Donald MacInnes: Scotching those canny tartan stereotypes can be a bit of a shock

In The Red

Following last week's myth-debunking revelation that we Scots are no better or worse with money than any other demographic in this kingdom of disparate races, your hands may have flown to your mouth in shock; your eyes as wide as digestive biscuits; your palace of accepted wisdom a pile of bricks.

But don't feel too bad. This would have been a natural reaction. Long-held beliefs are, like spots of balsamic vinegar on your Cath Kidston throw cushions, tough to shift. Not that I – being hewn from grafitti-spattered Glaswegian concrete – could readily identify either balsamic vinegar or throw cushions (or, come to think of it, Cath Kidston. Don't laugh... you'd be amazed how often that crops up, leaving me red-faced and cursing my threadbare, working class background, bereft – as it was – of mung beans, £900 prams and, well,Islington).

So now that I have nudged your assumptions into the chill light of day, I expect you will abandon that new year plan to send your self-assessment tax return to Carol Smillie, in the hope that she might cast her eye over it and offer some canny, tartan guidance on how to fill it in without ending up in "B" Wing at your local nick. Similarly, no longer can you run across the pitch at Old Trafford football stadium to the manager's dugout and pester Sir Alex Ferguson about the long-term efficacy of your Nectar card. Mind you, on reflection, this is probably a good thing. Someone actually did that a few weeks ago and the whole crowd spent 10 minutes squirming with embarrassment while Fergie explained to the panting interloper that he was, in actual fact, a 10-year Tesco Clubcard holder and wouldn't grace the "toxic aisles" of Sainsbury's if you paid him a million euros. I say "explained", but he actually went nose-to-nose with the pitch invader; yelling in his face and utilising his "hair straightener" technique, which is one notch up from his oft-marvelled-at "hairdryer" and a genuinely unsettling symphony of Caledonian fury.

But I digress. My original point was that whatever preconceived notions you may have of Scots being fiscally gifted is no one's fault. You mustn't feel bad. Your misjudged admiration of someone's portfolio, if their name is Hamish McJock, is no reason to question if you really are as right-on as you thought you were.

I'm sure your We Are The World attitudes to togetherness are perfectly formed. Just make sure you don't start telling a financial joke at a party when a Scot might overhear. We're a little touchy about regional stereotyping.

d.macinnes@independent.co.uk

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