Last weekend was a remarkable weekend. No one can have failed to notice the spontaneous outpouring of warmth to the queen right across the United Kingdom – east to west – north to south – representing the binding power of the monarchy within our nation.
ODN has been accused of being royalist and, while we have no doubt that many of our members are, we are in essence a group that is dedicated to preserving this United Kingdom. However it is very hard for many to separate a love for our country from one of the strongest symbols of that country especially at this special time of the Diamond Jubilee. If a love for the queen in the end is the tipping point in this Independence debate and makes many Scots realise what they might lose through independence then we should indeed celebrate that – republican and monarchist alike.
This Diamond Jubilee has opened up a sizeable chink in the Nationalist armour.
There are many battles ahead but for this brief time let us celebrate a victory, even if some do not altogether approve of the institution that has brought it about. When all the flags have been put away there will be many other issues to deal with.
One person tweeted from the Mall in the middle of hundreds of thousands of flag wavers, many of them Scots, ”I hope the SNP enjoyed the launch of the “yes to the UK” campaign”.
In some ways it was unexpected. What right has an 86 year old woman to command such respect? How could such a person symbolise so potently what it means to be British? To be honest it’s difficult to understand? Often we Brits appear an unpatriotic lot. But this national pride is there – just simmering under the surface and waiting to explode – and explode it did last weekend.
Maybe, for many of us, we just need a focus, like the queen or the Olympics, for our national pride to muster under. And make no mistake, muster it did last weekend – by the bucketful.
For one glorious weekend we were all British – the Scots, the English, the Welsh and the Northern Irish – and the Union flags were flying.
There were street parties in Glasgow, Edinburgh and other towns and villages across Scotland. A vast day of celebration was held in Perth – recently granted city status once more – picnics in Holyrood Park – a coming together of people up and down Scotland demonstrating true British pride!!
Beacons were lit from the tip of the Shetlands to the top of Ben Nevis – from Edinburgh Castle to Hadrian’s wall – the Roman barrier against the untameable Scots!
Shops were festooned with patriotic British images and icons reminding us that there was so much more to this nation we belong to than just the bit we call Scotland.
Bunting was erected on historic monuments like Falkland Palace as well as on many, many houses as Jubilee parties were celebrated all over the place.
Scotland did not seem like a nation poised to ditch all this rich heritage and select only the Scottish part of it.
Many of us were also down in London soaking all of this in.
Our First Minister Alex Salmond was included in this – in London attending the service in St Pauls honouring the queen of our United Kingdom – acknowledging all that she had done for our nation including Scotland and how much all her people (Scots included) owed her for a lifetime of service and devotion – service and devotion to the Scots, the English, the Welsh and the Northern Irish – the peoples of this United Kingdom!
Some of us from One Dynamic Nation were a part of this listening to what the people of the United Kingdom were saying in this time of Jubilee.
“Why do you want independence? You must be mad! You have all of your wonderful Scottish heritage up there, that we don’t have, and you have all this as well? Why do you want rid of it?”
There is no real answer that makes sense unless you actually accept that we Scots have really come to dislike everything that Britain stands for especially when Britain is at her best! I don’t think last weekend reflected that sentiment one iota!
We met many Scots while down in London – expats as well as visitors – all relishing the sensation of being British as only the British can!! – in our own peculiar and eccentric way – dressed in Union Jacks – and that was just the dogs!!! – faces painted red white and blue – real works of art – banners, flags and horns!!!
There were hundreds of thousands of people crammed onto the mall on two separate emotional occasions-all waving the Union flag and many of them were Scots – the odd Scottish flag appropriately interspersed with the odd Welsh, English and Northern Irish flags bore testimony to that.
The British brand is back with a vengeance. It might be fair to say we lost it for a while – almost ashamed of it for a while and what it represented. The good news is we have found it again!!! We have captured again the feelings of “Cool Britannia” and “Proud to be British” – from John O’Groats to Lands End!
And it’s not forgotten that this United Kingdom is also a successful union of four unique and special countries. Where appropriate the flags of each of these nations were flown in tandem with the Union Flag – but never one in isolation. We are a union of four countries and so the flags of all four were flown together.
However this was overwhelmingly a time to demonstrate our unity and that unity is still best shown in the combining of our flags into the Union flag which dominated the streets of London and our entire nation by the millions!!!
So what was the buzz out on the streets about the Scots?
There was an overwhelming sense of bewilderment.
“Why do you want to leave us?”
“The United Kingdom just wouldn’t be the United Kingdom if you left. Scotland is our partner. It would be like losing my partner. Scotland is our partner!!!”
“You have to win. If only I could vote myself to keep you with us.”
“Fight for all you are worth!”
Overwhelmingly it was….
“We don’t want you to leave!!”
Sometimes when we gripe and groan about our place in the United Kingdom we fail to realise how loved we actually are in the rest of the United Kingdom – with all our eccentric ways and habits and even gripes! There is no appetite for our divorce in the rest of our country. They don’t want us to leave!!!
They really don’t want us to leave!!!!
They really, really, really don’t want us to leave!!!!!!