A best-selling German guidebook has dipped its toe into the UK’s turbulent constitutional politics by claiming Nicola Sturgeon will lead Scotland to independence.
The Marco Polo Spiral Guide to Scotland, which sells millions of copies to German-speaking travellers, says the “charismatic” First Minister will achieve the SNP’s ambition because she can unite public opinion better than her predecessor, Alex Salmond.
The guide suggests that Scotland would have voted “yes” in the 2014 independence referendum if it hadn’t been for older voters, and praises what it calls the “strong pro-European attitude” that sets Scotland apart from the rest of the UK.
In a whirlwind digest of Scottish political history, the book states: “Scotland was self-governing until 1707, a right the people had valiantly fought for against their powerful English neighbours.
“The Act of Union was almost universally unpopular but was pushed through in the face of heavy opposition.
“The Scots’ strong sense of identity has been fiercely defended ever since.”
In a chapter on Scotland’s constitutional affairs, the panel of authors write that the 2014 referendum “massively politicised the Scottish population” and adds: “At the last minute, in a great panic, Westminster promised far-reaching independent rule for Scotland.”
Noting the SNP’s success in the 2015 general election, the authors state that Scotland “will take a completely different stand to neoliberal thinking in London, especially on social and environmental issues,” and conclude: “England is watching developments nervously.”
Turning to the Scottish diet, the book claims that “when the Scots used to live on root vegetables, oats and fish they were as a fit as a fiddle,” but claims that sugar imports during the Industrial Revolution led to “Europe’s unhealthiest diet”.
However, the authors add that “Scottish cuisine is far better than its reputation”. German visitors are warned that when they take a dram of whisky, “add nothing to it but water, Scots see anything else as an insult.”
As for the other national tipple, tourists are told that “Irn-Bru, the Scottish soda drink, is something of an acquired taste.” The guide is published next week by Mairdumont.