Leader comment: Scottish village challenges age of entitlement

Volunteers in Balquhidder dug trenches and laid cables to bring 'world-class' broadband to the area
Volunteers in Balquhidder dug trenches and laid cables to bring 'world-class' broadband to the area
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In our age of individualism, there is a risk of a descent into narcissism; after all, we are surely the most important person on the planet, so we are obviously entitled to the best of everything, preferably handed to us on a plate.

The idea of working hard to achieve something worthwhile appears to be an anathema for too many people today.

So the inhabitants of Balquhidder should be an inspiration to us all. Faced with terrible or non-existent broadband, they decided to take action, work together and make their lives better by the sweat of their brow.

Many of us would have made angry phonecalls to innocent and poorly paid staff in distant call centres or fired off troll-like tweets – when able to get online – in an attempt to shame the company or person we decided was to blame for our own situation. And harsh and ugly words may very well have been screamed pointlessly at computer screens.

READ MORE: Row over Scottish Government’s broadband coverage claim

But, instead of waiting for someone else to solve their problems, people in Balquhidder took up shovel, pick and spade and started digging for internet victory; and in those trenches were laid cables to bring some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK to their door.

And so a remote and beautiful part of Scotland was suddenly pitched into the white heat of the digital age.

Who knows where it could lead? Might some high-flying tech entrepreneur with a hankering for the good life decide to relocate their company to enable them and their staff to enjoy the clean air and beautiful scenery?

Perhaps the only thing that will change is the teenagers of Balquhidder, like many in the rest of Scotland, will remain indoors playing computer games for far too long; that would be a shame.

One effect that seems likely is that houses and businesses in the area will become more valuable. In our digital world, increasing numbers of people simply will not move to a place without a viable internet connection and most firms require one.

However, whatever the various outcomes turn out to be, the willingness to work hard and the spirit of community that enabled “world class” broadband to come to Balquhidder must be applauded.

It is an attitude that we should all have as individuals and as a nation. With the same sort of drive, we could solve many of Scotland’s problems.

READ MORE: Keith Brown: Superfast broadband for all Scots is coming