Workshop for Scots

For me personally, the workshop was terrific. The feeling of safety and warm closeness was strong because we were all Scottish and because we were exactly who we were. We liked each other and it showed. The workshop was set in the middle of beautiful countryside in Argyllshire (part of southwestern Scotland). It included eight Scots-from Glasgow, Port Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Nottingham (England). Jeannie Rocks led it. She is the Area Reference Person for the Edinburgh and Lothians Area, so far the only organized RC Area in Scotland.

We celebrated being Scottish together, helped each other liberate ourselves from a bit (or two) of Scottish oppression, and just plain enjoyed ourselves. There was quite a bit of "theory," led by Jeannie, plus time in support groups, sessions, and topic groups. We also spent a lot of time in the countryside and a lot of time singing and dancing.

The following is some of what Jeannie had to say about Scottish liberation:

Our oppression is REAL. Real things have happened to us-as a nation and as individuals because we belong to that nation.

I've heard people talking a lot about the importance of accent. I remember as a child in school being forced to speak "properly." We have all been given the message that local Scottish accents are "wrong" and "not proper."

There is no right or wrong in an accent. An accent only indicates the locality where you've spent a lot of your time. No one accent is better than another. We should learn to listen to each other, to appreciate the differences. We each need to fall in love with the sound of our own voice. Your voice, and accent, are powerful instruments.

Related to accent is the issue of intelligence and then class. As a working-class woman with an ordinary working-class Scottish accent, I was fooled into believing I was less intelligent than middle-class, English-accent people. To some extent we have all bought into that stuff. We don't need to feel bad about it though. When you consider from how many directions these messages come, we do quite well to hang on to ourselves at all.

Most "information" through the so-called national media comes from South East England. It has a strong English slant, and we in Scotland are treated as observers on the periphery, not key players in the action. That is the message the oppressive system wants us to have-but it's not true. We all know that Scottish achievement is down-played. How many athletes are called English and how many are called British? When it's time for glory, Scots are British. That is just an example.

I want to reiterate that each of us is 100% Scottish. We may also be 100% English, African, Inuit, anything. None of it takes away our Scottishness. We need to be careful not to buy into any of that divisive stuff. It has been very cleverly engineered to keep us powerless, as individuals and as a political, national entity.

When you meet someone whose great-great-granny was Scottish, welcome him or her home! There are Scots in probably every country in the world. We need to embrace each other, to forgive ourselves for having left, or for having stayed. Our history made many things necessary for survival. The Scottish Commitment summarises what happened. If we learn it and use it, think about what it means, and discharge, we'll put ourselves in a good place to lead Scottish liberation worldwide.

John Ross
Edinburgh, Scotland



Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07