Yes, I confess - I watched the Eurovision song contest last night! To be fair, I was combining this indulgence with a wardrobe clear out in preparation for our impending move.
Anyway, to call it a 'contest' would be a gross distortion of the word. Russia seemed to sweep up all the votes from neighbouring countries (for fear of having their oil and gas cut off suggested Terry Wogan - half in jest), while the UK received votes from only San Marino and the Republic of Ireland.
Now, avid readers of this blog will be well aware of my politics and how little I identify with the political entity that is the United Kingdom. But the reality is, when the UK was being hammered by a lack of votes last night, I didn't like it!
Well, firstly because the voting really didn't seem fair. Countries were voting for their neighbours, rather than judging each song and performance on merit. Of course, this has gone on for years, but last night it was more blatant than ever before.
Secondly, I think the guy who sang the UK's entry did an excellent job and the song wasn't half bad (especially compared to your average UK entry).
But there was another reason. Partly, it was because Scotland is still (but not for too much longer I hope!) part of the UK. So, I was being represented by that entry last night. But also because I do share a cultural identity with the other nations of the United Kingdom. I watched all the Scandanavian countries voting for each other last night with envy. They are independent nations with a great deal of goodwill towards their neighbours. I want that for Scotland. I want people in an independent Scotland to watch Eurovision and pick up the phone to vote for England or for Wales (but not to be too blatant in our favouritism for our neighbours of course...).
Yes, my point about Eurovision is very superficial, but I think it's indicative of a wider issue. The UK 'brand' is incredibly soiled. Other countries in Europe regard the UK as a state in the shadow of its imperialist past trying to recapture former 'glory', a warmonger in the Middle East and as anti-European. The UK hasn't exactly done a lot to endear itself to other European nations.
Independence would give the constituent parts of the UK an opportunity to present themselves in a more positive light in the international arena, to shake off the past mistakes from the 'union years' and to become a force for good on this planet.
Now, we wouldn't be doing all this JUST to win the Eurovision song contest - but it would be a bonus. I would love to see the Proclaimers win it for Scotland!