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Indyref: in Oz, a Yes vote won't make me feel any more Scottish

The other night there, I played a gig at my companion Koula's birthday party, held in the back yard of her house in Collingwood, inner-city Melbourne.

Now, Koula is a true blue Aussie mate, don't worry about that, but from a Greek background, her Mum and Dad having re-located to Australia in the chaotic and uncertain European aftermath of World War 2.

The influence and spread of non-British immigrants is generally overlooked in Australia. This is a country that has always been keen to acknowledge (and some would say suck up to) its British colonial roots.

Yes, the Aussies love to bash the Poms, most recently at cricket - but it's done very much in a slightly needy, Prodigal Son sort of way, the errant black sheep with the sizeable chip on his shoulder desperately trying to prove himself in the eyes of his Father - or - Motherland.

A ridiculous notion really, because almost everything the British have contributed to Australian society is, by its very nature, second rate, anachronistic and irrelevant.

Meat pies and the monarchy. That's about the extent of it. And some would say those are the best bits. Rubbish food, derivative arts and entertainment, plodding Governments and inconvenient shop and business operating hours.

It makes no sense. Regardless of the intense heat, everything finishes for the day at 5.30pm because, you see, that's how it's done in Britain.

No matter that in other sunny Metropolitan climes like Athens, Madrid and Milan, working people don't struggle through long hot days without a break. Where it's a large lunch followed by an afternoon nap, before getting back into it at 4pm till late evening - thereby taking full advantage of the cooler, balmy, magical summer nights.

Not in Australia. Because that's not how the Brits do it.

Back in the day - according to Nick, a fantastic old bloke in his 80s who came to Oz from Northern Greece in 1954, non-Brit immigrants had to know their place. Their name was the first to go. Too complicated for fair dinkum Aussies to pronounce, they were often called - shades of Glasgow here - Jimmy. Jimmy Grant to be precise. As in 'JimmyGrant - Immigrant'.

Not exactly an insult, I'm sure you'll agree. But not really a compliment either.

To sustain and preserve their culture and self-respect, most of the non-Brit expatriates in Oz did what immigrants always do. They socialised and ultimately married from within their own background, sourcing the food they love - often growing it - forming their own sporting clubs, entertainment venues and business networks.

It didn't make them any less Aussie. In fact, it's had the opposite effect, as it always has, everywhere, historically - by preserving your own traditions, you automatically contribute toward changing the intrinsic culture of the country in which you live.

In this case, making Australia far less British - and let's face it, that's no bad thing.

Tanned, well dressed, attractive people, young and old, eating good food from the old country, souvlaki and keftedes, drinking grappa and ouzo, having a good time, enjoying the late summer sunshine, talking, laughing - and smoking, lots of smoking - having fun in their new country of Australia but with a definite and distinct nod toward their old one.

The old days. The good part of the old days.

Everyone I spoke to at our recent party had Australian passports. Everyone considered themselves to be Aussie. But they were Greek too. Or Serbian, or Macedonian, Turkish or Italian.

I'm Scottish, by the way. Not Scottish Australian - not yet at any rate, though who knows what the future holds.

Things change. They always have.

I used to be Scottish British, in so far as that's who I thought I was - how I'd been shaped. I was essentially Scottish but some parts of me had been formed through the various elements of British culture and influences to which I...all of us...were and continue to be exposed to.

I'm Scottish. I don't live there - I probably never will again, but I am. And because I don't live there, the September referendum is really pretty irrelevant to me.

A sovereign nation? Most people I've spoken to worldwide think it already is. The Scottish identity is well and truly developed, our culture, our past, who we are, (or at least who people think we are, not always accurately), exists in minds of the people of almost every nation in the world.

It's good news. Nearly always, it's good. People like us - the Scots - for all our faults and be honest we've got plenty, we're generally seen as hard-working, humorous and worthwhile, even though some of us occasionally don't entirely deserve such a good rep.

Technically speaking, we're not a sovereign nation, but really, do we have to be?

What difference would it make? In practice, I mean. No matter what happens, we'll still get a bunch of politicians making decisions on our behalf. You think that's a recipe for national success? Really?

The left will fight with the right. The left will fight even harder with the rest of the left. The people in the middle will pretend not to fight with anyone, while all the time, the country - the people - will essentially run themselves, go about their business, laugh, drink, have sex, live, die.

We don't need politicians to help us do that. We can do it perfectly well on our own. Try it, it's easy.

We don't need a vote to be Scottish. An Act of Parliament. We don't need a Statute.

We already are Scottish.

If, that is, we want to be.

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