jubilee recap

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.

15 thoughts on “jubilee recap

  1. Speaking of Scotland, I notice that St. George’s Tron, in Glasgow, has pulled out of the Church of Scotland over the issue of homosexual clergy. Good for them. However, I wonder if the congregation will be forced to give up its property, as churches here in the States are so often forced to do when they leave their denomination. (Our courts generally rule that church property belongs to the denomination, not the local church.)


  2. Hmm.. there were plenty of Union Flags here (shops, High Street decorations), and lots of events in different towns/villages. But probably the big difference from England would be the lack of decoration on private homes.

    And… I don’t know the National Anthem either!


  3. If you don’t know the words, that strongly suggests that it isn’t sung in schools in Scotland because we remember most of what we sang when young. Is any national song used in its place?

    We sang it in our congregation that Sunday, and it seemed right to do so; only three of the five verses, sadly, missing out these words:

    2. O Lord our God arise,
    Scatter her enemies
    And make them fall;
    Confound their politics,
    Frustrate their knavish tricks,
    On thee our hopes we fix,
    God save us all!

    5. From every latent foe,
    From the assassin’s blow,
    God save the Queen!
    O’er her thine arm extend,
    For Britain’s sake defend,
    Our mother, prince, and friend,
    God save the Queen!


  4. Cath.

    You have no evidence that any street parties in Edinburgh or anywhere else were or would have been subject to violence from nationalists. That is a very unfair and scandalous assertion. Without a shred of evidence.

    Scottish Nationalsits are behaving much better than Ulster Unionists, and Irish or English Nationalists, lets face it.

    Also, ironically because the Queen is Anglican in England, and Presbyterian in Scotland, she considers you to be in communion with the Church of England. If not, presbyterians, like catholics, would not be able to become monarchs. The only way a person can come to the throne is if they are in communion with the Church of England.

    Just to be clear, Catholics agree with the Anglicans and do not consider themselves in communion with the Church of England.

    Happy with that are we?

    God Save the Queen. I admire her in any case.


    • A scurrilous allegation indeed it was, nae doot aboot it.

      Especially, dare i say it, when our great First Minister himself has suggested that an independent Scotland could still “keep the Queen” :-)

      I happen to have spent the second half of last week arguing passionately that the Scottish Nationalists are an altogether different breed from the English and Ulster varieties – fear not, on that count anyway!


    • Just a small point. I don’t think Presbyterians can become monarchs. Probably a grey area, but I don’t think being in communion with the Church of England sits too comfortably with being a Presbyterian. Her Majesty isn’t a Presbyterian when in Scotland – she attends a Presbyterian church, but she is still an Anglican. I suppose a theoretical Presbyterian wishing to take the throne could claim to be both a Presbyterian and in communion with the C of E, but methinks it would be slightly dishonest. It isn’t just Roman Catholics who cannot be monarch, neither can Buddhists for example, or Sikhs, Hindus, (how many do you want), or most Protestants.

      Cath, the real reason I came out of lurker mode was to say that I am shocked; shocked, to learn that you do not know the national anthem!


  5. “King Verence was very keen that someone should compose a national anthem for Lancre, possibly referring to its very nice trees, and had offered a small reward. Nanny Ogg reasoned that it would be easy money because national anthems only ever have one verse or, rather, all have the same second verse, which goes “nur…hnur…mur…nur nur, hnur…nur…nur, hnur” at some length until everyone remembers the last line of the first verse and sings it as loudly as they can.” ~Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


  6. I’d also like to clarify that when I said I argued passionately about Scottish nationalism last week, it was actually pretty dull and by-the-by. I only said it in the hope it would prevent CT from metamorphosing into one of these scary Cyber Nats we keep hearing about. (So far it seems to have worked.)


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