Here’s Tae Us – Wha’s Like Us – Damn Few And They’re A’ Deid

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    7th February 2009

    Wi’ the requisite touch o’ Scots modesty

    (Made even more modest, deservedly so, by this good English commenter below)

    I just came across this article by Simon Heffer at The Telegraph where he seems to be suggesting that the Scots in Gordon Brown’s government need to jump in the loch.

    I didn’t bother to read all the comments, but I can guess, from both angles.  Though Mr Heffer might just have a point. Scots in the present Labour government do seem rather disproportionate.

    But to aid claim to my fellow Scots’ deserving of lauding it over sassenachs(only joking … I even think of myself as ‘British’ first – I do, I always have) – I thought I’d let you see this.  These words used to hang around our kitchen,  printed on a tea towel. I’ve managed to trace it online. The words, not the tea-towel. (Yes, I know I spend a lot of time on the internet, but I haven’t quite mastered the transportation of objects. If I do, look out. I’ll be right there …)

    Oh, the ingenuity of the Scots.

    Juts a wee reminder, lads and lasses.


    Wha’s Like Us – Damn Few And They’re A’ Deid

    By Tom Anderson Cairns

    The average Englishman, in the home he calls his castle, slips into his national
    costume, a shabby raincoat, patented by chemist Charles Macintosh from Glasgow, Scotland.

    En route to his office he strides along the English lane, surfaced by John Macadam of Ayr, Scotland.

    He drives an English car fitted with tyres invented by John Boyd Dunlop of Dreghorn, Scotland.

    At the train station he boards a train, the forerunner of which was a steam engine, invented by James Watt of Greenock, Scotland.

    He then pours himself a cup of coffee from a thermos flask, the latter invented by James Dewar, a Scotsman from Kincardine-on-Forth.

    At the office he receives the mail bearing adhesive stamps invented by James Chalmers of Dundee, Scotland.

    During the day he uses the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

    At home in the evening his daughter pedals her bicycle invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, blacksmith of Dumfries, Scotland.

    He watches the news on his television, an invention of John Logie Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland,

    And an item about the U.S. Navy, founded by John Paul Jones of Kirkbean, Scotland.

    He has by now been reminded too much of Scotland and in desperation he picks up the Bible only to find that the first man mentioned in the good book is a Scot, King James VI, who authorised its translation.

    Nowhere can an Englishman turn to escape the ingenuity of the Scots.

    He could take to drink, but the Scots make the best in the world.

    He could take a rifle and end it all but the breech-loading rifle was invented by Captain Patrick Ferguson of Pitfours, Scotland.

    If he escapes death, he might then find himself on an operating table injected with penicillin, which was discovered by Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland.

    Or under anaesthetic, which was discovered by Sir James Young Simpson of Bathgate, Scotland.

    Out of the anaesthetic, he would find no comfort in learning he was as safe as the Bank of England founded by William Paterson of Dumfries, Scotland.

    Perhaps his only remaining hope would be to get a transfusion of guid Scottish blood which would entitle him to ask “Wha’s Like Us”.


    (Love the bit about “safe as the Bank of England”, don’t you?)

    At the bottom of the tea towel is the Latin inscription “nemo me impune lacessit” which translates to “no one provokes me with impunity” which was the motto of the Order of the Thistle first used on the coins of King James VI of Scotland.

    Perhaps Mr Heffer should retain this wee thought.

    Of course we could always ring up The Previous Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to try to dilute the Scottishness of the Cabinet.

    Ooops … no we couldn’t .

    Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh

    “Here’s tae us, wha’s like us? Damn few and they’re a’ deid”

    I recall my father often used to use this phrase as a toast, as he raised his glass to down a wee dram.  But he always prefaced it with “Here’s tae us.” So from my recollection it should have those three words at the beginning, if used as a toast.

    Cheers!




