Changing Scotland’s State of Mind

National Collective Press Conference, Royal Faculty of Procurators, Glasgow

Scottishness and Britishness are not the constitution. They are cultural ideas and they have meaning, positive or negative, today, just as they would under a different constitutional arrangement…One of the things that I find most disappointing and frustrating about the state of our politics in Scotland, and it did show itself during the referendum, not from the majority, from the minority, but a vocal minority on both sides, is this sense of hostility and resentment that exists between people on ‘Yes’ and the ‘No’ sides of that independence debate.
Patrick Harvie, speaking at Changin’ Scotland, Ullapool, Saturday 28 March 2015.

It’s difficult, from whatever side you look at it, to comprehend at what point Scotland will be capable of moving beyond the massive ramifications of last year’s events.

Certainly, a great deal has changed since that dire September morning when I sat looking up at Edinburgh’s Old Town from Princes Street Gardens, with only a bottle of Talisker for comfort (sneaking it into my coat pocket as I left a party represented at least one successful act of liberation from the night before). I was struck by all the fine old stone buildings of the Scottish establishment that seemed to stare back at me like a wall of entitlement and parochialism. In the early morning haar I was a very small, fallible individual again, and those ramparts seemed insurmountable.

With the onset of Spring and the continued unprecedented nature of Scottish politics, the scene is beginning to clear and fall into perspective once again. This was thoroughly demonstrated at last week’s Changin Scotland event, a long running lecture series on politics and ideas. Ullapool is a fitting spot for this kind of forum: in recent years, it’s become a small but well formed cultural capital for north west Scotland. Not because anyone anointed it as such but largely down to the hard work and audacity of a few community leaders.

Given the inevitable, frequent, references to the referendum, the 19th of September seemed both more distant and still present at the event. While a great deal is still unfolding: much that was live in the campaign remains so.

Perhaps such a time and place offer a useful vantage point. Scotland is still going through a process of transformation. Crucially, you’ll notice this as much in Ullapool as you will in Holyrood or Westminster. If a tangible effect

is discernible: it is that many Scots, long douce and patient, are tipping inexorably towards a state of mind that is more audacious, more demanding and far more able to self-educate and organise.

Kicking out incumbent lobby fodder in Glasgow and setting up a group in a Highland village to talk land reform might not seem like they are part of the same process, but in a sense, they are. Of all that has been hard to thole for Scotland’s people in recent decades, it is the neglect that comes with obscurity, venal entitlement and inherited privilege. It seems that the superstitious curse that it’s ‘aye been’ has lost its once enthralling quality. This, it could be argued, is as significant a development as constitutional change.

That said, it’s all too easy to assume that the form of expansive politics Scotland discovered last year has been grafted onto the coming election via the SNP. Elections are as fundamentally different from referenda as movements are from political parties. Rather than big electoral vehicles the referendum was about the ability of new groups to take root overnight. The ability of novel brands and formations to spring up with youthful speed and agility was central to the mammoth fast-forwarding experience that Scotland as a polity went through last year. For now, the time of that simple link between political ideas and their expression, or the kind of politics that can spontaneously take to the streets, is past. So, while it has become obligatory to talk of ‘Scotland the changed’, it’s worth remembering that the agents of change must always be found far beyond the membership of any one political party.

So the next task is not, in any direct sense, political. In Ullapool frequent concern was expressed at the depth of post-referendum divides. In some sense, considering all that was at stake in last year’s vote, Scotland’s continued capacity for social cohesion in the face of its many divisions is remarkable.

Rather than creating tribalism: the referendum divide now has a more symbolic role. It’s not about generalising the experience of the long running SNP/Labour grudge match. Instead, it’s a kind of Scottish version of America’s notorious and long running culture wars. A ‘silent’, generally older, small ‘c’ conservative bloc is watching a country it once knew disappearing thanks to a loud, generally younger and poorer, alliance of progressive forces.

Post-referendum, we cannot avoid this culture war: it is the pervasive backdrop to all serious discussions about the country’s future. It’s about a sense that a set of values embodied in the British union are under threat on the one hand and that a body of trendy progressive opinion, backed by prominent cultural figures, are locked into an alliance intent on destroying them.

Many contemporary societies experience such acute divisions: even if in Scotland it is a native underclass, rather than racial other, that faces ultimate demonisation. But the threat from below is still felt to be existential. The right to hold British values itself is threatened by this rag-tag assortment of vocal activists and artists ranged from the centre leftwards. The army, the monarchy and the BBC may not be safe. These institutions, that are the only carriers that British culture has left, are threatened as never before.

The parallels with America don’t end there. As the most recent findings of the Scottish Referendum Study revealed, with the exception of the Roman Catholic community, the yes vote only triumphed amongst the godless. Essentially the politics of Britishness/Scottishness have become carriers for social stratification on a whole variety of different lines. While complexities and strange alliances still abound within the two camps, the division is  generational,  class based and often rural vs urban.

It’s therefore not surprising that much of the art produced by those in the Scottishness camp is referred to as both degenerate and worrisome. That is of course if you believe such people are worthy of the title ‘artist’ in the first place. As in Alex Massie’s polemic Where’s the art, National Collective? the artist who backs independence is reduced to the status of hipster luvvie by association.

Judgements of what is and what is not art are always subjective. It’s possible to imagine that for some, this sublime piece of animation by Fraser Croall, released shortly before September’s vote, isn’t art. It’s equally credible that supporters of National Collective who performed and contributed work to the campaign: including Stuart Braithwaite, James Kelman, Liz Lochhead, David Greig, Karine Polwart, Ruth Mills, Janie Nicoll, Dick Gaughan,Janice Galloway and RM Hubbert (to name just a few), do not fit with the runes in whatever secret codex Massie uses to asses artistic validity. Yet it’s not difficult to suggest that few would have time for such sweeping dismissal.

I suspect that, in reality, Massie would acknowledge such people are artists and we’d agree that the best work on 2014 is likely to follow at a later date, given that, overwhelmingly, that’s how the creative process works. And yes the definition of artist-creative used by National Collective was wide: as he points out, it included comedians and teachers, though if being a teacher stops you producing art Massie’s unionist canon would exclude the likes of Norman MacCaig, Robin Jenkins, and a host of other prominent contributors to Scottish culture who worked in the profession.

The point however, is this: it doesn’t matter that National Collective can be reduced to some cherry picked student prose or to the social media hype it used to promote itself (even if it is regrettable that common appreciation of artistic value can get lost in the mix). Fundamentally, Scotland is a country that consists of two separate and fragmented audiences, cleaving to mutually exclusive narratives about the country’s history, culture and the experience of a totemic referendum campaign. Massie is performing for only one camp in the culture war. For its followers National Collective deserves nothing other than condescension and spite.

For it’s not artists that are the real target of a piece that is redolent with the very familiar disdain from certain quarters about the character of the wider yes movement. It’s really a proxy attack on millennials, who were seen to support yes in the greatest numbers and who were at the forefront of groups like National Collective and Radical Independence. Precarious, young and often sporting a variety of fashions and attempts at facial hair, the ‘hipster’ generation is an easy target, partly because its inheritance is so meagre. PhD qualified zero hour contractors and sculptors that work in Sainsbury’s are very easy to mock: especially if you came of age at the right time to buy a home or land a permanent salaried position. But the idea that this lack of economic security or vocational identity is somehow the result of a talentless, non-committed generation, doesn’t stack up. The reality is that many minds brimming with projects, degrees and distant aspirations, are as likely to be serving, as they are to be purchasing, a flat white in Finnieston. As the Scottish Referendum Study has found: the worst-paid, most highly educated, chronically interned and underemployed generation voted yes by a majority. In reaching out for a movement they chose one that reflected the nature of their lives. In Scotland’s culture war, this demographic reality is taken and mocked by an older, more conservative nation: a partisan contender that will do anything other than admit that the country it left to its children is often devoid of opportunity.

How do we reach across these barriers of wealth, status and age? The object lesson from America is not to let this conflict of values be played out exclusively in the realm of party politics. We need to keep the conversation big and broad, while understanding that the cultural influence of the union, for all that many of us proudly cultivate a Scottish alternative to it, remains pervasive.

But a mature culture does not have to ask permission to thrive. It does not allow itself to be defined by the structural problems it faces, anymore than the people of Ullapool were prepared to settle for a situation in which culture was seen to stop at Inverness, if it even made it that far.

In our Scotland in flux, old divisions, sometimes with new names, are everywhere. The independence of mind that many of us now seek must be about so much more than the backing of competing politicians. It must be cultural in its widest sense: recognising that the nature of the current fight is about the embedding of youthful confidence and a refusal to be defined by a conservatism that dare not speak its name. Constitutions aside, a country that is prepared to break out of its British-Scottish stasis will be all the richer for it. You never know, one day some of us might even get a paying job in it.

@silverscotland



Categories: Commentary

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149 replies

  1. A person’s identity is their own business

  2. Can I ask why you are bothering to take Alex Massie seriously? He is a good journalist when it comes to the nuts and bolts of politics but hopeless at dealing with anything not of his class, which comprises of a tiny rare breed of people in Edinburgh and a significantly more numerous one down here in London.
    While not agreeing with him I respect his journalism about Independence vs Unionism, but I wouldn’t pay any attention to anything else he writes about except if I cared about cricket.
    His comments about ‘artists’ not of his ilk should be about as listened to as Jeremy Clarkson on cooking.

  3. The fear factor lives on as seen by Labour’s new, melodramatic scares about FFA. However, as the referendum campaign progressed more and more people in Scotland overcame the fear; sadly, not enough to result in a Yes victory. However, according to the polls, this lack of fear for the future seems to be spreading.
    Mr Miliband arrives again to lecture people in Scotland about the massive, life-threatening dangers of FFA.
    No, not this time Mr Unionist. this time we won’t be intimidated.

    • OK it becomes boring to keep saying this but it is not a “fear factor”. It is the “asking sensible questions and hoping eventually there will be answers beyond an appeal to emotion” factor. We should stop slogans and deal with the reality

      We could all also improve the debate by trying to stop demonising Tories; they too have a stake in any new Scotland and deserve to be treated with the respect afforded to any minority

  4. I agree with a lot of this.

    But what I fear most is not the cultural division that the article presents as polarised but the entrenched nature of economic privilege which will be hard to shift. I live in Edinburgh which was 61% No. This despite locales of Yes majorities like Leith and Craigmillar. In my more lower middle class area where residents are teachers, nurses, council workers, and students, I reckon my neighbours were closer to the national average of 45:55. But out in the leafy suburbs of Murrayfield, Corstorphine, Barnton, Colinton, Stockbridge, New Town, high-paid professionals working overwhelmingly in the private sector voted No in very large majorities. Those who send their kids to Edinburgh’s fee-paying schools voted overwhelmingly No. A great many immigrants insecure about their future and instinctively feeling that British was bigger and stronger, also voted No.

    At the recent STV debate held in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms the audience was overwhelmingly a No audience. It let out a deep (and heart-felt) groan when Nicola Sturgeon suggested that in 2016 another referendum might be on the cards. It was posited on Wings that STV had selected a slanted audience. But I beg to differ; this audience with its grey, bland, complacency, and uninspired, unreflective questions, was very much representative of the 61% of No voting Edinburgh who are doing OK and can’t see what the fuss is about, except in some way they do feel in some vague way that they haven’t worked out that they are fingered by us Yessers as the problem, not the solution. It was the No vote personified. In Aberdeen a similar audience of the grey and the well-heeled was selected in the BBC’s debate this week.

    There are two things that are striking about these people. Firstly, the entrenched nature of their views and their lack of preparedness to consider alternative perspectives or arguments. The second is the entrenched nature of their economic success. What I’m noting is that the two go hand in hand. Britain is working perfectly well for them.

