September 18th 2014 | Scotland

Eat your cereal

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 27 August 2014
BT Lady

The pro-union campaign seems to have outdone itself, with mockery over its latest advert going viral.

The Better Together video features a woman, resentful of her husband’s political interest and her children’s engagement with technology, who has been driven to discussing politics alone in her kitchen while nursing a cup of tea and worrying about how little she trusts ‘that man off the telly’ (the First Minister).

She is concerned that independence is too big a gamble, but appears frightened of saying so to her family.

The ad has been slated for patronising women. Even the title ‘The woman who made up her mind’ has been criticised – implying a woman who can make decisions is somehow unusual.

As the actor puts it: “My Paul is worse than the telly these days. He will not leave off about the referendum. He started again first thing this morning, ‘have you made a decision yet?’ I was like, ‘It’s too early to be discussing politics, eat your cereal’. So, he starts to ask the kids. I mean, honestly! Like he’ll get any sense out of them. I mean they never have their heads out their phones.”

Don’t discuss politics – eat your muesli.

Who would have thought that the much-lamented widespread disengagement with politics in the UK was caused by cereal?

It is depressing that the campaign thinks this is the way to win the female vote: everyone should all just stop thinking about politics and get on with our breakfast.

Because clearly, the morning is no time to be discussing the concept of self-determination.

And at times it can be difficult to understand the thinking of the Better Together campaign.

In fact it often appears as if the campaign would have been better not campaigning at all, given that it’s leading in the polls.

Yes needs to take gambles to win support, Better Together does not, so why release an ad implying women are timid, confused and apparently unaware of who the First Minister is?

It was precisely the need to avoid these sorts of blunders that led the campaign to bring in Blue State Digital – the group credited with orchestrating Barack Obama’s online campaign. It does not seem to have helped.

The advert came the day before the campaign released a letter – signed by more than 130 business – warning of the risks of separation from the UK common market.

The letter, published in the Scotsman, says: “As job creators, we have looked carefully at the arguments made by both sides of the debate. Our conclusion is that the business case for independence has not been made. Uncertainty surrounds a number of vital issues including currency, regulation, tax, pensions, EU membership and support for our exports around the world; and uncertainty is bad for business.”

But the worst bit for Better Together is that the mockery over the advert will likely overshadow the release of the letter. 

It is not yet clear how many of the businesses that signed it are coming out for the UK because they are reliant on selling cereal.

Liam Kirkaldy