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20 March

Author: Alastair Cunningham

I told the Census I identified as Scottish

Because I was asked the question

and gifted permission to make a choice

despite what my accent and my birth certificate

might have to say.

Because I like what I see when I look past the hills

and the coasts and the gorse-clad beauty

into a place that acts like it deep down cares

about treating neighbours and giving fair chances

Because I hear the love in your beered-up, closing-time shouts

“Morag, you are a strange and wonderful woman”

wooed with every word slurred

and the tin whistle left in the pocket, just for now

Because I don’t have to take a test to be here

and show that I understand the rules of cricket,

or remember when the Magna Carta was written

or care that Stilton is famous for its cheese.

But because it is me doing the identifying let me offer one stanza of opinion:

That curling is not the most entertaining of winter sports

That Irn Bru is foul and kilts are kitsch

That bagpipes are best played outside; if at all

And that Rabbie Burns is not as internationally respected as Shakespeare

for reasons that are obvious.

But also let me say

that none of that detracts from the greatness of a place

that I just wish had the confidence to be a bit less chippy

Written in response to Scotland, You’re No Mine(this link will open in a new window) by Hannah Lavery.