‘Do the Scots really hate the English?’ | A. Ramsay- openDemocracy

‘Do the Scots really hate the English?’ | A. Ramsay- openDemocracy

There is one exception to the comedian trend, and I think it casts a clear light on what the rule is. Frankie Boyle has a joke that goes like this: “In Scotland we have mixed feelings about global warming, because we will get to sit on the mountains and watch the English drown“.

The parameters are clearer when you consider the most common type of Scots anti-Englishness I can think of: Argentinian football memorabilia. Walk around any Scottish town during a world cup for which Scotland hasn’t qualified (every one since 1998) and you will soon find that the dark blue of England’s neighbour has faded to the light blue of their great rival.

What does all this tell us? That Scots anti-Englishness is contentless. Scots will say that we support ‘anyone but England’. But there is no English stereotype we pick on. Whilst American films have a clear set of oft represented English characters, Scots culture doesn’t. Because that’s not the point of it. Supporting ‘anyone but England’ is not a comment on them. It’s a comment on us.

Likewise, the punchline of Frankie Boyle’s joke is not the drowning English, it’s the heartless Scot. These laughs are part of the same national in-joke which includes see-you Jimmy hats, kilts without boxers and haggis hunts. It’s about Scots accepting a parody version of ourselves and repeating it. Baudrillard would be proud.


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