Saturday 22 February 2014

A Doric declaration of independence

I come from very rural Aberdeenshire. I remember once when I was at university I had a friend from Edinburgh for a visit. We went to the pub and she quite literally couldn’t understand a thing that was being said. She couldn’t even understand how much the barman was asking her to pay and so gave a note that was bound to cover all eventualities. When I first lived in Edinburgh I realised quickly that I simply could not speak my native language. Not only would I be mocked as some sort of peasant, but I would frequently not be understood at all. You see I don’t speak Scots, I speak Doric. Scots is an accent with the odd word thrown in as if from a half remembered age. Scots is really just English with some variance in pronunciation. Scots amounts to much the same as Geordie. Doric on the other hand is a living language.

In Aberdeenshire there is an ancient people who speak Doric. We were known even in Roman times. Ptolemy called us the Taexali, though in fact that name is based on a simple Roman misunderstanding. The word “Taexali” is a rather rude way of saying go away. But that first contact was full of misunderstanding, given that neither side knew each other’s language. But it was a precursor for our subsequent history. The Doric language has meant that we have been an oppressed and misunderstood minority ever since. Still we were able to chuck the Romans out at the battle of Mons Graupius (we call it Bennachie) which took place on the 24th of June in the year 84. Although we technically lost the battle, the price was so high for the Romans, that theirs was an Agricolic victory and we still celebrate and sing of how we sent Agricola homeward to think again. We were once an ancient nation and we intend to rise up now and be that nation again.

We’re sick of being dominated by the Scots. Look at them all down there in the Central Belt. We make up less than ten percent of the population. The way we vote hardly matters as it will always be the Scots in the Central Belt who will determine the outcome of any election. What chance do we have against their inbuilt majority? What’s more, we’re much wealthier than those Scots. All that oil money flowing into Aberdeen could be ours alone. Why should we share it with people who don’t even speak our language? Given our geographical and historical connections with the Vikings, we have much more in common with Norway than with Edinburgh. We want to set up a Norwegian style oil fund for Aberdeenshire and we want all the nice things that Norwegians have rather than the nasty things that Glaswegians have. What have we to do with the culture down there? The Scoti still show how their origins are Irish. No doubt that is why they still wave Irish flags at their football matches and celebrate battles fought in Ireland. Well we’re sick of being dominated by these invaders. We were here first. You only arrived when the Romans left.

One of our most important principles is based on our love of democracy. We want all of the decisions that affect Aberdeenshire to be made in Aberdeenshire. For this reason we’ve come up with a declaration which we urge every true Doric person to sign:

I believe it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Aberdeenshire's future are taken by the people who care most about Aberdeenshire, that is, by the people of Aberdeenshire.

Being independent means Aberdeenshire's future will be in Aberdeenshire's hands.

I want an Aberdeenshire that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: an Aberdeenshire that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation.

As an independent Doric nation we would of course be small, but small nations are best and in fact having dropped those poor parts where the Scots live, we’d be one of the richest small nations in the world. The benefits of not sharing our wealth are self-evident to anyone from Aberdeen. There would be more for us. We can in fact promise the Doric people that because we would no longer have the drain on our resources which comes from subsidising the Scots, each of us would be one thousand pounds a year better off. That money would immediately go into each of our bank accounts as soon we reached our independence day on March 24th 2016.

There are some Scots who will say to us that we are too wee, too poor and too stupid to be independent, but they know that this is not true. There are lots of successful small countries that would be the size of the Doric nation if not smaller. Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in Europe; Singapore is one of the most successful countries in Asia.

Naturally we will always think of the Scots as our friends. We’d never think of the Scots as foreigners. But they have to understand that we are Doric and not Scottish. We hope that they will cooperate with us economically and we would like to maintain the present currency union at least for now. Naturally we will treat any attempts they make not to give us what we want as bullying. Moreover, if they bully us they will just show how little they understand the Doric people who once stood alone against the whole Roman Empire. Their threats will only encourage us the more. We will throw off the Scottish yoke no matter what. We too can take action. We’d smash up the oil and gas pipelines, we’d stop you reading the P & J, we’d … well as a last resort we’d refuse to export rowies.

This piece has been translated from the Doric by Effie Deans so that you Scots, let alone you English might have a chance to understand it.