Are Scots less confident than other nations? After our national team was beaten by The Netherlands last week, there was a lot of commentary along these lines. The Times piece was fairly typical in suggesting the result was a bit of a national catastrophe with wider implications. Newsnight Scotland ran an item suggesting we were a nation wallowing in negativity. Carol Craig from Strathclyde University's Centre of Confidence and Wellbeing told the programme that mass migration from Scotland meant all the optimistic people had left. So our gene pool makes us a bunch of gloomy Private Fraziers who lose all the time. Really....? An equally spurious genetic theory could suggest Scots who stayed at home were in fact more optimistic about the future. They didn't bottle it and head for Nova Scotia.
Dr Craig also blames Calvinism and the losses of World War One for Scotland's alleged negativity. Yet, when you look at the facts, Scotland has suffered no more trauma than other nations. What about Ireland? They seem a pretty cheerful bunch despite mass migration, famine and civil war. Maybe all this stuff about our wobbly self-esteem is just another Scotch Myth, perpetuated to make us feel were are less capable than other nations and so unable to govern ourselves normally. It's time to stop it. My Sunday Times column this week, It's Only a Game puts the doomsters on the couch