Aileen Colleran’s Blog

Partick, Politics and Passions

The Final Countdown..

Nationalism – is it just me that struggles with questions of identity ? Maybe the most telling aspect is what I describe myself as when out of the country – Scottish without hesitation. It’s always easier for me to identify as Scottish when not in Scotland – a phenomenon most ex-pats experience.

Yes, but … technically, I’m English. Born in England (Bolton, Lancashire) , my father was English – but it’s a wee bit more complicated as I’ve never, ever felt myself to be English. An Irish name sets you apart – and a very distinctive Irish surname at that, not many Collerans on the planet , as the Dictionary of Irish Surnames explains, it’s almost exclusively a North Galway and Mayo name.

Even in Glasgow, I’ve never met another Colleran – except we left Mayo at the end of the 19th century and only the maddest form of Irish romanticism would claim Irish identity at that distance.

My mum and her family (which she’s traced back to the 17th c ) are Scottish peasant farmers from Galloway , and her father came to Glasgow after WW1 to join the police. I’ve spent most of my life in Glasgow from the age of 5. My brother was born in Glasgow and has no problems with defining himself as 100 percent Scottish. I don’t quite see it that way , and am sure for many people resident in Scotland their identity isn’t entirely defined by Braveheart and the Saltire.

So what is my strongest identity ? Well, it’s as a woman. There lies the fundamental unease I have with much the discourse around identity and nationalism – the lack of debate around the gender aspects of injustice and inequality in all societies, irrespective of the colour of the flag that’s being waved.
All the polls and pundits are pointing to an SNP victory , well, we’ll see. I watched a replay of the 1992 election coverage on the BBC parliament channel the other week and well remember the sense of utter disbelief that that Tories had actually won, despite all the indications. Poll results don’t always translate neatly – but if they do, I really feel it’s with false coin. The Nationalists I respect aren’t from the Salmond and Sturgeon wing of the party – Nationalism Lite -the don’t frighten the shareholders and bankers, let’s pretend we can all have our cake and eat it, Celtic Tiger smoke and mirrors capitalism in a kilt nonsense. If I was a public sector (especially civil service) worker I’d be seriously worried about Wee Eck’s pledge to make major savings through efficiencies (job cuts) in the Scottish Executive.

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April 30, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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