    Those in what is termed the ‘precariat’ – the people with good degrees serving flat whites – for whom the British system is not working very well – they are the ones prepared to take the risk.

    But what I despair about is this; that the well-heeled elite are self-replicating and self-appointing. They occupy the top positions and from this lofty position of power control the economic levers of power and pour scorn on the precariat. I just don’t know what is going to change their views or how we can breach this citadel.

    • Asked what was his greatest disappointment in life, Mahatma Gandhi replied: “The hard-heartedness of the educated.”

      Then there’s the question of being “ignorant”. Round about 1980 a Mr Mackenzie was a lecturer at Edinburgh Uni in industrial relations. He’d tell his students: “The word, ignorant, has a distinctive application in Scottish culture: it means, to be ignoring of human relations.”

    • The Edinburgh and Aberdeen audiences had more than their fair share of the ‘educated’ ABC1s and academics among them, the latter disproportionately not Scots; Prof Pennington to the fore with his pro British bias. This group have no interest in Scottish nationhood or Scottish culture and function as the centurions of Anglicisation. Scots seem rather too naïve to appreciate they are in our midst, and have been so for decades. Yet these people end up filling many of the key positions within ‘establishment Scotland’ – i.e. they ‘manage’ what remains of our nation.

      • Alistair, thanks for that. Yes, in Scotland when we call somebody ‘ignorant’ in common parlance, we mean somebody who just doesn’t care about others, somebody with zero emotional intelligence, zero social conscience, and usually we are referring to a rough sort with a low level of education. But you’re right of course, it’s equally applicable to the smooth and well educated, and ignorant is exactly what the comfortable of Edinburgh are. Though they would never recognise themselves as such.

        Darien, well that’s what I mean: how do we get them out? They appoint each other. We can’t insist on an ethnic policy in regards to jobs, that would be illiberal and our opponents would have a field day.

        In the 1970s I had an English friend who did well here and obtained a very senior position in which he was in the situation of appointing others. And overwhelmingly, he told me he appointed English educated graduates like himself. Because, he said, Scots might have good qualifications on paper, but when he interviewed them they did not interview well, they were taciturn, defensive, monosyllabic. I knew exactly what he was talking about, and I could see his point. But he wasn’t able to see my point, that this was cultural, not intellectual. It didn’t mean a person couldn’t think, just because they didn’t go jabbering on all the time. Or talked themselves up. We don’t do that kind of thing in Presbyterian Scotland. Heaven forbid. We just quietly get on with being effective. Applause is not required. Later, teaching at university, I came across this myself. I’m a friendly person, I don’t think I’m especially scary. But Scottish students wouldn’t utter a single word in tutorials, whilst English students would be lively, eloquent. You could be forgiven for thinking the Scots dull. Until you read the essays, and then the Scots’ eloquence was often astounding, whereas the English under-performed relative to their oral contributions. A Hungarian friend (who was interested in minority cultures and had studied the Roma) said there was a name for this, it was called ‘confident majoritarianism’. Later discussing this effect on cultural confidence I mentioned this to one of the old hands in our department. ‘Confident majoritarianism, eh? I’ve always called it effortless supremacy, myself’.

        • ‘whereas the English under-performed relative to their oral contributions.’ oooooooohhhh eeeeerrr missus. Carry on Bella Caledonia!

          What racist piffle. Think it was probably class. When I was at ‘a Scottish university’ You couldn’t shut the middle class ‘socialists up’ gobshites from the west usually!

          • Actually it was my English colleagues who first drew my attention to this. They noted it and commented on it as curious. It was a broad pattern, and not universal in every case.

        • This is a common challenge that many former colonies have had to address, continuing even today:

          “In Oman, the Omanisation programme has been in operation since 1988, working toward replacing expatriates with trained Omani Personnel. by the end of 1999, the number of Omanis in government services exceeded the set target of 72%, and in most departments reached 86% of employees. The Ministry has also stipulated fixed Omanisation targets in six areas of the private sector. Most companies have registered Omanisation plans. ”

          see http://www.omaninfo.com/manpower-and-employment/omanisation-programme-and-policy.asp

          • Lovely country, Oman. When I was there a few months ago the main thrust of Omanisation was to reduce the number of jobs held by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. All taxi drivers are now Omanis.

            Closer to home, I think that you’d find the EU (remember, that club which was going to welcome us back with open arms upon independence, membership of which is so important that an Out vote could trigger a new Scottish referendum) might have something to say about favouring Scots for employment over other ethnic groups. MBC says ‘illiberal’ above, but the EU would say ‘illegal’.

        • My experience supports this. I had to shut my gob because Scots students hid behind my input and said nothing.

          As for English confidence, is this why so many find jobs in many areas of Scottish life? You only have to watch TV to find hardly a Scots voice in so many walks of life, especially academia.

          I don’t blame the English for this, if true. I blame ourselves – here’s tae us wha’ like us. Very few it seems.

      • Your right, I think that a key question for the moment is ‘Who manages Scotland?’ It needs closer scrutiny as to why this situation has evolved.

    • MBC

      Your analysis is much better than most that appear here.

      Your points, about there being a huge part of the population that is content with the status quo and that the Edinburgh middle class has few rivals in looking after itself, are well made.

      That said, I think you are too harsh on those, like myself, who voted NO.
      It was not an unwillingness to ‘consider alternatives’ but a look at the likely available alternatives that persuaded me – and others I know – to make the choice we did.
      The currency issue exemplified this. If you get the currency wrong; you are done for economically. We know this from our own history in the 20th century and from Greece today. Yet, there was no clear path to currency viability for an independent Scotland. Voting YES, for me and others, would have been utterly quixotic and foolish. It is easier to destroy an economy than to build one up. Those who ruin economies often have the best of intentions.
      In passing, Edinburgh North and Leith voted 60% NO. From the campaigning, you would have anticipated a YES vote of double what they got.

      ‘serving flat whites’ What does it mean ?

      • Flat whites is coffee.

        As for the currency debate, I have no wish to go over that again but it was a non-issue. I am prepared to believe you think you believed their codswallop over it, but in your heart of hearts, I ask you, is that the real reason or just an excuse to make you feel better about stimying progressive politics and our forward march as a nation?

        As we were preparing for our indyref last September the tiny island nation of Malta was celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence. It was offered independence by the British in 1964. It took it. It has a population 1/10th the size of Scotland and no natural resources. Golly gosh, what did it do for its currency? How did it pay for its pensions? Wasn’t it a complete disaster?

        Not. But oh, I forgot. It wasn’t too wee, too poor, or too stupid. Unlike Scotland.

        • Describing what currency an independent Scotland would use as a ‘non-issue’ is the sort of thinking that lost a very winnable referendum. Paul Krugman thought it was hugely important and, on this occasion, I side with him.
          Similarly, you comment about me ‘stimying (sic) progressive politics’ indicates a mindset in which there is a virtuous side and a non-virtuous one. I am not much interested in ‘our forward march as a nation.’ I am interested in improving life for our least well off.
          Malta is, for Scottish purposes, irrelevant. Texas and Bavaria could easily be independent. In each case, their citizens opt not to exercise this option – as happened here on September 18th last.

      • “If you get the currency wrong; you are done for economically. ”

        It occurred to me at the time currency became a supposed issue that, as most of our population live on debt, it mattered little what currency their debt was in, it would still be debt. The same applies with UK national debt I expect. In any event, as Scotland’s independence is itself priceless, a focus on mere economics pales into insignificance.

        • It was explained at the time what the options were. You just weren’t listening because you didn’t want to hear. Don’t come that ‘they never explained properly’ attitude with me.

        • Whit???

          Half the world is living in fear of an increase in the US interest rates since they have borrowed in US dollars and won’t be able to afford to service the debt when the change comes. It matters a helluva lot what currency you use and what control you have over it.

          This is why the currency question matters and the lack of a sensible proposal from the Yes campaign certainly swayed a number of voters that I know. One family I know did their own analysis of this then sent it to many friends of various persuasions asking if they were wrong in what they had understood. They, like me, thought the lack of an answer and the swerving into “we can use any currency we want” followed by the whole fear factor guff, was just ducking the main issue of being independent; which is can we afford it?

          Mere economics?? How do you expect Scotland to pay for all these benefits the SNP want to lavish on us?

      • Edinburgh North and Leith is a diverse setup. Large swathes of deprivation and de-politicised communities. But also strong sections of affluent individuals and ‘professional’ Labour supporters. BIG financial community to boot. I pride Leith (and the rest) on being a thinking community. Unfortunately not all the arguments made by the Yes side were enough to convince those who wanted the best for everyone to take the plunge. I accept that fact. 2015 is a different kettle of fish and I am intrigued to see where the chips fall this time.

      • Florian – ‘If you get the currency wrong; you are done for economically…and from Greece today’

        Eh ? So Greece is having a hard time because they use the Euro ? Fair enough some of the repayments for the bail out are tough, but I’m pretty confident that the countries problems were due to complete effing incompetence and corruption on the part of dodgy politicians and big business leaders.

        As for the UK’s financial woes. just this morning I took a 50p coin out my pocket and lambasted it for causing such a dire economic situation.

      • Edinburgh middle and upper classes, for as long as union is in place, will always play second fiddle to London counterparts. The same cannot be said between the same classes of Dublin and London.

        Edinburgh is not a national capital (much to my sorrow), London and Dublin are. London and Dublin get the cream of their nation to work within their city walls, where as Edinburgh has to settle for those who can’t or won’t make it in London.

        Of all the areas in Scotland, Edinburgh and the Lothians had possibly the most to gain from independence. Embassies, air links, top jobs, inward investment and a huge boost to the economy as the brain drain would be reversed with Edinburgh holding all the cards and opportunity, up to now denied to her.

        Not pointing this out clearly to the people of Edinburgh was one of the failings of the YES camp, in part due to the fear of being seen to favour Edinburgh over Glasgow and the possible electoral consequences. Key to resolving this is to devolve significant numbers of the functions of government out with Edinburgh so all parts can bee seen to benefit.

        A lesson leaned for 2016!

    • I also live in Edinburgh. Well said. I feel exactly the same. Sad, but true.

    • As always a thoughtful and respectful comment from MBC.

      I remember watching the 2nd TV debate and a member of the audience asked ‘If things are going to be better, how come they’re not better now?’ Even the Yes supporting members of the audience winced as those few words reduced Alastair Darling to a babbling idiot. (You might have thought that Better Together would have worked out that they might be asked what Better Together actually meant, but that’s another discussion.) In my opinion that was the moment that Yes took off from the mid 35-37% band.

      A colleague and I talked about it the next day and concluded that Edinburgh was where Better Together lived. Being part of the larger union supported a large number of well paid, white collar jobs in financial services and supporting industries – and those jobs would not exist in the same numbers if we were not part of the same taxation & currency regime. That’s why we don’t buy financial services from Ireland or France.

      Everybody that I talked to in financial services believed that independence would lead to job reductions. A few still supported Yes despite this, but for the majority it was a key driver for No.

      What I haven’t come across is a Yes supporter who is not in denial about this. Comments range from the dismissive ‘well they would say that, they’re bankers / insurance spivs’ and ‘it will only be a brass plate’; to the aggressive ‘let them piss off down to England, we don’t want them here’, or the naive ‘we need to re-balance our economy away from financial services’, the latter being code for ‘assuming the the rUK don’t stop buying pensions / savings / investment products then we are happy that those well paid / high tax jobs go south and we will fill the gap with [insert desired industry here].’

