To the unlikely soundtrack of Sir Sean Connery warbling a sentimental song, Alex Salmond started Homecoming Scotland, a £5 million tourism promotion aimed at expatriate Scots that celebrates golf, whisky and the life and work of Robert Burns on the 250th anniversary of his birth.
On an occasion dripping with national pride and featuring the musical talents of a phalanx of “iconic” Scottish celebrities, Mr Salmond said that he was delighted to endorse the year-long promotion, which would both excite thousands of tourists to Scotland and thumb its nose at the pessimists at home who so often talked down the best of Scotland.
The First Minister defined this upbeat tone as the “most important thing” about the Homecoming Scotland campaign, which already boasts a calendar of more than 200 events.
“Homecoming is full of people who see their glasses half full as opposed to people who see glasses half empty. What you'll see in this campaign is a victory of optimism over pessimism and folk who are prepared to say, ‘Look, my God, something really important has happened.'
It's worth going through to this link Homecoming to pick up some of the criticisms of Homecoming Scotland which are beginning to surface, not least because of the bizarre language which is being employed in this campaign.
At first, we were told that the initiative would reach out to 'heart Scots' and 'blood Scots'; now the phrase being employed is 'affinity Scots'. I wonder if VisitEngland would ever run a campaign which appealed to 'blood English' or 'affinity English'. Or perhaps it's an idea we could run past the German tourist board...
To capture the essence of contemporary, ethnically diverse Scotland, check out the image below, which is used on the cover of the main Homecoming Scotland programme.