Scotland really is a place that
time has passed by as the real Scots have already left. I mean the
Scots with vision, enterprise and a "can do" attitude.
Look at our history of emigration. Hundreds of thousands left
Scotland to go into Scandinavia and Europe from the 1500's onwards
and settled there and many made much better lives for themselves and
contributed enormously to these countries. In the mid 1600's onwards
a huge tide of people started to move to the USA, Canada, Australia
and New Zealand. Many recent books have come out of America telling
of the huge and previously unknown contributions that Scots made
there. Likewise, if you read all the history on the Electric
Scotland web site you'll see how Scots were people of great
influence in many European countries becoming friends of the ruling
elite as well as being politicians, merchants, educators, soldiers,
Scots have been leaving Scotland for generations. Their descendants
have punched well beyond their weight in many lands across the
world. A Scot was the first Prime Minister of Canada, 71% of USA
Presidents are of Scots descent (from the book, Mark of the Scot), a
Scot is considered to be the Father of Australia, a Scot is
considered to be the Father of Modern Japan.
The record of the Scots and their descendants in other lands are
truly marvellous and the Scots are alive and well right across the
world but what have they left behind them?
Scotland the Brand through CLK commissioned research on what "the
world thought of Scotland" in 1997 and 1998 and the summary results
Serious Holiday Destination - Landscape and Heritage - Rural, clean,
spacious & unspoilt - Cool, rainy, green-grey - Heritage and
traditions in tact - Slow pace of life - Quality
Honest, self-assured, warm people.
Unsophisticated - Little technological expertise - Little
commercial/logistical infrastructure - Inward looking - Not
interested in moving forward - A 'reserve'
In 2003 we are getting many reports on Scotland's performance...
- We are in recession
- Foreign tourists are down dramatically since that report was done
- Exports are declining
- Scotland is well under performing the South of England
- We have a declining population with estimates we could be down to
4.5m by 2004.
When you look at Scotland and its organisations you see people that
like to talk but take little action. Almost every industrial sector
web site would rather discuss the next 5 year plan than promote
what's good about its sector.
Scottish Enterprise is certainly the most un-enterprising
organisation we have and our Marketing people across all industries
in Scotland show a huge lack of enterprise and vision.
The web is a marvellous global medium for communicating Scotland's
good points and yet we have not one web site that really tells the
world about Scottish companies and our success stories. Our banks
won't help promote us either, like many of our institutions they
lack breadth of vision.
Why on earth would any company wish to locate a business in
Scotland? Should companies want to touch base with their Scottish
roots they'd be much better to locate in areas of the world where
the Scots themselves went and built a better life for themselves. In
those areas you'll see enterprise and vision and a "can do"
Scotland is a great talking shop... we'd rather discuss and moan
about things than actually do something about it. Certainly there
are exceptions but you'd be hard put to find them.
VisitScotland is perhaps the organisation that most needs to be
marketing led but they have a pathetic track record of promoting
Scotland and their marketing department must be one of the worst
examples for all that is poor in Scotland. When the marketing
manager for VisitScotland's USA department says she can't produce
one story a week for the USA market you have to wonder whether they
really want any visitors. Is that not her job? To promote Scotland
in the USA?
It seems that Scotland's businesses expect Scottish Enterprise and
VisitScotland to do everything and are not prepared to get together
to do things for themselves. Let someone else do something and we'll
perhaps join in if its successful is their attitude. With that
attitude it's no wonder we're a sinking ship.
Time after time you'll see significant Scots and their descendants
playing a major role in politics in other countries and yet our own
devolved parliament can only get 50% of Scots to actually be
bothered to vote. When they do vote they are no longer voting for
the main parties. They are in fact voting for parties that do not
have any agenda for improving Scotland's businesses but rather ones
that promise to spend more money by robbing the rich to pay the
Most of our politicians want to spend more on our health service and
in fact want to spend lots more money on all kinds of things but
none seem to have any ideas on how to promote Scottish business to
actually increase the income coming into Scotland. With a declining
population and an increasingly aged population the signs are that
we're still in a mess with no real prospects of this changing.
Our Television channels are filled with interviewers and so called
journalists that keep asking what politicians are doing to get us
out to vote. They don't seem to realise that they are a large part
of the problem. They are the ones that have encouraged politicians
to be defensive and not answer questions, slated them when they do
change their minds, don't give them time to answer a question by
constantly interrupting. It's time that these interviewers realised
they are there to do a public service and not to become the stars
We would still far rather spend money on meetings, surveys, reports
than actually do something about our economy. We use the same old
tired people to do these reports rather than seek out enterprising
people with vision so all we ever get back are the same old ideas
that haven't worked before.
The facts are clear... We need new people to run our institutions
and to market Scotland. It's time to encourage our Scots descendants
to come home and give us a hand! The only problem is the people that
can help this happen are the ones with a vested interest in saving
their own jobs which they are so poor at doing.
So the question we must ask is... "Where are the people left with
vision in Scotland and how can we get them together to help turf the
complacent and indifferent out of their cosy jobs and attract new
blood to help us build a strong, smart and successful Scotland?"
In the USA right now you just need to go to any of the hundreds of
Highland Games to meet our Scots descendants. There you will find
thousands that run successful businesses, are influential in major
corporations, want to do business with Scotland but keep asking...
"Where is VisitScotland?", "Where are the Scottish companies...
don't they want to do business with us?" If you took just one crowd
at any Highland Games in America you would have more enthusiasm for
Scotland than is available in the whole of Scotland put together.
We need some of this blood to come back to Scotland and help shake
up our poorly performing institutions. Make no mistake... those that
are currently involved in marketing Scotland and our businesses
mostly lack vision and enterprise and it's time they went and were
replaced with our descendants that now live and work in other lands.