A controversial comparison perhaps? I suppose it depends on your point of view. The case can be argued both ways.
One, the much overused image of the stereotype independence supporting Braveheart Scotsman as portrayed in the mainstream unionist media (this one is from the Economist in 2014) to marginalise and dismiss the movement for self-government in Scotland, and the other, the stark child’s toy symbol of how we used to live, in the “good old days” of Empire, when world maps came partly in red, and it didn’t matter that people of colour and many languages, with their own cultures, didn’t run their own countries, have the vote, or for the most part the respect of their peers in the mother country of the Great Emperor or Empress.
You could take the too easily offended line. Many Scots, at sporting events, like the international rugby at Murrayfield for example, like to dress up in tartan Russ Abbott comedy Scotsman bunnets and ginger wigs, painting saltires across their faces, as part of the fun of the event, a symbol of their identity. Fair enough, that’s their view-point, nothing wrong with that. If they want to indulge in a wee bit of gentle self-deprecation that’s fine. It’s their call, they are entitled, they are Scottish. They’ve earned it.
I suppose the problem lies in the eye of the beholder, and the purpose the purveyor of this type of image of Scotland has in mind when displaying it.
It’s not about the image itself. It is about how the image makes those it’s meant to represent feel, to a certain extent like the out-dated child’s toy in the comparison which symbolises many years of racial struggle for equality (and I’m not suggesting in any way that we are entitled to compare ourselves to that struggle, only to the concept of how the image marginalises those it portrays).
Westminster politicians, the elite, and those in control of mainstream unionist print and broadcast media output, based mainly far away from Scotland, and with very limited understanding of Scotland or Scots, or what September 2014 was actually about, are quite happy to categorise around 50% of the electorate of Scotland as just cultist nationalists. We’re simplistic, we’re obsessed with flags, kilts, oil, historically inaccurate Hollywood movies about ancient “Skawlin”, and most of all, and most dangerously, divisively, and falsely, they want to portray us as being tribal, not able to abide the English.
They think that as long as they can convince our good neighbours and friends to the south, and a majority of soft No voters in Scotland, that to be someone who seeks independence for Scotland you must be a blood and soil nationalist, on the margins of the political spectrum, they can keep us down. They think they can get away with portraying us as racist, which couldn’t be further from the truth, or comedy Och Aye the Noo figures, and that way they’ll keep control.
I was reading in The National that, in response to another article in the Economist predicting that independence as a gamble, portraying yet another joke Scottish Nationalist Braveheart figure, an online protest under the twitter hashtag’ #OrdinaryScots4Indy’ is trending on social media. Everyday people, Scots by birth, and by choice, who feel that independence for Scotland is best for their future, and the future of their children, are sharing their stories online, totally belying the fallacy of the unionist view of what we are about.
The independence grassroots movement over the last few years always seems to come up with great responses to nonsense put about by the media and unionist politicians, the online campaign supporting Nicola Sturgeon by wearing a colander hat and kitchen utensils social media photos in response to a New/ Old/ Who Knows Labour dinosaur, in the week of International Woman’s Day, suggesting that she was just a wee lassie wearing a tin helmet, and the hugely funny and successful creative memes around the Better Together patronising woman, a unionist campaign which backfired spectacularly by insulting women, being two other good examples of positive reinforcement of fact rather than allowing deliberately designed misconception to be promulgated unchecked.
One day we’ll look back on all of this nonsense, shake our heads and think, did this stuff actually happen, was that how it was, before Scotland took it’s natural place as a nation in charge of its own destiny?
Scotland will do so much better as an independent country.