If the SNP wants to get the whole of Scotland behind it, then it has to improve on its celebrity endorsements because, as a teuchter, the raft it selected to launch the ‘Yes’ campaign leaves me cold. Bear in mind SNP, that I say this as a person who is fully prepared to let their opinion of the future of their country be swayed by the opinion of someone who has appeared on the ‘One Show’. (Joking apart, I do fear that subconsciously this may be the case.)
Additionally, however, apart from the frivolousness – and insult – of using celebrity to endorse something as gravely important as the Independence debate, there is a serious point lurking. Each one of these celebrities – Annie Lennox, Alan Cumming, Brian Cox,Sean Connery and Martin Compston – have backgrounds which are rooted in its industrial cities: Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Yet, there is more to Scotland than this, far more. The Highlands, the Borders, the Hebrides, the Northern Isles are all vastly different to the cities and are all vastly different to each other – and all have different needs. Where were their celebrity representatives? Yes, okay, it may well be harder to find celebrities from these areas, but as someone who comes from one of these areas, and has seen at first hand how it seems to have been left behind in favour of the cities to face the indifference of economics, I remain to be convinced that an Independent Scotland will be any different, especially as PR signals of the ‘Yes’ campaign has done little to assuage this doubt, as shown – somewhat tenuously I fully admit – by their coterie of ‘Yes’ people.
And whoever is going to take an Independent Scotland into the future has to be keenly aware of this – there may well be fewer votes in these areas, but they might just tip the balance. Perhaps one of the putative parties might like to include details of how the age-old problems of governing a Scotland, with its variety of cultures and needs might be mitigated in a manifesto before the referendum? Might Alec Salmond forego a visit to Nigg fabrication yard, with its boom and bust employment figures and temporary contracts in favour of committing to upgrading the A9 earlier, something that would be of real benefit to the Highlands? All areas of Scotland need careful, thoughtful planning to flourish, and Independence will provide this opportunity. It is vital that the political classes do not rely on Connery et al to win them the referendum, because they only speak for part of Scotland, not all of it.