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Victimised

The Christmas before I left high school, my grandfather's sister in Australia sent me a picture diary. For a laugh, I started filling it in. It was basically just a log of where I'd gone and who I'd seen. At the end of the year I put it away and forgot about it. Then a few years later I found it again and had a flick through it. I was astonished. Over the intervening years I had re-written the sequence in which events occurred. You guessed it, I'd created a far more comfortable personal narrative when it came to my last year at high school and going to work for the Glasgow Herald. My recollection had been that I was more sinned against than sinning. But a look at that old Australian picture diary showed that in a least one instance, I was the bad guy. It was me that started the trouble. It was me who set in motion a chain of unfortunate events, not the person I'd been blaming for years. It was a sobering experience. Nations do the same. Scotland's historical narrative seems to have followed much the same course. In it, the Scots are more sinned against than sinning. A nations of victims; be it of Westminister, the redcoats, uncaring and brutal landlords, avaricious mine owners, callous factory owners, slum owners, or the English-dominated Establishment. But what of the people Scots victimised? Sometimes underdogs are not the most compassionate of people. The underdog often seeks out someone even further down the totem pole to exploit. When I was young, the Scots prided themselves on being less racist than the English. But perhaps someone should ask the non-white inhabitants of Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Canada and the West Indies what they think.

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