The Power and the ‘Cringe’



Sir Harry Lauder and Sir Winston Churchill. Lauder’s gross stereotype of a Scot, and over 300 years of colonisation, has rendered many Scots with an inferiority complex

We are not worthy

With an endless torrent of ridicule from unionists and neo-colonials piped hot or cold by the media every day is it any wonder Scots are prone to a poor self image?

Collectively, the ever-spiralling upwards barrage is an attempt to impose servility on the population, Scotland’s enemies alarmed by successive polls showing support for self-governance moving steadily toward the 50% tipping point.

The contagious dissatisfaction known in psychotherapy circles as ‘wince and recoil’ – (not a comedy duo) lingers in our psyche more than we dare admit, even in today’s post-plebiscite afterglow, when we can hardly believe our political luck. We dub it the ‘Scottish cringe’, the habit of down-grading ourselves, selling ourselves short, when the rest of the world thinks well of us, but out nearest neighbour doesn’t.

What causes the cringe?

As I understand the phrase, the cringe is an irrational anxiety of inferiority, that somehow we Scots are not quite as – there’s no way of putting this except to bite the bullet – good as English speaking people. (That phrase covers the Isle of Man and Gibraltar.) And we are not as capable as our lords and masters who work here among us.

It extends to those moments when we suggest Scotland could follow the example of so-and-so nation. We are told we could never do that because we are inadequate in some manner. In any event, the nation we hold up as an example to emulate suddenly acquires ‘major problems in its economy.’ ‘Scotland is doing just fine and dandy’ they say, in an effort to makes us conform. For mysterious reasons Scotland never acquires the resources or the smarts of other nations.

Good as what?

As good an education, how we talk, how we dress, in our manners, and traditions. The cringe is a difficult concept to assimilate let alone accept considering how well Scots do, and are honoured for what we accomplish around the world, as great inventors, engineers, scientists and doctors, and of course, soldiers. We are pretty good movie actors too, if numbers are a permitted measurement.

Gaeldom be gone!

Our cultures within our ethnicity are not left unmolested. A recurring internet spat demands Gaelic be left to fade out completely, and one supposes, its entire history with it. Sorley MacLean should have stuck to school teaching and forgotten Gaelic poetry.

Spending money on Gaelic, goes the discrimination, ‘is a total waste of taxpayer money.’ The same ill-informed people qualify their bigotry by saying Gaels only inhabit the outer reaches of our flat earth, north west of Uist. (Until the early twentieth century large communities of Gaels could be found living as far south as Dumfries and Galloway.)

Gaels are to be categorised as a minority sect, their status in society no higher than gypsies. And sadly, that opinion comes from Scots as well as wee ‘Englanders.’

Some Scots feel superior to other Scots. Why?

A constant barrage of alien cultural symbols flow at us through television screens and radio speakers, newspapers and magazines, all in the idiom of another nation. The propaganda is pervasive and invasive. It burns into the minds of the population.

We recoil when we hear certain Scots accents and dialects spoken by our own. We think our parliamentarians poorly bred if they do not speak in a standard southern BBC public school accent. It is not that long ago that a Glaswegian journalist called Cliff Hanley, recruited to BBC Scotland’s morning news show, attracted gales (excuse the pun) of listener complaints for his uncompromising Glaswegian accent and colloquialisms. There’s no difficulty imagining a fusty BBC board meeting held to deliver a verdict on whether Hanley should be allowed to say ‘cheerio’ rather than good bye at the end of the show. (That happened over a BBC Scotland Schools Broadcasting series.) But I dwell on accent too long.

By its reliance on BBC London’s decisions BBC Scotland is responsible for a lot of the cringe. We’re bombarded with adaptations of classic English novels, English detective series, English soap operas, and English comedies. Jeeves lives on triumphant. Where are representations of our culture? Not good enough?

To the theme: I believe inferiority and insecurity are dual elements of the same malaise.

Why is modern society breeding insecurities? 

Well, I’ve come to recognise the feeling of inferiority has less to do with community, one’s accent or education, more to do with those that hold power over us.

Take the rise of no-hours, temporary workers, what’s called “increasing the flexibility of the labour market.” That breeds insecurity.

Successive Westminster regimes – in effect that’s what they are – with an antipathy to Scotland’s rights and its economic progress, wiped out Scotland’s manufacturing base, its steel making, and its ship building industry. They took ownership of banks south.

We became a servile service community, Thatcher’s vision for a better future. Worthless contracts are offered to service staff in shops, diners and offices, and in the arts.

Thousands of workers have lost the rights they won after a long struggle last century, including the right to go to sleep at night and know they’re going to have a job tomorrow. Well, that definitely breeds insecurity for an obvious reason: how do you feed your family and pay your bills? There’s nothing in that natural fear about self image.

Secure employment, one ideal in a ‘better society’

Some of the fastest growing companies are the ones that sell workers. The rapid rise of recruitment agencies in the UK is example enough. They set the conditions without union representation.

The biggest company doing that is the ManPower Group, an American multinational human resource consulting firm,  (how ironic to call it human resource) its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It has over 4,000 offices worldwide, including many in the UK. ManPower provides recruitment and assessment, training and development, career management, outsourcing, and workforce consulting. The company is booming.

The reason for the turn to temporary workers is perfectly straight forward. They can be treated like goods, material goods. If you want to throw them out, you throw them out. If you want to deny them benefits, you don’t pay them benefits.

