Spent the Jubilee holidays in deepest, darkest Kent, where great swathes of Union Jack bunting flourished unashamedly and it only rained some of the time.
So, like, there was this beacon lighting ceremony in the village. Significant, but understated, in a reassuringly English fashion. As Scots, we sneaked in at the back and tried to look as British as we could, in a low key and self-deprecating kind of way.
We, er, sat out the singing of Rule Britannia and, um, Jerusalem.
But then – the National Anthem, and o what a profound moment of self-discovery then dawned, as I realised that I couldn’t in fact have joined in if I’d wanted to, since I didn’t know any of the words.
“La la la LAH la-la,” I mumbled instead. It wasn’t even the right /a/ vowel.
But let me offer the whole incident as speaking to the tension between Scottishness and Britishness. I doubt I’d ever have attended the same ceremony in Edinburgh – Union Jacks in the window would be the first step to a monstrous bill for new double glazing – but nothing, nothing, would induce me to vote for independence. I barely know the first two lines of the National Anthem, but she’s still our gracious Queen.
It’s all so complicated.