      As I’ve pointed out before, the Edinburgh No majority would have won the referendum on its own. So when MBC says……’There are two things that are striking about these people. Firstly, the entrenched nature of their views and their lack of preparedness to consider alternative perspectives or arguments. The second is the entrenched nature of their economic success. What I’m noting is that the two go hand in hand. Britain is working perfectly well for them.’ I think that you are only half right. Britain is working perfectly well for them, but I don’t think that there is a lack of preparedness to consider…..I think that they have considered, and they’ve come to the considered opinion that independence would be bad news for them, for those around them and those who rely on the economic activity & taxation that they generate.

      For the record – I don’t work in financial services. I’m reporting what I hear when talking to the people that I know that do.

    • MBC

      What you say chimes with me. I tried to debate with the better placed Better Together. Some of those I spoke to could not understand why a referendum was happening and found it unnecessary.

      Changing views will be difficult. I think health inequalities is one subject which might help to change minds. If you are unfamiliar with the issues may I suggest that you start with the 10th Kilbrandon Lecture by Sir Harry Burns. Google it.

      The steps to deal with health inequalities require re-distribution of wealth, income and power. Many will never accept this. But there are great benefits to all of the people of Scotland from eliminating health inequalities which will help to move others.

      I hope Bella might invite Sir Harry Burns for an interview.

    • Many of them, to continue the caricaturing of people, are likely to be wealth creators that need to thrive in Scotland if there is to be an economy beyond the fickle contributions made by the oil and financial sectors. `Do you want them to play a part of to leave?

  5. ‘The army, the monarchy, and the BBC….the only carriers that British culture has left…’. He says, writing in the (invisible?) English language…..Wake up at the back there!

    • Never mind about sour grapes, it’s your perpetual biliousness that concerns me.

      Never fear, help is at hand:

      ‘A Story From Erin’s Isle.

      TWO YEARS OF INDIGESTION AND LIVER TROUBLES – THEN BILE BEANS AND PERFECT HEALTH.

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      Sometimes there is pain and distension of the abdomen. That is indigestion, too; and there are many other forms, for indigestion is really the journey of the food along a tube nearly ten yards long, and its transformation into new blood during that journey.

      Bile Beans are a perfect specific for every form of indigestion, because they help diseased and disordered organs to work out their own salvation.

      Miss Ellie O’Neill, who lives and serves at the Rectory, Pallas Green, Co. Limerick, found out for herself how true that statement is. “For over two years” says Miss O’Neill “I suffered tortures from indigestion and liver complaint. Although I took the greatest possible care as to diet, I could eat nothing with comfort. After every meal, however light and wholesome, I was tortured with stomach pains, and a feeling as if my liver was swollen and puffed up. I could not sleep soundly because of bad headaches and nervous restlessness, and would rise from my bed as weary as when I lay down to rest. All day I felt heavy, depressed, and hopeless. This sort of thing soon made me so ill that I was not fit for work. I was treated by a doctor, but I got steadily worse. I seemed to have a score of ailments at the same time, and it would be impossible for me to tell you half the troubles I suffered from. At last I saw and advertisement of Bile Beans in ‘T.A.T.’ which spoke of a case very like mine. I put aside the doctor’s medicine and tried Bile Beans, and found myself getting lighter and livelier every day. This welcome improvement continued until I was sound and well once more. Bile Beans proved very satisfactory to me in all my ailments, and I can truly say I never felt better in my life than I do now.”

      Bile Beans for Biliousness, the world’s most successful toxic-alterative, are sold only in sealed boxes, of all chemists, or post free from the Bile Bean Mfg. Co., 4, Red Cross Street, London, E.C., at 1/1½ and 2/9 (triple size).

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  6. MBC – It’s interesting the yes & no divide in Edinburgh. It reflects a class division that was apparent all over Scotland. Edinburgh was an extreme example of a middle/upper class no voting city.

    The likes of JK Rowling are the people with large wallets, big mouths and no duty of care to society. The self preservation society! Snobs, posh people , Brits ,proud Scots but! Call them what you will. The anglified gentry who look down on a Weegie if he has an accent, even if he is a brain surgeon!

    Contrast that with Yes voting Glasgow and Yes voting Dundee. Cities of some poverty , little wealth and very Scottish in attitude to their fellow men and women. These cities are driving Scotland towards independence. Edinburgh clings to imperialist wealth , privet hedges and class division.

    I apologise to anyone from Leith , Craigmiller , Sighthill…..etc. The rest of your city let you down.

    • You may think that J K Rowling has no duty of care to society, but she has donated tens of millions to charity.

    • Hmm. Another way of looking at the referendum results would be that Scottish independence is a construct of the South West – Glasgow, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire – which these areas are trying to impose on the rest of Scotland. The further from Glasgow, the less support there is for independence.

      This is simple stuff, and nothing to do with “imperialist wealth, privet hedges, and class division”. Try telling that to the Northern Isles.

      • One third of the population of N. Isles comes from south of Hadrian’s Wall hence the abnormally high UKIP vote there. These folk have no interest or desire for Scottish nationhood. Farming folk/landowners make up another large group – they vote LibDem no matter what, though the reason for this escapes me – maybe just tradition. N. Isles is therefore not a good example to use.

        • Just read today about the English immigrants to Spain, bleating about foreigners in England. Included in such idiocy was a club for immigrant Rangers supporters who had a party after the No vote. The enemy within.

        • Darien – You say that one third of the population of the Northern Isles “comes from South of Hadrian’s Wall”. I’m unable to trace any evidence for this assertion – could you post your source?

          • This is a map of the English-born population of Scotland. No real surprise that the areas with less English-born correlate generally with areas voting Yes in larger numbers.

            However it is fair to say that plenty of English-born people here are nothing other than fully-fledged Scots, given how long many have lived here (i.e. since infancy, as in my case).

      • Anton, how dare we ‘impose’ independence on people by holding a democratic vote !

        Best laugh I’ve had all day.

      • I hate to break this to you Anton but Dundee is not in the “South West”.

  7. A very interesting article with a lot of good points.
    While a lot is made of the age and social class divide between Yes and No voters i think the city/country divide is just as significant. I work in Glasgow (i’m a very small cog in cultural sector) but live in Dalry, Ayrshire, my Glasgow friends and collegues are 80% but by local pals were nearly all Nos, true enough they’re mainly farmers and engineers but is shows that the Yes bubble doesn’t reach that far.

  8. JK can give all the money she likes to charity.

    It wasn’t about that. It was about empowering the poor and the working class. She campaigned to stop change and keep the weak and poor in their place. She voted to keep sneering Cameron in charge of Scotland!

    With regards to Glasgow and Dundee enforcing their beliefs onto no areas of Scotland. Good grief! We have put up with decades of the elite and middle classes running the show. Its time the little guy had a shot. The elite and middle classes brought about financial collapse and food banks. Their model is wrong and only keeps the poor in poverty and the wealthy with everything.

    Britishness and the Union flag have been forced on Scotland for centuries. The empire is over time to take the flags down.

  9. There’s a bigger culture war you have forgotten and that’s the one with England who can’t abide you or your whinging anymore (And I don’t mean Surrey I mean the Northern working classes, Manchester, Leeds. Liverpool). Spend so much time denigrating people, endlessly projecting negatives on to them, constantly looking for differences and this tends to happen. So feel free to keep your dismal’sugary’ culture that side of the border and we shall do the same lest you infect England with all that cloying middle class self pity.

    Article here is a case in point: truly dismal and full of the inconsistencies of a sixteen year old drama queen essayist.

    Instantly the article goes for the cloying emotive manipulation…the poor little me angle that makes stomachs turn.

    e.g) ‘I was struck by all the fine old stone buildings of the Scottish establishment that seemed to stare back at me like a wall of entitlement and parochialism. In the early morning haar I was a very small, fallible individual again, and those ramparts seemed insurmountable.

    FFS…Also, if you’re going to use terrible metaphors they at least have to make sense? Walls don’t stare! (at the very least you need to replace ‘like’ to ‘with a’…sense of…. and leave out the wall bit…

    2) Why if it isn’t party political (but beyond such grubby thing) do you have a photo of the Natty collective with the SNP? Oh because they are and were the SNP?

    3)’…The army, the monarchy and the BBC may not be safe. These institutions, that are the only carriers that British culture has left, are threatened as never before…’

    Fine fuck off then to Balamory. We’ll keep game of Thrones, our football our music and youth culture. I’ve heard Deacon ‘whooo whooo’ blue are releasing a new album. Apparently Pat Kane is releasing a new ‘stalkers’ anthem entltled ‘I found Linda and she’s now a fat middle aged women who drinks too much.’ Mmmm, think I may put on the Jam!

    4)’Many contemporary societies experience such acute divisions: even if in Scotland it is a native underclass, rather than racial other, that faces ultimate demonisation…’ Shut up you middle class bell end.

    5)’Essentially the politics of Britishness/Scottishness have become carriers for social stratification on a whole variety of different lines.’

    Er nope. Only the Scottishness is exclusive as being British incorporates multiple identities. Stop creating false binaries to justify your own cultural narrowness.

    6)’For it’s not artists that are the real target of a piece that is redolent with the very familiar disdain from certain quarters about the character of the wider yes movement. It’s really a proxy attack on millennials, who were seen to support yes in the greatest numbers and who were at the forefront of groups like National Collective and Radical Independence.’

    Nope it really is the cloying ‘artists’ Sorry!

    7)’As in Alex Massie’s polemic Where’s the art, National Collective? the artist who backs independence is reduced to the status of hipster luvvie by association..’

    Isn’t that Alan ‘freakin’ Bissett in the photo? Lol.

    8)’ PhD qualified zero hour contractors and sculptors that work in Sainsbury’s are very easy to mock’…Yup!

    9)’The reality is that many minds brimming with projects, degrees and distant aspirations, are as likely to be serving, as they are to be purchasing, a flat white in Finnieston’ ….You just haven’t earned it yet baby!

    10)’How do we reach across these barriers of wealth, status and age? The object lesson from America is not to let this conflict of values be played out exclusively in the realm of party politics. ‘

    The photo, the fucking photo?????

    11)’The independence of mind that many of us now seek must be about so much more than the backing of competing politicians. It must be cultural in its widest sense: recognising that the nature of the current fight is about the embedding of youthful confidence and a refusal to be defined by a conservatism that dare not speak its name.’?

    Independence of mind? In a narrow clique of a ‘collective’ and a ‘national’ one to boot? lol.

    And I’ve no idea what this is supposed to mean? ‘a cconservatism that dare not speak it’s name’ What???

    In fact all free thinking Scots there is a refuge…it’s called Cosmopolitanism, come south to Engerland and be yourselves!

    .

    • Well done for spotting Alan Bissett with the rest of National Collective.

      You obviously would have preferred a photo of Massie.

      Nuff said.

    • MancunianMatters.co.uk 10th April may provide some interesting reading, Mr Small.

    • Great stuff, thanks for this.

      I did this very thing 18 years ago (Manchester here) and never looked back.

      Indeed, more and more people in England (not just ‘the south east) are growing tired of the whining. And, with the metrics looking worse and worse for Scotland, they will be happy – or just plain impassive about seeing you go. So we don’t have to listen to you whining any more.

      The concern of course is that enough gullible sap Lefties will be taken in by crocodile smile Sturgeon’s offer of ‘progressive forces’. Whereas anyone with an ounce of insight knows the SNP’s plan is to obstruct, wreck, pickpocket and pillage as much as you can before their hoodwinked, hypnotised disciples have another IndyRef in about 2020.

      But people in England are waking up to what the Separatists are really up to.

      You won’t be dipping my pocket any more.

      • You refer to whining Scots. The Aussies refer to you as whinging Poms.

        If the Scots annoy you so much you will no doubt be a Yes supporter.

