My first experience of Scotland was a Haggis hunt with the fuzzbuzzes. To the uninitiated, the fuzzbuzzes were created as stories to help children with phonetic sound and reading issues. I will forever be grateful that while at infant school I was singled out for special funding. The extra tuition included using these story books, while taught one to one. Without this support, I doubt I would be able to read, let alone blog.
One slight draw back – I really did think Haggis was a two legged creature that was hunted in the Glen. I can quite understand people of Scotland feeling that the English are similarly naive about their desires and wants for an Independent Scotland.
I have no say over your future. Rightly so. The decision is for Scotland alone. All I can tell you is that my love for Scotland started when my love for reading was kindled as a little boy in Hampshire.
Finding out Haggis really did not have legs, was an offal experience. However, it led me to the poetry of Robert Burns. The different sound of the Scottish dialect when reading aloud the poems. There was a joy in the language. Also, that my birthday is the day before Burns Night. It fired my imagination – and my love for Scotland went from a fictionalised world to the real one.
At sixth form studying economics there was a chance to meet another Scottish hero. One, unlike Burns, that believed wholeheartedly in the Union. Adam Smith – the father of economics and moral philosopher. I combined those two elements by reading Economics and Politics at University. Which taught me among other things:
At university I discovered David Hume, and the significance of the Scottish Enlightenment and the English Enlightenment to the United Kingdom and beyond. Never was synergy in thought more apparent in the day to day actions of human activity. The reverberations are still felt around the world.
Skip forward to now, and what the United Kingdom does still impacts on the world. In a globalised community, perhaps there has never been a better time to go it alone. The British Empire is rightly no more.
Yet a world with more borders, where common bonds of humanity are broken down, should give pause to think again. Fellow citizens becoming neighbours. Neighbours becoming competitors. Kin becoming strangers. A shared heritage becoming estranged.
Going to back to Junior school I remember a simulation about protecting Osprey on the old Acorn computers (showing my age now). Using funds in such a way to maximise the number born.
Nearly thirty years later they are still an Amber List species due both to low breeding numbers and illegal killings. This fishing bird of prey truly is an awesome sight to behold in action. It inspired this poem by Jeremy Wyatt:
Old stones weep in the rain
their darkling gaze unblinking
Glowering with ancient pain
of distant glories thinking
Preening Lords arrogant in imagined might
would quail could they perceive
The majesty of osprey flight
True rulers still of Threave
If you wanted to understand why we need no more borders – poetry and birds never should have barriers – read his description how he came to write the poem:
Written two years ago after a dreamy day at Threave Castle viewing a Welsh osprey who moved to Scotland (via Africa) [Source: Poem called “Osprey Flight”]
There are no borders for a flying bird of prey. The land is one. Such lines are a human invention, a tribal longing for terroritry, to allow distinctions. To make narrower ties at the expense of making others forlorn strangers. Nationalism is glorified as a patriotic form of sectarianism.
We have shared an identity, our heritage and way of life for so long. That is what is at stake tomorrow. I hope that we can work together to make this island better for us all. Rather than start to look at each other as foreigners, and prevent other children growing up to care and love each other.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog