Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland: Branding exercises and the No

The final referendum result won't be known until breakfast tomorrow.

Someone mentioned today over coffee that Yes side scored a major PR victory by co-opting the Saltire, Scotlands blue and white flag, early on and using it as a de facto YES/SNP logo. That flag has sadly now become a biased political statement, rather than the neutral symbol of national unity and regional identity it ought to be.

The No side for some reason has gone with a weird colour scheme that involves yellow and purple, and reminds of UKIP every time I see it. There are also a lot less No signs around where I am. It is actually hard to voice scepticism about independence about this here, even for many Scots let alone poor expats. In my workplace, there are one or two quite vocal and jovial Yes supporters, and I've met some really upbeat and lovely people who are active Yes campaigners.  You end up feeling like you'd really hurt their feelings if you asked some harder questions, regardless of which side you were actually on.  Canadians are known for our apologetic politeness and this is where we get it from! No one ever wants to say no, instead people make declining mumbles or say nothing at all. Tricky business, this mix of culture and rhetoric. I haven't actually met a No campaigner, although I see them around. I wonder if that says something.

Questioning comments are sometimes uttered in quiet voices behind closed doors lest others be offended. There's a subtle unpleasantness to it all that I find myself more aware of in these closing hours.

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