Close your eyes and think of England!
It’s become customary for Better Together supporters to prefix their attempts at talking down Scotland with the words “I’m a patriotic Scot, but …” or similar. (It’s always followed by an example of how they believe Scotland is either too wee, too poor or too stupid so survive in the real world.)
This use of patriotic (a word that independence supporters rarely use) is straightforward enough — they want to ensure that people don’t think they’re doing this because they don’t feel Scottish.
However, today the Scottish Office (which at least on Twitter ought to change its name to the Better Together Propaganda Office) tweeted this:
#indyref voters should make patriotic decision & vote no unless pro-indy side give convincing answers- @acarmichaelmp http://t.co/OpdJZ65AbK
— TheScotlandOffice (@ScotlandOffice) May 20, 2014
This seems to imply that voting No is a patriotic duty, that voting Yes is a temptation that must be resisted. It smacks of “Close your eyes and think of England” and “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori“.
It’s an interesting change of semantics. Whereas the way patriotic is normally used by No campaigners clearly refers to Scotland, this seems to say that people have a duty to the United Kingdom, and that it would be an unforgivable folly to vote Yes to independence.
This tweet seems to be condensed version of this quote by Alistair Carmichael: “Being passionate about independence does not make you more Scottish. It does not mean you are the only ones that care about Scotland’s future. People who care are asking questions about our pensions and the Pound and if they do not get convincing answers then the patriotic decision will be to reject the idea of Scotland leaving the UK.”
In the longer version, patriotic seems to have its usual meaning (although the logic is somewhat flawed).
So what happened? Is the Scottish Office on a mission here, or are they just bad at condensing statements down to 140 characters? It will be interesting to study the use of patriotic by Better Together for the remainder of the campaign.
10 thoughts on “Close your eyes and think of England!”
RT @arcofprosperity: New blog post: Close your eyes and think of England! http://t.co/U5Pkx66fFO #indyref
Close your eyes and think of England! http://t.co/Ym96gFmsHn #indyref
The real issue here is that government departments shouldn’t be “tweeting”.
I’m old-fashioned. I think that government ministers and departments should have an air of gravitas or seriousness about them. The practice of ‘tweeting’ doesn’t give the sense that these ministers/departments can be trusted to manage deep and complicated issues.
You should have a look at their account — there’s definitely no gravitas there!
🙁 I don’t want to go there 🙁
The U.S. ambassador to Thailand has been tweeting embarrassingly shallow stuff and as a result, she is a laughing stock there.
She’s there to do a serious job of work and she’s treating it like an extended holiday: https://twitter.com/KristieKenney
It isn’t about patriotism, it’s simply about what produces a fairer more prosperous (for all) society/economy. Patriotism seems to me to be a concept to mistrust. “I’m a proud Scotsman…but I’m scared of the world and and… (I’d better not type the rest!)
Exactly. It is curious how words like ‘proud’ and ‘patriotic’ are almost exclusively used by the No side. They seem to think that civic nationalism is bad, but patriotism is good. Odd.