over, healing can begin.  Until then, the wounds of the past can easily be picked again.     

In Ireland, they’ll never forget what the English did to their nation, but they can move on from their past because they are getting on just fine without us.  Over time, we in England have come to respect them more as a sovereign nation and relations are now better than ever.  For Scotland, the familiarity of being together in the UK still breeds contempt, whether we care to admit it or not. 

Scotland needs loads of time and space apart from England to heal the wounds of the past and build up national emotional boundaries. You can call this separation, independence, self-determination or whatever you like – I don’t mind. I just don’t want us to prolong the pain of enforced togetherness. It doesn’t mean we can’t still get on in areas of mutual interest.

I wish the pasts of our countries had been different but we have to live with reality.  Our pasts live on in our feelings and our identities, whether we like it or not. 

And if you’re a pro-union Scot in Scotland and reading this, I am sorry but I just don’t get you.  I really don’t.   

 

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4 thoughts on “Why English people sometimes upset Scots and where this comes from

  1. Britain not UK was formed by English dominance over Wales a name which derives from the old name given those Nations by the Phoenicians from the goddess Britannia whom they prayed to the Phoenicians started trade with Albion some 2500 to 2300 years ago, before the Roman invasion, the Phoenicians also named the northern part of Albion by the name Caledonia, this due to the fact that it was a very different group of people living there, to say that Albion is the Oldest known name of the island of great britain is to seriously piss on all our history, there was and has never been an island of great britain, this is a politically based name which has been forced down the neck of people, all in the name of control and power, so please ask yourself, who earns on keeping the this politics alive, not the Irish nor the Scots, I am also pretty sure the English and Welsh would be so very much better off if finally the brutish empire bs once and for all was closed down and the true history as well as the nations of the isles where re-established based on actual facts and not on greed and superiority, Edward 1 is dead may he rest in total darkness and never again poison our world. Oh by the way, the ancient name of Eire is Īweriū and not british isles, some respect for our origins is needed to heal wounds and bring back the pride of difference, variation and our independent history as well as the joint one we share, without looking only at the lies which has created so much friction.

  2. Hello,

    Although I confess to be no more than a mere pleb of the realm, I hope I might comment. 🙂

    “There has never been any national reckoning in England of our role, with a corresponding dialogue with Scotland (and Wales), followed by a mutually-agreed adjustment of the relations between our countries. ”

    Well, no, but I would *really* hate to think that you felt personally guilty about it. 🙂 And no-one should. We want, all of us, to move on. The ‘divorce’ should not be enormously difficult, although expect a bit of symbolic huff & puff, but after that, all’s good, and learn to be good neighbours. It will be good fun, really. 🙂

    “When I was growing up in London, I didn’t really understand why my Scottish relatives got upset at the English media making silly comments mixing up England and Britain and generally over-emphasising the English perspective on British affairs. I thought they were being over-sensitive.”

    Yeah, but it still happens, and yes, it always sounds silly to explain it to people, until they observe it for themselves – you know, on the BBC “National News” things like “the Education Secretary” or the “Health Minister/Secretary said or did this or that, and in fact it was a thing about purely English matters. It is an oddly careless and inaccurate way to present the news, if you stop to think about it. The trouble is that it IS annoying (and very bad) of the BBC to do this – they are not, one hopes, run by a bunch of day-release schoolkids, so ought to know what they are doing. And I think they do know. And they keep on doing it. I cannot think why. 🙂 Oh well.

    “Scotland needs loads of time and space apart from England to heal the wounds of the past and build up national emotional boundaries. You can call this separation, independence, self-determination or whatever you like – I don’t mind. I just don’t want us to prolong the pain of enforced togetherness. It doesn’t mean we can’t still get on in areas of mutual interest.”

    We don’t even need loads of time and space: . we all share the same time and space. I think there need be no animosity: political and economic pragmatism alone will see to that. 🙂

    This is a move towards a modern democracy, not a mediaeval war.

    Plus, so many Scots and English and Welsh have family and friends all over the place. We can sort out all the details and then have a hell of a party afterwards! 🙂

    Now wouldn’t that be fun? Scotland’s Independence big party – everyone come along and join in. 🙂

    • Ok thanks Celyn. I realise that practical matters usually take precedence but believe also that some time should be set aside for national reflection so as to inform future decisions. I don’t feel personally guilty but at the same time being a member of a nation imposes a certain responsibility to make sense of the sins of our forefathers and make amends if possible. Tony Blair, for all his faults, apologised to the Irish for the potato famine. There are conversations to be had with ex-UK colonies which we are not ready for (and Scotland should have a role in these too). Germans since the war have had to face themselves and their victims over their Nazi past. I think England has repeated the same mistakes time and again in their dealings with other nations because we don’t face our past and examine how it lives on in the present day. Don’t worry I won’t be banging on about these issues on 19 Sep when (I hope) you’ll be having a massive party!

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