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    25 Responses to “Here’s Tae Us – Wha’s Like Us – Damn Few And They’re A’ Deid”

    1. Stan Says:

      And it amazes me that when Clarkson apologised for that remark about Brown being a “one-eyed, Scottish idiot” he limited this to what he said about Brown’s appearance – and got away with it!?!

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Hi Stan,

        I don’t pay much attention to Clarkson, because to be blunt he doesn’t appeal to me. But I thought he apologised for the one-eyed bit and the Scottish bit, but said he wouldn’t be withdrawing the “idiot” jibe. I suppose Clarkson is ultra smart?

        He’s a well-know Tory supporter and is typical of the sort right across the board that thinks it proves something to call other people names.

        As you know I have never been able to take to Brown since the Summer 2006 Downing Street ‘murder’, but I have always argued that he knows his subject. His subject is economics. I believe he did his degree (History?) a couple of years younger than normal – 16 or so if I’m not mistaken. Hardly an idiot, even if the economy looks kind of idiotic right now.

    2. PJW Says:

      Replace lost quotes:

      Man alive, not this “Englishman walking down the road invention list” garbage again.

      Why the obsession with Englishmen? Are we the only ones that use the earth changing invention of a thermos flask?

      “The average Englishman, in the home he calls his castle, slips into his national costume, a shabby raincoat, patented by chemist Charles Macintosh from Glasgow, Scotland.”

      Why the sneering reference to a castle? This is a proverb suggesting your home should be private and secure. This is an alien concept north of the border?

      I had no idea we all wore a Mackintosh. I wouldn’t be seen dead in one, but then I never notice anyone else wearing one, so obviously I’m mistaken. Since when has a coat design been an invention? Should I list some world famous English designers?

      Interesting you use the term “patented by…”. Is this an admission that the vast majority of supposedly Scottish inventions aren’t Scottish at all, merely innovations of previous inventions (usually English) or merely someone getting a patent in first. Example – the telephone, a French invention that BS ridden Scotsmen have been claiming for themselves for decades.

      By the way, if England has a national dress, it isn’t a raincoat, it’s the business suit which (like our language) has taken over the world. Unlike Scottish “national dress”, tartan, which is Austrian and is used only for making tourists think you have a culture.

      “En route to his office he strides along the English lane, surfaced by John Macadam of Ayr, Scotland.”

      If road surfacing is a Scottish invention I’m a Martian. Yet another example of an innovation being claimed as an original invention by Scottish BS merchants desperate to make everyone else think they’re somehow special.

      “He drives an English car fitted with tyres invented by John Boyd Dunlop of Dreghorn, Scotland, arrives at the station and boards a train, the forerunner of which was a steam engine, invented by James Watt of Greenock, Scotland. “

      Engines ‘eh! Who invented the steam engine, the internal combustion engine, the jet engine, the two-stroke engine? Englishmen. Another of modern history’s con tricks the Scots have managed is to make people think they invented the steam engine (Englishman Thomas Savery invented the steam engine – ten years later Newcomen “the father of the industrial revolution” produced the atmospheric steam engine – Watt was over 40 years later).

      Englishman George Stevenson invented the train and Englishmen invented the tracks the run on the signals they use.

      “He then pours himself a cup of coffee from a thermos flask, the latter invented by Dewar, a Scotsman from Kincardine-on-Forth. “

      I’ll give you the flask!

      “At the office he receives the mail bearing adhesive stamps invented by James Chalmers of Dundee, Scotland. “

      Englishman Rowland Hill invented the adhesive postage stamp in 1837. More Scottish BS.

      “During the day he uses the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, Scotland. “

      Hilarious. The French inventor of the telephone was in the process of suing the American Graham Bell when he died. Had he lived a bit longer, this myth would never have been started. Typical Scottish desperation to impress.

      “At home in the evening his daughter pedals her bicycle invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, blacksmith of Dumfries, Scotland. “

      Another French invention, is the bicycle. Perhaps this Scotsman improved the design a bit or something? You should bear in mind that only in Scotland does this constitute grounds for claiming complete credit.

