The Scots and their damn lack of confidence

IT IS NOT ENOUGH for actors to look good, they have to sound good, as evidenced by the film careers of the beautiful but very flat Elizabeth Hurley or the attractive Gucci model that Harry Styles according to his last film (‘Don’t worry darling’) where it sounds a bit out of tune.

I’m sure Harry and Elizabeth will be fine. But one really great actor needs a great voice. Brian Cox has it in spades, like anyone watching him play Logan Roy on HBO Succession could testify. Last night he presented his splendid, soaring tones on a stage in Edinburgh ‘in conversation’ with Nicola Sturgeon as part of the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Nicola is rather convincing and laid back as a BBC type presenter. And Brian gave a compelling performance as a successful expat from the USA eager to share his views on Scotland. And all the power to him and his great career. But Logan Roy, he is not. If asked about independence, Logan Roy wouldn’t care. Brian Cox, it seems, cares a lot.

Logan Roy would probably say he felt like leaving Scotland and he couldn’t give a monkey. Brian, on the other hand, is all about independence. But he shared that he thought Scots lacked confidence in their abilities to govern themselves. Which, we suppose, explains why they gave Nelly quite nervous answers in the referendum opinion polls.

The suggestion that the people of Scotland lack faith in us as a nation and not, say, trust in the current administration seems a little jumpy in its logic, but gives the man and his big voice pause. Maybe that’s not exactly what he meant.

Modern language may have led Brian to be confused by what the word trust means now. Like the episode The twilight zone when a man wakes up one day and finds that the words have moved so that ‘car’ now means ‘banana’ and so on. Confusing and a bit terrifying. It’s nothing new that new words are popping up. Teenagers have always come up with useful new words for, say, “cool” or “very drunk” and so on. And technology is giving us a whole new set of words. But blurred area word changes now occur for the old standard carrier language. In 2022, we are radically changing our definitions.

Remember when woman meant grown woman? Or “trauma” meant a horrific, life-threatening experience and remember when we were satisfied that people were “literally” wrong? “Woman” can now mean “a feeling”, trauma can mean “negative experience”, and “literally” can now mean “really”. Literally.

And so, our Brian may not know that “Confidence” jumped on that verbal shark too. We are much nicer. Nowadays, a brilliant child is “confident to learn” and the (tough) less brilliant “lacks confidence”. So Brian says the Scots “lack confidence”, it might sound to the untrained and less kind ear that he was suggesting that if we don’t like the SNP we are a bit weak. Sounds like Logan Roy.

But did Nicola correct Brian Cox and suggest that this low national trust may have had more to do with a “lack of trust” in potential leaders? You bet she didn’t. She has accepted. We need to be more confident in our abilities. Forget boring details. Vote in the SNP because well, Brian and Nicola would rather an incompetent crew sail the ship over the rocks as long as it’s the SNP at the helm. Independence transcends everything.

If you’re worried about them, then maybe you need to work on yourself.

Sorry Brian, whichever direction we go, it’s vaguely insulting to you and others like you to go back to Scotland, not to live with the SNP’s weird philosophies, its stupid policies, its embarrassing escapades to the foreigner, its total lack of responsibility and a mountain of waste in taxes and in the streets. If you want to pay a Scottish tax, watch it being paid to people who “lack confidence” in running shipyards, who are “confident” in destroying education, who may “lack confidence” in support companies and who are “confident” to make a big mess, then I would suggest you exercise a little caution as well.

Or as they used to call it, meaning.

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