The Herald: Neil Mackay unspun banner NEW

WELL it certainly wasn’t like this in Paris.

When the UN rolled into the French capital for its climate summit in 2015, the French didn’t lose their minds over whether some foreign dignitary or other took a sip of the local plonk - and if that somehow endorsed or insulted their personal and petty views of French politics.

But here in Scotland, Irn Bru and photo opportunities somehow - in the minds of far too many - reflect our very identities. Both unionists and nationalists have been falling over each other this last fortnight to show off their inferiority complexes. The real star of COP26 was the Scottish Cringe.

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The cringe comes in two forms: first, there’s the unionist cringe. The idea that Nicola Sturgeon is somehow getting above herself by meeting foreign leaders and political celebrities. The hysteria over Sturgeon having her photo taken with Joe Biden, and a fizzy drink-related snap (for pity’s sake) with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was truly embarrassing.

I mean, calm down unionists. Sturgeon leads Scotland - she’s meant to meet other leaders. If she wasn’t, she’d be accused of being asleep on the job. And the Irn Bru? Come on. It’s utterly meaningless.

But the same is true of nationalists. When Sturgeon had her picture taken with Biden and when AOC took a gulp of Irn Bru, you’d think that Jesus Christ himself had been resurrected on the banks of the Clyde and declared himself a Yesser.

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