Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has said a London based magazine will “rue the day” it depicted Scotland as a financial liability reliant on handouts and loans.
Mr Salmond was responding to a map on the front page of the Economist magazine that labelled Scotland as ‘Skintland’ and used similar disparaging terms to describe local towns, regions and islands around the country.
The latest edition of the London based magazine uses a map of the country, renamed “Skintland”, with insulting phrases based on a lack of finances such as “Glasgone”, “Edinborrow” and the “Highinterestlands”.
It is followed by an article concluding that independence would come at a high price and could leave Scotland as “one of Europe’s vulnerable, marginal economies”, and Edinburgh in a similar situation than present day Athens – a reference to the Greek economic crisis.
Commenting on the map that has caused fury then length and breadth of Scotland and outrage on social media sites, Mr Salmond described it as a portrayal of a sort of “Bullingdon Club humour” of “sneering condescensions”.
Speaking on Radio Clyde, Mr Salmond said: “It just insults every single community in Scotland,
“This is how they really regard Scotland. This is Unionism boiled down to its essence and stuck on a front page for every community in Scotland to see their sneering condescensions.
“They shall rue the day they thought they’d have a joke at Scotland’s expense.”
The First Minister said the insult was not representative of the people of England and added: “This doesn’t represent England. For goodness’ sake, I wouldn’t insult the people of England the way the Economist believes it should insult the communities of Scotland.
“This is a particular strata of London society. It’s not a very attractive strata. They’re not even funny, let’s face it. If it was a decent joke we’d have a laugh at it. This is just plain insults.”
Westminster SNP group leader Angus Robertson said the front cover was “patronising, metropolitan claptrap”.
It re-names every community in Scotland in puerile, patronising terms even though the article it promotes acknowledges that Scotland generates 10% of UK GDP with just 8.4% of the population.
Mr Robertson said this showed how the cover was not only offensive to the people of Scotland but was out of sync with the article itself. He said the negative imagery was a major setback for the anti-independence parties, as it destroys their claims that the anti-independence campaign is a positive one.
“This puerile and offensive front page is insulting to literally every single community in Scotland.” he said, and added:
“It is patronising, metropolitan claptrap – the Bullingdon Club attitude to Scotland- which lays bare the true nature of Unionism: utterly negative.
“For a pro-Union, London-based magazine to portray Scotland and our communities in this patronising way is a disaster for the anti-independence parties.
“I trust that they too will disassociate themselves from it. The Economist’s own inside article doesn’t even reflect its ridiculous front page.
Mr Robertson pointed to figures that showed Scotland outperforming every other nation or region in the UK with the exception of the south east of England and added:
“The reality of Scotland is that with independence we would be the sixth-wealthiest nation in the developed world in terms of GDP per head, compared to the UK’s sixteenth place; we subsidised the rest of the UK by £510 for every man, women and child in Scotland in the last year; and the oil and gas asset base in the North Sea is worth £1.5 trillion, with more tax revenues to come than have already been generated.
“How dare our community and our nation be decried in such an insulting manner – it tells us nothing about economics and everything about the insular, metropolitan bias of the anti-independence campaign.”
Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister, tweeted: “I’m pretty sure that Scots who don’t support independence will find this week’s The Economist cover every bit as offensive as those who do.”
However Unionist politicians have thus far refused to condemn the Economist. Scottish Conservative MSP David McLetchie said:
“The SNP would be better advised to answer the important points made in the article about Scotland’s future. Instead, they are manufacturing outrage aimed at anyone who dares to question their perspective that a separate Scotland would be a land of milk and honey, a line they are constantly peddling about our future.”
Excerpts from the Economist article have been re-tweeted by BBC Scotland business and economy editor Douglas Fraser.