I just read Gwen's comment on my last post:
"think you have hit the nail on the head with your comment on the "Cannae dae it" attitude. I have over the years in a variety of jobs, seen many a person with that attitude. No wonder we get nowhere. We have to, as a nation, get ourselves some confidence that we can work hard and build an efficient economy. How do we instill such an attitude? Maybe its down to teachers in schools and parents to start this off at an early age. If it doesn't happen we just won't get anywhere."
"How do we instill such an attitude?" is the question for Scotland right now. Having lived in the country where people believe they can do anything (even fly to the moon...!!) I think I have some suggestions.
Being brought up in Scotland means never "getting above yourself" and participating in self deprecation. To actually admit that you are good at something is seen as a negative personality trait. If you've got a talent you'd better hide it under a bushel.
This is present also in parenting. To tell your kids that they are brilliant is considered a faux paux. To brag in anyway about your offspring is looked down upon.
Things are changing with parenting these days. Children have gone from the Victorian "be seen and not heard" to the center of every family activity. I personally think its gone a little overboard.
I think that in order to instill confidence in Scotland, confidence needs to be instilled in individuals from the start. We need to be proud of our children, we need to be proud of ourselves. Scottish pride seems to only reveal itself when someone is dead. Anyone who gets too famous or "above themselves" is quickly cut down or derided.
Scotland needs to admit to its hopes and dreams and see them as achievable goals. Scotland needs to believe that it can do anything. Scotland needs to stop cowering in England's shadow.
The one difference in the report I talked about in my last post is that all the small countries that are better than Scotland are independent. They rule their own affairs within Europe. They have not crumbled and failed without a larger country to cling to like a limpet. They have flourished.
I don't believe that Scotland needs to adopt an American attitude. It would be insincere. I do however think that Scotland needs to adopt a Scandinavian one. They work hard and look after each member of their community. They are a practical people who get things done. They have similar population to Scotland and some even are very similar topographically (I once took a flight from Aberdeen to Stavanger and it looked like we'd just flown in a circle and landed back in Aberdeen!).
I think one of Scotland's problems is the fact that the central belt can't seem to remember that it is attached to the rest of Scotland. The Labour run country for the last 50 years has been forever trying to strain forward to Westminster. Hopefully Alex Salmond, representing a North East constituency, will change some of that. Scotland has always looked to England and Westminster for answers instead of seeing our potential within the country.
If Scotland is at the bottom of the league for small countries in western Europe then what is the big risk in going independent? We can only get better.
Of course I am saying this from 3,000 miles away and I can just hear my sister thinking "what is she wittering on about? she doesn't pay taxes here or live here day to day!". True. But I think I have a different perspective because I am looking at my homeland from outside. I have a perspective that puts Scotland into context in the world. Sometimes when you live in a place you can't see the woods for the trees. So I hope that my witterings may give some Scots some pause for thought.
I am not in Scotland right now so I do not know the answer to this (although I've noticed a buzz in the blogosphere about it) but I hope Scotland is nervously excited for the future. I feel the SNP slender win over Labour is a tentative step towards trying something new, maybe trying a little confidence in ourselves.