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Issue 72 - Editors view

Scotland Magazine Issue 72
December 2013


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Editors view

Rob Allanson looks at what is being billed as one of the biggest years for Scotland

So I found myself in the sunshine, in November, thousands of miles from Scotland thinking about the Diaspora; the nation scattered to the wind.

Sitting in Johannesburg Mandela Square, not quite in the shadow of the great man himself, my thoughts turned to the fact that I had just seen the biggest collection of Scotophiles outside of America who were going crazy to learn more about Scotch and where it came from. The stillness of that moment under the sun got me thinking about the nation abroad. Those families who emigrated out here, to Australia, New Zealand, to the other side of the planet, totally different from home.

These days I think it is difficult to imagine what drove these people to seek out what they hoped was going to be a better life in the new world. The necessity must have been brutal; especially when one considered the clearances, economic strife and a myriad of reasons.

Despite the tears and the wrenching away from home soil, some positives have come out of this. The years have been relatively good. The pain and sorrow has subsided slowly and what this sowing of nationhood has created is a rich, vibrant and deeply rooted Scottish culture outside of the motherland. A celebration of belonging that is only really rivalled by Ireland.

These families slowly become more Scottish than the Scots themselves, for one simple reason; when you are that far away form home then you cling to your identity, that is what defines you.

2014 is shaping up to be a massive year as the motherland is putting out that message once again: “come home, recharge, get your fill and enjoy the home country.” Scotland will welcome the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 – providing a year-long programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games and the nation defining victory at Bannockburn. Also lets not forget that September, even if you cannot vote, will be a time to return home to feel the might of democracy in full swing with the vote for independence. No matter which way the vote swings, September 18th is going to be the night to be in Edinburgh.

2014 will be a chance to celebrate the very best of Scottish food and drink, our outstanding active and natural offering, as well as our creativity, culture and ancestral heritage.