My whole education, in and out of school, seemed to pivot around the word "nevertheless". My teachers used it a great deal. All grades of society constructed sentences bridged by "nevertheless"...I can see the lips of tough elderly women in musquash coats taking tea at McVitie's, enunciating the word of final justification...I find that much of my literary composition is based on the nevertheless idea.
And this in turn reminded me of a passage I thought I'd read years ago in a book by Alastair Reid, Whereabouts: Notes on being a Foreigner. In my memory it was long reflection on the word "nevertheless", but looking at the book again, all I can find is this:
Nevertheless (a favourite Scottish qualification), places embody a consensus of attitudes;...
It's the Caledonian antisyzygy, the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome, the fur coat and nae knickers image summed up in one word.
So, go on, what's the best one-word qualification of your national character?