Emotions favour Scottish independence
The Scottish National Party (SNP) is absolutely delighted by The Economist’s ‘Skintland’ front cover story. Although not the official party line, for the SNP, the magazine’s latest cover couldn’t have been better worded, or timed.
Scotland is a proud country. Any suspicion of sneering from the south raises fury, and pushes increasing numbers towards the ‘yes vote’ camp. The offending cover picture was a map of Scotland – dubbed ‘Skintland’ by The Economist, with names of cities such as Edinburgh replaced with ‘Edinborrow’. The following story, unsurprisingly, colourfully described how Scotland could fail on its own.
Within hours media commentators and social media erupted with anger as Scottish people from all walks of life denounced the story. Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister, the prude operator that he is, slammed the magazine, saying it will “rue the day” it poked fun at Scotland. But is he really that bothered what a London-based magazine says? I’d bet not.
But he predicted the outcry such a cover would provoke among SNP supporters and, more importantly, those who are on the fence.
Just to stir things up a little further, on its official Facebook page the SNP published a retaliation mock of the original mock cover – supposedly created by a ‘member’. It hit back with ‘Skilledland’ with city names such as ‘Glasgoing places’.
Last year, I wrote a blog calling for sensible debate on the issue of independence. But it appears those who can influence do not really want sensible debate. What they want – and in this case I mean The Economist and the SNP – is to work on the emotions of the Scottish people. (blog continues below)
Comparing Scotland with Spain’s Catalan as The Economist did in its story certainly won’t start sensible debate. All it will do is infuriate Scotland’s people. If emotions are where this battle is to proceed, it is a battle that only the SNP will ever win.
Shaun Cumming is a freelance writer on retail finance. You can follow him on Twitter.
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