Scott’s a smart kid; we’ve had him to stay for a while. Like any boy his age he smells a bit but he’s helpful around the house and he’s become part of the family. At his best he’s entertaining with a unique turn of phrase. At his worst, which is more often than not, he whines. Lord, he whines; about everything. It’s not fair! There’s no justice! No one listens to me!
According to Scott, everybody’s getting more than him, he’s fed up storing other people’s junk in his room, he wants his own space, everything would be so much better if he just went home. And, since we started struggling a bit more, financially, his threats to run away have become more visceral.
And this is how smart he is. As soon as he starts packing his bags, despite nobody believing he’ll actually go, everybody in the family starts sucking up to him. And he loves it. We up his pocket money, laugh at all his jokes and promise to move the Trident submarines out of his lochs the moment we can.
Aye he’s a canny player and, on the 18th of September, apparently, he’s going to finally make up his mind whether he’s staying or not. And it’s hard to tell if it’s just more chest thumping, screaming for attention or if he really will carry it out; cutting off his nose to spite his face… at least he’d smell less.
And I’m not convinced he knows either; because this apparently all-grown-up declaration to move out is accompanied by an almost wilful ignorance of any of the logistics that may be involved, never mind the bravado about oil, currency and NHS.
Considering the mammoth complications involved in a separation involving just one child, multiply that by 5.3 million and you can see that, whatever Scott’s decision on the 18th, his actual departure is probably decades away – and involve the legislative advice of an infinite set of monkeys… I mean lawyers, no, wait…
And here’s the rub. If taxpayers from the rest of the UK are going to be funding all the legislation that would follow, shouldn’t our opinion be balloted too? I’m not the only one wondering: How on earth did Scott get all this his own way?
He’s a canny laddie. He’s elicited huge promises if only he won’t go, but on the 18th we’ll see if it’s bluff or brav(eheart)ado. And if he does? How’s he going to fare when he discovers he really needs to fund himself?
Not to worry. Scotland has given the world some of the smartest and best. The inventor of the television, the telephone, Sherlock Holmes and the Newcomen steam engine, driver of the Industrial Revolution, all came from Scotland. David Tennant, Sean Connery, Calvin Harris and even Lulu, all came from Scotland.
That’s, ‘came from Scotland.’
Unfortunately, not one of them found the foresight and investment needed to make their inventions, and names, in their home country. And it’s not like the potential for investment’s not there; before the crash the Royal Bank of Scotland was the world’s single biggest bank.
Try the game for yourself: name more than five Scots who made their mark on the world based solely in Scotland. I’ll start you off. Charles Rennie Macintosh, Robbie Burns and, er, Greyfriar’s Bobbie? The list soon dissipates. Even the great Scots such as Walter, The Proclaimers, Billy Connelly and The Krankies, simply packaged up Scotland in a tartan bow to sell south of the Tweed.
Rabid hibernaphobe Samuel Johnson famously said that ‘The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!’ By ‘prospect’ he meant ‘view’ but maybe he had a point in its other meaning: ‘chance of success.’ For, where the English may duck and dive, try a punt, and take a risk to innovate, Scotland’s Calvanist past seems to perpetuate and still sees it unwilling to back its own children.
I suppose the best thing to do with attention seeking kids is ignore them. Scott won’t be gone on the 18th even if he ‘decides’ to go. And honestly, by the time he finally decides in what manner to make his exit and flounces out, I’m not sure I’ll miss him.
First published in