Win-win referendum

If there’s a marketing lesson from the frantic exhortations of the No Thanks and Yes Please camps, then I think it concerns the power of selective perception.

Buying a round of drinks on Sunday night (yes, really) I overheard at the bar a vehement mini-debate relating to the Commonwealth Games.  Scotland had just won yet another medal in the pool, and the argument started off along the lines of: ‘Look at us – we’re good enough to stand on our own two feet.’

Of course, this thrust was quickly countered with: ‘Aye – if we’re doing so well, why would we want to change anything?’

Then there was the ‘Undecided’ in the group, who stated: ‘There’s no way of knowing if our good performance is due to being part of GB, or if we’d do better or worse if we were independent.’

In the absence of being able to run some kind of A:B split, this latter point of view of course has some merit.

Listening to the argument as it ran on (repetitively thereafter), I couldn’t help thinking that people will interpret the ‘facts’ (ie. in this case Team Scotland’s impressive medal hall) to reinforce their own attitudes.  Given that most of what happens in the future can only be a matter for conjecture, I suspect there will be enough futile wind bagging to drive all of Scotland’s wind farms for the next 7 weeks.

As for a perspective coming from over three decades of residency, I’d say this: 1) don’t waste your breath trying to tell the Scots what to do, and 2) there’s no need to anyway – the word ‘canny’ (like most things) was invented north of the border.

  • Ben Norton

    Hugh – like the article. If you haven’t already consumed it I heartily recommend a book titled @The Human Element’ by David Boyle….. (don’t be concerned, I promise I am not his literary agent…)