Outsourcing avoids unions and a living wage

One of the major reasons for outsourcing by big corporations is that they don’t have contractual arrangements with the labour force in the places that, say, make toys or whatever it may be. They’re tools of production, dispensable when the need arises.

I don’t think the Scottish cringe has everything to do with accent or breeding. It has much to with a chronic lack of opportunity to develop. We look on wistfully at what goes on down south, and sigh.

We see the wealth and the celebrity in London and its immediate environs, and we ask what the hell’s happening? One city is sucking in all the wealth and controlling a separate nation, and a few are getting mega-rich out of it. And then they buy politicians, the people supposed to represent us.

Scots who tell us be grateful for what we have

Where is the dream of ‘pooling and sharing’ Gordon Brown so waxed lyrical over, the cornerstone of the Union? Well, Brown forgot to tell us it’s in the hands of a few powerful, talented, and ‘responsible’ men. We serve them.

The power elite make sure that the stupid and ignorant masses stay controlled and subdued. The Scots are “ignorant and meddlesome” as a number of English politicians and newspaper commentators put it. We don’t have the intelligence or ability to run our own affairs. (See Rowling’s platitudinous, fatuous excuse for voting No.) Westminster is doing us a favour running the majority of our affairs.

How does Westminster control us is the next question, or as one extremist put it to me, why do you feel oppressed? Incidentally, he was a socialist so you can bet on it he did not think of himself as a reactionary.

Where does the media fit in?

How does the mass media support the doctrine of conformity?

The MSM – the mainstream mediaare part of the corporate system. Their goal is roughly that of what you read in the manuals of the public relations industry. It knows how to talk to its various ‘demographic’ areas, (an ugly word) areas we call classes. They talk openly about how to ‘control the public mind,’ to ‘make plain the goodness of a free market, and globalisation’, which we know is the contemporary capitalist system. The Americans wrote that book: The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the attitudes and behavior of the masses is the central task of the democratic system and we, the business classes, the responsible men, we have to do it.

The the mass media are imbued with that doctrine. Not just the mass media, the entertainment industry, the schools and everyone else. So, if we want to create a better society we had better keep big and small business out of our educational system.

Summary: how do we resist  unelected power over us?

Any kind of authority that exists, whatever it may be, from raging unionists on twitter, to huge international corporations, as well as England-only interests, every such form of authority has to demonstrate legitimacy. If they were not elected to represent us in any way, or do not have a mandate, they are illegitimate.

If they exercise power over us they are a tyranny.

They have the burden of proof, that what they do is in the interest of the masses, for the common good. Challenge them and invariably they are unable to justify their actions. When it can’t be justified, their power base should be dismantled.

Anybody who says they tire of the debate has no idea what we have to do to alter society for the better. All they want is a quiet life. If we’re to move to a position in which Scotland can create its own just and better society we are  duty bound, compelled, to engage with authority, authority in all its forms, with the press, with institutions, with corporate interests, and the biggest of all, with the representative of them all – Westminster.

In summation

Illegitime non carborundum!  (Mock Latin: don’t let the bastards grind you down.)

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3 Responses to The Power and the ‘Cringe’

  1. jimnarlene says:

    Ad meliora, to better things. It is why we strive, to be free of Westminster and it’s corruption and expectation of servile gratitude.

  2. CameronB Brodie says:

    Never give up.
    Never surrender. 🙂

    Thanks for writing this Grouse and well said jimnarlene.

    “HUMAN RESOURCES: Social Engineering In The 20th Century”, paints a similar landscape on a bigger canvas. (on youtube)

    “A viscerally overpowering film and at the same time a thoughtful meditation on the human condition.” – Walter A. Davis, Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University

    “Brilliant…Riveting…The amount of material the filmmaker covers and unifies is astounding…Human Resources diagnoses the 20th century.” – Stephen Soldz, Professor, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis; President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility

    “Powerful…Must See…It will leave you Spellbound.” – Andrew Goliszek, Author, In the Name of Science: A History of Secret Programs, Medical Research, and Human Experimentation

    “An important work…terrifying in its implications….Human Resources is a must see for those of us who still take democracy seriously.” – Bruce E. Levine, Author Commonsense Rebellion: Taking Back Your Life from Drugs, Shrinks, Corporations, and a World Gone Crazy

    “It scared the shit out of me…A powerful and methodical dissection of the dominant culture.” – Derrick Jensen, Author, Endgame

    “A masterful examination of the mechanization of human existence…It is a rare occasion when watching a film can help open not only our eyes, but our minds.” – Andrew Marshall, Centre for Research on Globalization

    “A Masterpiece. Unless you weep, you may be damaged by this film. Viewer discretion, and love, advised. – David Ker Thomson, Professor, Language and Thinking Program at Bard College

    “Scott Noble’s work is a pioneering development in documentary filmmaking in its content, documentary technique, and even distribution method. Watch his stuff, use it, and build on it.” – Chris Simpson, Professor, School of Communication, American University

  3. Grouse Beater says:

    Interesting reference, Cameron. Many thanks.

    I’ll off to the pictures tomorrow evening to see ‘Spotlight’ the story of the Catholic church and its perverse doctrine of keeping priests celibate. Readers seem to enjoy my film insider reviews, so one will follow shortly …

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