24 February 2009


At times - usually on drear days shot through with sleet - I fear Scotland risks becoming a dreary little nation, stuffed with onion-faced naysayers - and to expand the vegetable metaphor - jealous tumshie-minded souls, content only with piddling littleness, pious small-mindedness and a choking fug of public gloom. Make no mistake, I am the cynic's friend, and I firmly believe that at least one of all of our eyes should be constructively jaundiced (or, in the case of older readers, respectably rheumy).

Nevertheless, there are limits to how admirable questing cynicism and doubts can be.

In the climate of yesterday's sweet temperateness, imagine the sense of constriction peeling at my chest as the squeezing horror - suspicion of my countrymen - cast its darkling shade across the news that Alex Salmond had managed to secure a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. The press coverage is muted, but generally not overtly critical. I notice that the Telegraph seems not to have bothered to cover the meeting at all, focussing instead on Mike Russell's comments that are causing their own small hullabaloo.

There is something hideously drab about a narrow response to this story. Of course, the world is not changed, changed utterly - or particularly - by the Maximum Eck enjoying a small diplomatic fondle with dear Hilary. The economic situation is not transformed. To rights, the world is certainly not put. However, such persistent penny-eyed pettifogging applies to much (perhaps most) of diplomatic endeavour. As Jeff argues, rightly in my view, we should be much more generously spirited. The Herald described the meeting as a "coup". Certainly, it is progress towards the notion that our elected representatives are entitled to move in international space - ministers need not be constrained by their dreary offices and the frontiers of the Atlantic - Scotland is no more a bounded space than anywhere else.

It is my hope then - tentative thought it is, given the overcast weather - that Scotland does not fall in for the lure of smallness, and the self-congratulation of the needlessly cynical. The animating lights and charms of distrust are primarily insight and humour. From what I can see, gurning shallowpates like Scottish Unionist are blessed with and bless us with neither.

1 comment :

  1. Ah, someone who realises many in Scotland are now looking out of the peat bog and over the whole country. Good for you.