"I'm a proud Scot", said Iain Duncan Smith today, prefacing his latest sermon, on how the Jocks should show a bit of humility when faced with glorious Albion
Now, just offhand, how many times have you heard this preface to a litany of weak minded defeatist nonsense.
When I hear this, I generally glance coldly at the person, or radio or tv from which this line emerges, and think:
"Not quite proud enough, sonny."
That is the nub of the thing.
Pride, like self respect, like any other emotion, is a subjective one, rooted in the individual and their experiences.
So, if forelock tugging is your game, who could blame you for trying to offset your obsequiousness by bragging about your patriotism.
But, it doesn't get us past the essential contradiction.
How can you be proud of being a Scot, whilst at the same time lack the confidence to back your country to be the equal of any other on the globe.
If truth be told, I've always been a bit uneasy with the word 'pride'.
You see, if you are proud of being something, it implies that you are feeling pretty chipper or superior about not being something else.
That is not my view of my Scottishness.
I don't think that we are automatically superior as a nation to any other nation.
We are just the same.
I'm happy and relaxed about being a Scot.
I think we are the equal of any other country on earth.
I think we should have self respect about our nationhood, for if we don't respect ourselves, then who on earth will do it for us.
But when some individual who thinks he can be proud of being part of a nation just because he wraps himself in tartan breeks, or bellows at a tv for 80 or 90 minutes a few times a year, or slurps back whisky until he makes an idiot of himself at a Burns Supper, and who then proceeds to get up on his hind legs and do Scotland down, then I do indeed reserve the right to get a bit tight lipped.
It is a strange sort of pride or self respect which manifests itself in subordinating yourself to another nation.