Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Who Says Scotland's too Small to be Independent?

This isn't a rhetorical question.

The SNP should be congratulated on managing to get this implied slight to the Scottish people to have been assumed by so many. "They're telling us we're too wee, too poor, too stupid" ... say it often enough and (apparently) people will believe "they" are actually saying it.

Here's a recent (June 1st 2014) example from Nicola Sturgeon

  • “As a country, we’ve spent an awful long number of years being told we’re too wee, too poor and probably a bit too stupid to be independent,” she said. “If we were too small and too poor and too stupid, if we were the economic basket case, if we were the subsidy junkies that some of our opponents try to imply that we are, then don’t you think Westminster might have offloaded us by now?”
It appears that this phrase was in fact coined by the SNP's John Swinney back in 2001
  • "And that is why they will always run down the Scots - why they will always say we are too stupid and too poor to be trusted to run the affairs of our own country.
Could it really be that it's only the SNP and their supporters who say this?

I've looked very hard for evidence of the No campaign using this line I really have. I've engaged with those referencing this slight to the Scottish Nation and asked them to show me where they read it, who said it, when.

In response I get links to people pointing out some of the challenges an iScotland will face (tough negotiations with the EU, increased exposure to certain economic risks, damage to trade with the UK etc), lots of rational and reasoned arguments that are well covered elsewhere on this blog.

Those links have never yet pointed to anyone saying an iScotland is "too small" (either economically or - as hilariously implied by the "responses" to this imagined slight - physically).  Similarly they never link to anybody arguing an iScotland would be "too poor"; just to some people who argue as to why an iScotland may be relatively worse off economically as a result of breaking the Union. Not "too poor" without the Union, not unable to stand on our own feet ...  just better off within it. I don't even need to discuss the "too stupid" line, agreed?

Now I'm sure someone will be able to dig up a frothing Unionist somewhere who has made some stupid and antagonistic statements that could be at least inferred to be making this slight (although I've yet to find it); but let's just dip our toes into the Twittersphere to see how consistently the separatist campaigners work to perpetuate this myth.

What follows is honestly representative of what is out there on Twitter (do your own searches if you don't believe me, read my Twitter feed) and if you follow the links (as I have) they don't go to anybody even implying it. These are, of course, all Yes campaigners responding to this assumed slight so as to implant it in the collective consciousness.

[Watch the clip, that's not what he says]

[To be fair, the "no borders" cinema advert referenced in this Tweet is embarrasingly piss-poor]

[Read the quotes linked to, they say nothing of the kind]

[This GDP/Capita argument crops up a lot; I cover it here > Look at Ireland's GDP/Capita

Trust me, I really could go on much longer with this, but I think you get the idea by now ...

So my response to the rhetorical "Who says Scotland's too wee, too poor, too stupid?" is something like this ...

I'm indebted to @aluminiumville for pointing me towards this: an actual example of a No proponent using these fabled words.  I mean, he is using them in a light-hearted blog for rhetorical effect as an echo of the sort of complaints being made above .... but he does say it.  What's the matter with the Scots.

My serious point stands.


Brian MacIver said...

The inescapable conclusion of this is Scotland, is big enough, smart enough and wealthy enough to be Independent.

So, why isn't it?

Kevin Hague said...

It's a long shot Brian but it might have something to do this this --> Scotland's Economy

Max Bennie said...

I could feel my brain starting to liquefy as I looked upon the yards of stupidity referred to in this post. It's scary that these people actually had a chance of winning. Thankfully they didn't. :-)