Should old acquaintances be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?
It is that time of the year again when we look back at the year just passed, and look forward to the New Year which fast approaches.
Many commentators have already placed their articles reflecting back on 2011 and it’s major events. The BBC managed to reflect on the political year and entirely ignore Scotland and the major events surrounding the Scottish Election of May 5th. Was this an oversight? I doubt it. It was an event they wish to avoid publicising as much as they possibly can,whilst trying to ignore entirely it’s significance.
Other commentators have got their crystal balls out while they look ahead to the year to come, and have been practising their soothsayer skills.Again,they mostly Ignore Scotland in their prophecies.
Hogmanay is the time when the whole world looks to Scotland. We are the home of the NewYear celebrations. However we mean a lot more to the world than just our ability to party like there is no tomorrow.
The nations of the world recognise this, even if our British counterparts south of our border do not.
NewYear is much more than reflection of the immediate previous past year, or prophesying about the coming year. It is a remembrance and celebration of all who have gone before. It is well wishing of absent friends.It is a reminder of our history and culture.It is a time when hands reach out across the oceans to the rest of our global human family. It is a time of Inclusion and not exclusion. It is a time when we welcome friends and strangers alike to our door, and to our shores.
And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang sine
I am sure some of you will have seen the picture of Alex Salmond with the Chinese Vice Premier in Bejing recently. How many of you noticed that they were standing with a glass of malt whisky in their hands? Not your common cursory handshake seen with other world leaders, but a dram! The significance there, is not in words but in the symbolism. The Chinese understand symbolism better than anyone!
We twa hae run about the braes
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit
Sin auld Lang Syne
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne
The third and fourth verses of Auld Lang Syne talks of past fellowships and shared activities amongst friends. How they have travelled many a weary mile together, and how despite the years and the distance, or the separation by oceans, that friendship still exists. The significance is in the past shared history.
Only a couple of days ago the Russians were reminding us of our past friendships and our significance to them.
In a letter from the Russian Consulate to Britain, they briefly mention the British Isles, but the whole thrust of the letter is directed almost exclusively to their relationship with Scotland.
“No need to say in this relation that one of the most distinctive regions of the United Kingdom that played special role in British history but also has historical relations with Russia is Scotland.”
“Despite the major changes of the recent past very good relations has been kept with the beautiful Northern land. 2011 alone saw a few major events. An official visit by the head of the Council of the Federation, one of the two chambers of the Russian Parliament, was paid to the Scottish capital in March.”
The whole letter is packed with historical remembrance and appreciation of friendship, coupled with the hopes of maintaining and enhancing that friendship further.
This New Year the whole world is beating a path to Scotlands door.
They all recognise the significance of what happened in May,and what is still to come. They ALL want to welcome Scotland back amongst the league of Nations. But more than that, they Welcome the thought.
At St Andrews day this year Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to Scotland. The first ever such letter written by the Americans to Scotland. It recognised and thanked Scotland for Scots contributions to that Country and Continent.
Relations have been re-established with our Nordic neighbours and new ventures planned and agreed. In European parliament they loudly applauded Alyn Smiths assertion of the Scots move to Independence, while they condemned Camerons negative European scepticism.
Much of these relations and approaches also explain why a Labour Lord has placed an amendment to the Scotland Bill gagging Scots from speaking to World Leaders.
“before commencing discussions with representatives of foreign governments or inter-governmental organisations Scottish Ministers are required to obtain consent to the discussions from a Minister of the Crown.”
They really hate the idea of Scotland being welcomed by the World. We have far too many powerful friends and allies and we show the rump up as being too weak, and too powerless, and too insignificant.
Instead of being their money bank, we become a powerful competitor on their doorstep!
We might be a small country, but the whole world longs for our return to the International stage. All of these reactions and approaches by World Powers tell us that they appreciate, value and look forward to this small nations friendship and skills and egalitarianism, making its presence felt again.
We may be small, but we have made proportionally more contribution in shaping this modern world than any other nation on earth. Nowhere in the world will you find a country where Scots have not had a significant role. Auld Acquaintance has not been forgot, and they are All letting us know it!
For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld Langsyne,
We’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!
A Guid New Year to You All, May it be All that you would hope for.
There is Better Yet to Come!