By Tom Devine, Paddy Logue

The query 'who are we?' keeps to perplex many Scots this present day. The a hundred brief essays during this ebook support to extend the controversy and supply a minimum of the various solutions. they give a chance to penetrate in the back of the statistical surveys and discover the wealthy complexity of fixing identification from a different diversity of opinion.The assortment contains the perspectives of individuals on the centre of items in addition to these on the margins of society, the recognized in addition to the no longer so popular, the authoritative and mainstream in addition to the idiosyncratic. It additionally incorporates a few perspectives 'from the outside', from North the US, Europe and elsewhere.It examines the concept that and adventure of being Scottish at the moment in heritage and assesses its relevance, strengths, merits and weaknesses. It seeks to find no matter if there's a distinct anything which makes the Scottish certain and instantly recognisable and, if that is so, makes an attempt to explain it. in brief it's a picture of Scottish identification or, as turns out to the case

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Several clan chiefs throughout the Borders did the same; some of our estates survive, albeit greatly reduced. Most of us who do survive are very conscious that we are not so much owners of the land but its custodians and stewards. Very few of our mainly urban population can begin to understand what incredibly long-term policy decisions are needed for the successful management of the countryside. So much of our lovely landscape, which everyone wants to preserve, has been due to the way in which our forebears have integrated woodlands with farmland.

Nevertheless, I think I identify common continuities in the cultures occupying these expanses of territory which have retained the same borderline since the fifteenth century. First, olden Scotland as a sparsely populated, largely pastoral country had more affinities with democratical Scandinavia and Gaelic Ireland than with England. Distances paradoxically make for closeness. People stand out separately, look like men and women not mass. Serfdom simply doesn’t feature as a factor in Scottish history.

We could do with it here. First, we need to declare Gaelic and English as national languages. They’re both ready for it. Then we must legislate for community languages: Scots, Urdu, Punjabi, Cantonese, Gaelic and so on. With hard work, Scots could become a third national language. The aim is for all Scottish children to study four languages during their school years, normally including both national languages, a community one and foreign one. Then the language at the top of this piece will be normal, and Scotland will be a normal European country.

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