    • Adrian Small, the photo is not a picture of National Collective ‘with the SNP’. It’s just a picture of National Collective You’ve made that bit up. Love, Alan ‘freakin’ Bissett xx

      • Isn’t that Humza Yousaf dead center? Or do I need to change my contacts? Think Alan may have been the scribe of the piece poss? Nice spot Adrian.

        • Do the NC et al ever stop lying and trying to con people? It’s absurd. It would make Alistair Campbell blush.

          • FFS you really are a grade A twat Bissett. Even Yes people think so. I think you single handedly turned off at least 55% of the potential vote. lol.

          • Bissett. At what point do you not think it wise to shut up? It is clear you despise the English, you think you’re better than the ‘non white’ British as you take no account of their history. I don’t even think you like Scots if they aren’t silent while you spout your narrow ignorant shite. You are a Cretin!

        • Dr Strange – No, it is not Humza Yousaf. It is the lawyer Aemar Anwaar. Have a think about what you’ve just done there. Also, I did not write this piece. Two false accusations and then you neatly accuse NC of being liars? Well done, sir!

          • So it is. I did say my contacts were out and left a question mark – and don’t start implying anything as a) I’m not fully white b) not Scottish and c) and yes all brown people do get confusing sometimes to us east Asians – that’s not racism, that’s just biological fact – all ethniciities do it (until conditioned – apologies to Humza and Aamwar).

            But the real issue. So near you isn’t Dan Paris (now my contact lens are in) the political editor and long standing SNP member? Why are you deflecting. Is that all you ever do Alan ‘freakin’ Bissett. When you’re not bullying the English (yes we know who you meant) with the racist and highly unpleasant vote Britain whine?

            Sorry assumed it was you doing the writing as was just going on the quality of other output which is heavy on the leaner stuff iixed metaphors…all that Basking shark and (a)moral vacum cleaner stuff and overblown, overwrought, hyperbolic prose/ gimmics in you r books. My mistake.

          • Or let me guess, are you going to tell porkies that you had no idea that Dan Paris (the politcal editor) used to work for the SNP? Aye right!

          • Oh and a quick google reveals that Aamer Anwar is a member of the SNP and considered standing for office.

          • Dr Strange, it was good of you to apologise for mistaking one Scots Asian for another. I’m sure they’ll be heartened to know that it’s a ‘biological fact’ that brown people look alike to you, not racism at all. Aamer Anwar was not a member of the SNP when this photo was taken, that was still over two years into his future. As for Dan Paris, so what if he happened to be a member of two pro-independence organisations at once? Does this mean that this is a picture of National Collective ‘with’ the SNP? Well, no, it doesn’t.

            You seem to be keen on Googling people to ‘out’ their allegiances, but it’s interesting that you yourself are hiding behind a pseudonym…

            The ‘basking shark’ reference in the People’s Vow wasn’t a metaphor, as you claim. I mentioned that basking sharks are threatened by pollution. So I’d sharpen up on Lit Crit, if I were you. Not sure what the ‘(a)moral vacuum cleaner’ to which you refer is, can’t remember writing that one. And I’m keen to find out which lines from my poem ‘Vote Britain’ are ‘racist’. Do pick them out for me, please.

          • 1) I had my contacts out, without which I am blind, as I mentioned.
            2) I left a question mark as I wasn’t sure also (see the post).
            3) There is a difference between intent and cultural faux pas (the perjoritative is vote Britain – ‘forever England’ at the end just to make sure it was perfectly clear who you meant as the enemy ‘them’ – until other ‘Scots’ objected and you changed your tune. You consistently stereotype the English in a negative way and are a self confessed cultural nationalist who sees no connection with the English and project negatives on to all 55 million…our culture is all four wedding and a funeral etc).
            4)Many people Scots especially as the culture is quite mono, confuse me with Chinese, Japanese, when I am Vietnamese (I don’t mind, they are not being malicious) and when they say I look like what ever ‘yellow’ person going, I don’t mind as it is not intended to harm. I’m with Trevor Phillips and his views on things about race, that it is silly to conflate cultural faux pas with racism.
            4)From a distance Humza and Aemer do look alike a bit anyway, nothing to do with ethnicity.
            5) Stop using phoney liberalism as a personal tool/ personal ends, in a bullying passive aggressive way…it’s worse than being a bigot.
            6) Yes it does matter if the NC were set up and run (excluding others) by SNP party men while claiming to the public it was cross party and ‘grassroots’ It’s called lying! Please declare! and open up the space to others who may be from a different background.
            7)Psuedenom: Like most, unlike yourself, I neither seek publicity nor fame nor celebrity and very rarely post. I never attack others unless i’m attacked first: being English/ Asian this happens a lot on Bella but even then I have gone for the ball not the man (with the exception of your good self as you consistently attack others and mis frame/ represent them in an aggressive and deliberately fashion.
            8) In the people vow you confused ‘moral vow’ with ‘amoral vow’ Many have poked fun at you for it given the grandiose pomposity of the piece. Same for the ridiculous ‘Basking Sharks’ bringing ‘poetry’ to our shore. Get a sense of humour!

            9) The political for some is the personal…An ‘ethnically English/British/ Chinese’ friend of mine from Singapore went to his grandfathers funeral (who had survived the Burma Railway, but whose friends didn’t) wanted Rupert Brookes, Forever England read out. Not because he was an Imperialist as you would sneer at him for being (he stayed and married locally), but because it was the verse that kept him alive through the beatings and the starvation and the torture.

            10) he like me thinks your a Twat!

          • Amoral vacuum, not vow.

            In fact those of us who sit on the fault lines of culture and nationality find it hard to associate with the mono-cultural certainty of your kind of Nationalism and perspective.

          • And one more thing. Many people of non pure origin (and many ethnics) actually value Britain and British values as to them it means freedom from a more genuinely oppressive/ repressive/ imperialistic regime…see Hong Kong and Singapore. You should travel more. Britain may not be their country but it is their identity, so if you don’t have the sophistication to navigate politics without aggression and attacking people’s person, then please avoid politics. Vote Britain for many ‘non whites’ was deeply offensive.

            This has nothing to do with the Scots and their right to self determination.

          • “If you don’t have the sophistication to navigate politics without aggression and attacking people’s person, then please avoid politics.” “You’re a twat!”

            Right.

            That picture of NC also contains members of the Greens, the Socialists, as well as people – like myself – from no party, but I guess that doesn’t suit your NC=SNP narrative. “You consistently stereotype the English in a negative way and are a self confessed cultural nationalist.” That’s interesting. I’ve never called myself a nationalist, let alone a ‘cultural’ one, and I’ve never said anything negative about the English. The British ruling class, sure. But that’s not the same as ‘the English’. I don’t think we need to continue this discussion. Have a nice weekend x

      • Bissett, you are a Cretin!

        • Does it ever cross your mind to apologise or simply remain silent?

          • Christ, no wonder Scotland voted No.

            It is clear you despise the English, That you think you’re better or more important than others and their identity, especially the ‘non white’ British as you take no account of their complicated history. I don’t even think you like Scots if they aren’t silent while you spout your narrow minded ignorant shite!

            Pity ‘so called’ Scottish culture!

        • And while your pontificating about repression (despite ALL culture being devolved to the Scottish Parliament?) have you ever visited or more importantly lived in a genuinely repressive country? For example the city half my family come from of two million where there is only a handful of state owned bookshops? Have you ever?????? Do you think Scotland is really oppressed ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????.

        • Still mis-framing and obstinately missing the point entirely. And I am aware of that ‘play’ as I was once a big fan and very interested in ‘Scottish’ culture, when it seemed more open. In the play you equate the two, Scotland being colonised and of being the coloniser, not of simply being the coloniser. In fact it was a set up to indulge in ‘Scotland the colonised’ naval gazing.

          Self pitying, self justifying, lacking in any historical nuance with sweeping generalisations and lacking in any complexity what so ever. In fact it was a cowardly attempt to deflect any real responsibility.

          The point under discussion is a simple one: Do not assume to denigrate other people’s sense of identity for your own politics (however justified you think they are.) The decent thing would simply have been to apologise for Vote Britain, to all those who consider ‘Britain’ an inescapable part of their identity and therefore their person. And many do. And many the once colonised.

          But you are a true nationalist Imperialist who seeks not ‘self determination’, but to impose a narrow identity on all people within the cultural group, while undermining wider and other identities simultaneously.

          Ironic really that it is no longer the British who are doing this! That the Union Flag is the haven for most once colonised. (with the exception of Farage, but he is a minority and really an English nationalist.)

          It simple. Some of us have no choice but to look outward.

          And please don’t respond with yet another patronising pat on the head. You’re not the person you think or would like yourself to be. Goodbye.

        • I agree with her. Except the bit about Scotland being more ‘inward looking’ than England. Can’t see on what basis she’s making that claim when both countries, as she rightly says, were colonisers. I tweeted her about that today but she hasn’t replied. There was a line about it in ‘Vote Britain’, you might recall: ‘Vote for our proud, shared history of enslaving other nations, stealing their natural resources…’

          • Misframing again. The point is about other people, especially those colonised, now have a right to live in Britain with recourse to that identity. Vote Britain is entirely about your identity not others, unless it suits your agenda.

            But hey ho, complexity is clearly not your strong point.

          • The claim is simply visual if you walk around any Scottish city then do the same with English cities.

            But her force of her claim is in the fact that the English (most) accept and don’t try to hide from their colonialism/ Empire behind ‘Britain’ as Scots like yourself do. In Vote Britain, the whole tone is one of a victim, not the antagonist? Why? You were still Scots in Britain and will still be Scots if independent? Instead you try to shift the blame in what is a very cowardly fashion. Was not the Scots but the Scots as British.

          • Oh, Dr Strange. You dislike me so much you won’t even let me agree with you! I’ve never denied Scots were colonisers. How could I? It’s a matter of historical record. I wrote a whole play about it last year (Jock: Scotland on Trial). It still doesn’t invalidate a single thing I’ve written. That this colonisation was done under the aegis of the British empire doesn’t mean those responsible weren’t Scots, but it also doesn’t mean they weren’t British. Not exactly sure who you’re arguing with anymore.

          • Still mis-framing and obstinately missing the point. And I am aware of that ‘play’ as I was once a big fan and very interested in ‘Scottish’ culture, when it seemed more open. In the play you equate the two, Scotland being colonised and of being the coloniser, not of simply being the coloniser. In fact it was a set up to indulge in ‘Scotland the colonised’ naval gazing then concludes with the convenient recourse that independence and an end to Britain is some kind of apology or penance..

            Self pitying, self justifying, lacking in any historical nuance with sweeping generalisations and lacking in any complexity what so ever. In fact it was a cowardly attempt to deflect any real responsibility as stated. Sorry but we are not in agreement.

            The actual point under discussion is a simple one: Do not assume to denigrate other people’s sense of identity for your own politics (however justified you think they are.) Do not assume ownership of that identity. Britain does not simply belong to Royalist Torries.

            The decent thing would simply have been to apologise for Vote Britain, to all those who consider ‘Britain’ an inescapable part of their identity and therefore their person. And many do. And many the once colonised.

            But you display the hallmarks of a true Imperialist who seeks not ‘self determination’, but to impose a narrow identity on all people within the cultural group, while undermining other identities simultaneously.

            Ironic really that it is no longer the British who are doing this! That the Union Flag is a haven for most once colonised. The flag has been appropriated.

            Its simple. Some of us have no choice but to look outward.

            And please don’t respond with yet another patronising pat on the head. You’re not the person you think or would like yourself to be. Goodbye.

          • As you rightly say, my play asks questions about Scotland’s dual history as both the aggressor and the aggressed against. But in your schema, Dr Strange, Scotland is *only* a coloniser, *only* an imperialist, and in this role it was Scottish only, not British. It has never been exploited, never been subsumed by a larger power. Britain, on the other hand, is some sort of ‘outward-looking’ ‘haven’ for minorities? As you yourself said, ‘Hey ho, complexity is clearly not your strong point.’

