Scottish culture helping Scots to aspire to greater things

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by a Newsnet reporter

The recent debate on the introduction of Scottish Studies has brought Scottish history and culture into focus.  Opposition politicians have cited several different reasons as to why they oppose the introduction of Scottish Studies to school children but why the opposition and what does culture mean to Scots people?

by a Newsnet reporter

The recent debate on the introduction of Scottish Studies has brought Scottish history and culture into focus.  Opposition politicians have cited several different reasons as to why they oppose the introduction of Scottish Studies to school children but why the opposition and what does culture mean to Scots people?

It’s clear that Labour fear that an improved understanding of our history may not sit well with their “too stupid” and “nobody likes you” negative attitudes. 

A look at Stirling Castle, one of the places Labour seem to be scared of Scottish children visiting, soon reveals their fears that Scots may be influenced by what they find there.  It is not only the well known association with the Wars of Independence that makes Labour uncomfortable but also the aspiration court of figures such as Scotland’s first Renaissance king James IV who built the Great Hall at Stirling Castle. 

James’s reign was seen as an aureate age for culture and he opened Scotland to new ideas from Europe.  He encouraged art and education and he brought the first printing press to Scotland in 1507.  As a multi-linguist he had access to foreign ideas in politics, culture and architecture and brought many of these influences to the Scottish court. 

James understood the importance of developing the Scottish identity and this was an important factor in his international relationships. This broadening of horizons brought a wider range of influences and experiences to his decision making and Scots were pleased that he raised the profile of Scotland in Europe as an independent nation with its own identity.

Looking at the Tories, if their MSP Alex Johnstone is to be believed, no one is interested in history in Scotland before 1707.  However patchy the teaching of Scottish Studies is at the moment, I think most people in Scotland would not understand why celebrating St Andrew’s Day should be banned in school which is what would happen with Alex Johnstone’s thinking.

Scottish culture is not an elite thing.  People in Scotland see it as part of their lives whoever they are.  Even at a national level, the National St Andrew’s Day Dinner organised by Independence Magazine and attended by the First Minister is open to anyone to attend and is not about a few select guests.  It reflects the way in which Scotland thinks.

This seems to be at the root of opposition and why unionists like to marginalise Scotland.  If Scotland teaches our young people about our culture and history then they will identify themselves with Scotland and aspiration.  Hard to keep a mind set stranglehold on a generation who are confident in their nationhood.

Teaching pupils about Scotland is nothing to do with indoctrination but what is normal for any nation. In fact, the very opposite in excluding many generations from learning about their own culture and history and proposing to exclude celebrating your own patron saint’s day is indoctrination of the worst kind.  No wonder the very thought of a Scotland confident in its culture and identity is a worry to those who have spent their lives trying to play down the identity of their own people and nation. 

If you are interested in attending the National St Andrew’s Dinner details can be obtained at  www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=231595120190140