      “He watches the news on his television, an invention of John Logie Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland, and hears an item about the U.S. Navy, founded by John Paul Jones of Kirkbean, Scotland. “

      Ahhh, the television. Baird was the first person to demonstrate it publicly, but he didn’t invent it. Like all complex items, is has had many contributing technologies from many inventors, scientists and engineers. Claiming Baird invented it is not only wrong but and insult to others, particularly the person with the strongest claim, Englishman Blumheim and the American Zworykin.

      Great idea about the Navy, though! I bet nobody had ever dreamed up the notion of a navy before! Strange, but I thought England had the most famous navy in modern history.

      “He has by now been reminded too much of Scotland and in desperation he picks up the Bible only to find that the first man mentioned in the good book is a Scot, King James VI, who authorised its translation. “

      If you want to claim credit for that, you’re welcome. Anything under the reign of a monarch is now down to the nationality of that monarch, ‘eh? Interesting! Now what have the Candians, Australians etc achieved under an English monarch….

      “Nowhere can an Englishman turn to escape the ingenuity of the Scots. “

      I’ll make like a Scotsman and list a few GENUINE English inventions a bit later.

      “He could take to drink, but the Scots make the best in the world. “

      What a spectacularly arrogant statement! What drink would this be? The Irish invention, whisky?

      “He could take a rifle and end it all but the breech-loading rifle was invented by Captain Patrick of Pitfours, Scotland. “

      Indeed, out of all the innovations of rifles and firearms down the ages breech loading was a Scottish one when applied to rifles. The technology already existed for other weapons.

      “If he escapes death, he might then find himself on an operating table injected with penicillin, which was discovered by Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland, and given an anaesthetic, which was discovered by Sir James Young Simpson of Bathgate, Scotland. “

      There are loads of types of anaesthetics aren’t there? Claiming 100% credit again for something that’s been around for ages?

      “Out of the anaesthetic, he would find no comfort in learning he was as safe as the Bank of England founded by William Paterson of Dumfries, Scotland. “

      What a hilariously contrived link! I hope whoever wrote this doesn’t designs on becoming a writer!

      I have to mention the convenient Scottish definition of nationality here: someone you approve of who’s non-Scottish, thrash around in their family tree, if anyone can detect any Scottish connection – 100% Scottish. EG Blair when popular, Scottish; Blair when unpopular, English. For that reason alone you have to very careful about Scottish claims to anything. Then, having effectively claimed hundred of millions of the world’s population for the most obscure reasons (if they’ve done something you’ve approved of) for Scotland, you hide behind a population of “only five million” when it suits.

      So, we’ve got a thermos flask, the breech loading part of a rifle and a coat design. Oh, and a couple of institutions founded (apparently) by Scots. I can’t be bothered to list the 1000s of institutions founded by Englishmen, but I’ll list a few of our inventions etc.

      Nowhere can the Scotsman (or anyone else) escape the ingenuity of the Englishman:

      * The Computer
      * The Internet
      * THE STEAM ENGINE
      * the jet engine
      * The internal combustion engine
      * trains
      * Railways
      * Almost every contraption that contributed to the industrial revolution Eg spinny jenny, flying shuttle, sewing machine, screw cutting lathe etc
      * Light bulb
      * Postage Stamp
      * Lawn mower
      * Hydraulic press
      * Bessemer process
      * Stainless steel
      * Smallpox vaccine
      * Antiseptic in surgery
      * Clinical thermometer
      * Disc brakes
      * Gas turbine
      * Slide rule
      * Adjustable spanner
      * Marine clock
      * Microphone
      * Electric telegraph
      * Benzene / electrical generator (Faraday – working at Glasgow Uni’ DOES NOT make him Scottish!!)
      * Aluminium
      * Discovered DNA
      * The concept of isotopes
      * Telescope (Isaac Newton – need I mention his other achievements?)
      * Fire extinguisher
      * Portland cement
      * Davy Lamp
      * Beam engine (mining)
      * Newton’s laws
      * Electromagnet
      * Vaccination
      * Theory of evolution
      * The periodic table
      * Calculus (Newton again)
      * Barometer
      * Atomic theory (Dalton)
      * Infrared (wasn’t Herschel)
      * Fire engine
      * Seat belt
      * Cat’s eyes
      * Plimsole line
      * Hovercraft
      * Aeronautics (Cayley)
      * Commercial jet airliner

