As it gets to the end of the year, the social networking sites start to erupt with “2012 memories” and, as any normal person would do, I sit and ask myself “what are my memories of the last 12 months?”
Is it the Olympics? Is it that weekend where the country had a holiday to celebrate the jubilee? Is it a bit more close to home?
Are my memories watching the families who are struggling to make ends meet, be affected by the new regulations for benefits? Are my memories watching a campaign to save a leisure centre unfold when 50 per cent of the campaigners haven’t stepped foot in the place in years.
I like to look at 2012 in a way I have never looked at a year before, a way that could possibly never be thought of? I like to look at 2012 as the year the UK grew up. From what I’m about to say, I’m talking about Scotland in general, but on a grander scale, it’s time to realise that we are not the only country in this island.
It’s hard to think that as a country we have “grown up” when you look at the state of our economy. However, at the same point we have started to gain some “heroes” in the eyes of the world through the sporting efforts of this country.
I know that half of you are sitting there, reading this and thinking “what do sporting heroes have to do with anything?” and if this was 12 months ago I would be thinking the exact same thing. As I said on St Andrew’s Day, this country, this small country has given the world so much and yet we get so little recognition. Yet in the past 12 months the world has started to cast its eyes over us. Yet not one of us can deny it’s all down to one thing. It could have been the fact that we are looking at becoming an independent country, but it’s not. Our countries Olympians are the real reason. Whether it be Andy Murray and his tennis skills or Chris Hoy and the legs of steel, people are starting to pay attention to Scotland.
Of course, it would be great for people to recognise us for other achievements. We did of course invent the telephone, the television and so many other great inventions.
For example, not many know that we created the first MRI machine. John Mallard, one of Scotland’s greatest and yet underrated people. If we look at Ayrshire alone, we can look at the world with great pride. When every other country in the world is sitting doing their thing, we can sit and be proud that we gave them a foundation to build on.
Ayrshire alone brought the world the pneumatic tyre, gas lighting and penicillin.
Then of course, there is Ayrshire music. But no other county in Scotland has a group of musicians as determined and as hard working as the people in Ayrshire right now. Off the top of my head I can name at least 40.
Even outwith Ayrshire, even on the farthest coasts of the UK, people are creating and building and inventing. In my mind this small island, this island that sits in the middle of a vast amount of water, this tiny island that creates so little noise, this island is the loudest of them all.
2012 brought me hope, if I can say anything I’ll say this, 2012 brought me hope that Scotland can become the country and influence it was always meant to be. We may not be that largest and we may not be the most powerful but we are without a shadow of a doubt the most determined.