Howdy Tash Appreciators,

This week’s TF gets its title from the last episode of The Sopranos. 
Without spoiling what many consider to be the greatest finale in television history, most people’s first reaction to the denouement  of the story is: “that can’t be it, surely?” However, if they watch it again, or really think about it, they realise it’s excellent. The important aspect, for the sake of this week’s TF, is that no-one sees the subtleties first time around.
“Made in America” is used somewhat ironically in the show. The Sopranos, and subsequent programmes like The Wire or Treme, tell stories of the decline of America; that it doesn’t make anything any more. In real life, the same is said of Scotland. We hear a lot about job losses, declines in industry etc etc.
However, like the ending of The Sopranos, maybe there’s more going on in Scotland than initially meets the eye. Are there details that we miss as time rushes by but which are in fact crucial to how our story ends? Could it be that when we look around the country and think “this can’t be it, surely” that we’re missing crucial details? Perhaps, when we look again in more detail, we’ll notice the subtleties and see that there are more positives than we think.
Maybe Scotland doesn’t “make” things in the same ways it used to. However, do we need to see factories billowing out smoke or thousands of men going home in dirty overalls after a hard day’s work before we think that Scotland is going places? Although we may miss aspects of the old days, such as characters like Tash-toting Jimmy Reid (below), they are mostly behind us.
If you look around Scotland you’ll see investments in pioneering energy production technology; in Glasgow, the east end is effectively being re-built with better housing, better facilities and better transport links; high-rises are being demolished to make way for the building of more affordable housing;  and I attended a graduation ceremony on Thursday at a new(ish) university that appears to be going from strength to strength by targeting niche areas and cleverly using land to ensure that generations in the future will be encouraged to pursue further education. 
When we look back in years to come, these projects and others like them, which we all see but don’t notice, might be the beginnings of a new sustainable era which we can be proud of. Some will say that they don’t see any signs of improvement and that the best days of Scotland are behind us, but as I have been saying to a Tash Appreciator this week, a negative attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – it’s only with positive thinking and action that things will get better. 
Hopefully, in the future, we will see Scottish people and their technology around the world. If/when we do, we’ll be able to proudly say: “made in Scotland”. 
As he so often does, President Obama sums up in one word exactly what I’m getting at:
If only he was from Hamilton rather than Hawaii.
Have a fantastic weekend folks!
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