          • Scotland WAS imperial Britain. Scotland exploited it’s own people. It was not colonised. To maintain such a view point is offensive to all the genuinely colonised.

            And again you evade the original point. Are you a five year old, because you behave like one?

          • Jesus what kind of reasoning is that? All you do is set up endless false binaries? It’s borderline.

          • “Scotland WAS imperial Britain.” No, Britain was imperial Britain. Scotland and England together. You seem to be positing some sort of fantasy history where Britain’s imperial crimes were Scotland’s alone. The Britain you seek to defend from critique, meanwhile, is some sort of Utopian liberator? “Scotland exploited it’s own people.” Well, sure, some Scots did exploit their own people – there’s no getting away from that – but to suggest that Scots were *only ever* exploited by other Scots is facile to the point of ridiculous.

          • Ok fair enough. Tell you what Bissett, let’s do an experiment; you go to Jamaica or India of Burma or befriend some Kikuyu or Cork and try and make that flabby and fatuous distinct. Scotland was an essential constituent part of Britain, therefore was Britain. Crimes and success are therefore lie entirely with Scotland and equally England. The English get this and are to be admired for being upfront, but Scots like yourself don’t and try to frame actions into false binaries to give impression of difference. This is the same as lying. By ommission. Scotland was not the victim of Britain as it cannot be separated from Britain during this time. It was not colonised! Like Germans and the third reich etc. They get it!

            Scots were exploited primarily by other Scots (not the English) and even so the tacit agreement of most Scots to the union makes this point moot. Again see above go visit these countries and try and make the distinction. Just in the way the Jacobites were not Scots but British as were the Hanovarians also and the Glorious Revolution.

            Utopian Fantansy? Again ffs. Britain, for better of worse is eome people’s identity. Now close thread!

          • Sigh. Alan if you are so arrogant, you can’t respect other people’s complicated identity and can’t bring yourself to see, concede marginally the point that is being made….If someone with British identity attacked Scots identity and narrowed it negatively as you did (whoever) I would equally object. Then I have to agree with Adrian’s post. Please don’t come to London, London, London, darling….. one of the most cosmopolitan cities on earth where millions of Scots like others have flourished and had a great time, or the other fine places outside of Scotland the North or West, or further in the former colonies who still have dual British passports and see history in a complicated non black and white way and refuse to have their identity dictated to by an imperialist like you. Don’t put your ‘plays’ on or your books for sale. Please maintain consistency and give up any association with the rest of Britain including agents, sponsorship money, funding, theatres etc, as to do so would be the height of hypocrisy.

            XX

        • Dr Strange – Because I have made criticisms of Britain I should “give up any association with the rest of Britain including agents, sponsorship money, funding, theatres.” Do you realise how nuts that sounds? How would you react if someone in, say, the SNP had said to an English actor that because they’d made criticisms of Scotland they should be banned from Scottish theatres?

          • Errrr yes they did, quite frequently. Many ‘cultural nationalist’ have said exactly that? And you agreed. I read the article posted an article on this site supporting them. (are you deliberately a liar or are you genuinely unable to see basic consistency?) And the whole premise of Scottish nationalism is grounded in cultural exclusivity as opposed to the cosmopolitanism of Britain – see Macdairmid et al. And yes you should give up association to be consistent and non hypocritical as they did. If you seek to deny others access to such funding and opportunities, break up Britain and denigrate Briton as an identity. It’s a no brainer? Cake and eat it etc.

            Now the rest of Britain is agreeing with you. Read Adrian’s post! So well done. Thought you would be happy?

          • Oh and an interesting aside related. Was watching Reggie Yates on Russian Nationalism on iplayer. Is aimed at teens/ kids a bit but a moment that may interest you Alan. The moment the far right guy calls him Afro English, and Reggie responds ‘No I’m British.’ Is the defining moment of the doc.

          • It’s kind of like being at a party and slagging it off/ people their for being crap telling you rmates to leave, getting your coat and saying your off to another much better party where only you and your mates are allowed in; then as you are about to leave the hot girls turn up and the music starts thumping and you then want a piece of the action. No you can now fuck off!

          • It’s kind of like being at a party and slagging it off/ the hosts, other people there for being crap, telling your mates to leave, getting your coat and saying your off to another much much better party where only you and your mates are allowed in; then as you are about to leave the hot girls turn up and the music starts thumping and you then want a piece of the action. No you can now feck off! Keep walking!

          • “If no Scot is ever appointed to a chief position in the Scottish arts again, so be it. This might still be preferable to divisive talk of ethnicity, and enmity erupting where there was none.” http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2013/06/06/who-carries-the-carriers/

            So, Dr Strange, is this supposed to be the article in Bella Caledonia where I’m ‘agreeing’ that English people should be banned from the Scottish arts? I would never, ever ‘deny others access to funding or opportunities’ based on their nationality. It’s interesting that of all the many aspersions you’ve cast you’ve never been willing or able to actually quote me on anything.

            I can only presume you’re referring to the Alasdair Gray ‘colonisers’ row? You’ve reduced a very complex argument, but ok let’s go with it. First of all, Gray received much criticism from the Yes movement for his views – including from the SNP – which should tell you a great deal about Scottish ‘nationalism’. But even then your position is laughable, since you just said I had no moral right of access to ‘British’ funding bodies and theatres. Even though I’m legally a British citizen! Aye, mate, you’re the inclusive one!

          • Yup,

            You assume an all pervasive negative concept of British identity to suit. Fine, we get it loud and clear. So if you can, why can’t we? You are no longer welcome in our theatres, bookshops etc as you clearly don’t understand the culture! Not all Scots, just you and Alistair Gray and Kelman et al. This based on their own logic.

          • “You are no longer welcome in our theatres and bookshops.” I’m not sure if by ‘we’ you mean the English or the British, but the ‘othering’ effect is the same. As a Brit, in your view, I’m no longer welcome as part of Britain because I ‘don’t understand the culture’, even though I have literally spent my entire life consuming it! This has shades of Norman Tebbit’s ‘cricket test’ except it’s being applied to someone born and raised in Britain. Not sure on what basis you’re ascertaining that I don’t ‘understand’ it – because we have different definitions of ‘Britishness’, presumably – but what you are doing is setting yourself up as the arbiter of what counts as ‘British culture’, what ‘understanding’ of it entails. You posit a ‘we’ that you are not allowing me – a Scot, legally British – to be included in because I hold a different political view to you. You couldn’t be making my point about what British nationalism is more clearly, sir. Thank you.

          • I mean you, Alan Bissett/ not Scots. If you openly attack other people’s identity, and defend the position that culture is exclusive to some and not others then so be it, you will also be excluded. Fair is fair. And you don’t understand British culture because you completely ignore anyone off non white origin in your perspective. And you deliberately narrow complex and open British culture to your parochial negatiive and narrow view of it. Fine!! But their are unfortunate consequence of such a position. And this has nothing to do with Scotland or Scots but you and your personal nationalists views of culture. How much should the tolerant tolerate the intolerant? An old liberal dilema.

            Besides as soon as any decent upstanding theatre director or bookshop owner googles you to see if they should work with you I suspect they will be repelled when the greeted with ‘vote snnnnnaaaaaaarrrllll Britain’ so it’s not really an issue. England career wise for you is now pretty dead. Shame because it’s a very interesting and creative place, especially London)

            At least now I know why so many non white Scots leave and go south. The best writer to come out of Scotland of the Rebel inc. Welsh era was Luke Sutherland ‘loved Venus as a Boy’. I can’t imagine he shares you vote Britain/ non cosmopolitan view point.

          • You remind me of Littlefinger in GOT but without the wit.

          • “You defend the position that culture is exclusive to some and not others and you don’t understand British culture because you completely ignore anyone off non white origin in your perspective.”

            This isn’t even remotely based in anything I’ve actually said, evidence for which is you’re not actually quoting me.

            What I said in my essay is that someone applying for a post as head of a Scottish arts organisation – whether they are Scottish or English – should demonstrate knowledge of Scottish culture. That’s a matter of basic competence. Someone applying for a job on the railways should know what a train looks like.

            What *you’ve* said is that a British citizen – me – should not be represented in bookshops, theatres and other agencies because I don’t agree that Britain is Great. Banning artists for criticising the state…

            I think we’re done here.

          • Eh? The whole of Vote Britain is a narrowing attack on Britishness (and the English) reducing it to blue rinse Torries in Surrey reading Royalist magazine and cheering on the war and imperialism?

            What about the rest (the vast majority who identify with Britain, the many faces, many who were the colonised?) . Omission in context is the same as assertion!

            And the article is just sophistry. The conclusion is deliberately vague. Ethnicity not important (don’t want to appear as a bigot!) but ‘they’ still have to ‘get’ our version of culture (this really is the cricket test) that ‘we’ have prescribed. Who put you or Kelman in charge of the narrative? Who decided on this version of culture and history? Curious how it contains an excess of independence minded Scots in it.

            Scotland’s a big place with a lot of view points and culture should be open, surely those affected by Scotland e.g) British immigrants are entitled to that culture also now, and not ‘only’ so long as they stick to your arrogant nationalist script. Britain actually does this well and culturally is one of the most open and free in the world, Scotland I’m afraid doesn’t. Scotland is a bunch of people rewriting the same thing over and over copying the narrow narrative that went before. See the Olympics ceremony and Windrush as central to story etc. Scot commonwealth?

            This amounts to the same thing as exclusion. So we in Brits in England and Brits in Scotland shall do the same and excluded the exclusive.

            Goodbye.

          • In fact Luke Sutherland is a good example of really good writer who gets shoved aside because he’s a bit different. He’s a far far better writer than you are, certainly than Alan Warner is, and much more interesting than most second rate Irvine welsh/ dull Kelman clones are, but he is rarely mentioned?

            Why? What does this say about the narrowness of ‘the Scottish scene?’

          • In fact it’s a tragedy for Scotland. I wonder how many interesting original thinkers are sitting in their Scottish bedrooms feeling alienated from the self appointed cultural bullies like yourself, thinking; I’m not like them, my stuff doesn’t fit ‘their’ over baring natty version of the script. I don’t care about the socialist narrative in Glasgow, I couldn’t care less about Thatcher or the Highland Clearances or Macdairmid or football casuals or heroin or class, or nationalism, or national identity what so ever. I define myself in a different way and now must go elsewhere to find a more open and freer place to express myself where people can choose how to ‘imagine themselves’ rather than the ‘nation’.

          • And you are not merely ‘criticising the State’ but consistently attacking people’s inescapable identity.

    • Hang on, Adrian, isn’t ‘Game of Thrones’ made by the American company HBO?

      Why, yes, it seems that it is:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_of_Thrones

  10. I’m a passionate Yesser who is everything this article demonises: well-off, academic, late middle-aged, Protestant, “middle-class” I suppose (why can’t you radical- young-arty-lefty types let go of outdated nineteenth century social constructs designed to make 90% of the population inferior?). I even live in the callous uncaring “No-land” of Aberdeenshire.

    If the pro-independence movement was all about this sort of frothy up-itself social stereotyping, it would never command the massive popular support it has.

    This generation does not have it particularly hard. Getting onto the career ladder always has been and always will be a challenge for the young. Like most middle aged folk with children, I’m very supportive of that, but I don’t need all the whining.

    Q: “How do we reach across these barriers of wealth, status and age? ”

    A: Drop the envy politics, grow up and earn a fucking living for 20 years.

    • You’re living in the prosperous NE, Walrus.

