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Lost Identity ?

Whilst driving in my car, I was bemused to hear a live radio broadcast on one of the BBC's national radio stations ("Five - Live") which was discussing the national identity of the "British" or perhaps more specifically - The English.

The 23rd April is St. George's Day - The Patron Saint of England - (of dragon slaying fame!) and the presenter -a Scot - was conducting a live "phone in" together with a panel of "experts" to establish - "What does England celebrate ?"

Now before I go any further, I'm not having a go at our southern friends…….. He-He J ………who are clearly suffering from an identity crisis. I just found the whole thing rather interesting when the entire English Nation, albeit a bit "tongue in cheek" , struggled to answer that key question !

Note for non UK visitors:- England is not the whole of the UK - its only part of it!

The predominantly English contributors to the program were quick to point to St. Patrick's Day (Irish), St David's Day (Welsh) & of course St Andrew's Day (Scots) not to mention 4th July (USA) Bastille Day (France) etc etc as being good examples of celebrations of National Identity……..but rather defensively went on to rubbish them as patriotic nonsense.

I say ….Away an bile yer hieds!

We Scots are often accused of having "a chip on our shoulder" about the English ! OK, so we like to stuff them on the sporting field - all too infrequently. We sing Burns great song "Scots Wha Hae" and the more recent ballad - "Flower of Scotland" - with rousing passion. We have the best New Year parties (Hogmany) anywhere in the world and we have St. Andrew's Day and of course Burns Day to boot. For a wee nation of 5 million - any excuse, and out comes the Kilt, Bagpipes, Whisky and Haggis ! It's all fun!

Yet let us put this caricature into perspective! The Scottish identity is not limited to our bonnie shores. Far from it! From every corner of the globe, Scottish culture and heritage is celebrated regularly and passionately. We are perceived internationally as a friendly country of great and proud tradition and history…..and millions of Scottish descent join in.

Undoubtedly however, Robert Burns has played a major part in our international identity.

In his lifetime, he wrote passionately on the subject of national and individual identity. The identity of the Scots, the English, the French and the Americans were all discussed by Burns…..but most of all….the identity of fellow man…..
"That man to man, the world, o'er Shall brithers be for a' that"

In his death, Burns not only left his fellow Scots with a sense of real identity, but anyone who seeks one! So for those who feel you have no identity …….read the songs, poems & letters of Robert Burns. You will learn much more than simply a fine collection of literary work by the world's greatest literary genius!

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