      I could go on, but I’m worried about developing Scottish traits. I’ll be nicking other people’s inventions soon or changing people’s nationalities to suit.

    3. PjW Says:

      Apologies for the double post, my mistake. First time it came through without quotes from the original “poem” (I had no idea this passed for poetry anyway, never mind Scotland where Burns is revered) and I’d assumed it’d been rejected.

      Anyway, perhaps you shouldn’t take it down, but (in the interests of the families of the genuine inventors and to redress the sneering at the English) people should instead ensure something like the following also appears:

      “Who can Compare to Us?” by me.

      The average Scotsman, in the home he doesn’t apparently refer to as his castle, slips into his national costume, an Austrian girl’s dress, having just lunched on the Roman dish, Haggis. Deciding he looks like a complete idiot, he dons the de facto national dress of England, the business suit. Like the English language, this has taken over the world, so it makes him feel like a reasonable human being, rather than a Teutonic dancing girl.

      He drives an English car (through admittedly probably owned these days by a German company) fitted with an internal combustion engine, brakes, alternator, fuel injection etc all invented by Englishmen.

      He arrives at the station and boards a train, invented by an Englishman, the forerunner of which was developed from the steam engine, invented by an Englishman, running of rail tracks, invented by an Englishman. To make himself feel better, the Scotsman ignores the inventor of the steam engine, Thomas Savery, and the inventor of the atmospheric steam engine, Newcomen – “the father of the industrial revolution”, as they are both English. He prefers to pretend that Watt, forty years after the event, “invented” the steam engine.

      Desperate to avoid all these English innovations, he heads for the airport, only to discover the jet engine was invented by an Englishman , as was the commercial airliner, and the international language of air traffic control is English.

      At the office he receives the mail bearing adhesive stamps invented by an Englishman, works on a computer, invented by an Englishman and uses the internet, invented by an Englishman.

      During the day he uses the telephone invented by a Frenchman, but desperately tries to make himself feel better by pretending a Scotsman invented it. When it is pointed out that the “Scotsman” concerned, apart from not being the inventor, was American, he buries his head in the sand and re-defines nationality by consigning anyone he approves of with any Scottish heritage whatsoever as 100% Scottish. In almost the same breath, after re-classifying zillions of the world’s population as Scottish when it suits, he’ll hide behind Scotland’s population of “only 5 million” to excuse under-achievement. How very convenient.

      (Not sure where this leaves nations with under five million like Denmark, Norway, Croatia etc.)

      At home in the evening his daughter pedals her bicycle invented by another Frenchmen, but he nevertheless convinces himself this was another Scottish invention.

      After the bike ride, his daughter completes homework on evolution, gravity, Newton’s Laws, DNA, Calculus and atomic theory.

      Irked at all these English scientific advances he persuades her to study literature instead. Unfortunately, this consists of Shakespeare, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Orwell and a legion of English poets like Keats, Coleridge and Kipling.

      He watches the news on his television, an invention of mainly English and American origin and hears an item about the U.S. Navy, founded by the US Congress. However, he patronisingly assumes America is a tinpot country where anyone can found a navy and re-assigns the nationality of one of the Americans who set it up, due to ancestry. At the same time he calls an Englishman “arrogant” when he suggests footballer Owen Hargreaves is English due to his English mother. Odd.

      He might also risk seeing references to 1000s of institutions in America that were founded by Englishmen, or Americans of English decent. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many of the “founding fathers” had English ancestry. By Scottish logic, what can England claim from America???