      I’m also in the same socio-economic and age bracket as you, and a passionate Yesser.

      But I feel sorry for the younger ones. Heart sorry. They are ‘generation rent’ with little prospect of ever owning their own homes, forced into dead-end jobs with little prospects even if they have good degrees. Yes, I agree, you always had to graft when young. But for how long? There are folk having to wait into their 30s and nearly 40 before they get their first decent job, having paid for and completed various additional courses in between.

      For that reason 40,000 young Scots aged 16-24 leave Scotland every year. I’m sick of it. It’s been like that forever. I want it to end and that’s why I support independence. Yes, it’s always been hard getting a start in life. But the young today have it harder than we had it, and we had it harder than our parents after the war. Take teaching, for instance. Teaching jobs used to be ten a penny. You could walk out of teacher training more or less straight into a job in the 1970s. Guaranteed. And from there you could buy yourself a nice two or three bedroomed flat in a nice area. Not now. My neighbour (and friend, now sadly passed away) told me that in the 1950s when she left university she and her pal never even had to apply for a job or draw up a CV or anything like that. The week they finished their course, a guy came to the college looking for new recently qualified teachers, signed them up, and they started the following week.

      • “For that reason 40,000 young Scots aged 16-24 leave Scotland every year”

        Do you have any empirical evidence for this assertion that you so regularly make?

        And anyway, for those that do leave, they leave not for one reason but for a variety of reasons. E.G. some will leave because they want to, because they fancy living in that there London (not my thing, but anyway)

        “I’m sick of it”

        What does what other people chose to do with their young lives have to do with you? It is absolutely none of your business where people go and where they live.

        I want it to end and that’s why I support independence.

        What? Mind your own business. Support independence if you want, but do it for your own reasons, not projecting those reasons onto other people. That’s pathetic.

        “Take teaching, for instance. Teaching jobs used to be ten a penny. You could walk out of teacher training more or less straight into a job in the 1970s. Guaranteed. And from there you could buy yourself a nice two or three bedroomed flat in a nice area.”

        This is just baseless rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia rambling now. Teaching jobs were never ‘ten a penny’.

        Do you have any insight, any insight at all into why property is now more expensive with less available?

        • Yes, lots of insight into why property is unaffordable. But I’m not going to waste my time on explaining it all to you. Sorry. Take it or leave it. I wasn’t talkning to you. And you’re not talking to me, are you? So why waste our time?

      • Hi MBC,

        I’ve not always lived in the NE. I grew up in Glasgow in the 70s and we were not well off. During my youth we had years of Thatcherism to look forward to and that wasn’t pretty. Unemployment was certainly a problem then.

        The property ladder is indeed more of a problem these days than it was for the young but I think they just face a different set of problems than I did. It is not uniquely difficult and making your way in the world will remain difficult and daunting no matter how good an independent Scotland we build.

        I work with young adults all the time and am constantly amazed and impressed by the positive new thinking they are capable of. That is why the whining negativity of this article got me so angry.

        • Well I just remember the utterly dreich day it was on Edinburgh on September 19th. Maybe the weather was better up your way, but here it was grim, grim. The weather matched my mood of despair, utter despair. And the solidity of Edinburgh’s middle class No seemed to seep right out of the very stones of the place.

          So I am inclined to sympathis with Mike’s reaction. I’m sure it was temporary. I was gutted. I had to take to my bed for a couple of days I was that gutted. I felt a ton of bricks had hit me. Edinburgh, Unionist bricks. Then I got mad, I got really mad. But what cheered me and restored the balance of my mind was that the Yes movement didn’t die.

          So I’d like you to consider that maybe the article was a reflection on those early hours and minutes and not the fighting spirit that resolves itself once you recover from the intitial setback and the grim determiniation once more comes upon you.

      • Is renting really that bad? What’s the Thatcherite obsession about owning your own property?

      • Just so you are aware I know of a few 20-25 year olds who said they’d leave Scotland if it left the UK as they did not want to be in a place that thought small

  11. G P . I agree and disagree with you at the same time.

    Yes we don’t need to divide Scotland any further. However the fact is that the elitists and middle classes are the ones that voted no. We have to be honest and not pretend this never happened.

    Myself ,well I suppose I could be called middle class. I have many friends and colleagues who voted no. Yet when I speak to the ordinary working class people. They feel cheated by my group. I have to point out that I am not one of them and don’t share their love of self and capitalism and net gain.

    You see there are certain groups with modest wealth that don’t give a ferk about changing anything. Most of them are middle class or wealthy. Just because you or I can see the light. Doesn’t mean we will ever change the minds of our peers. We need to keep the people on side who voted yes. Then we need to chip a way at the soft no people. There are another 10% out there who can be convinced.

    Unfortunately it will take the working class and people like us, to drag the rest kicking and screaming to independence. They will not jump ship. We need to take the ship with them on it to independence. Only then will Scotland be united as one nation.

    • “However the fact is that the middle classes are the ones who voted No”

      It’s a nuisance this democracy thing, isn’t it? Well, it is when you don’t get the result that you want. Then it’s all a fix of some kind.

      “Yet when I speak to the ordinary working class people. They feel cheated by my group. ”

      On the one hand, tough. On the other … well, you’ve opened possibly Pandora’s Box with this ‘referendum’ of yours, haven’t you? And like Pandora’s Box, you can’t just close the lid and pretend it was never opened. Potentially some very dark times ahead in Scotland. Especially when you have Neds standing as parliamentary candidates (Paisley).

      You see there are certain groups with modest wealth that don’t give a ferk about changing anything. Most of them are middle class or wealthy. Just because you or I can see the light. Doesn’t mean we will ever change the minds of our peers.

      Bloody democracy again eh? Why can’t these people just defer to you moral, ethical and intellectual superiority, and just do what you want and vote how you want them to? That would be much better.

      “We need to keep the people on side who voted yes. Then we need to chip a way at the soft no people. There are another 10% out there who can be convinced. ”

      So it can be 55% Yes 45% No next time instead? Yes, that will be much better.

      (All recent successful Eurasian independence referendums +80% Yes on very high 80% plus turnouts. Because the people were united. You however, are divided.

      “Unfortunately it will take the working class and people like us, to drag the rest kicking and screaming to independence. ”

      Essentially, by force you mean (i.e. 55% Yes scenario above). So a bit like a revolution. Yes, forcing the most fundamental kind of change on people – that always works out well.

      “They will not jump ship. We need to take the ship with them on it to independence. Only then will Scotland be united as one nation.”

      Yes, that sounds like a great plan, you should do that. You’re going to ‘unite’ people (behind independence) by force, whether they like it or not.

      Could be some dark times ahead for Scotland. I’m glad I left. It’s a shame in a sense. About half the population are sensible and civilised, parts of the cities are as impressive as anywhere, and some magnificent scenery. It’s sad what’s happened up there and what’s going on.

      Your disaster could be great for us here in Manchester though – some of your capital and skilled labour will just jump over the border to us.

      • ”I’m glad I left” sez Hell. Oh yes.

      • Hell, your post is confused and contradictory. You invoke democracy but would deny Scots the right to decide their future. Why?

        Other than that you defend a state which has failed for many in both countries. It is beyond my belief that the English who struggle to get by keep voting Tory, and now for Labour which used to speak for them. Scots don’t need to vote for these liars – they have a choice. It’s a democratic thing you would’t understand.

        What’s this Daily Mailspeak here from you?, ”About half the population are sensible and civilised,” Meaning you approve of them? Meaning the other half are stupid barbarians? Oh, and we have some ”magnificent scenery”; Very patronising, very colonial. You’re part of a parcel of rogues.

        The daftest bollocks you spout is ” You’re going to ‘unite’ people (behind independence) by force, ” – what on earth are you babbling about?

        By all means oppose democracy in Scotland – but try to offer a coherent disagreement. Or people will think you are a stupid barbarian.

    • I agree with everything you say Big Jock. My points were addressed though at the whining world view of the article which simply blames lazy stereotypes for some problems which will not be solved by an Us/Them mentality. The power of the Yes movement is not class war but egalitarianism. We need a flatter, fairer society no doubt and this sort of naive self-absorbed finger-pointing is not the way to achieve it.

  12. What worries me is if the young keep leaving. If the young can be induced to stay, helped to stay, then in time we will prevail. I refused to leave. Everybody that had any ambition in the 1970s of my generation left and went to London from whence they never returned. I had ambition too. But also stubborn principle. I’m a patriot. Can’t help it, I blame my mother’s braid Scots and love of Rabbie Burns. Why should I be forced out of my native land? I’ve done OK. Not well, but enough. I’m not greedy, so it’s fine for me. What I would say to the young is, if the current system is not working for you, then find your way around the system. Think outside the box. Don’t tread the conventional path, it’s not for you. Think about your strengths, not your weaknesses. The young have great strengths in social networking, they have loads of pals they can connect with. That’s a huge asset. They can build movements. The same networking skills that built the Yes movement can build affordable houses too. If people formed building co-operatives and floated shares like the Edinburgh Co-Operative Building Company did in the 19th century, (google it) they could build energy efficient affordable housing. There are plenty of ruined properties, old churches, listed buildings, kicking around the place that groups could acquire, do up and convert into homes. That would give them a foothold. Then you can go tell the system to get lost. Next thing after building your own house, make your own job. Then grow your own food. Then generate your own energy. Life’s a terrific adventure with lots of pals to help. You have the energy, the talent, the will. All you need is the vision. Freedom isn’t something that’s handed to you on a plate. Freedom is something that a man or a woman takes for themselves.

  13. Trolls are on here again MBC,some good points you make.

    Must be lonely being a troll with no mates.

    • What do they think they achieve? I think it must be a form of revenge. Anger release. Because they don’t convince anybody and they sure aren’t listening to us.

      • I just scroll past the trolls now. They just want to harangue and tediously reiterate the same simplistic slogans and beliefs. I think you are right, MBC, It is just venting anger, though what makes them so angry and for so very, very long is beyond me. They don’t intimidate or change minds or impress, so what is the point of all that five finger exercise? There is one on here who spends an inordinate amount of time lecturing and hectoring, often dominating threads. You might think that by now he would have exhausted his fury but no, he seems unstoppable in his desire to attack and denigrate. His anger is insatiable. I’m interested in people and what makes them tick and I wondered in passing what on earth was his problem. But then it seemed boringly obvious…

        Now I just put on one of my favourite operas and headphones on, scroll serenely by their posts. Anyone for Handel?

    • Big Jock,

      they are just very angry all these Unioist Trolls especially the ones living in England.

      They know what is going to happen on May 7th and also know there is nothing they can do about it.

      All this talk about blocking a referendum even if a majority of pro-indy parties vote for it – how democratic the UK has become where they even ignore point 18 of the recent Smith Commission.

      They may have won the referendum but they lost the independence argument with their lies and smears.

      There will be a 2nd referendum and the next time we will win.

    • No need for this ‘lonely’ jibe. That’s an unpleasant way to discuss issues with ad hominem attacks.

      If you think he’s a troll, oppose him or ignore him.

  14. “with the exception of the Roman Catholic community, the yes vote only triumphed amongst the godless”

    That’s a pretty significant “exception”! Rather, it’s more informative (and simpler) to turn the statement around: unionism is, obviously, the instinctive, default position of an old-fashioned protestantism.

  15. I left in the early eighties and up until a few short years ago, I suspect (sorry, I know) I’d have been cheering Corporatist Hell’s expatriated vitriol. What changed for me was a gradual realisation that the country is not any longer the narrow, manic-depressive, self-hating province I left without a backward glance thirty years ago. As a consequence of the referendum debate I became interested for the first time in why it had been absolutely necessary for my 24 year-old self to escape without any intention of returning, and that has led in turn to passionate advocacy of independence. Occasional visits “home” that were formerly a chore to be postponed have become a pleasure, and I find myself entertaining thoughts of permanent return, which, even a couple of years ago, would have filled me with horror.

