If it looks like a duck … the problem with the SNP’s name

What those of us who do support Scottish independence are all about could not be further removed from what you would recognise as nationalism in other parts of the world.

– Nicola Sturgeon, Edinburgh Book Festival 18 August 2017

Oh dear, the SNP leader has discovered what’s wrong with her party’s name. People use the word ‘nationalism’ for all sorts of nasty stuff.

This profundity seems to have been drawn forth from Ms Sturgeon neither as a result of some radical realignment of the SNP’s philosophy (maybe that’s what their autumn ‘relaunch’ is about … maybe) nor as a recognition of some of the nastier fringe elements who cling to her party. It’s essentially a public relations/marketing response to the bad rap that the word ‘nationalism’ has had recently.

Elsewhere in that statement, Nicola said that she probably wouldn’t have chosen ‘Scottish National Party’ as its name ninety years ago but it was ‘far too complicated’ to change now. I don’t see why not. Many a company has tried to save an unpopular product by changing its name. Why not the SNP?

Admittedly, it could be challenging, but as always No Thanks! is here to help. A personal brainstorm threw up a few possibilities.

It would be good to keep the same initials for brand recognition. But the only ‘N’ that came to mind was the old 1970s jibe of ‘Scottish Nose Pickers.’ Bad taste and the danger of my being ridiculed almost immediately ruled that out.

A more assertive and truthful name also had its attractions, like Scottish Separatist Party. Alas, the initials SSP have already been taken by the miniscule Scottish Socialist Party and it seemed unlikely that the comrades would be willing to cede the right to them for the greater good of someone else’s cause.

Then it came to me, as good things often do in a brainstorm.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.

Here was the solution. ‘Nationalism’ must henceforth be replaced in the public mind with ‘duck quacking.’ It makes sense in so many ways. You only have to test it out in the many contexts the SNP have been happy to use nationalism for the last ninety years.

The party of course would become the SDP – the Scottish Duck-quacking Party, a nice fit too with the social democracy they purport to espouse.

Ms Sturgeon’s statement at the book festival would be made hygienic and inoffensive as ‘What those of us who do support Scottish independence are all about could not be further removed from what you would recognise as duck-quacking in other parts of the world.’

Following on from which, unlike duck-quacking in those parts of the world, Scottish duck-quacking would be civic and joyous.

Unlike other duck-quacking it would also be an outward-looking and internationalist duck-quacking.

Nicola could say, truthfully, ‘I have been a proud duck-quacker since I was sixteen.’

Patriotism could be roused by leading nationalist politicians beginning their speeches ‘Fellow duck-quackers! …’ So much less threatening than the alternative.

Mind you, it could be tricky if the euphemism (sorry, rebranding) were extended to critics of this particular -ism like Albert Einstein, who famously didn’t quite say ‘Duck-quacking is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.’

Duck-quacking as an infantile disease. I like it.

Ms Sturgeon’s fellow panellist at the Edinburgh Book Festival has the good grace to look sceptical at her disclaimer of nationalism

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5 Responses to If it looks like a duck … the problem with the SNP’s name

  1. Eric Sinclair says:

    …and remember, in 1984, George Orwell used the term “duckspeak” to describe the speech of those who mindlessly repeat Party mantras or chatter arid, meaningless statements that the Party approves of…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sam Duncan says:

    Well, they’re certainly completely quackers. Eyethangyew.

    “Nicola said that she probably wouldn’t have chosen ‘Scottish National Party’ as its name ninety years ago but it was ‘far too complicated’ to change now. I don’t see why not.”

    Wasn’t it her party which unilaterally, without any legal basis or consultation with (any) Parliament, “rebranded” the Scottish Executive?* Surely that must have given them a bit of practice?

    But it occurs to me that this isn’t the bravado we’ve become used to over the last few years. Salmond would have trotted out his “civic nationalism” boilerplate, not tried to distance himself from nationalism itself. I think it says as much about a loss of confidence at the top of the party as it does about any concerns over being linked to less savoury strains of nationalism. As I always say, they’re not finished yet by any means, but since the heady days of 2014/15 the wind has clearly been knocked out of their sails.

    *And, at the risk of labouring a point from a previous post, wasn’t it the anti-SNP BBC which fell into line with that on day one?

    Like

  3. And what a mighty fine first attempt at their new car sticker! You are a marketing genius Roger.😀

    Like

  4. DerekD says:

    Had to laugh at the pro independence types who during the referendum party insisted that the SNP were most certainly not nationalists.

    Pointing them to Alex Salmonds official SNP bio where he describes himself as, you guessed it, a nationalist usually gave them an excuse to slink back into the internet.

    Like

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