WILSON'S WEEK IN NEW YORK; Andrew Wilson on the Importance of Tartan Day to the Future of Scotland

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Wilson

IT was the day Scotland took a huge bite of the Big Apple as this year's Tartan Week of celebrations kicked off.

From the moment we arrived at US immigration at Newark airport, it was clear the Americans knew the Scots were in town.

The normally-gruff immigration officials beamed as we informed them we were here for Tartan Week.

"Oh yes, you're Scots, have a great time here," gushed the dangerous-looking Ed Sheehey as he punched my passport.

As the parade began, the music of the pipes swirled around the skyscrapers and the hustle of the teeming streets of the city came to a standstill. The New Yorkers, having endured a year of anguish, took the Scots to their hearts - and no wonder.

This most colourful of musical parades was led off by their own new mayor, Michael Bloomberg, accompanied by the most famous living Scotsman, Sir Sean Connery.

Sometimes Scotland shows a remarkable capacity to shoot itself in the foot. Instead of embracing every chance we have to build our country and our profile we cringe or shrink back.

Most unforgivably, people who rise from among our number to achieve a global status are often not nurtured and cherished in the way they should be. …