  16. Some of the comments here are bizarre and flagrantly wrong…

    Those people who are blaming “the English” for us losing the referendum. Or for having all the top jobs in the arts. The people who lost the referendum are the Scots who voted NO, not the English voters, who quite logically, feel British – just as the Scots in England do. Those people naturally feel British, of course they do. Who could argue with that?

    The political party in control of Scottish Culture is called the Scottish National Party, also known as The Scottish MONARCHY Party…The party which proposed a watered down version of indie, indie for fearties and hedgers, indie for the canny Scot mentality,the curse of Scotland…a kind of indie light, keeping the pound and the queen, the same party which has done nothing but drag Scottish culture down into the quagmire which is Creative Scotland, ignoring the advice of COUNTLESS Scottish people who work in the arts to the contrary..

    It is the Scottish National Party which refuses to take Scottish culture seriously, appointing a number of people to the top jobs in the arts who know NOTHING about Scottish culture or a word of any of its native languages or traditions. My rough calculation is that between 70%-80% of the top arts jobs in Scotland are held by non-Scots who know NOTHING about Scottish culture…or at least knew nothing when they were appointed.

    Not non Scots who have been living here for years and know Scotland inside out, like Trevor Royal, not non-Scots who have a passion and interest in Scotland like Dwelley, that great Englishman who compiled the first Gaelic dictionary. No, people who are parachuted in here because the Scottish National Party thinks that Scots are not up to the job, presumably….the same party which wants independence has no faith in Scottish people for these jobs. There is no other conclusion to draw…

    Then, posters like MBC say that Scots should stay in Scotland. And what are we supposed to live on exactly, those of us who work in the arts? ,Maybe nationalist cant and loads of hot air?

    I’m off next week, because I see no way of making a living in Scotland in the arts….the SNP have done nothing for Scottish film in 8 years, they have ignored the Scottish cultural community again and again, defiant to the point of stupidity, and the SNP do not have an exclusive right to espouse the case of independence….

    Divisive? Good! I certainly hope so….

    • Douglas – you are only one of generations who have had to leave Scotland to find work. But I’ve never heard of the SNP driving them out. Your post seems like a frustrated flailing around blaming all and sundry for your plight.

      You’ve seen on here a post showing how at least one English person excluded Scots. Is this widespread? Is that what happened to you?

      I welcome non Scots here – this country welcomes around 8% of English people.

      ”My rough calculation is that between 70%-80% of the top arts jobs in Scotland are held by non-Scots who know NOTHING about Scottish culture…or at least knew nothing when they were appointed. ” Here you have some point but dont blame the SNP for that. TV and radio are full of non Scots voices; we welcome fresh faces but not if we are made invisible.

      No you wont make a living in Scots Arts – but get your target right. Tell us, where will you go for work? How will you know that you didnt get a job in England because of cultural imperialism there? The Arts in England is often an old boys/girls network where you will be seen as an oik. But they won’t tell you that you are just another non person who comes from north of Watford. Or you could deny your being and speak in an accent like Brian Sewell’s.

      • Don’t blame the SNP for arts appointments in Scotland at, say, Creative Scotland? Who do you think the Board of Creative Scotland reports to? George Osborne? We have a minister of culture here if you hadn’t realized. Culture is a devolved matter, so is education….

        Who should we blame for the fact that there is still not a film studio in Scotland, eight years after the SNP came to power? Hilda Ogden?

        That’s why I could never join the SNP, because you people are incapable of critical thought. You are unwavering believers, and hence, when somebody – say, one of Scotland’s greatest writers, like Alasdair Gray – points out that arts appointments are grossly unfair and prejudiced against native Scots, and only serve to drive native arts people out of Scotland, and are inimical to the arts Scotland in general, and aid and abet a process off colonization and Anglicization – you guys just whistle “Oh Flower of Scotland” or maybe exclaim “Gie it laldy!”…and become more fervent in your denials…you are patriots at the most banal and fanatical and thoroughly boring level…and you attribute any criticism to some failing in the person doing the criticizing…

        The SNP also refused to put the question in Gaelic on the ballot paper…what kind of national party would ever do that, in any other country in the world….? Totally incredible..if you were to believe the SNP, you might easily believe this was North Britain after all, not Scotland….no wonder people wouldn’t take the risk….

        The SNP deserved to lose the referendum….

        • Flower of Scotland? Hate it.

          Hilda Ogden? Never heard of her.

          There’s so much in your post that’s simple confused thrashing around looking for someone to blame. You tell us English people took your job – but blame the SNP (of which I’m not a member). You agree about colonisation, but slip off to the Heart of Empire.

          I hope you get a job. Remember the Pogues ‘Thousands are Sailing?’?. That’s you and me. Can’t be right can it?

          What about the Brian Sewell option? – only the hideous accent of course.

          Finally you dont like the Scots, you don’t like the English.

          OK.

          • Eh? I didn’t say “English people took my job”, that is a sentence of your lurid imagination…I am not an arts administrator…. and I have a job, I am self-employed…

            …and what did I say about…”not liking the Scots or not liking the English”.

            You mean, if I criticize the SNP that means I don’t like the Scots? Of if I criticize the Union of 1707 I don’t like the English?

            Very sophisticated, a man/woman awake to the nuances of life…

    • Douglas I tend to agree with you about Creative Scotland being dire and adrift. And that the SNP don’t seem to have much of a clue about the arts in Scotland. But who would you appoint? How would you run an arts establishment?

      There’s an expectation in Scotland that the state should do everything. This is the death knell of creativity. It’s deeply paternalistic. It assumes we’re children. It’s deeply disempowering, for us to have that expectation. The state can assist, but it cannot create art or artists. It can only assist with what’s already there. There has to be a national spirit that wants to flourish and is committed to national revival. In other submerged nations that have gone through cultural revival and rebirth, artists did often have to go elsewhere for training or for opportunities, but they returned once successful and felt sufficiently patriotic to try and revive the state of the arts in their own country, like Bjornsterne Bjornson and Den Nationale Scene in Norway in the 19th century, or the virtuoso violinist Ole Bull, or Yeats and Lady Gregory and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Without their energies and commitment to their native land nothing would have happenned.

      • Creative Scotland – as the very name makes all too clear – is as much an arts agency as it is a grandiose marketing project by and for the Scottish government. It speaks the abominable language of bureaucrats, the grasping language of beetling pen-pushers and form-fillers, almost a foreign language entirely to anybody with the slightest artistic inclination…

        I can’t say who should be running C.S. or its departments, but I know for a fact that all of the arts are very different, that you can’t bundle them up into one behemoth and expect it to work for all of them. That is bureaucratic thinking and just another example of the centralizing mania of the SNP. C.S has certainly been catastrophic for Scottish film which, yes, sorry, was much better under Labour….

        In any case, I am sure there are people who have been working in arts administration in Scotland for decades, wherever they were born, and who consequently know the arts in Scotland, and so would therefore fulfil the key criteria for the job…of course, they wouldn’t necessarily have an English accent….

        Personally, I would like to see a Gael running C.S. The Gaels tend to be more cultured than the Lowlanders. Firstly, they are bilingual. Secondly, most of them can sing a song or play an instrument…thirdly, they are bi-cultural and so have something to compare things with. Fourthly, the Gaels and Gaelic culture have been shafted for 500 years, and were so again on 18S.

        But C.S is merely the symptom of a much larger malaise. The SNP are predicating indie on petty politics instead of Scottish culture – in the widest sense of that word, including political culture – when it should be the other way around. Most of Scotland seems engaged in petty hair-splitting and the new national sport seems to be “taking offence and feeling outraged” The climate – I mean the social media – is borderline hysterical. Petty politics has trumped culture hands down…the culture people spend their time talking about politics more than they do culture, while the politicians ignore our legitimate complaints and bore us to death with how much better off we will be in an indie Scotland..

        As for all the examples you give from Norway and Ireland, well we had that here. It’s called the Scottish Renaissance: Hugh MacDiarmid, Neil Gunn. Sorley MacLean, William Johnstone, Lewis Grassic-Gibbon, Edwin Muir, Willa Muir, F.G Scott, Catherine Carswell, Naomi Mitchison, and many others….how many of our arts administrators are familiar with those names?

        We don’t even have a cultural magazine or monthly publication which serves as a focal point for the exchange of ideas and reflections on culture. We have lots of small magazines which deal almost exclusively in poetry or short stories…why only poetry and short stories? Why not the essay? None of the above named Scottish artists are recognizable to the vast majority of Scots I would guess.

        If I were the leader of the SNP, or a party that wanted indie, my most important appointment would be the minister of culture, not any other ministry.

        How do you change Scotland? You change it by administering a culture shock. By holding up a mirror of its culture to the people of Scotland…if that ever happened, indie would be a formality. .

        • But Hugh MacDiarmid was a case in point, of exactly the kind of dedicated Scottish patriot I mean who can revive Scottish culture. He point blank refused to move and put principle above comfort or security. He was determined to support himself and his wife and son by his writing, IN SCOTLAND, no matter what hardship it entailed. And that was in the austerity times of the 30s and 40s when droves of Scots were leaving for England, Canada, Australia, because there was no work. The SNP was formed in 1934 partly out of the moral panic there was in Scotland over the extent of Scottish emigration. He even moved to the remote island of Whalsay in Shetland to a tiny croft just to be able to continue his writing. He was a one-man Scottish renaissance, he, and a few others, bravely put together a cultural magazine with their own money, talents and efforts, and kept it going against all the odds. Their efforts were postively heroic.

          I met the man in person in 1979 just before he died, at his wee cottage, Brownfield, near Bigger. It was a glorious early June day when the birds were singing on every branch and a heat haze rose over the meadow. Valda was there, a truly heroic lady. MacDiarmid was very fatherly and most kind to me. If you were interested in Scotland, he would back you to the hilt, whether your talent was great or small. He and his generation were most generous in their praise and encouragement to the young. He was fierce against those who opposed Scotland but tender of those who supported her. Later I met MacAig and he asked me how I had found MacDiarmid, and I said, ‘Like everybody’s ideal, kindly, grandfather’ and he replied, ‘Ah, you met the real man!’

          By all means leave if you have to, but come back and fight. As I’ve said before, freedom isn’t something that is handed to you on a plate. If somebody hands you freedom, it isn’t freedom, but clientage, or some other such illusory thing. Freedom is that thing which a man or a woman takes and wins for themselves. It is hard won.

          • Thanks MBC, a good anecdote and you are lucky to have met the man.

            MacDiarmid did live in England for some years, but broadly you are right.

            But MacDiarmid, who wanted an indie republic, had no time for what he called “bourgeois nationalism”, which is exactly what the SNP are proposing. Our national party, which was set up back in its day by a disproportionately high number of writers, artists and musicians, has been taken over by the politicians, who predicate indie on “not doing” things. Not charging for prescription or tuition fees, not renewing Trident, …ah, and free child care. what a clincher..humdrum and petty politics….what kind of national project is that? It’s a tepid and lukewarm project, and it deserved to lose…it’s a project for fearties!

            It seems to me that the whole project of the Renaissance has been largely abandoned. We still only have one department which teaches Scottish literature in the whole country. There is not even a scholarship attached to one of our universities so that three or four young students can study Lallans like MacDiarmid and co did every year and further their work..Gaelic has made progress but continues in intensive care. There is no Scottish film industry to speak of in any meaningful sense of that term and there was no devolution in television, when even the tiny Autonomous Community of Murcia in Spain runs its own TV station…we have Creative Writing courses by the dozen, when what we need are Serious Reading Courses….

