On many occasions, I have found myself enlightened and stimulated by Burdzeyeview and would recommend the blog to all on both sides of the debate regarding where Scotland is going and why. I had intended giving the soapbox a rest over the holidays as I imagined even hardened independistas would rather be sharing cracker jokes than locking horns over festive fare.
But as I read the Burd’s blog, I realised that, for the first time in some while, I was not of her opinion and the matter was serious enough to not wait for twelfth night to rejoin the fray. Basically, the Burd takes exception to His Eckness being awarded ‘Briton of the Year’ by the Times newspaper. Now, if I understand the Burd aright, her objection centres around this being an award to a ‘regional’ politician and therefore conceals a mighty slight on Scotland’s conceit of nationhood.
“Such sentiments and statements are patronising and perpetuate a stereotypical little UKlander view of the world and importantly, of Scotland.”
Although the Kiplingesque stalwarts at the Times would surely dispute this, the Burd does have a point. But then later she continues:
“What the British establishment thinks of we Scots should matter none. We should neither want nor seek baubles of Britishness nor Briton-ness. Why should our yardstick be what our neighbours deem to bestow upon us and our First Minister? Measuring ourselves against the accepted order of things on these islands is to accept their limitations for our ambitions and our aspirations.”
And here is where the Burd and I part company, for three reasons:
- Such a stance reeks, for me, of the ‘Little Scotlander”, similar to my accusation of Jim Sillars in the previous blog. Simply because the accolade derives furth of Scotland it should therefore be discarded. I find this narrow. If Salmond were to be accorded ‘European of the Year’ for his work in securing a voice for smaller countries, thereby binding the EU in harmony by making small countries less fearful of being steamrollered by the Merkozy faction, would she take the same view? Despite glaring Unionist credentials, the Times is a reputable paper of standing: their accolade has objective validity.
- Such objective validity is, in itself, a commodity in which the SNP has long been short-changed. They have won elections despite swimming against a tide of hostile media on both sides of the border. Surely ‘Briton of the Year’ award to a man accused of separatism took some deep swallowing among those selecting the winner. Had they condemned him as a ‘narrow nationalist’ (which he patently is not but some politicians who should know better can’t seem to see past that stance), it would be business as usual. But they didn’t.
- Most importantly, we have been round the houses many times since May in the formulation of a referendum and the significance of various percentages pro/con and shades between. What is startlingly clear is that, with all unionist parties in serious straits (no leader over 6 months’ experience and barrel-scraping shares of vote) the argument for the floating ~30% is there to be won. These are voters alienated by the cringing inefficacy of unionists and increasingly aware that only the SNP seems to have both ideas and a boatload of people capable of putting them into effect. Forget independence, half these people just want a decent government. Every other party has serious egg-on-face from messes they made. If you want to give the Libourvatives a comprehensive kicking, what better way than to take your country right out of their self-serving grasp? But such people first want reassurance that there’s more to the SNP than passion and ideas. The Times’ endorsement is the very dab.
So, apologies to the Burd if this ruffles her feathers. I give way to no-one in my passion to see Scotland take its place in the world’s community of countries, but she and I will not determine our future—our votes are already good as cast.
It will be the million or so Scots who love their country, like their life here, want the best for it and are so scunnered at the third-rate offering from Scotland’s so-called national parties that the Times ‘objective’/’British’/’patronising’/’unionist’ accolade may break the camel’s back of any vestigial loyalty. Epiphany for such people WILL BE our battleground.
To mix metaphors shamelessly: let’s not throw their vital support out with the unionist bathwater by looking the Times’ gift horse in the mouth.