As time goes by I am increasingly convinced I live at the right end of a country, which itself is located at the right end of the United Kingdom.
OK, so there are always going be times when I have a moan about the Borders being something of a backwater, but it does seem there is an increasing number of people giving us a miss because we are not considered important enough to bother with. As time goes by I see this casual approach to life as a plus, as can be seen in the way Borderers recently chose not to go overboard in a frenzy of silly stunts and public grovelling, instead reacting to Brenda’s diamond anni-bash with a fair degree of decorum and restraint.
I have a suspicion a bunch of uncertainties cast up by the independence wrangle have left many Scots with a dilemma in respect of the Royal Family. Many folk really want some form of independence, but are reluctant to lose the status quo in respect of such important matters as the head of state, currency and defence forces, to name just a few vital issues.
There are plenty more if you think about it, so the wiser citizens of the Borders branch of Caledonia Inc. are maybe holding back with their views, waiting for certain politicians to come clean with their master plans.
It was all very well to stage a big publicity stunt to start the Yes Scotland campaign, but it would have carried a little more authority had a few more of the folk making all the noise and fuss been domiciled in Scotland, paid taxes here and been entitled to vote on the issues they were braying about.
And that is rapidly becoming the point here. Every day we see on our television screens and read in our newspapers the views of famous and/or rich people who are only too happy to declare they will bolt for pastures new if Scotland achieves independence or any of the other doubtful plans for forms of watered-down independence.
Well, good luck to them. Having made their fortunes here, in many cases at the expense of the ordinary working people, many of them see Scotland’s economic gravy train hitting the buffers if McPuddock and chums get their way, so it will be quite instructive to see if they keep their promises.
In the run-up to the General Election which produced the Blair government all those years ago, the celebs were queuing up to tell us they would be shipping out if Tone got into Downing Street. After the smoke and dust of the election settled it became clear most of the emigration threats were nothing more than wind and water – and I feel it my duty to tell you the same could happen all over again in 2014.
On balance many more influential people will happily go public with what they wish for in an independent Scotland, but those desires always seem to pivot around them making a lot of money.
But that is to look on the dark side. The same obsession with confining any significant opinion on independence to the party faithful, plastic patriots, plastic ex-pats and the weak-minded noveau riche, the section of the Scottish community we might well describe as the silent majority have the nowse to watch and wait for the right moment to deliver their own verdict – like on referendum morning.
No election outside Russia is a predictable certainty, that’s for sure. Even our recent local authority elections produced a few nail-biters when counting time came around, but it did serve to provide a first-class illustration of the way we have all sat back and allowed the suits to set up complex electoral scams that enable some extremely dubious characters the chance to get their trotters into the well-filled troughs of public money.
I am still a devotee of the old first-past-the-post way of voting as it had worked just fine for decades, with the benefit of allowing areas with a strong voter support for a specific party to return a strong representation rather than a rabble of bickering minority groups, some of which appear to have a identity problem when it comes to the scramble for power.
Maybe there is some merit in the African method where the guy at the top of the pile ensures his continued success by having leaders of opposition groups thrown into jail on a set of rather imaginative charges whenever the ballot boxes are dusted off.
Not very subtle, but like beauty, democracy is in the eye of the beholder. So, by the time you test your personal attention span on this edition of The Pilgrim, the more ghastly parts of the diamond anni-bash will be over. Her Maj will be able to go back to Buck House, slip into her old cardie and slippers, treat herself to a decent cup of tea and The Racing Post for a few days’ well-earned rest, satisfied she has again delivered the goods to her subjects in her own inimitable way.
I will keep my nasty republican views to myself for a while as I concentrate on the not inconsiderable task of staying out of the way of the hype and controversy, scandal and moaning that will be the 2012 Olympic Games.
But be honest, don’t you think the whole diamond anniversary deal was a bit over the top? I loved the shot of a half-naked Welsh bird baying away at the national anthem in the middle of a racecourse as she lost a battle with the weather, the band of the Royal Marines and a crowd of folk who just weren’t interested. Who’s bright idea was that? Thankfully, not mine.