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A State of Ignorance

I remember a time when many English shops could get pretty stroppy at the sight of a Scottish bank note. I once went down to London from Inverness and forgot to change my money. I was in one place and handed over a Scottish tenner in payment. The woman behind the counter announced in a loud voice "Oh, your from Bonnie Scotland then" and guys started coming out of the back shop carrying meat cleavers. I basically said either they took the note or they took the goods back. They took the note. Scottish notes are just as valid in England as Bank of England notes. Except that they are not legal tender. Legal tender is actually a technical term for a form of cash payment which cannot be refused when offered in payment of debt. No bank notes are legal tender in Scotland - only coins. But to get to my point. Scottish people often bitched about English shopkeepers turning their nose up at Scottish notes, but try to get a Scottish shopkeeper to touch an fiver from Ulster Bank. I didn't have much luck but the note was just as valid as any issued by Bank of Scotland, the Clydesdale or the Royal Bank of Scotland. I think there was a chip shop in Larne that not only accepted all the notes issued by British banks but also took Irish punts which were valued at 90 British pence to the pound. So, a £1 bag of ships cost one punt and tenpence. The other point I wanted to make is the English are maybe the worst people in the United Kingdom at being British. And that spills over into making folk in other parts of the country ignorant of what is happening in their own neck of the woods. I remember when the 12th juror was chosen at the High Court in Inverness everyone else called for jury service got up to leave. But there are 15 people on a Scottish jury. However, as nearly every courtroom drama on so called national television is English, you can see why so many Scots didn't know how many of them are needed for a jury. Just over 16% of the United Kingdom's population don't live in England but you'd never know it if you relied on the country's supposedly national broadcasters. 


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