I thank Tom Arthur for bringing the debate to the chamber to highlight St Andrew’s day. I have always thought that we need to do more at home to celebrate Scotland’s national day, because, across the world, global Scots probably do more than we do at home to celebrate St Andrew’s day. I have been an expatriate on a number of occasions, so I understand that people miss home and want to make the most of days such as St Andrew’s day to celebrate their Scottishness.
Friends and family of mine who have lived and worked around the world have been involved in organising and enjoying St Andrew’s day balls and events. Friends of mine who lived for a few years in Baku, in Azerbaijan, enjoyed such events, and I very much enjoy looking at their photographs. My aunt and uncle were heavily involved in running the Singapore St Andrew’s society ball every year, which was a huge affair with pipers, dancing and everyone in ball-gowns and national dress.
However, when we are at home, we do not celebrate St Andrew’s day quite so much, and I wonder why that is the case. If every local authority decided to implement the local holiday, as the Parliament voted for in 2006, perhaps we might stand a better chance of St Andrew’s day becoming the special day that it should be, and which it is in other countries.
Of course, there are exceptions. My party holds a St Andrew’s day dinner, which was hosted by
Independence magazine the other week. In Edinburgh, the day marks the start of the winter festival, and VisitScotland has a list of amazing events that are happening throughout Scotland to celebrate St Andrew’s day.