Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Independence’
There is a Light That Never Goes Out: Ian Bell, Willie McIlvanney and the Power of the Word
Scottish Review, January 6th 2016
Scotland values words. It has always had a place in its heart for wordsmiths and for those who powerfully combine language with a sense of some higher calling – from religion, to morality, to various causes for a better world.
In the weeks running up to Christmas, within a matter of days of each other, we lost two of our most celebrated public figures who expertly used words – William McIlvanney and Ian Bell.
Sometimes, words – written or spoken – just don’t convey the full feeling of something. That’s true of so much, but with McIlvanney and Bell there is a sense in different, but complimentary ways, that they contributed significantly to how Scotland saw itself in recent decades and how it has changed, and were influencers and interpreters in the work in progress that is modern Scotland. Read the rest of this entry »
If Independence is a State of Mind then we have to fundamentally change
Sunday Mail, November 8th 2015
Years ago the dream was that the Scottish Parliament would usher in a new politics.
It was going to be different from adversarial Westminster – consensual, caring, thoughtful, leading to better debates and laws.
Much of this was wish-fulfillment. There has always been mutual scorn between Labour and SNP – aided by the fetishisation of tiny differences, given they agree on so much. But in recent years all of this seems to have got worse. And the last week in particular, was a new low.
In the previous seven days, Labour and SNP crossed swords on the replacement of the UK nuclear ‘deterrent’ Trident. Scottish Labour debated the issue at their conference for the first time since 1998 and came to the same result – opposing nuclear weapons and voting for disarmament. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Nationalism alone is not enough’ as the SNP finally shows it is mortal
Sunday Mail, October 4th 2015
After eight years of defying the laws of political gravity, the normal rules of politics are back. The SNP are, like everyone else, mortal.
Michelle Thomson, newly elected SNP MP for Edinburgh West, has built a £1.7m property portfolio with her husband through buying properties at knock down prices from vulnerable people. Her solicitor, Christopher Hales, who undertook the conveyancing work on 13 properties was struck off last year by the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal.
Whatever the legality of these purchases, the ethics and morality aren’t good. This is self-interested, self-aggrandising behaviour ‘preying’ on the needy and weak. Embarrassingly, Thomson was head of pro-independence SNP-front Business for Scotland, and seen as a SNP high-flyer in the referendum. Numerous SNP senior figures praised her, from John Swinney to Fiona Hyslop, with even Jim Sillars lauding her ‘commitment to social justice’. Read the rest of this entry »
‘The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil’ Still Matters
Sunday Mail, September 27th 2015
One year after the referendum has seen a golden summer and autumn of Scottish theatre. Adaptions of Alasdair Gray’s ‘Lanark’ at the Citizens’ Theatre, and Alan Warner’s ‘The Sopranos’ at the Traverse, along with John McGrath’s ‘The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil’ at Dundee Rep.
These are all iconic, evocative plays that tell much about the Scotland in which the original texts were written, the times in which they are set, as well as the present day. ‘Lanark’ addresses the scale of economic, social and psychological change in post-war Glasgow and the West of Scotland; ‘The Sopranos’ (adapted as ‘Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour’) deals with youthful rebellion and expression, but it is ‘The Cheviot’ which attempts the most over-arching account of Scotland through the centuries to modern times.
Written by John McGrath, first premiered by his theatre company 7:84 in Aberdeen in 1973 and then shown as a BBC ‘Play for Today’ in 1974, it has now returned for the first time in over twenty years, adapted by Joe Douglas and Dundee Rep Ensemble. Read the rest of this entry »
Scotland and Britain Have Changed: The ‘Big Bang’ of the Indy Ref and After
Sunday Mail, September 13th 2015
One year ago Scotland went to the polls.
An amazing 85% of us voted: 45% for independence and 55% against – both expressions of Scottish self-government and a desire for a different Scotland.
Scotland did not vote for independence, but nor did it settle for the status quo of the existing union. Instead, it voted to continue in a kind of interregnum – a transition from something familiar to something still hazy with a destination as yet unknown.
This is a time of great upheaval and unpredictability here, in the UK and globally. The SNP May landslide, the Corbyn surge, the Greek crisis, the humanitarian disaster of Europe, and Chinese economic shudders. Yet, paradoxically Scotland one year on seems to be sitting waiting for the next big thing to turn up. Read the rest of this entry »