Wednesday, March 7, 2007

"Scotland - the best small country in the world"

As an enthusiastic and frequent(ish) visitor to Scotland, I am always bemused by the large poster which greets me at Glasgow ariport declaring: "Welcome to Scotland, the world's best small country".

Until I first saw this, I always thought of Scotland as a really, really big country. I mean, it's hardly Monaco, is it? To walk across Vatican City, which is a country, it takes you about a minute. To walk from Berwick-on-Tweed to Muckle Flugga would take you a few weeks and a bit of a swim.

And one of my favourite Scottish bands is/was Big Country. How do they fit in with this "small country" business, then?

So, all in all, arriving with great anticipation at Glasgow, dreaming of seeing the vast mountains and lochs of Scotland, to be greeted with "welcome to the world's best small country" is a bit of a let-down. One's heart sinks, in fact.

What is going on? Is there an inferiority crisis in the Scottish Tourism office? What a crazy tourism slogan!

...And it doesn't just seem to be soft Sassanachs such as myself who think this slogan is daft.


  1. It is all relative to your neighbours I suppose. I lived for a while in Bolivia. The Bolivians believed they lived in a small, landlocked country. In fact it is one of the 30 largest countries in the world.

    Of course Scotland is not much smaller than England, and much bigger than Belgium or the Netherlands or Denmark. I think of all of these as "medium-sized".

  2. Thanks Peter. One of the things is that Scotland looks so huge on the map, which I guess is due to Mercado's projection.

  3. It's got to be better than the slogan Glasgow used in the 80s which used to greet you as you drove into the city - "Glasgow (s)miles better" complete with picture of Mr Happy just in case you didn't get the point (I understand an early version had someone giving a visitor a Glasgow kiss, but it was deemed inappropriate).