SNP furious over mag’s ‘puerile’ Edinborrow jibe

The Economist's Skintland cover: One of many polemical views given on independence
The Economist's Skintland cover: One of many polemical views given on independence
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A MAGAZINE cover labelling Scotland as “Skintland” and renaming the Capital “Edinborrow” today provoked a furious reaction from the SNP.

The front of The Economist was branded offensive, puerile and insulting.

The cover carries a map of Scotland and the headline “It’ll cost you – The price of Scottish independence”.

And the place names on the map are changed so Dunfermline becomes “Dunearnin”, Arbroath becomes “Arebroke”, Stonehaven is renamed “Stonehaven’t” and Inverness becomes “Inamess”.

Edinburgh Western MSP Colin Keir said: “This offensive and puerile front page is insulting to literally every single community in Scotland – not least to Edinburgh, which it sneeringly terms ‘Edinborrow’.

“It is patronising, metropolitan claptrap – the Bullingdon Club attitude to Scotland –which lays bare the true nature of Unionism: utterly negative.”

He claimed the cover would prove counter-productive for the campaign to keep the Union.

He said: “For a pro-Union, London-based magazine to portray Scotland and our communities in this patronising way is a disaster for the anti-independence parties.”

Inside, the magazine’s editorial comment recalls the disastrous Darien scheme in 1698 when Scots set out to colonise Panama. It says: “Scots found it tough in the 18th century to be a small nation in a globalising world. But nationalists are an optimistic bunch and they would dearly like to have another go.”

The article rejects the argument that Scotland is a “subsidy junkie”. But it warns an independent Scotland “could end up as one of Europe’s vulnerable, marginal economies”.

And it concludes: “In the 18th century Edinburgh’s fine architecture and its Enlightenment role earned it the nickname ‘Athens of the North’. It would be a shame if that name became apt again for less positive reasons.”

Mr Keir said the article did not reflect the “ridiculous” front page. He said: “As it says, Scotland is not subsidised from Westminster, the Scottish economy ‘performs better’ than any other nation or region in the UK outside South-East England, and we account for 10 per cent of the UK’s GDP with just 8.4 per cent of the population.

“Edinburgh is a world-class city – we have one of the world’s top 50 universities, we are home to the largest arts festivals in the world, and the City is the biggest per-person contributor to the UK economy.”

Pension deficit hits £4.2bn

Councils across Scotland had a combined pension deficit of almost £4.2 billion for 2010-11, a campaign group said today.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance carried out research into the Local Government Pension Scheme, administered locally for employers through regional pension funds.

The shortfall for Edinburgh stood at £335m.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance said the assets of the pension funds were “dwarfed” by their liabilities, what they owe in pension payments, and the scheme was in “urgent” need of reform.

Cosla, the organisation representing councils, said the report was “sensationalist”. A Cosla spokesperson said: “These figures would only be true if every person in every scheme retired on the same date.”