Belfast Telegraph

Just don't look up at those Gaitherin clouds over the Union

By Joe Nawaz

I lay in bed the other night, tossing and turning. For once it wasn't an ill-advised late night kebab.

Rather, I was thinking about the prospect of Scottish independence. I wasn't particularly dwelling on the astonishing media bias in favour of the No vote, or even whether or not an independent Scotland should run with sterling or the euro. No, my friends, I was wrestling with how a fully seceded Scotland would affect The Gaitherin (BBC2). The bespoke (or "bespake" in the hamely tongue) programme for all things Ulster-Scots appeared to be literally fiddlin' while the independence debate burned. For all its laudable attempts to explore various and surprising historical strands that bind many of us in this corner of the island, watching it of late, there's been a rather loud tartan elephant in the room. It must be something to do with the "complex" array of political attitudes we in the North have to the independence question, that the programme's makers didn't even want to acknowledge something so potentially seismic for our supposed traditional links, but it made for a particularly ostrich-like parochialism.

By the time you read this, the count will be in, the numbers will have been stacked up and the result will be in the bag(pipe). But whether Alex Salmond or David Cameron is Prime Minister of Scotland, something tells me, there's way more Ulster than Scots in our ain gaitherin.

Belfast Telegraph


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