JONATHAN BROCKLEBANK: Why we all cringe when nationalists start ranting like ... trends now

JONATHAN BROCKLEBANK: Why we all cringe when nationalists start ranting like ... trends now
JONATHAN BROCKLEBANK: Why we all cringe when nationalists start ranting like ... trends now

JONATHAN BROCKLEBANK: Why we all cringe when nationalists start ranting like ... trends now

For much of my early life I battled the Scottish cringe. I was probably well into my thirties before I felt I had it licked. But lately a virulent new strain of it has been unleashed, and resistance, for this Scot, appears futile.

In my youth, my father was a significant influence in my struggle to overcome the cultural inferiority complex which afflicts many of us on this side of the Border. 

He gave me perspective, for example, on the plummy-vowelled English students on my university degree course who were a year older, several years worldlier and vastly more confident than I was.

The Redcoat Café in the castle courtyard faces being renamed after a nationalist backlash

The Redcoat Café in the castle courtyard faces being renamed after a nationalist backlash

Just as he predicted, many of them fell by the wayside long before graduation day.

He often gave me the roll call of Scotland’s high achievers – international industrialists such as Thomas Blake Glover and Andrew Carnegie; engineers like James Watt; inventors like John Logie Baird and Alexander Graham Bell; writers such as Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson.

His point? Scotland had punched well above its weight for centuries. Nobody had any business nursing a cringe around these parts.

I hear my father today and suspect the poor guy’s suffering from the same strain of the Scottish cringe as I am. There are many of us out there. Our psyches are shot.

My latest attack of it came this week when I learned the Redcoat Cafe at Edinburgh Castle is likely going to need a new name.

Seething

The reason for this is the castle was injudicious enough to announce on social media at the weekend that the cafe had reopened after refurbishment. 

‘Pop in for a warm beverage or even a tasty slice of cake,’ it suggested, innocently enough, to the seething mass of grievance seekers on X, formerly Twitter.

My fellow countryfolk of the nationalist persuasion promptly went bananas. SNP MP Douglas Chapman was one of the ringleaders. ‘Redcoat, really?’ said he. ‘I don’t think many will be “popping in” for anything.’

I cannot speak to that. But there was certainly plenty of piling on. MSP Kevin Stewart of the SNP opined: ‘This can’t be for real, surely. If so, this is a huge misjudgment.’

See for yourself the 2,000-plus comments under the Edinburgh Castle post, many of them pure raging about the name which evokes the uniform worn by British Army infantrymen between the 16th and 19th centuries.

‘Shame on whoever thought of this terrible and highly offence [sic] renaming of the cafe,’ spits one.

Others speculate that it may be a spoof – even that the castle’s X account may have been hacked. They couldn’t seriously consider naming a cafe after a British uniform, could they?

The point lost on almost all of them is that the castle did indeed consider such a thing and went right ahead with it back in 1992. No one complained.

For three decades it traded under the name without a single raised nationalist voice. Now it is ‘so offensive, I have no words’. Now it is ‘a slap in the face’ and ‘an insult to Scotland’.

And here is where my cringe maxes out. These numbskulls make me embarrassed to be Scottish all over again.

They make me worry that the world outside may justifiably conclude this is what Scottish

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