Since I was a kid I remember people in Scotland supporting whoever happened to be playing against the English soccer team. Probably not big or clever, but I think it was a backlash to what was percieved as gloating by the national UK media who would give England much more coverage than Scotland.
Now it seems that the constant hostility to the English is starting to drive the English away from Scotland, and frankly I’m not surprised. I wouldn’t want to visit or live somewhere I would feel sneered at or threatened because of where I’m from or how I speak – my wife Emma used to be on the receiving end of comments from people when she lived in Edinburgh and unsurprisingly, was not impressed. I don’t have a strong Scottish accent (despite having been born and raised there) which used to be a source of taunting from other kids at school. Not to mention my last name, which because it’s not Scottish, was made to be an issue by kids and teachers alike.
All this makes me think about where I used to live and while there are things I miss, I’m glad I’ve got away from that kind of pettiness. People here seldom comment on my accent (and if they do it’s generally complimentary), they rarely if ever comment on my last name and almost never mis-spell it. In Scotland it got to feel like people would spell my name wrong because they couldn’t be bothered to take the time or effort to get it right. Most of all I appreciate living in a place where there is not a constant victim culture, always complaining that it’s someone else’s fault when things go wrong and belittling people who happen to be different.