Sunday 15 May 2011

A Scottish Guide for English Journalists

The Maximum Eck has let me into a little secret. The Scottish Government is about to institute a contest for English journalists. The journalist with the most points gets to win the "They Just Don't Get It Award" for 2011.

Points are to be won every time the journalist uses an ever-so-worn-out cliche about Scotland.

First, every mention of the word "kilt" gets you one point. Come on now, everyone's got to get at least one point, haven't they? Happily you can lose the point if you are sufficiently well informed as to explain that kilts are only worn at weddings and at football matches (normal or rugby). Note that good planning may even enable North British kilt wearers to do a wedding and a game on the same day. This is not advisable for the groom...

Almost everyone will get two points by mentioning "Braveheart". Most southern journalists think that Gibson-Wallace was born in the Highlands. It certainly looked that way in the film. Fortunately you can lose all points accumulated so far by noting that Gibson-Wallace was probably born near Glasgow Airport. If you are really informed you may explain that one body of opinion claims that Gibson-Wallace was actually born near Prestwick Airport. Either way, he was Scotland's first plane spotter. It seems unlikely that Gibson-Wallace really did have an affair with Sophie Marceau, but then how does one explain the "Auld Alliance"?

A perennial favourite is Hadrian's Wall, as in "Let's rebuild it". Mention of this pre-Berlusconi Keynesian construction site earns the contestant three points.

But beware. As all right-thinking folk know, the Wall doesn't divide Scotland and England. Oh no, not at all. It started (as did yours truly) on the Solway Firth. But, sadly for the Wall, it started on the southern side. So unlike myself. Perhaps the pre-Berlusconians were too scared to start construction in Annan, although Toni's Cafe has been there for quite some time...

The really interesting thing is at the other end, conveniently known as "Wallsend". Just before Wallsend is the fine city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. But here's an amazing fact: It looks likely that while the centre of Newcastle would still be in England when the Wall is "rebuilt", St James's Park would find itself north of the border. The Old Firm would be increased from two to three! Howay the lads, whatever foot they kick with.

Anyway, why do these Wall revisionists want to give away 99% of Northumberland? Note the angle at which the Tyne enters the North Sea. Rebuilding the Wall means England losing a huge part of its offshore resources. George Osborne will send the Wall rebuilders homewards to think again. Assuming he knows where "up north" actually is, of course.

To earn the maximum of fours points, journalists entering the contest need to mention the dreaded Deep Fried Mars Bar:

I’ve found it; the mists of myth and legend have lifted and the deep-fried Mars bar has been tracked down. It’s served as petit fours at the Hotel du Vin in Edinburgh, as is Irn-Bru Turkish delight. I’ll type that again, in case you were distracted by the urgent necessity of extracting your teeth from the table-top: it’s served as petit fours at the Hotel du Vin in Edinburgh.
Well, the Hotel du Vin is the only place in Scotland I've been to that serves the DFMB. And the joke is that the waitress assured us locals that the evil concoction was only ever eaten by tourists. Perhaps the visiting journalist should get five points for consuming this masterpiece of Scottish cuisine. After all, it'll be on expenses.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

you  can get them here to

21 May 2011, 13:54:39 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

James Higham
Northumbria please, David.

19 May 2011, 10:06:01 GMT+01:00