Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Culture’
Beyond the Cultural Cringe: The Need for a Multi-Story Scotland
Scottish Review, September 3rd 2014
The independence referendum is remaking Scotland. History is being made which scholars will look back and study years from now. The very idea of Scotland is on the move and changing, as is what we think of as politics and even the notion of what is public.
One of the constant refrains, both in the independence debate, and over the last 30 years, has been the importance, role and, critically, the fragility of Scottish culture.
Whether it has been the existence (or not) of a ‘cultural renaissance’ in the 1980s, the supposed influence of Alasdair Gray’s ‘Lanark’, or artistic and cultural figures becoming politically engaged, first in the 1980s, and now in the referendum, the politics of culture have influenced both cultural politics and politics per se.
At the same time, a counter-strand has worried about Scottish culture, that its very existence might be under threat and that somehow it might be assimilated or excised. In certain circles, this anxiety has reached a crescendo in the independence debate which has been revealing, but which has deeper roots in history and the Scottish psyche. Read the rest of this entry »
The Myth of ‘Divided Scotland’
Scottish Review, July 16th 2014
One of the most oft-repeated descriptions of Scotland at the moment in the heat of the independence referendum is the problem of ‘divided Scotland’.
A Yes victory will leave a ‘deeply divided Scotland’ claimed Better Together chief Blair McDougall (Better Together, June 8th 2014), while a pro-independence website declared in response, ‘A deeply divided Scotland will be the result of a No vote’ (Arc of Prosperity, June 9th 2014).
Much cited recent polling shows that 38% of Scots believe divisions will remain whatever the referendum outcome, while 36% disagreed. In the same poll, 21% of people have had a row with family or friends about the vote. This latter finding led ‘The Independent’ to declare, ‘The Scottish independence debate has become venomous and fraught … pulling some families apart’ (June 15th 2014). Read the rest of this entry »
A weekend of politics, culture and ideas …. And fun!
Friday March 28th-Sunday March 30th
The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool
WHO HAS POWER IN MODERN SCOTLAND?
In association with the Reid Foundation
Friday March 28th
Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart
Scotland after the Crash: The Collapse of RBS
Ian Fraser, author, forthcoming ‘Shredded: The Rise and Fall of RBS’ Read the rest of this entry »
History in the Making: The Battle for Scotland’s Future
National Collective, November 20th 2013
The campaign on Scottish independence has reached new levels – a battle of competing specialist documents – firstly, there has been an Institute for Fiscal Studies report, matched by a Scottish Government paper on the economic independence, and next week the much anticipated White Paper on Scottish independence.
The latter is a milestone in the pro-independence debate. Whatever its content, style and persuasiveness things will never quite be the same again. A devolved administration in part of the UK lays out the case for independence and for formally ending the 300 year old union which has bound Scotland and England together.
Yet beneath these is a contest between two competing technocratic versions of the world, shaped by faith in conventional economic growth models which are globally growing more threadbare and discredited by the day. This is the rationalist mindset, illustrating by the actions of both campaigns the limits of such an approach and politics.
Then there is the mainstream media. The IFS report was greeted by what can only be called near-hysteria by some of the pro-union newspapers. The Scottish edition of ‘the Daily Mail’ shouted ‘BLACK HOLE: Report exposes SNP economic gap: They’ll have to raise income tax or slash spending’ on its front page; the ‘Daily Telegraph’ that ‘Separation would deal £6bn blow, impartial study finds’. We have had two and a half years of this one-sided Pathe News style propaganda and clearly it is only going in one direction: towards a date with Armageddon on September 18th 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
Scotland’s alternative festival of ideas, culture and politics
Friday November 1st-Sunday November 3rd
Newbattle Abbey College, by Dalkeith
This November Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart are at Newbattle Abbey College just south of Edinburgh for a weekend on how to do social change, activism and campaigning in a different way!
This weekend will be a departure in feel, style and setting – and is facilitated and led by Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert of the Centre for Artistic Activism who are based at New York University.
This will be a participatory weekend bringing together community politics with cultural and civic engagement. It will look at how to be a creative kind of activist, build alliances, and beyond tactics and strategy, start to envision a different kind of politics and world! Read the rest of this entry »