On Scottish self esteem

    • Arnold Kemp
    • The Observer, Sunday 8 July 2001
    • The Scottish identity has long been a rich source of material for writers and academics. They are attracted to it because it is such a ragbag of disparate elements and influences.

      It has survived, undoubtedly, because Scotland has wanted to be different from England, just as the Tartan Army conducts itself with sozzled amiability as it marches around the world in order to show up the English supporters.


At Edinburgh university we were taught that Southern English speech provided an example of hypercorrection: they would talk of lawr and ordah in Indiar, and claim that buttah is bettah than mahgarine.

Read more: Pronounciation

Hostility to science

The Herald, Editorial Notebook, 18 July 1992.

THIS week I had the pleasure of sitting at table with some distinguished scientists, and the conversation turned to the hostility towards science in Britain. In the past few years this dislike has acquired a new virulence and is exceeded only by the detestation of European bureaucrats, the scapegoats of the age.

It is a persistent theme. My father, a cultivated man, had a contempt for science to the extent that he tacitly encouraged me to slack at it in school. The Edinburgh Academy was at that time dedicated to producing recruits for the law, the civil service, and the ruling classes. Science teachers were in my day a bit of a joke. Our hero was the classics master who, it was said, consumed a bottle of whisky for breakfast and had verses published from time to time in Punch. I gather that life at the academy is much changed.

Read more: Hostility to science

English and Scottish cultural nationalism

The Herald, Editorial Notebook, 1 August 1992

NATIONALISM, in Britain at least, tends to be discussed in terms of the Scottish and Welsh varieties. Yet English nationalism is the more powerful and a curious aspect of it is that it dissembles, pretending that it does not exist at all.

Read more: English and Scottish cultural nationalism

The art of Lesley Banks

THE chilly, misty weather of this week has brought intimations of winter and the retail trade, after a September in the doldrums, is beginning to sense the quickening pace of approaching Christmas. It is a time when the corporate mind, if it has not done so already, must settle the question of the Christmas card.

For some reason the choice has always been difficult for us at the Herald, but this year matters have been greatly if inadvertently simplified by a rising young artist living and working in Glasgow.

Read more: The art of Lesley Banks