The Year of Homecoming finished I think at the gathering in Edinburgh on Saturday; the vast majority of people didn’t know it had started which tells you all you need to know about this manufactured disaster of a celebration. It was based on a model of Scotland and her people which portrays us all as descendents of Harry Lauder who was of course a forelock tugging music hall caricature; an image which most Scots. do not recognise and find embarrassing, not a lot to build a culture on is it. Still you can buy a full highland rig out from about £800 so some people are happy with it; anyone who wanted to estimate it’s success should have taken a step back and considered the annual fiasco known as Tartan Day in America.
Scotland has long envied the success of the Irish in America and Tartan day was an attempt to emulate that success; it has been an unmitigated disaster; a complete flop; Americans don’t want to know because they simply don’t buy the story. The whole thing is without substance and will not grab America; as ‘Rick’ said in Casablanca “it don’t amount to a hill of beans” and no amount of political spivs like Salmond or washed up ham actors like Connery will change it.
The whole circus and one event in particular made me think back over the years to an event which I attended with my great friend Davie Speirs during the ‘Folk Revival’ years; as was normal there were a group who always stitched themselves on to these events with the intention of hanging a kilt on everything that went on. These people were tolerated and treated as a source of fun and most of them were harmless; in the bar Davie who was a singer and guitarist as well as a great raconteur was among the bravehearts and he had them hooked on a story. Bonnie Prince Charlie was on the run from the evil English and they were close to catching him; the brave highlanders stole him away in the dead of night and hid him in a field where they carefully covered him with stones and rocks etc. the evil English failed to find him and he survived; Davie embellished this hokum as only he can and they loved it; until he said that this incident had been immortalised in a famous highland song called “ Bonnie Chairlie’s noo awa” ( Bonnie Charlie’s now a wall ) well if looks could kill he would have been deid.
What made me think of this old chestnut was the attitude shown by some people at the gathering on Saturday; all kinds of bogus Scottish activities were afoot and the crowd resembled a special Ladies Only Day at Ascot with the proviso that only tartan be worn and the more outrageous the outfit the better; the chaps easily outdid the girls here. Guffaws and braying gubs were everywhere and the biggest collection ever of upper class clan chiefs were assembling their troops for a “Clan Parade” or was it a “Clan Charade” anyway if they can do this kind of parade in Disney Land why not here in Scotland. Off they went looking splendidly silly but; it was fun until the Campbells led by a Duke and Duchess hove in to view this caused a chorus of boos and abuse which were genuine and malicious it destroyed the Campbell marchers day, seriously it did.
People wondered about what could cause such terrible behaviour; some rather cruelly speculated that it was the legacy of Alistair Campbell the “spinning piper” others blamed a build up of resentment over the years because of the ‘minging’ soup which they sell but no; incredibly enough it was because they proved to be dirty fighters some couple of hundred years ago when all these clans were painting themselves blue and nicking each other’s cattle. They ambushed the McDonalds or was it the MacDonalds these things are important; anyway it was by all accounts a “right steam in; with blood and snotters everywhere” and the Mc/ Mac Donalds took a right second prize but; a couple of hundred years later wow! This is how Scots. treat their country men and women based on a load of old bulldung. Does it not make you wonder what their attitudes are to the Germans who were bombing us 60 odd years ago must be or; even worse the Engurlish but lets not go there just now.
Modern Scotland right; what a farce maybe it’s time to look again at all this c**p when was the last time you saw a guy in a housing estate wearing a kilt or creating a bloody racket with bag pipes? It’s a false and embarrassing picture, we need to think again about what we present to the world, a giant enema for the whole country would be a good start and then a dose of the truth.