Northern Ireland's leading 'liberal unionist' blogger Chekov - who must be suitably thrilled to now find himself supporting the only major anti-agreement party in the province - has returned once again to his fixation with Scotland. It's all rather touching really, his general affection for us as a nation shines through his every word - he just can't stand our patriotism, our left-wing politics, our choice of government (especially our First Minister), and our national anthem. But if we could just get our act together and sort out those minor details for Chekov, rest assured there stands a man who desperately wants to love us. I'm guessing that Raffle Night at the Drymen Conservative and Unionist Association could well be the prototype for the 'real Scotland' that's just bursting to get out.
Anyway, it's our national anthem that's the theme of the day, with Chekov delightedly picking up on Jim Telfer's desire for Flower of Scotland to be replaced by a more 'mature' anthem. Unfortunately, perhaps due to the heavy spin on the Scotsman article he's quoting from, Chekov appears to be completely misinterpreting Telfer's words, with the suggestion that the former Scotland coach is in some way embarrassed by the 'nationalism' of the lyrics. What Telfer actually seems to be saying is that we've reached the stage of development as a nation where we can stop "defining ourselves through England" - which is in fact a solid, small 'n' nationalist argument that most SNP members would, I'm sure, be able to wholeheartedly agree with. Indeed, if there's one thing that almost guarantees that we will continue to 'define ourselves' through England, it's the continuance of the political union with our much larger neighbour. By definition, all parochial 'ninety-minute nationalists' are political unionists, if only by indolent default.
Where I part company with Telfer is that I simply don't recognise the problems he identifies with the lyrics of Flower of Scotland. It's categorically not an anti-English song, or even a song that's particularly about England - it's an anti-Edward II and anti-occupation song. Are Dutch celebrations of the liberation from Nazi rule deemed 'anti-German'?
In truth, Flower of Scotland is in many ways almost the perfect national anthem - its lyrics look to the past, present and future of our country simultaneously.