Friday, February 6, 2009

Prejudice cuts both ways

So yet another feature on Newsnight Scotland about anti-English prejudice in Scotland. It was music to my ears when the academic behind the research being discussed mentioned in passing that he was planning a similar study to see if Scots living in England face similar problems. I'll give you a sneak preview of what that research will uncover - yes, they do, and if anything it's probably even worse.

I don't want to minimise the distress caused to English people in this country by low-level harassment on account of their accent, but from the way the media (on both sides of the border) typically deal with this issue you'd think it was a strictly one-way phenomenon. It seems Scots supporting 'anyone but England' at football (for perfectly understandable reasons - a subject I may return to at some point) is tantamount to racism, but somehow the relentless 'Jock'-bashing that goes on in southern England is always just a bit of friendly banter. Additionally, it always strikes me that the innocent people who genuinely suffer from anti-English prejudice are never the ones we hear from - it invariably seems to be the loudmouths with a not-very-subtle political agenda. I recall many years ago seeing an Englishman on TV telling a shocking tale of how he had his car smashed up "just for being English". But then he casually mentioned that he just happened to be a sort of "shock-jock" on a Highlands radio station, and that one of his favourite talking-points was the fact that everyone knows Gaelic is a pointless language and that ridiculous amounts of money are wasted on Gaelic-medium broadcasting. Of course that revelation didn't remotely justify a mindless act of vandalism, but it did put a slightly different complexion on his claim that it happened "just because he was English". Similarly, on tonight's programme, one of the anonymous comments from an English person who claimed to be a victim of prejudice was quite telling - it was something like "they think they're really welcoming, but they're much more insular than we are". Who exactly is exhibiting the prejudice and the resort to stereotypes here?

Also, the contribution from the former editor of the Scottish Mirror was utterly laughable. Typical unionist propaganda, lazily conflating things that have no automatic connection - ie. Scots feeling more Scottish and less British on the one hand, and anti-English sentiment on the other. He also appears to be labouring under the delusion that this decline in Britishness is a recent phenomenon, in some way connected to the ascent to office of the Machiavellian genius Alex Salmond. Where has this guy been for the last thirty years? Actually, he should have a word with AM2, who has utterly convinced himself that Britishness has been making a comeback of late!

3 comments:

  1. I've just left a wee comment for you on Key bored Warrior's blog.

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  2. The only thing I am unhappy about the Eurovision Song Contest is that the use of English, in the Eurovision Song Contest increases year by year.

    As a native English speaker I think this is unfair!

    It's certainly time to break the habit of "language imperialism", in the Eurovision Song Contest, and use a song, sung in Esperanto instead!

    This is a serious suggestion, as you can see from the Esperanto music which is already available at http://www.vinilkosmo.com/?prs=listen or at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670

    There's even cheesy Esperanto music available! See http://www.ipernity.com/home/56084

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  3. Hi Brian, we're on the wrong thread of course, but I absolutely agree with you about the overuse of English in the contest. Naturally you'd prefer Esperanto but perhaps more realistically countries could go back to singing in their own native language! The EBU could maybe encourage it by offering more favourable positions in the draw to countries who don't sing in English.

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