Donald MacInnes: Never mind the accent, we Scots aren't all 'good with money'
In The Red
Saturday 31 December 2011
Given that I remain, as the saying goes, "Scottish", there will probably be two assumptions you may already have made about me. The first is that I am inherently "good with money". This is clearly a euphemism for something darker; a little more pejorative, but more on that later. The second assumption is that I am a fan of New Year's Eve or, as we call it, Hogmanay. More on that even later. In the meantime, I feel honour bound to come clean and admit something to non-Scots among you.
My admission is this: the word "Hogmanay" doesn't actually mean "New Year's Eve" – it's actually the Gaelic word for "dental hygienist". The reason we tell you that "Hogmanay" means "New Year's Eve" is simply because it is a nice, lyrical word, along the lines of "Brigadoon" or "porridge". The actual Gaelic word for "New Year's Eve" sounds phonetically more akin to "slushy pavement" and frankly that would never do.
So, to this money thing. As many of you will already know, the myth of Scots being "good" with – and therefore, tight with money is just that: A MYTH.
Yes, Scots have been doing voiceovers for financial adverts for a long time, but I personally can't work out why. Is there some authority in our timbre; a trustworthiness in our lilt? Do the rolled Rs soothe your worries about interest rates. Sorry, interrrrrrest rrrrrrates? I must admit, it's a little beyond me. And I can't imagine where this has come from. I mean, generally, the only Scottish voices many non-tartan people ever hear are Rab C Nesbitt, Chief Inspector Taggart and that bloke outside the chippy begging for, well, chips. And what kind of financial portfolio could you expect from that gathering of the clans? (Talking about begging for chips, the reason I'm not a fan of Hogmanay is that most I experienced involved this pastime, be it either outside a chippy or inside a casino.)
Come to think of it, there are a few Scots who might have contributed to the popularity of the accent. You've got Sir Alex Ferguson, Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, Ewan McGregor, Andrew Marr – all good, resonant talkers. Then there's James Naughtie, Kirsty Wark, Lorraine Kelly... wait a minute... I see a pattern here. It's not money we're good with... it's autocues! By that, I mean we enunciate quite well. When we talk, people listen. But don't let that fool you into thinking our financial advice is worth a sporran full of coppers.
Look at Gerard Butler – he might be able to shout loudly and count up to 300, but I wouldn't trust him with my ISA. If I had one. See? I am bad with money!
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