Saturday, 30 December 2006

To see oursels as ithers see us!

Got Michael Buerk's autobiography for Xmas. Excellent; can highly recommend it. In relating the period when he and his young family lived in Scotland and he worked with BBC Scotland, he makes the following observation which, I must say, rings true with me. [I quote it here, verbatim, hoping I've not contravened any copyright]:

We liked the Scots. There was a sense of social cohesion about the place and a general sturdy attitude to life, its duties and its pleasures. That’s what made the endless chippiness about the English even more odd. There is a strange disjunction between the attitudes of the English and the Scots to each other. The English, in the main, feel affection and not a little admiration for the Scots. Most Scots’ accents are accorded automatic respect, particularly when uttered by teachers or doctors. To a generation brought up on Dr Finlay’s Casebook it is the voice of wisdom, of authority and a special kind of stern rectitude. When a Scot hears an English accent he thinks only of a spineless, inbred toff who is out to swindle him. There may be deep historical reasons for this but it is a long time since we English handed our throne to a Scots king who came south with most of his belongings and all of his money in a box. Since then Scots have taken over most of our institutions, including, from time to time, the government of the BBC. The average Scottish family has a quarter of its members living south of the border and yet there is an institutional racism, that was evident in the seventies and, in my experience, is worse now. It rarely seems to be personal. It always seems possible for you, the individual, to be exempt from the generalized anti-English critique. But it is pervasive and rather childish all the same.

1 comment:

Crunchy Carpets said...

Interesting...mind you apart from the odd dr. finlay type you rarely heard a scots accent on tv or radio till the late 70's and it hasn't been till the 90's really that a main character could have a Scots accent or even a Geordie one!

now it appears to be sexy!

Just dropped by through the profile directory...

I am a Scot but now Canadian.
And sorry..from Edinburgh!!!