I love a nice whiskey. I don’t really care how it’s spelt. I use the ‘e’ because i kinda always have and i guess i prefer how it looks. I certainly don’t use it as any kind of affiliation to Americans or the Irish, or because i hate Canadians or the Scottish. I don’t tend to hate any geographical or cultural group of people. It’s not always been quite the case, although hate would always have been too strong a word really.
I’m a Yorkshireman. I mean, i’m not a man, but ‘Yorkshirewoman’ isn’t a thing and i don’t think the ‘man’ in ‘Yorkshireman’ is referencing any genitalia, chromosomes, brain types, pink/blue preference or liklihood to end up the adult in the household who is more or less likely to do the majority of the ironing, it’s just a word to describe people brought up/born in/living in the promised land. Part of being a Yorkshireman is being a bit tight with money, having a kickass accent, being really rich or pretty poor and you and your whippet wearing a flat cap. Another part of being a Yorkshireman is hating on Lancastrians. It probably goes back to the War of the Roses, but it might just be a cricket thing. Either way, as a Yorkshireman, who has lived in various parts of the Ridings, i knew that the Yorkshire-Lancashire rivalry is fierce. We have the white rose, they have the red one. We have puddings, they have hot pots. We have funny vowels, they have funny rs. We all hate the other one.
Except… I live in Lancashire now. I apologised to my family and friends for my turncoat-ishness, of course. I found myself a job and some neighbours and prepared myself for the worst. I thought i’d be mocked and jibed and maybe even victim of some less than friendly ‘banter’ due to being from the wrong colour flowered side. It never came. It’s never been a thing. A really nice woman at work once didn’t understand when i asked for a ‘breadcake’ and not a ‘barm cake’ and the woman in the chippy thinks it’s a bit odd i like my sausage battered, rather than naked, but THAT’S IT. This ‘rivalry’ doesn’t exist. The rivalry that pretty much every Yorkshireman thinks is a thing, isn’t a thing. Lancastrians, by and large, don’t give a hoot if we’re from over East. If the subject of this rivalry ever even comes up over this way, it’s not even known by the people here really. Many think York is quite pretty and has nice tea rooms, many think Leeds has good shopping and a terrible one way system, many think Hull is just that bit at the end of the M62. I don’t even think many Lancastrians know how much we take the piss out of OURELVES, let alone spend any time taking the piss out of us!
So what’s this got to do with whiskey? Well, not much if i’m honest, but i thought the title sounded snappy (and it’s lyrics from a Beautiful South song). But there’s a slight link. In the run up to the Scottish Independence Referendum there seems to be the impression from many people in Scotland that they think the rest of the UK, mainly in England, dislike them or have a kind of mistrust of them. In arguments i’ve seen, heard and read i’ve frequently seen Scottish folk say things that i could identify with from my time as a Yorkshireman living in Yorkshire; the erroneous idea that a rivalry exists between us. If there is a rivalry, it’s not between us, as is presumed by some. If there is a rivalry, it’s one way – like the Yorkshire and Lancashire thing.
Before any of the referendum stuff started i really don’t remember a time when i’ve heard any serious, or any large quantity of light-hearted things said against the Scottish from anyone else in the UK. I’ve certainly never heard anything nasty about Scotland or the Scottish people. Of course there’s the odd funny comment here or there, but no more than there is about people from Liverpool, Norfolk, Wales, Devon, or indeed my own beloved Yorkshire.
So it’s probably important that you know i’m coming at this with a pro-Union point of view, so you can call me a bare-faced liar or pat me on the back and say ‘Oh yess yessssss’ depending on your own views. But i wanted you to know that if you’re voting ‘Yes’ to independence on the basis you think we hate you, then don’t! (Although i’m not a big fan of your square sausages, which unnerve me no end, but that’s for another post another time, i’m sure).