YOU have no doubt seen the tea towel with that doggerel on it, “Wha’s Like Us – Damn Few And They’re A’ Deid” by Tom Anderson Cairns.

It takes the mickey out of the English but not in a racist way. If anything it’s all about Scottish superiority with a bit of humour.

My problem is that it is plain wrong in places and quite out of date as it certainly doesn’t go far enough in proclaiming Scottish genius.

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Strictly tongue-in-cheek, as promised, here’s my attempt at rewriting the tea towel…

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

En route to his office he strides along the English roads on a surface invented by John Loudon McAdam of Ayr, Scotland.

He drives a car fitted with pneumatic tyres invented by John Boyd Dunlop of Freghorn, Scotland, though Robert William Thomson of Stonehaven described such tyres 40 years earlier. In his car he checks the speedometer, invented by Sir Keith Elphinstone of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Of course, this being England our friend drives on the left, something pioneered in Scotland.

He then listens to the radio, a product using electromagnetic waves first discovered by James Clerk Maxwell of Edinburgh, Scotland, and which also form the basis of television, mobile phones and satellite communications – and Maxwell influenced Albert Einstein into the bargain, as well as developing the process for colour photography.

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At the railway station our friend boards a train, the forerunner of which was a steam engine, developed by James Watt of Greenock, Scotland. The train passes over a wrought iron bridge, first developed by Sir William Fairbairn of Kelso, Scotland, who also devised a system for stress-testing metals.

He then pours himself a cuppa from a thermos flask, invented by Sir James Dewar, a Scotsman from Kincardine-on-Forth, who also co-invented the explosive cordite.

At the office he receives the mail bearing adhesive stamps first suggested by James Chalmers of Dundee, Scotland. His work involves calculations that use decimal points, first popularised by John Napier of Merchiston, Edinburgh, who also devised logarithms.

During the day he uses the telephone first patented by Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, who also devised the photophone – we know it for its later successor, fibre-optics – as well as a metal detector, hydrofoils and early aircraft. He uses the phone to report a crime to his head office in the USA, and the signal travels along the submarine cable developed by Robert Stirling Newall of Dundee, Scotland.

He is then assisted by the world’s most famous detective agency which bears the name of its founder, Allan Pinkerton of the Gorbals in Glasgow. A Pinkerton detective arrives to examine fingerprints, first suggested for crime forensics by Henry Faulds of Beith, Ayrshire.

He leaves the office when the clock reaches 17.00 in Universal Standard Time, an invention of Sir Sandford Fleming of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, who also first proposed time zones.

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At home in the evening our Englishman’s daughter pedals her bicycle invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, blacksmith of Dumfries, Scotland. His daughter then plays with her kaleidoscope, invented by Sir David Brewster, born in Jedburgh, Scotland, before a session on her computer playing Grand Theft Auto, a video game developed by Scottish company Rockstar North, though she is just as happy reading her favourite book, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson of Edinburgh.

LOOKING for something to eat, he checks the refrigerator, first invented by William Cullen of Hamilton, Lanarkshire. He eventually has some toasted bread made in a toaster, invented by Alan McMasters of Edinburgh, Scotland. To accompany the toast he has some marmalade, the first commercial brand of which (and still the best) is made by the Kiellers of Dundee. He ends up drinking tea with a digestive biscuit invented by Sir Alexander Grant of Forres, Scotland, while working for Robert McVitie in Edinburgh. Our English friend then watches the news on his television, an invention first demonstrated by John Logie Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland. He watches the BBC, whose founding father was Lord John Reith of Stonehaven, Scotland. The news is followed by an item about the U.S. Navy, whose father was John Paul Jones of Kirkbean, Scotland. Then he watches a Sky at Night documentary about Proxima Centauri, our nearest star discovered in 1915 by Robert Innes of Edinburgh, and the Higgs Boson, a theory developed at Peter Higgs at Edinburgh University whose Roslin Institute created Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.

On his day off, the Englishman takes his family for an outing on a passenger steamboat, the first of which was Henry Bell’s Comet which sailed on the River Clyde where the world’s most famous liners, the Queens, and so many other ships were constructed. The boat has a screw propeller, invented by Robert Wilson of Dunbar, Scotland, and is guided by radar of which Sir Robert Watson-Watt of Brechin was the lead developer.

