THERE was an article in the Spectator magazine this week, entitled “The myth of the ‘trustworthy’ Scottish accent”, complete with scare quotes.

The article announced the death of another Scottish export industry, providing voice overs for advertisements broadcast throughout the UK. Only this being a Conservative publication, naturally it didn’t blame the loss of this particular export industry on Brexit. It’s all the fault of Scottish people for being ungrateful.

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According to the author of the piece, Scottish accents were favoured by advertisers, particularly companies advertising financial products, because Scots had, allegedly, a reputation for financial probity. Clearly these people had never met anyone in my family.

However what he really meant was that there was and is a widespread racist stereotype in England that Scots are tight-fisted and reluctant to part with cash. That stereotype can be used positively by an advertiser trying to flog a financial product.

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Naturally the writer couldn’t say that in a piece in a Conservative magazine slagging off Scottish people, because when the English are racist about the Scots that’s just friendly banter and if you object to it you’re just being dour. Oh look, there’s another “friendly banter” stereotype.

So the myth that Scottish accents are trustworthy can be added to everything else about Scottishness that’s mythical. And there’s yet another “friendly banter” stereotype, because as every British nationalist knows, the entirety of Scottish culture is invented.

It’s only Scottish stereotypes about English people that represent a deep and dark evil lurking at the very heart of the national psyche.

The anti-Scottish tropes were trotted out one after another. Apparently Scottish people no longer have a reputation for financial probity because of Gordon Broon, who proved Scottish politicans can’t be trusted. Unsurprisingly, no mention of Liam Fox, or Michael Gove, or Ruth Davidson there then.

Advertisers in England have fallen out of love with Scottish accents, because ungrateful Scottish people used them to say such nasty things about England during the independence referendum – a political event which as everyone who reads the Spectator knows was really entirely about England.

They’re falling out of love with Scottish accents because Nicola Sturgeon is “sour” and wilfully refuses to get behind Great British projects.

But the icing that finally made advertisers choke on the Scottish accent cake was the World Cup, and the refusal of Scotland fans to get behind the England team.

The National:

Like that was a new thing and hadn’t happened in every single World Cup ever ...

However the real reason Scottish accents were favoured for adverts being broadcast in the rest of the UK had little to do with trustworthiness. It’s because in the intensely class sensitive society of England, Scottish accents are class neutral. When a Scottish person is speaking standard Scottish English, as opposed to Scots, English ears cannot tell if the speaker is working class or middle class.

As far as the accent is concerned, they don’t know the difference between Balmoral and Barmulloch. That’s a great advantage to an advertiser who seeks to promote their product in a society riven by class snobbery and an acute awareness of social class.

There is empirical evidence for the acceptability of Scottish accents to a wider UK audience. A poll carried out by the BBC Your Voice project in 2014 found that after “the Queen’s English”, listeners rated Scottish accents, Southern Irish accents, and New Zealand accents most highly of all.

Intriguingly the article announcing the death of the Scottish advertising accent appeared in the Spectator magazine, whose editor Fraser Nelson has a very special Scottish accent all of his own.

As someone who has studied linguistics and phonology, Fraser’s idiosyncratic accent has always been something of a fascination, with its exaggerated diphthongs and irritable vowel syndrome.

Yet it remains identifiably Scottish. Admittedly it’s the Lloyd Grossman of Scottish accents, but it’s still Scottish.

Fraser’s accent does retain post-vocalic R, unlike the accents of certain BBC presenters and former Labour prime ministers, who simply drop R in positions where English accents also drop it, but without the compensatory vowel lengthening found in English accents, resulting in peculiar pronunciations like noth for north. North does not rhyme with moth in any English accent. It only does that in Noth British accents like Gordie Broon’s.

However there is definitely an unintended irony in the Spectator, that bastion of what passes for British Conservative thought, publishing an article saying that patriotic Brits don’t want to listen to Scottish voices.

To which just about everyone in Scotland replies, “You don’t say. Tell us something we didn’t already know.”

The Conservatives have never listened to Scotland, and that is precisely what’s going to lead to the end of the UK and the birth of an independent Scotland.

When that independent Scotland does come about, it will not only be welcomed by Scots with Scottish accents, but also by Scots with English accents, Scots with Indian accents, Chinese accents, German accents, and many more.

Because unlike the Conservatives, Scotland welcomes diversity and makes it a part of us.