Complex Case of National Insecurity

Daily Mail (London), September 9, 1997 | Go to article overview

Complex Case of National Insecurity


Byline: MARGARET MORRISON

COME Friday morning, job centres throughout the land will be teeming with psychiatrists rendered out of work overnight by a Yes-Yes vote for a Scottish parliament.

For, if the proponents of devolution are to be believed, five million or so of us have been suffering from an identity crisis which will instantly be cured by shock therapy in the form of extra government and higher taxes.

Certainly, BBC Scotland has been displaying signs of advanced cultural confusion. What other excuse is there for the bizarre mix of programmes they chose for the restart of the referendum campaign on Sunday?

The evening's viewing was billed as A Night for Scotland: devoted to Scottish culture and politics. What we got was Kirsty Wark chairing debate so bedevilled by

technical problems it looked more like an offering from TV Albania: People talking who couldn't be seen, people who could be seen but not heard, clanging sounds of equipment falling over off-camera, and Kirsty wandering about the studio in search of a camera. John Logie Baird must have been turning in his grave.

Meanwhile, the shows designed to make us laugh - We Was Robbed and Retorting Scotland - were leadenly unfunny.

It was left to the powers-that-be at Queen Margaret Drive to prove their sense of irony by wrapping up with highlights of our football victory over Belarus and the Sean Connery film Highlander.

A dream schedule for the Yes-Yes lobby but hardly a triumph for politically neutral broadcasting.

Scarcely surprising though, because the pundits so eager to convince us the only cure for our

identity crisis is to hire lots more politicians to talk for Scotland are in fact arguing in their own best interests. It doesn't take a Sigmund Freud to predict a mass outbreak of enhanced self-importance among the scribblers and autocue readers looking forward to having their own legislature. Nor does it take a degree in psychology to realise that of all the little nations in the world, the one least afflicted by an identity crisis is Scotland.

WHICH other country could have witnessed every Hollywood travesty from Brigadoon to Brave-heart and remain so happily confident of who we are and what we're about?

Do you really think our English neighbours would have been so enthusiastic about Mel Gibson playing Lord Nelson? …

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