Published 29 November 2023
St Andrew’s Day is an important time for those across Scotland and the world over. The day celebrating our patron Saint is a reminder of the successes of Scotland’s past and where and all that we could achieve in the future. It is also a day to celebrate our culture, our heritage and the things that make our country so special.
On Saturday night I was pleased to join with friends at the CISWO in Glenrothes, to celebrate St Andrew with fantastic musical entertainment Finding Kemback, and the Nicholson ceilidh band. Music is often central to how we celebrate our patron saint in Scotland.
Indeed, our cultural exports – our musicians, our writers, our sportspeople, tell the story of modern Scotland to the world. When I think of our talent, however, I think of our everyday citizens. While we may have Rabbie Burns and Sir Walter Scott, we also have our nurses working tirelessly in our wards, we have our teachers preparing our young people for the future – we have a collective of dedicated, hard-working people who I am proud to say make up modern Scotland.
While St Andrew’s Day is our National Day, we must also remember how international Scotland truly is. We continue to welcome refugees with open arms – with over 5,000 refugees being supported in Scotland at the end of last year.
The Scottish Government continues to support Ukrainian displaced people through our Sponsor Scheme, while just last month, our First Minister publicly declared that Scotland would be the first country in the UK to welcome those at risk in Gaza to safety into our communities. We continue to work internationally to make a greener future – in 2021, we were proud to hold the COP26 Climate Summit, seeing leaders and representatives from 197 countries come together in Glasgow to agree a new deal to work collaboratively and meet climate targets. We also continue to advocate for peace and equality the world over – notably at the moment, pressing for a ceasefire in Gaza in both Scottish and UK Parliaments.
Scotland might be a small nation geographically, but we are a nation which cares – indeed, St Andrew was said to be a caring and compassionate person. From caring for our refugees, to supporting those less fortunate – the values of St Andrew continue to underpin the values of modern Scotland. That’s something we can all be proud of.