Did anyone catch Mark Steel on Radio 4 this week? http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00s0g1p He visited, and did a show in Dumfries, a fine town in north Wales. Yes, that's right, it was once in north Wales, but it's now in Scotland. And he performed some great comedy about the relationship between the Scots and the English. I'm all for celebrating our Scottishness and Englishness, but can't bear it when people choose to define themselves by what they are against.
I follow football (soccer for American readers) and always support England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland against anyone else, yet there is a significant proportion of Scots who "support whoever is playing against England". I guess there are some English who support whoever is playing the Scots, but most English probably don't even think about Scottish football or the Scots' national team. Mark did some good material about the Dumfries football club "Queen of the South", a team I always look out for, following my visit in 2004.
I'm thinking about celebrating England as it's St George's Day (yes, I know how weird that link is), and it's Shakespeare Day (his birth and death day - what a memorable party that must have been). But of course all the talk is about the General Election, and the emergence of Nick Clegg as a possible Prime Minister.
I have my own theory of why this might be. The English are getting a little tired of Scottish domination of politics and the media for the last fifteen years. I appreciate that for the last three hundred years the UK has been dominated by Westminster, but I would like to point out that the main beneficiaries of this bias have not been "The English" as a whole, but a few hundred of the upper classes of the home counties. So after Blair (a Scot), Broon (a Scot) maybe we were expecting Cameron next? (I visited the Cameron Clan centre in the Scottish Highlands last May). No, we want someone that looks and sounds like a regular Englishman. And what better qualification than Everyman Nick Clegg, son of Cleggy out of top English sitcom "Last of the Summer Wine". As Mark Steel said at the end of one of his sketches, "dinae wurry, ah'm oonly jookin'", for my Scottish readers.