We’ve been taking a break over the festive period, recharging the batteries and letting the belt buckle out a notch. It was a nice feeling to just let it all pass by for a change. But now we’re back and there are a few things which are just asking for mention, so here we go…
Thomas Tunnocks Ltd, a family run business which sells cakes and biscuits, has been in the press because they are apparently going to drop the lion rampant from their packaging outside of Scotland. From what I know of businesses their primary goal is to make money. So it follows that this change in marketing policy is intended to make the business more money by pitching the re-branded product as “Tunnocks Great British Teacake”. So it also follows that marketing yourself as Scottish south of the border doesn’t make as much money. The question is, why?
Could it be that the relentless propaganda campaign, which first reared its ugly head as “Project Fear”, is having an effect on Scottish companies who trade in England? Is this then the positive case for the Union, where to identify yourself as Scottish is to appear to be something Other?
Othering is defined as “the process of casting a group, an individual or an object into the role of the ‘other’ and establishing one’s own identity through opposition to and, frequently, vilification of this Other.” So the Othering is obviously working, because Thomas Tunnocks Ltd feel that they have to market themselves as British in order to make more profits. Boyd Tunnock, the managing director, said, “We could have said Scottish but you’re then promoting Scotland.” So promoting Scotland is a bad thing, a loss maker for your brand.
Of course we also have to ask why the company decided to publicise this re-branding as they did, with the political element? Well the company was firmly behind a No vote during the referendum so there may be a clue there. It also says to the people of Scotland that the Scottish brand is as dead as a Jim Murphy’s political career. It says that if you want to succeed in this marvelous United Kingdom then you have to present yourself as British, not Welsh, not Northern Irish, definitely not Scottish. It says that the only culture that’s worth anything in our land is British, harking back to the glorious days of imperialism when most of the planet was under the British heel. Lovely, but I won’t be signing up for any of that. So here is my New Year’s resolution: I shall be giving up biscuits (got to get that belt down a notch or two after all.)
Elsewhere, Wings Over Scotland have published a piece advising people to update their Twitter accounts with the reverend’s personal block list (which I feature on, because of this post I believe). I find this very disturbing, it plays sweetly into the hands of the press with their “brainwashed Nats” narrative. No doubt Wings is the lightning rod which attracts most of the ire from pro Union types and I’m sure that the reverend can do without the abuse (although he probably provokes most of it). But to advise your readers to block others just because you blocked them smacks of censorship and helps to drive a wedge into the pro independence camp. In short I believe that it is counter productive, and quite creepy too.
Some of you may have heard that there has been some flooding in Scotland, did you? But I’ll bet we probably all know that there has been flooding in England because there was wall to wall coverage of it on all media outlets. The flooding was caused by exceptional rainfall which our rivers and streams can’t cope with but we can’t call it “Climate Change” because that would be to brand ourselves as loonie lefties.
What we can say is, “It’s too early to say definitively whether climate change has made a contribution to the exceptional rainfall. We anticipated a wet, stormy start to winter in our three-month outlooks, associated with the strong El Niño and other factors. However, just as with the stormy winter of two years ago, all the evidence from fundamental physics, and our understanding of our weather systems, suggests there may be a link between climate change and record-breaking winter rainfall. Last month, we published a paper showing that for the same weather pattern, an extended period of extreme UK winter rainfall is now seven times more likely than in a world without human emissions of greenhouse gases.” That quote is from the Met Office Chief Scientist, Julia Slingo. I assume the paper that she is referring to is this one.
So we can say that there is more chance of bucket loads of rain during the winter because of greenhouse gasses. That being the case, we should prepare ourselves for for it, shouldn’t we? Well it would appear that Scotland has been doing more preparing than England, at least according to Dr John Robertson on Newsnet.scot. I’ll let you read the piece but the most surprising part of it was that because Scotland is more prepared for flooding then our insurance premiums should be lower. Apparently we subsidise the unprepared parts of the UK to the tune of up to £430 per year. Now that’s pooling and sharing for you. No wonder we’re Better Together.