By a Newsnet reporter
Yesterday saw yet another report from a so-called ‘independent’ think-tank leading the news agenda.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) published research it claimed showed an independent Scotland would be an economic cripple, unable to sustain even those meagre public services we currently ‘enjoy’ through being part of the Union.
In a now predictable barrage of bulletins, interviews, reports and headlines BBC Scotland – our own broadcaster – trailed this piece of nonsense across the day’s news output. The message was that yes, things are bad just now, but if you Jocks try to go it alone then you’ll be in even worse trouble.
Just in case the message wasn’t getting across, the BBC ordered its reporters to describe the think tank as “highly respected”.
The IFS apparently concluded that an independent Scotland would face unsustainable levels of public debt. Trying to handle the revenues from oil, whisky and financial services would result in Scotland finding it much harder than the UK to reduce its debt levels.
Presumably harnessing our massive renewable resources – hydro, wind, wave and tidal will prove beyond our once world renowned engineering skills.
The report apparently looked fifty years into the future, so it wasn’t just Scots already born who are being portrayed as somehow inept and lacking the skills of other small nations, but Scots yet to be born. We’re inadequate before we even emerge from the womb.
The icing on the cake was the claim that Scots are growing older than the people in the rest of the UK. Somehow we will be unable to attract those migrants that growing and successful economies regularly welcome.
So we are too poor, too stupid, too wee ... and now too old to govern ourselves.
The ‘report’ followed recent attacks on Scotland’s ability to sustain a shipbuilding industry and suggestions that our world renowned University research projects would suddenly lose funding if a Yes vote prevails in next year’s referendum.
So genetically incapable are Scots that we will be unable to think up alternative economic policies to the ones being pursued by Westminster.
We’ve even had suggestions that Scots will turn on our own ethnic minorities should we vote for independence, with Polish people and Pakistanis the targets of some in-built Scottish racism. We need the Union, you see, to stop us from descending into racial anarchy.
Whether these never ending stream of reports are having the effect the pro-Union media hopes, is difficult to determine, but there’s something uncomfortable about forecasts that seem to rely in portraying Scots as somehow incapable of handling independence, of lacking the skills needed to cope in a changing world – of being inferior.
The research funding scare story is a case in point that relies on persuading people that Scottish Universities receive funding from outwith Scotland’s borders, not because of the excellence of the institutions and our academics, but because we are part of the UK.
The narrative is similar to that used for decades against nations keen to break free from the stronghold of colonialism. The BBC is helping those opposed to independence to pummel the people of Scotland with colonial inspired propaganda, which is an attack on self-confidence.
Native Africans and Indians were routinely told they were not capable of governing their own nations. Ethnic minorities have fought a continual battle against generalised caricatures portraying them as either less intelligent, prone to corruption or somehow incapable of exercising the same societal disciplines and restraints of their ‘colonial betters’.
This is now happening to Scots who are being subjected to the most dreadful stereotypical slurs.
The conduit of this Unionist inspired assault on the Scottish psyche is, in the main, the British Broadcasting Corporation in Scotland and the Unionist sympathisers that occupy key positions within that broadcaster.
It’s unedifying and unnecessary. It’s also verging on racism to imply that Scots, despite the overwhelming advantages we have as a nation, couldn’t make at least as good a job of governance as the current or future Westminster government. That this nation couldn’t adapt in a way its small European neighbours have, to the challenges of the world.
The media is now moving from its soft pro-Union stance to a more hard line fundamentalism that will serve no-one, least of all us Scots. Watch Newsnight Scotland and you’ll now regularly see hard-line right wing newspapers promoted, usually with a very prominent anti-independence headline visible.
The IFS will produce more reports as will the OBR and the CPPR and a host of other organisations staffed by people keen for Scotland to remain in the Union.
Let them all publish their reports. Let them produce their think tank ‘research’ until the cows come home. But let's not promote their politically inspired message of doom. To naively believe that all of these organisations, or many of the key people within them, have no agenda is preposterous.
If they want to promote these thinly disguised anti-Scottish views then let them pay to promote them themselves.