December 31, 2003

Scottish Parliament bill allows police to seize Highland pipes

The much maligned Highland pipe is once again the subject of stereotyping and ridicule by none other than the Scottish Parliament and the country’s mainstream media.

A North of Scotland Conservative Member of Scottish Parliament, Mary Scanlon, has confirmed that the recently enacted “Anti-Social Behaviour Bill” allows police seize Highland pipes as an “anti-nuisance” measure.

The legislation apparently is a response to complaints from Scanlon’s constituents in the Scottish Highlands who have complained about souvenir shops playing “traditional Scottish music.”

According to The Scotsman newspaper’s Neil Drysdale, “It was confirmed that the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill allows councils to impound items deemed to be a noise nuisance, ‘such as bagpipes’. Bravo! And let’s look at Princes Street as well.”

BBC News Online also reported on the matter.

This past summer, the UK media perpetuated piping and drumming stereotypes by dissembling several Piper & Drummer Online polls on hearing loss and alcohol without ever printing corrections or follow up stories.

“It’s a shame that some Scottish journalists seem to take advantage of every opportunity to ridicule the Highland pipe,” said Andrew Berthoff, Editor of Piper & Drummer Online. “There’s no more prominent a symbol of Scotland’s cultural identity around the world than the bagpipe and its music. It’s strange that Scottish politicians and media wouldn’t take every opportunity to defend, not malign, their national instrument.”

Letters to the editor of The Scotsman: click here.


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