Today’s post has a bit of required reading, so direct your peepers thusly if you wouldn’t mind!

All done? Grand! Now, let’s have a chat about the content.

For those who didn’t do the required reading, first off ten points from Gryffindor. EACH. And to catch you up, this article is a short assessment on Scottish culture, how it enacts a socialist structure and (for some reason) commentary on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Now, one of the VERY first things that gets brought up is this:

“a few days in Edinburgh during the ‘Fringe’ festival is enough to bury images of thistles and bagpipes very deep.”

Well feckin’ good! We don’t all wander around wearing kilts, See-You-Jimmy Hats and swigging from bottles of whiskey (except on Burns Night, minus the hats). This is a very weird kind of stereotyping, in that it’s not PARTICULARLY negative, but is incredibly condescending. It’s as if Scotland didn’t have much in the way of technology, or talent, or political activism. No, instead we should all live as crofters in brigadoon, dancing over crossed swords and greeting each other with a heart ‘Och aye the noo!’

But that’s by the by. As irksome as the heather-and-shortbread view that so many people have of us is, the real bile, the real venmous pus in this article is its assessment of socialism. In the third paragraph, the journalist claims that  “The Scottish National Party, which favors (in addition to separation from England) ‘free’ education through university, unilateral nuclear disarmament, steeply progressive taxation and the ‘eradication’ of poverty, holds 65 of 129 seats.”

Why ‘free’? Why ‘eradication’? While I’m sure nobody could be as reprehensible as to WISH poverty and stupidity upon the masses, it certainly feels like the journalist has a problem with the SNP’s goals of providing for the Scottish people, no matter how rich, poor, privileged or disadvantaged they might be. Indeed, the concluding paragraph seems to damn the Scots for wanting to steer our own country in a socialist direction:

“The leftist tripe and cultural waste they’re enjoying is available in every western capital, including our own. The difference, while there still is one, is that the relentless leftism goes almost entirely unrebutted there.”

It most certainly does not go ‘entirely unrebutted’. Just because we have a smaller number of Conservative party MSPs does not mean that they are wholesale ignored, nor does it mean that absolutely everybody who supports the parties in power is on board with every policy. I, for one, while a supporter of the SNP (for being the party that dissolved the graduate endowment, thus ensuring my cohort and I free university education), do not agree with their policy limiting nuclear power generation.

I suppose what annoys me about this article is how the benefits that our socialist policies have brought us have been completely glossed over. The NHS, while not perfect, provides cheap access to advice and treatment to all; Free further and higher education (for your first qualification) allows people from all backgrounds to aspire to learn to a better standard without having as much pressure as they might otherwise have had. Hell, even our merchants have, historically and now, been strongly associated with social philanthropy. Again, going back to Glasgow (for Glasgow is what I know), the Botanic Gardens, The Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, The Peoples’ Palace, Kelvin Park, Glasgow Green; Much of the 19th century Glaswegian merchants’ cash went to improving these places, not just for their own enjoyment, but to give back to the community. Even in more recent times, we have much investment from local firms and entrepreneurs to set up business schools in universities and colleges. Strathy’s Hunter Centre, I’m looking at you!

So yes, we are deeply-dyed socialists and we’re damn proud of all the good that has brought us, too! I wish I could say I pitied the journalist for her… Rather inflexible and ill-informed views, but I suspect that would be as patronising as the thistles and bagpipes remark.

Although, to be honest, nothing is more badass than the skirl of the pipes. Let’s keep that one in 😛