Alex Salmond And The Tar Baby – Why The Scottish People Should Consider An American Rabbit Before Voting On Independence

On the 18th of September, Scotland votes in the referendum for its independence. In fact the postal voting forms went out a couple of days ago, so some people may have already voted. Campaigning has been a long haul for both sides of the argument, but the latest tactic on behalf of the “Better Together” camp (i.e. those in favour of a ‘no’ vote) has annoyed the “Braveheart” camp (i.e. those in favour of a ‘yes’ vote).

The tactic in question is a television advert called “The Woman Who Made Up Her Mind”. It has been widely regarded as extremely patronizing towards Scottish women and has given rise to internet spoofs such as this :

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If you haven’t seen the actual advert, here it is:


I watched it this morning, after having read the furore about it in the newspapers. I have to admit that I don’t think the lady in the advert seemed as politically ignorant as the detractors of the advert claim. Although the title “The Woman Who Made Up Her Mind” does make the act of women making their minds up sound like it’s in the realm of science fiction.

Yes, she says her husband is always banging on about the referendum but anyone banging on about any subject day after day is really, really annoying. To me, she doesn’t seem to be expressing disinterest in the subject but saying “Look I am your wife, but I am also a human being in my own right, so mind your own business, shut up and eat your fucking cornflakes.”

Yes, she does call Alex Salmond “him off the telly”, but you can see the look in her eye when she says it. She knows his name alright, she just doesn’t want to say it because she’s sick to the back teeth of hearing it, and not just from her husband.

Yes, she does exhibit a horribly stereotypical “I’m Too Busy With The Housework To Bother With This” attitude. But what she mostly exhibits is a healthy, Scottish “I Don’t Trust You As Far As I Could Throw You” scepticism towards political promises.

Still, despite these redeeming qualities, the advert does give the over-all impression that the “Yes” campaign regards Scottish women as a bunch of vacuous, housework obsessed ditherers. The fact that everything the actress in the advert says has been quoted verbatim from doorstep interviews with actual Scottish women should be another redeeming point but somehow makes it even worse. I’m quite a clever bloke, but I say at least one really stupid thing every day. If somebody started taking note of my dumb comments and then collated them all together and made them into a three minute television advert, I’d be bloody annoyed too.

The “Better Together” campaign has been dogged by embarrassment from the start. It has consistently misjudged the mood of the Scottish people. Getting a load of random celebrities to sign an open letter appealing for keeping The Union intact went down like a brick budgie.

It’s inevitable that political issues are decided, in part at least, on personalities. Alex Salmond has been a powerhouse of Scottish politics for the best part of twenty years.  So when choosing who to pit against him in a nationally televised debate, why choose Alastair Darling? A man with no scientifically detectable traces of personality whatsoever

This latest “Woman Who Made Up Her Mind” debacle has got me thinking. David Cameron and his cronies are inept, there’s very little debate about that. But they’re not this fucking inept. I think they’re doing this deliberately. I think they want to lose, although it’s not quite working yet because the latest polls predict Scotland is going to vote “No” 47% to 42%, the remaining 11% being undecided.

The whole thing is reminding me of a folk story from Georgia (that’s the US State, not the birthplace of Joe Stalin). The story is called “Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. It’s one of the Uncle Remus stories. Here’s a short version of the story if you’re not familiar with it. (http://tinyurl.com/2fssknu)

My concern is that, after all of David Cameron’s protestations, Alex Salmond is going to win and Scotland will get its independence. Then David Cameron is going to fix Alex Salmond with a self-satisfied grin and say “Born and raised in the briar patch, Brer Alex, born and raised in the briar patch….” Let’s hope not.

© Copyright Michael Grimes 2014

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About thedailygrime

At that awkward age - too young to be a grumpy old man, but just acerbic and downtrodden enough to have an opinion. Read it here.

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