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While out on the boat he notices some geological formations, geology being one of the many sciences founded or developed by Scots, in this case James Hutton of Edinburgh, who was an acquaintance of Kirkcaldy-born Adam Smith, founder of the science of political economy, and Adam Ferguson of Logierait in Perthshire, the father of modern sociology.

To pay for the outing he goes to a cash machine and inserts his PIN, both developments by Scotland’s John Shepherd-Barron and James Goodfellow.

The following day he goes for a round of golf, the rules of which were first written in Scotland where St Andrews is still the Home of Golf. He buys a Bovril from the clubhouse, a drink invented by John Lawson Johnston of Roslin, Midlothian.

Going home he switches on his heater fuelled by paraffin oil, developed by James “Paraffin” Young, born in Glasgow, Scotland. He uses a friction match, an English invention greatly improved into the Lucifer match by Sir Isaac Holden from Hurlet, Scotland, who also invented a wool combing machine and was a Liberal MP.

The National:

For dinner he has a curry, a chicken tikka masala, invented in Glasgow. He washes it down with gin, which Scotland is now the major distiller of. He could add lime cordial, patented by Lauchlan Rose of Leith, Scotland, or tonic water, a drink containing quinine that was invented by George Cleghorn originally to combat malaria, a disease which Scottish doctor Ronald Ross proved to come from mosquitoes, a discovery that led to the saving of millions of lives.

HE turns to the sport channels and watches curling, a sport devised in Scotland, and takes in some track and field sports including the shot put and hammer throw, both derived from Highland Games. Lastly he watches rugby sevens, a sport invented by Ned Haig, a butcher from Melrose, Scotland.

He then has a quick tinkle on the ivories on a grand piano, first co-built by John Broadwood of Cockburnspath in East Lothian, who also patented the pianoforte foot pedal. Lastly he visits the smallest room in the house where he uses a flush toilet with an S-bend, invented by Alexander Cumming of Edinburgh, whose invention actually saved lives as well as preventing smells – Cumming’s ingenious S-bend stopped sewer gases from entering houses. He also designed a barometer-clock for King George III and was a founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

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If he wants to find out what many of these famous Scots looked like, our English friend could visit the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the first institution of its kind in the world.

He could relax by reading a book, perhaps by the world’s pioneering historical novelist Sir Walter Scott, of read about the world’s most famous detective Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Edinburgh, Scotland, or watch a movie about the world’s most famous spy, the Scotsman James Bond.

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 and I who authorised its translation.

Even the most famous of all Englishmen, John Bull, was created by a Scot, Dr John Arbuthnot.

Nowhere can an Englishman turn to escape the ingenuity of the Scots. To see if there’s anything they didn’t invent, he looks up Encyclopaedia Britannica, first published in Edinburgh by Scottish publishers and writers in 1768.

He could take to drink, but the Scots, and not Carlsberg, make the best in the world. Even if he switches to Irish whiskey, the best is Jameson’s, named after John Jameson, the Scotsman who developed Bow Street Distillery in Dublin. Waking up, he might have a hangover with his head thumping like a steam hammer, an invention of James Nasmyth of Edinburgh, who also invented machine tools that are still in use today. He could take a rifle and end it all but the breech-loading rifle was invented by Captain Patrick Ferguson of Pitfours, Scotland. He could use a Lee-Enfield instead, but it takes its name from James Paris Lee of Hawick, 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. The injection comes from a hypodermic needle and syringe, invented by Alexander Wood of Cupar, Fife.

The doctors might use ultrasound, first used in Glasgow by Professor Ian Donald, to help locate the bullet. If he ends up in a coma he will be diagnosed on the Glasgow Coma scale first devised in Scotland’s largest city. He will also need an electrocardiogram (ECG) first used on a human by Alexander Muirhead of East Saltoun, Scotland.

He tries hypnotherapy because he doesn’t want to be unconscious, the father of hypnotism in medicine being James Braid of Portmoak, Kinross-shire. Eventually he goes under anaesthetic, which was developed 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. He might be pleased, however, to have help with his health in the shape of beta blockers, developed by Nobel Prize winner Sir James Black of Uddingston, Lanarkshire, who also developed cimetidine (Tagamet).

Tom Anderson Cairns ends his account with the following line: “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’” and many tea towels I have seen have Scotlands’ motto in Latin underneath – Nemo Me Impune Lacessit, which is often translated as “Wha daur meddlie wi’ me”.

While there may be disputes about who invented what across the world due to national pride, the list above is as comprehensive and correct as I can make it and I left out plenty.