Wednesday 29 August 2012

Nat lack of ambition. No 99 and counting...

I've had a wee summer break.

Last week, after Alex Salmond's speech on the brave new world of Tartan TV, in which the bold First Minister made this vaulting claim...

"The First Minister said in a speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that a new public sector broadcaster would be modelled on Ireland's RTE station if his Government wins the 2014 referendum.
The new Scottish broadcaster would still take popular BBC programmes such as EastEnders but have a more distinctive voice through nationally focused shows, added Mr Salmond, citing the success of the Gaelic-language channel BBC Alba."
I tweeted this;
"So Eck wants to replace BBC with "Scottish RTE". Doesn't this just go to show the pathetic lack of ambition the Nats have for my country?"

So I have no hesitation in pointing you to this analysis by Brian Wilson, ex-MP and Government Minister, successful businessman in many spheres, and above all supreme journalist and scourge of all things dismal and Nationalist.

Wilson's a man who always gets to the heart of the matter and an excellent writer on top. Almost every time I read him I think; "Dead right. I wish I had thought of that first". So often he gets to the nub of the response while people like me are still mulling over the the question.

So, for once, it's nice to see I beat him to the punch on this single occassion (although he no doubt had to wait for his weekly deadline while I could shoot off as soon as Eck's "thoughts" were public).

But we're both right. To replace the BBC with an RTE clone with BBC Alba as the programming model.... it's just nuts. And it says so much about the parochialism of Nationalist thinking and the total lack of ambition they have for Scotland and its people.

Who in their right mind would substitute RTE (no offence to my Irish relatives) with its small budgets and small borders and small vision for the broad reach and rich depth of the BBC?

And who, wishing to do so, would dare to call it progress?

Monday 6 August 2012

How the London Olympics show we are better together

Today's Herald has a great cartoon by Stephen Camley. It shows a radiant sun made of GB gold medals over a sunny meadow with, in one corner, a  glum Alex Salmond soaking under his own personal rain cloud. It neatly encapsulates the Nationalists' problem with the Olympics: it represents a great UK achievement, with Scots, English, Irish and Welsh competitors playing for team GB. And the Scots are doing well, winning medals and even singing God Save the Queen. But how do the Nationalists react to this obviously good news story?

In contrast, the letters page is full of Nationalists claiming that it's all fine by them, there's no sour grapes and anyway it's not that important. The letter by Ruth Marr, a veteran Nat, is representative. She says;

".... would appear to have a touch of Olympicitis if he seriously believes the frenzy over London 2012 being whipped up by the media on a daily basis will seriously impact on the independence debate and result.......I cannot believe many voters will be lulled into the belief that the biggest factor in deciding whether or not Scotland should regain her independence is Team GB's performance at the Olympic games."
For me the cartoon is nearer the mark: the Games are giving the Nationalists a headache. If they ignore them or are dismissive it looks mulish and adolescent. If they endorse the spirit of the games they risk admitting that the Scots are part and parcel of the whole team, and team GB is doing great things. Since it's a foundation of Nationalist dogma that nothing good can come from anything UK, this is a real problem for them. Seeing the likes of Andy Murray and Chris Hoy, the pre-eminent Scottish sportsmen, fighting and winning and giving their all for team GB, bursting as gut and showing evident pride and emotion in their own and their team's achievements, must be galling for the party that thinks if you're not a Nat you can't be Scottish.

As for Ruth Marr: she's right that voters will not vote on sporting success or failure, but she's wrong to dismiss the Games, because the results are just part of  their significance. Andy Murray winning a tournament isn't really news. Andy Murray winning the Olympic Tennis Singles, draping himself in the Union Flag and even singing (or mumbling) the words of God Save the Queen are another thing altogether. It says: I'm the champ, I'm Scottish and British and I'm perfectly happy with that, thankyouverymuch.

And, crucially, the games are providing a narrative and reasons to be British with added emotional content.

In the context of the "independence" referendum the emotion, the feel-good factor, is vital. It's generally acknowledged that the Nats (like the Devil) have all the best tunes. Emotion rules their case. For them history = Braveheart, with nasty Englishmen in britches cheating and flogging honest Scots in kilts. Every Nationalist broadcast has skirling bagpipes and swirling kilts and people climbing Scottish hills to cry from the topmost point: Freedum! For Nationalists the facts are subsidiary to the conviction, and the conviction is cemented by the raw emotion. "I love my country, therefore I'm right and the majority is wrong".

The case for the UK tends to be more reasonable, less emotion-based. The logic is with the better together camp, now the Olympics are adding emotion to the case for the UK, making it the full package: head and heart.

Which can only be a good thing, IMHO.