      Nowhere can a Scotsman turn to escape the ingenuity of the English and his own highly convenient view of facts.

      He could take to drink, but he prefers English gin and real ale to Irish drinks like whisky.

      He could take a rifle and end it all, but the rifle, developed from the Spanish musket, was first used in England and the US; and while nobody knows who invented it, the likelihood that it’s English or American of English ancestry (and therefore English by his own logic) is too great.

      If he escapes death, he might then find himself on an operating table but the possibility of being sullied by English medical advances is inevitable: blood transfusion, vaccination, general anaesthetic, aspirin, what is he to do?

      Out of the anaesthetic, he would find no comfort in learning he was as safe as the Royal Bank of Scotland…oh dear.

      Perhaps his only remaining hope would be to get a transfusion of guid English blood which would entitle him to ask “why was I such an idiot before my English pioneered blood transfusion?”

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Great stuff, PjW and published here in its entirety. Have also added a mention at the top of the post.

        It was only a bit of fun, anyway. HONEST, Guv!

        (The original “poem” may just have shown the insecurities of some Scots! Not that I could possibly suggest that. We CAN laugh at ourselves. There IS a lot to laugh about, let’s be honest.)

    4. MAd MAc Macadum Says:

      To PjW….. i i am sure that your Initials are some sort of abbreviation to which a Scotsman .. like myself… could think of many words fitting for such a worthy laugh, but not in the ENGLISH sense of humour.

      However, like most English you seam like you cannot take a joke or appreciate that someone has developed a marketable product about Scots and the inventions that have been recoded throughout history.

      But just to inform you .. please do your history lessons before replying with such piffle, YOU are the reason why modern day Scotsman STILL don’t like the English with your turned up nose and you pucker ways.

      Please don’t reply as i will not entertain this dribble you whittle on about.

      Oh and as far your “Taken all over the world” quoting.

      There are 5 Million Scots inside Scotland… and 25 Million Scots outside Scotland…. we don’t need to “take” things over the world… we Take ourselves!

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Love your name, MAd MAc,

        So you DO have a sense of humour!

        Come on, the wee sassenach was only having fun at OOR expense, bless him. The Scots have plenty of fun (some of it not that funny, imho) at the expense of the English, let’s be honest!

        We, I can take it. How about you? (The fact that he’s not right in ALL of his re-writing, and nor am I in quoting the original, since some of it is debatable) is neither here nor there.

        My favourite writer, in case you are interested, of all time is William Shakespeare. He leaves the romantic poet Robert Burns in his wake. IMHO!

        Having said that the whole world sings “Auld Lang Syne” every New Year’s Day. On the other hand, somebody, somewhere sings “Happy Birthday To You” EVERY DAY – probably hundreds of thousands of “somebodies.” And an American teacher started that in her classroom with her first graders, or whatever they’re called in Infant School in the USA.

      • PjW Says:

        “But just to inform you .. please do your history lessons before replying with such piffle, ”

        Pronoucing something inaccurate with saying what and why. Clever stuff. Are you taking the new chair of philosophy at Camrbidge University, perchance? Are you claiming the orginal “Wha’s Like Us” eerrr…”poem” is historicall accurate. Or is the usual history-by-myth you prefer to live by?

        “YOU are the reason why modern day Scotsman STILL don’t like the English with your turned up nose and you pucker ways.”

        And your nose is never turned up, and neither is the nose of the author of the risible “poem” in question? Have a look at the phrase the poem is based on. Nose turned up doesn’t even begin to describe it. Many Scots cannot see your sad notions of racial superiority in the light they’d be seen in from members of a larger country. You think you can get away with it because you perpetrate myths that you’re a poor, put-upon, butter-wouldn’t-melt minority dominated by an evil neighbour. Good things about Britain = dominated by the Scots; bad things about Britian = all the fault of the English.

