The Scottish Way

It’s well known, we Scots love a fight.

Of course this is a generalisation of the Scottish stereotype, along with hard drinking and strong humour. Individuals vary, which should go without saying but it’s better to be explicit in these matters before a fight breaks out. And yes, that was irony.

You see, the only thing that unites us is a common enemy but if we can’t find one, we’ll fight among ourselves. Just walk into a bar, careful which one mind, and put forward a topic, sit back, watch it go.

Football is a strong one. Mention one side of the Old Firm, the collective name for Glasgow’s dominant sides, Rangers & Celtic, and you will be playing with dynamite. Reasonable people turn into swivel eyed loons who run for their pitchforks and torches, leaving sense behind and start on conspiracies, abuses and sectarianism. All will be delivered with the passion and vigour of the street evangelists on their crusade, which is not far from the truth, in this case.

If football doesn’t do it, then try politics. After the recent Independence referendum, new battle lines have been draw with some using the old battle lines as a marker. If you’re a Rangers fan, then you must be pro-union. If you’re a Celtic fan, then you must be for independence. It’s a stereotype – a protestant Catholic hating unionist or a Catholic protestant hating nationalist. There are some out there who wear their respective badges with pride, falling into the stereotype with ease, then using it as a weapon against the other side.

They attack and provoke, and when challenged, the ideas are all their own. They have no idea they are reciting their tribe’s script, which has been handed down for a century or more. It makes them business and tax specialists, political analysts and historians, with their own views colouring events.

I’ve lived away for some time, viewing events from affair, by social media, forums and news. It’s definitely become worse and the lunatic fringe has now become more vocal. Cognitive dissonance, the clash between beliefs and strongly held opinions leading to the individual going to sometimes extraordinary lengths to eliminate the dissonance and restore their core belief, is rampant.

You can see this by the lack of rationality and reason in some, even when presented with a logical response, giving them a way out of their clash, but they can’t help their own programming. They continue their crusade, no matter how ridiculous or stupid they appear, they just reason they are right with the dissonance resolved and their tribe supports them willingly.

It’s a problem in Scottish society that politics has worsened and until the matter of independence is resolved, I can’t see it going away any time soon. Such is the root of the beliefs, they are now inextricably linked in the psyche and although there are many who stand outside of all this, all we hear is the loud, vocal intolerant who make sure they are heard above everyone else. The script set, battles line drawn, let hostilities commence.

It saddens me, as I think we as a people are better than this and deserve more than to boil it down to factions sniping behind centuries old barricades. These are the ways that have kept society divided and we need to make informed decisions, based on unbiased reason, with all that passion reserved for a common cause.

With all that said, it’s unlikely to happen. The younger generations are now being brought up with this hostility and being drawn into the vicious cycle which can only propagate and perpetuate the stereotype, drawing it on for future generations.

I hope to see a future for Scotland that’s bright and prosperous, even with our ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. One that despite our flaws, will use our strengths to drive us forward as a people, in whatever direction that may be.

We hold on to hope.

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