By Alec Ross
I’m just back from the Highland Show. I don’t know how or who decides these things, but after the attempted Union Jack rebrand of black pudding and whisky last year, this week saw a welcome return branding of local provenance. A lot of us were rightly upset at the Show committee last year, but they seem to have listened and put it right. Fair play to them.
I’d be interested to learn how these decisions come about. My own hunch is that it comes down to an old fashioned business decision. Folk trust locally sourced food and drink and are happy to pay for it. And does an ubiquitous union flag have any positive connotations left at all in this age of the Brexit omnibouroch?
A couple of other observations. The UK Government tent wasn’t doing a lot of trade – nobody wants tanks on their lawn – and nobody was entertaining the Scottish Tories, whose tent looked about as worn out as their “you’ll have had your vote” schtick. 63% of Tory members would happily lose Scotland if they “gained” Brexit, which led yesterday to the slightly desperate sight of a tiny group of party activists trying to hand out a flag that represents something – the “precious union” – that their own party couldn’t give a toss about. That’s a pretty difficult circle to square for a party whose only card is continuing London rule.
The tent had the air of a closing down sale, but that would suggest some sort of value in the goods. Yesterday they couldn’t even give the flags away for free, and when people actually ignore you then the game really is up.
There’s a change, a shift. The industry, like Scotland, felt yesterday like it was a bit more comfortable in its own skin, like we were already living in a newly independent country.
There’s a line at the end of a Berthold Brecht play.
“Remember the wisdom of the ages”, says the narrator, “that everything belongs, by right, to those who care for it”.
Scotland belongs to those who truly care for it.