        Compare the “Wha’s like us” garbage on tea towels to an Englishman’s response. Everyone pats the jock on the back and calls the Englishman an arrogant racist.

        Whose nose is turned up?

        “Please don’t reply as i will not entertain this dribble you whittle on about. ”

        Diddums. You wont reply because you have no arguments to counter.

        “Oh and as far your “Taken all over the world” quoting.

        There are 5 Million Scots inside Scotland… and 25 Million Scots outside Scotland…. we don’t need to “take” things over the world… we Take ourselves!

        The point I was making, that you clearly didn’t understand, was that Scots claim for themselves anybody, anywhere that they approve of if they can detect even the merest Scottish connection. Then they hide behind a population of 5 million when they think the percentages make them look good. Geddit?

        And how arrogant and nose-in-the-air is it to ignore the other national influences in someone’s dna and pronounce them Scottish?

        • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

          PjW,

          Humblest apologies if I upset you. Honestly, this was tongue-in-cheek. Should have removed the post!

          Haven’t time right now to debate all you’ve raised, but I didn’t say this, but a commenter here, Mad Mac Macadum, see below:

          “Please don’t reply as i will not entertain this dribble you whittle on about.”

    5. Farxorf Kwiklee Says:

      What a load of cock.
      We’re all British and I take a great deal of pride in that.

    6. PjW Says:

      I appreciate your balanced comments, Mr Keeptonyblairforpm, I was if fact replying to Mad MacAdam, winner of last years Mr Mad competition. I must have clicked on the wrong “reply” button if you thought it was a response to you!

      As for:

      “Please don’t reply as i will not entertain this dribble you whittle on about.”

      This merely highlights the point that as an Englishman I’m held responsible for my actions, so that if I proclaimed Obama an Englishman because of the English connections of his white mother, I be rightly laughed out of court. Scots, on the other hand, are immune to this. They can casually reassign the nationality of whoever they like on the scantest of ancestral connection. As I said above, what other inventions could I claim for England with this interpretation of nationality? How many Americans? Canadians? What if I produced an English equivalent of “Wha’s like us” (not that I’d need to make it up, like the original Scottish version) – would it appear on tea towels and in tourists shops? Or would it be dismissed as boastful, jingoistic and racist, what with its concluding line of express racial superiority? I think the latter.

      And mad MacAdam was predictably unable to point out what parts of my response to Cairns’ dribble was dribble; but then when it comes to Englishmen you can get away with mere insults, never mind any reasoned argument and logic.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        PjW – thanks for clearing that up!

        Some people might suggest that this Scottish ‘boastfulness’, if that’s what it is(!) (often it REALLY IS just fun), is evidence of certain complexes that some Scots still hold. All because some are still fighting wars which were over 300 years ago.

        And as for the English in Britain, like the Americans in the world, the English are the biggest, and the rest have to knock ’em down. It’s required!!!

        All silly stuff, imho.

    7. bubbs Says:

      Found this thread on Hogmonay 2009 as I was browsing through looking for something refreshing for a status change on Facebook. I have laughed my socks of all the way through and at the responses ! I have posted this as a note on my profile and I only hope that my many English friends share the same sense oh humor as me . Will keep you posted, I may need advice re legal aid, if the slander suits all come off hahahaha Happy New Year ! Heres tae us whas like us …

    8. Twm Says:

      I happened accidentally on this conversation. It seems your english friend is a little pompous and lacks a sense of humour. I hope there’s no more at home like him.

      Please dont apologize for your Nationality by saying you’re British at Heart. Be Scottish and proud of it.

      A Welshman.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        I guessed you were Welsh, Twm bach.

        I’m not apologising for my nationality, far from it. I’m British and proud of it. I happen to have been born in Scotland. So what!? Not going to scream, in all seriousness about Scotland being such a more worthy part of Britain than, say … er … Wales.

    9. barralass Says:

      Obviously no inventors in this list ………………………. too busy being childish I think.

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