Nearly two years ago, I wrote a blog about the Scottish vote lamenting the lack of opportunity available to the 1.2 million Scots living outside the country. It struck me as odd that people, like me, who more than likely still see themselves as Scots wouldn't have any influence at all on the final outcome of the September 18th referendum...
'We're all in it together' is, on the surface, an excellent message behind which to unite a country. It alludes to wartime life and suggests that we're all feeling the same pain. Of course, we're not and it doesn't appear to be working. Increasingly, it's being used as a stick with which to beat the government; every time a story shows that some are thriving whilst others suffer serves to defeat the message.
Scottish people living outside Scotland should have a vote on whether the country should be independent from the rest of the UK. Over 800,000 people, like me, are Scottish but since we live outside Scotland we are to be excluded from having a voice on this historic issue.
But if you were thinking of going to the Olympics next week, might you be less inclined to do so as a result of the coverage of security problems. And if coverage creates fear, should journalists be held responsible for the way that they choose to cover particular stories?
Predictably, the prime minster is taking flak over his decision to run parenting classes for people. As expected, some are calling the initiative an example of the Nanny State. In due course, editors will pull out examples of poor parenting by members of his government or those who advise him. We all know what's coming, don't we?
Research on how people make judgements suggests that we all too often rely upon skewed models of how the world works and perverse common sense. In making sense of the world, we are vulnerable creatures, easily swayed by rhetoric and slogans.
If the NHS was a patient, it would be as if it went, feeling a bit queasy, to see its GP more than 20 years ago. Without warning, it was sent straight to hospital, kept in, operated on, helped to recover, operated on again, and again, and then again.
The Leveson Enquiry has been highly informative, beautifully probing and calmly clarifying. The result may cause the media to change their ways. But it will take a lot more than Leveson to stem the demand. Only we can do that.
A hundred years will pass in the blink of an eye. And when it does, nobody will be worried about whether we're Scots, English, Irish or Welsh. We'll just be people who used to belong to a great nation but are now too poorly skilled, under-qualified and unproductive to bother about.
25/01/2012 22:31 GMT
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