Dear Writers of Scottish Literature,
It has come to my attention you are still portraying Scotland in the role of battered housewife in a leopard-print dressing gown. Although Scotland is a semi-interesting nation with a few good things going for it – clean(ish) public WCs, four or five crisp factories, Dougie Vipond – I would ask you to consider making a few amendments in your works.
a) Please do not refer to ‘Calvinists’ in a knowing and clever way, as though you are plugged into Scotland’s ye olde broadband and possess a turban-sized knowledge of history.
b) Please do not write about working class characters in dialect in an attempt to define a nation at any one particular time in history, as though this represents some significant shift in a cultural landscape.
c) Please stop treating Scotland as though it were an archipelago somewhere off the coast of Finland, and acknowledge that English & Irish & Aussie & Indian & Polish & Iranians live here too.
d) Please write something that doesn’t constantly draw attention to its own Scottishness, and drop your STEP ASIDE, SCUMBAG, I AM A SCOTTISH WRITER complex.
e) Please do not encourage Scottish arts funding bodies to tar original works with the brush of Scottishness by setting your homoerotic philately epic in Dundee, Paisley, or Ayr.
f) Stop writing poems in extinct Scottish dialects, and obsessively transcribing each tic and hiccup of existing dialects, as though that makes you more Scottish than the other guy.
g) Please do not chortle innocently at the destructive clichés that comprise our national identity. You should be grown up enough not to participate in this foolishness.
h) Stop writing reviews in the Sunday Herald for heartwarming Glaswegian dramas performed by the rich children of Morningside millionaires and Yanks.
i) Do not indulge the peasants in the Scottish parliament by supporting their schemes to turn Scotland into a global superpower powered by dead Picts & shit Spanish architects.
j) Do not pretend to like Celtic folk music, pipers, haggis, fish suppers, neeps and tatties, bunnets, when you eat couscous from M&S with peshwari naans and houmous butties.
I am guilty of some of these crimes, and have taken steps to amend my ways. I hope you will do the same. Together, we can free ourselves from the stigma of Scottishness and become writers, for real, as opposed to Scottish writers, which is no kind of life.
A Concerned Jock