The Economist raises Scotland's ire with 'Skintland' joke
The Economist was targeting Scotland's interest in becoming independent, pointing out that 'Skintland' relies heavily on the United Kingdom.
Scottish nationalists have reacted angrily to an Economist magazine cover which renamed the country "Skintland" and poked fun at its towns and regions, giving them indebted nicknames.Skip to next paragraph
The normally high-brow magazine labeled the capital Edinburgh "Edinborrow," Glasgow "Glasgone," the Lowlands as "Loanlands," and the Isle of Mull as "Null," implying that Scotland only survived economically by relying heavily on Britain's central government and that substantial debt awaits it after independence.
A two-page article in the magazine highlighted the cost of going it alone if the Scots vote yes in a 2014 independence referendum, while an editorial piece headlined "It will cost you - Scottish independence would come at a high price" warns Scotland could become the "Athens of the North" – in financial terms, not architectural.
The ruling Scottish National Party has chosen 2014, the 700th anniversary of the Scottish victory over the English at Bannockburn, for a referendum vote on whether Scotland will declare independence from the United Kingdom, and campaigning has begun in earnest.
The provocative UK edition prompted immediate criticism from Scottish National Party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond. In an interview with Radio Clyde in Glasgow, Mr. Salmond said, “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.”
But he was careful not to hurl his accusations at the population as a whole. “This doesn’t represent England. Goodness’ sake, I wouldn’t insult the people of England the way the Economist believes it should insult the communities of Scotland," he said. "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.”
Although critical of the tone of the package, opposition Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat politicians in the Scottish Parliament said Salmond and his Scottish National Party failed to address the more serious points made: that Scotland would struggle economically if it became independent; that the North Sea oil supply, upon which Scotland relies heavily, is finite; and that the once powerful Scottish banking sector continues to suffer in the wake of the credit crunch.