There's a very Scottish row going on
about comments made by broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove:
A LEADING broadcaster and cultural commentator drew heavy criticism last night after he accused the Scots of being an unimaginative and inward-looking race who like to celebrate failure and poverty.
At the heart of Cosgrove's argument is this:
Referring to films such as Trainspotting and Small Faces, he said: "There is hardly one film made in Scotland by a Scot that is not cast in some dreary, awful, urban, deprived social landscape. I think this is a failure of the imagination. This self-loathing, inward-looking obsession has damaged Scotland. It doesn't capture the joie de vivre or the celebratory attitude of the Scots. It announces to the world that we are a backwater, poor and deprived, when we are not. We are one of the richest nations in the world, yet love to represent ourselves not to be."
Unsurprisingly, the usual suspects are up in arms:
However, leading Scots last night rejected this view and said the country was a prosperous place, full of talent, self-confidence, determination and entrepreneurialism.
I'm with Mr Cosgrove on this. He didn't say that Scotland was unsuccessful - his argument is that our intellectuals portray the country in a negative way. They do.
There's more about this over on the Herald (although their link may not work for long). Some of the comments there bear out Cosgrove's own views perfectly:
Kevin Williamson, founder of Rebel Inc, which published self-proclaimed anti-establishment authors such as Irvine Welsh in the 1990s, said: "What happened in Scotland under 18 years of Tory rule was appalling. Working-class people were totally disenfranchised.
Disenfranchised! So Glasgow went Conservative in the 'eighties? I must have missed that.
And what about this from writer A L Kennedy:
Scots are not obsessed with poverty because they want to be. They don't have extraordinary corrupt local government because they want to.
I suppose that Margaret Thatcher imposed all those Labour councillors on us. No. Scots voted
for the Town Hall numpties who deride ideas of self-improvement and entrepreneurialism. And I have little doubt that part of the reason is that Scotland's intellectual class worships the concept of the "working class" and thus influences the electorate. Of course, the intelligentsia doesn't mean people who actually work
. Most workers in Scotland, like elsewhere in the West, are middle class in so far as they work in offices, own their own homes, holiday abroad and expect - subject to the depredations of Gordon Brown - to enjoy a reasonable retirement. The country would be far more
prosperous if Scots intellectuals recognised that the folk to be admired are those who pay their way, not the legions of welfare recipients who are wrongly portrayed as admirable.