Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Referendum Fatigue, Language and Rhetoric #indyref2

If ever one was needing an example of assonance, Nicola Sturgeon is pleased to assist. Her addresses to the public, spattered with her importunate references to “independence referendum” are similarly punctuated by the contrasting vowel sound in the middle of our beloved Homeland “Scotland” perhaps even echo the true sound of Es and Os of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Ma heid is done in.

Already.

To cheer myself in advance of a few years’ worth of protracted verbal sniping between our First and Prime ministers, I thought I would indulge in a little analysis of some of the Language used by Ms Sturgeon today in her speech to the Party faithful.

I am assuming that you need no persuading that Scotland should not be dragged out of Europe by a Tory government intent on a disastrous hard Brexit.

I visualise Scotland as some poor soul being dragged along by their feet. There are connotations of unwillingness. She has a point here. (Although, when she argues this point she undermines herself. She usually says that Scotland voted to stay in the EU. But Scotland voted for the UK to stay in the EU. We had already voted for Scotland to stay in the UK (in the full knowledge that the EU referendum was going to happen.)

We are referendumed out wur nut.)

I enjoy the concept of a “government intent on a disastrous hard Brexit.” Why any government would be “intent on” anything “disastrous” is clearly nonsense. Presumably Mrs May and Co are, if anything, intent on a good hard Brexit, whatever that is.

It’s like getting your boiled egg right. Do you want your Breakfast, I mean Brexit, hard, soft or runny in the middle? Or red, white and blue as Mrs May once suggested. Whichever options are on the table, all we can be sure about is that eggs are eggs.

But instead of meeting us half way or, frankly, any of the way, Westminster chose to dig its heels in.
Our efforts at compromise with the Prime Minister met with a brick wall of intransigence.

I like these. I wonder what shoes Westminster is wearing. I get a visual of a sensible workwear shoe with a modest heel. Instead of being “dragged” anywhere, “Westminster” manages to stay put. Nice little contrast.  Lovely bit of synecdoche. Here’s how the PM manages to keep her heels firmly dug in – she is hiding behind a “brick wall of intransigence”. Brick walls to me signify frustration and pain. Something you would metaphorically hit your head off a few times before thinking, nah, I willnae bother. A brick wall of “intransigence” must be very frustrating. But it’s still a great word.

Ms Sturgeon continued:

… if she shows the same condescension and inflexibility, the same tin ear, to other EU countries as she has to Scotland then the Brexit process will hit the rocks.

Now, I haven’t ever heard of a “tin ear” (so maybe I have one). Apparently it is to do with being deaf or insensitive to subtleties (is that even politically correct to say?). And then the imagery swings unexpectedly into ‘The Wreck of the Hesperus’ and hits the rocks. Smashing.

Passing over the opportunity to have a think about “We should embrace that scrutiny” and “a compassionate country – with a big heart and a helping hand for those in need. An open country that doesn’t pull up the drawbridge and look inwards…”, I will end with Ms Sturgeon’s closing call:

Let this message ring out today.
Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands.
Repetition, more synecdoche joy and an inspiring tense choice to conclude. Very nice.
But rather than ringing out, I am more wrung oot at the thought of all this kicking off again.
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2 thoughts on “Referendum Fatigue, Language and Rhetoric #indyref2

  1. theotheri on said:

    I find your take particularly interesting. As an American living in England, I feel like a foreigner watching this confrontation close-up, but for what it’s worth, I not only enjoy your analysis but agree with it. It’s not my vote, but if there is going to be another referendum, let’s get it over with sooner rather than later.

    (And now do you want to hear my take on Trump, who seems to be bent on making adversaries of all our best allies? It’s almost a relief to be watching that fiasco unfold from my off-shore view.)

    • For all the SNP and their refusal to take no for an answer irritate me, I am thankful that I am not living under Trump. (Although we all are, to some extent.)

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