Tartan Day will be held in New York on Wednesday 6th April; it is the centre of a week of events designed to promote Scotland and Scottish business in the North American market. A friend is, as usual, part of the delegation from Scotland and she will be promoting her particular industry throughout the coming week. Some here have expressed the view, though, that whilst the US and Canadian markets are obviously vital, specially in terms of tourism, there is a danger that too much emphasis goes into efforts there at the expense of similar business promotion efforts in our major markets in Europe, notably Germany and France, perhaps because in North America there is no language barrier. This kind of thinking has never stopped the Japanese, or the South Koreans (or indeed the Germans or even the French, where business is concerned) so I hope the fears expressed by lobbying body Scottish Engineering are not too close to the truth for comfort.
It seems that First Minister Jack McConnell will not be attending this year's Tartan Day, thought to be because of the perhaps imminent General Election here. Or perhaps as a result of the media ridicule he suffered last year because of his choice of kilt (a modern pin-striped number), he has decided it is safer to stay away? In any case, and whilst Jack McConnell is certainly no favourite of mine, I think his efforts at modernising the Scottish sartorial look were somewhat unfairly maligned - after all, I expect he was only trying to showcase the work of some young Scottish clothes designer by giving his/her work a famous pair of legs to show-off. I do sometimes think that the media, and some of my fellow-citizens, do lose sight of what is really important in their efforts to score political points.