THREE in five Scots learn most of their history from television, according to a survey by top academic institution, The Edinburgh Dungeon. Unfortunately, the same research by the titillating tourist attraction indicated that this was not a particularly good method of learning, as only 14 per cent knew that the television was invented by a Scot, John Logie Wotsname.

A more shocking finding was that half of 16 to 24-year-olds didn’t know that Robert the Bruce led the Scots to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Still, it was such a long time ago. Today, we no longer fight each other on the battlefield. The English just turn up en masse at referendums and swing the vote against our freedom. Oops, we’re supposed to never mention that.

Imagine the Bruce had space-hopped to 21st century Scotland.

“How do things fare with our ancient foe, the English?”

“You’re not allowed to say that.”

“Say what now?”

“The E-word.”



“How no?”

“Because it’s racist.”

“Right, to hell with this politically correct serfdom. I’m away back to 13-something. I forget the exact date now.”

Of course, it would be invidious if Scots were to get all their history from the likes of Braveheart, even if it does contain a kernel of truth: there was a Billy Wallace and, yes, he was hung, drawn and divided into corporeal sections for rebelling against the Tories.

It’s amazing the state folk get in about Braveheart and historical accuracy. Watch my lips: It’s. A. Movie. Made. For. Enter. Tainment. Hardly any history film has ever been remotely accurate, especially British war films, but it’s only ever Braveheart that gets it in the neck because no country has more self-hating citizens than Scotland.

Quoth they: “It’s a travesty to suggest that Scottish people showed their bottoms discourteously to the E-people or that they were treated with anything other than respect during the Dark Ages or whenever it was. Also, it’s a well known fact that the kilt was not invented until 1914 by British patriot and philosopher, Sir Harry Lauder.”

You wouldn’t want movies becoming too didactic anyway, but they’ve been getting that way in Hollywood for some time, with politically correct “homework” crammed into many shows now.

This week, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bifto) called for more references to climate change to be made in television shows. Its analysis showed that, while “dogs”, “sex” and “Brexit” were mentioned regularly, “climate change” only got the same number of mentions as “zombies” and “goldfish”. Gosh, perhaps that does say something about you, the human race, after all.

At the same time, you can’t shoehorn themes like climate change into scripts. It would come across all unnatural.

“It is micturating down again.”

“Yes, it’s all that climate change.”

“Aye, so it is.”

“Now, about this murder …”

“You mean the murder of the planet?”

“Naw, the actual murder of that man with the baldie heid lying there in a pool of blood.”

“Who cares? We’re all going to die anyway, if we don’t recycle more.”

I guess that history should really be left to schools, but nobody goes to these any more, do they? I didn’t go to mine much. And look how I turned out.

I do remember that, before I dropped out and sat in the botanic gardens reading science-fiction, we never got a word of Scottish history, which I suppose, right enough, would have been all blood and jotters.

We didn’t get Scots literature either, making us the unconfident, inferiority-feeling, goldfish-fondling zombies that so many are today.

Look happy

ONE in seven Scottish adults has felt suicidal over their appearance, according to a study reported in that Herald newspaper. The survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that one in four had felt “disgusted” by themselves and the same proportion had suffered “shame”.

And that’s a shame. I’m here to offer solidarity. I get tittered at in the street all the time by young persons. Usually, it’s a useful warning that my luxuriantly endowed bonce is tipping into bouffantitude, something common in America but deplored in baldie, buzzcut Britain.

There are probably other reasons for the tittering. I’ve worn a beard and checked shirt for decades, but sometimes wonder if the titterers think I’m an older bloke making like a hipster. A member of staff at my local Sainsbury’s laughed in my face whenever I went there, and I don’t know if it was because of that.

More fool him. I go to Morrison’s now instead. That’s the thing: just ignore the scoffers. It’s their problem, not yours. I should add that some people say the best thing you can do to improve your appearance is look happy. But I’m afraid that’s a step too far for me.

Bluffing through

THE nation erupted in discombobulation when, in a major policy statement, Nicola Sturgeon announced that she suffered from “imposter syndrome”. The First Minister told Sunny Govan Radio: “[There] will be days when I think, ’Should I even be here? Is somebody about to find me out?’”

She needn’t feel alarmed. She’s not alone. Most people bluff their way through every day. Whenever called upon to give morally uplifting lectures about life to young people and other delinquents, I tell them: “If you act like something long enough, you become it.”

However, from experience and a heid still sair after plummeting from a great height, I am now aware that wearing a cloak for 10 years does not make one a superhero.

Nicola’s problem comes from her disintegrating political identity: once a nationalist now borderless; once a socialist now a liberal; once decisive now dithering; once ramping up a second indie referendum, now ramping it down.

My advice to Nicola about leadership is to be clear and strong. Say: “Right, we’re having/not having a second referendum and, if ye don’t like it, ye can shut up.” That’ll unite the whole nation behind her, guaranteeing four more years of bluffing her way through – as we all do.