            The SNP, maybe inevitably, are fighting on the terrain chosen by the establishment. They are embroigled in petty disputes about tax and spend….maybe they can’t avoid that given the MSM, but the goal must be to radically alter the context of the national debate by locating the question firmly in the field of culture, in the widest sense of that term….

  17. “All that every other European nation strives at whatever cost to retain and further means nothing to Scotland. The Scots attempt to compensate themselves in the former in their fervour for what they willingly relinquish in actual fact. They have allowed their languages – Gaelic and Scots – and the literature in them, to lapse almost completely, though any European nation or national minority has fought most desperately to keep and use its distinctive language…”

    Or

    “They (the Scots) have acquiesced in the progressive depopulation of and relegation for sports of what now amounts to over one third of their country. They (the Scots) have failed to erect distinct national arts on the splendid foundations their ancestors had created for them; and they only become irritated and indignant when this is pointed out to them”…

    EXACTLY…

  18. Pretty much my experience except for sharing Hell’s view.
    I was aware of absence making the heart grow fonder in romanticising the past.
    I came from a large family and all of us had to leave for work. None of us have returned. I can’t return as I could never afford a home there.

    On a rare visit home I saw the results of the Tory blitz which I experienced. Two of my apprentice engineering works now razed, and others (is Howden’s still there?) , an offshore construction yard vanished, and whole shipyards now gone on the length of the Clyde. Faslane is still there…interesting…no problem there . And that’s only in the Glasgow area.

    And Methil, Kishorn, Arderseer, Kestrel. When I worked offshore I hardly heard a Scots voice. And Tebbit sneered that the unemployed should shape up and ship out – being out of work was our fault. Dole pogroms on us began. Guess how I felt about the Brighton bombing? Guess how I felt when Thatcher wept when her Tory colleagues sacked her? Guess how I felt at her decease? These are the enemy within, along with a Tory press feeding bilge to a badly educated class who vote Tory. When I think of the sacrifices our working class forebears suffered to build aspects of socialism and social justice compared to today, I feel sick.

    Guess how I felt when Thatcher approved of Blair, when Clause 4 was dumped, when Labour started the fall of the NHS with PFI? When Gordon Brown, once the author of the Red Paper for Scotland turned his back on values? When Murphy milked the taxes of the poor by repeatedly dipping his hand in the till, and when he is a member of an extremist think tank?

    The litany is long, long.

    And now Hell above berates us as barbarians…

    Good for you Ben if you can return.

  19. Some amount of trolls on here these days. Corporatist Hell, ‘Neds’ does not require a capital, but you should know that, as you grew up on a council ‘estate’, (not scheme?) , in Scotchland apparently. But now reside in rainy old Manchester..my favourite English city.

    Facts are there are now only 4.7 million Scots residing in Scotland now as we have lost 300,000+ young people due to emigration in the last 30 years. There are 500,000, and counting, English residents. The majority of whom exercised their right to vote in the negative at the Referendum.

    This was a thing of regret for those of us Scots and the minority of English who wanted Independence for this 1000 year old country and nation.

    Scotland is divided by the Ref event. But all this has done is brought to a natural conclusion the clash of political forces exerted on it, particularly from 1979. Thatcher used Scottish oil to make London into an international financial centre and created the infrastructure to facilitate this. The property boom from it allowed English in the S.E. in particular to virtually overnight become milionaires. Subsequently, Scotland, with Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Highlands and Islands, and rural areas in particular, being swamped by ‘White Flighters’ from England seeking a ‘better’ life free from ethnic diversity and with cheap property and better jobs.

    The result is we have a resident population of imperialists, who see this country as Scotlandshire, and hate and fear any sign of self determination by the natives. The racist recruitment policy that has been going on in many professions and the private sector since the ’80s by English recruiting English is an absolute disgrace. I worked for years all over Scotland and witnessed this going on all over the place, but particularly in those two cities.

    People won’t like me saying this, but we are witnessing a precursor to an embryonic N.Ireland situation with more and more ‘settlers’ coming in to our country with an implacable resistance to our freedom. At the same time, our young are stymied in their own country by reverse discrimination in jobs and forced to emigrate. At the rate of unchecked emigration from RUK it is feasible that the Northern Isles and Borders, could vote to leave Scotland, unless we grab Independence and introduce Scottish Citizenship as a requirement for voting rights. Thus we could stop anyone from outvoting us and subsuming us into some greater England.

    • “The racist recruitment policy that has been going on in many professions and the private sector since the ’80s by English recruiting English is an absolute disgrace. ”

      Scotland’s universities are a classic example, with only one of 15 today led by a Scot, but you are correct this effect is rife throughout ‘establishment Scotland’. An ethnic cleansing of the Scots managerial classes?

  20. Well Douglas

    ” I didn’t say “English people took my job”. Yes you did! ; you complained that ” 70%-80% of the top arts jobs in Scotland are held by non-Scots” -that means YOU say they took your job as you weren’t hired and are leaving the country. ”Thousands are Sailing”.

    ”I am not an arts administrator” – I never said you were.

    ”…and what did I say about…”not liking the Scots or not liking the English”. You said that the English occupied the jobs you want and the SNP/Scots were responsible. Ergo my fair comment that you didnt like any of them. That’s OK.

    ” Or if I criticize the Union of 1707 I don’t like the English?” You mentioned 1707 – I didn’t.

    Douglas, I’m beginning to realise why you can’t get a job. You have a disconnect between what you say and what you think you say. You don’t know that when you’re in a hole, stop digging. You might benefit from a good Scots Uni where they will teach you logic and reason. For a small country we have so many ancient world class Unis and so many modern ones for your benefit.

    I hope you get a job yet maybe it’s good that you are self employed. Suggestion: why don’t you stay and turn your creative anger towards correcting the problems you see in Scotland? Or go to England where there are many fine people and institutions – I myself can confirm this. The English ,you see, look after their own interests and that’s just fine. We want to meet them on equal terms and that’s good for all. Isn’t it?

    • The 70-80% of arts jobs I referred to are ARTS ADMINISTRATION jobs…as anybody well rehearsed with this very old debate knows all too well… and I didn’t say English I said “non Scots”…jesus….

      I haven’t seen you posting here before, but if you are one of the new members of the SNP we’ve been hearing about, then clearly the average IQ of the national party membership is plummeting….

      Suggestion for you: away outside and get some fresh air!

  21. For the first time you tell us that the jobs you failed to get are Arts Admin. OK it was your secret.

    I am not as I already told you a member of the SNP. If in a hole stop digging Dougie!

    From my non membership of the SNP you deduce that the IQ of the SNP is falling. Get thee to a good Scots Uni and be forced to THINK! Or better, cut out the learning bit and sign on now.

    If Dougie was here he would tell you himself!

  22. “flat whites is coffee”. [MBC]. Actually, it signifies a lot more…that the Scots share with the English a warm welcoming attitude for US colonisation of language and much else.

  23. Douglas, we seem to have run out of ‘reply’ options re our conversation above.

    All I can say is that you must live your life by positive values. You put forward some good ideas for advancing culture and the cultural narrative of modern Scotland. Why do you not work to pursue them? Instead of blaming the SNP and the Scottish Government for not pursuing your ideas (have you ever asked? are they mind-readers?) and instead pursuing as you would see it, the ‘petty’ politics, of small pragmatic changes that they are able to implement within their limited powers under devolution. Why do you not campaign to pursue these cultural goals? With or without government help?

    Why do you think it is somebody else’s responsibility? If you know better, isn’t the responsibility on you? And with those who think like you? Other creatives determined to make a stand? Aren’t you rejecting what your highest conscience and deepest insight calls you to do? Aren’t you in danger of bottling out of your own charge?

    As they say, ‘If not us – who? If not now – when? If not here – where?’

    Nobody says this is easy, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t beat yourself up if you shrink from this, but don’t beat others up either. Just get on with it, whilst doing what it takes to keep life and limb together. There’s always a way. It’s not for nothing we learned to be canny.

    What I was pointing out above, is that it is often heroic to pursue art and culture in the face of austerity and adversity. Nobody said it was easy. We must often suffer for our art and to do so is heroic. To shrink from that, and pander to ‘bourgeois’ tastes, do the commercial thing, is shallow and cowardly. MacCaig and MacLean, Derrick Thomson, et al, they all got jobs teaching. But continued their output nonetheless. Did they sell out? Macdiarmid and his circle faced two hurdles that mitigated against Scottish cultural revival, the economic crisis and austerity that reigned in the 1920s and 30s which meant there were no jobs or jam, but also the entrenched Anglo-centric view that Scotland had no worthwhile modern literary tradition of its own. This was the larger hurdle of the two. The nineteenth century had been obsessed with Shakespeare whilst we had the faux bourgeois art of Sir Walter Scott. Macdiarmid’s project was to rescue Scottish literature from the kailyard, to give Scotland a modern voice that dealt with the big philosophical issues of the time, both in Scotland and on the world stage, but from a distinctly Scottish experience and perspective. In that he succeeded.

    Today we have come a long way from Macdiarmid’s time. We have won back our parliament, albeit with limited powers. But more than that we have won back the idea of Scotland, that it exists, as an objective reality distinct from the rest of the UK, that there is a distinct political dimension and space up here. That’s one hurdle we’ve crossed that Macdiarmid was never able to. Sadly, he died in the autumn of 1979, after the first referendum failed, despite it winning a majority, and Margaret Thatcher was ushered in to government and began laying waste to the British state and much of Scotland with it.

    Three events etched 1979 onto my memory; the failure of the first indyref; meeting Macdiarmid, and his death a few months later; and the beginning of the evil reign of Margaret Thatcher, the ushering in of the Wilderness Years.

    But the flame of freedom was never quelled. Like a flame passing from log to log is carries across the generations.

    Don’t give up man. I like Alistair Gray’s maxim: ‘work, as if you lived in the early days of a better nation’. Go for it!

    • MBC, what a fine reply, of wide vista.

    • Not giving up MBC, just relocating to somewhere cheaper where the sun shines and a beer costs 2 euros and you don’t get charged for breathing fresh air, by which I mean, where there is no council tax. ….in any case, the Scot with wanderlust is ALSO one of our traditions…..

      But you don’t take on board my criticisms of the SNP. They have been in government for 8 years now. Have they changed Scottish culture? Maybe, but for the worse. What are they playing at?

      As for film, in which I have worked for over a decade on the continent of Europe, the SNP are oblivious. to it, maybe they don’t think it is “Scottish” enough to worry about. They missed a real opportunity there; film movements tend to take place in countries going through great change – the Nouvelle Vague and Paris 68, the Czech New Wave and Prague Spring….we might have had such a movement in Scotland last year if the SNP had come up with a long term integrated strategy for film when they first came to office. I could write you that strategy on the back of an envelope without all of these never ending reports and committees and inquiries Creative Scotland carry out – at some cost – and to little or no effect…….

      The problem with “the movement” mentality is that puts off people being critical of the SNP…I refuse to relinquish or suspend my critical faculties, and I think the SNP have let down Scotland’s creative community and neglected its film-makers to the point where many have no choice but to leave…

      • Well I hear what you are saying there, and wish you well. I would be interested to hear more particularly what your criticisms are of the SNP in relation to film in Scotland, if you can be bothered. I would describe myself as a nationalist but I’m not a member of the SNP and I steer clear of group think. I would genuinely like to know.

        They haven’t exactly done much for Scottish publishing or Scottish history either. But I wouldn’t really expect them to, to be quite honest. What I will say is that eight years isn’t a long time especially since in four of them they did not have a majority.

  24. Changing Scotland’s state of mind – yes, indeed. But before we go any further face one harsh fact. There is no such thing as the British (or indeed Scottish, for that matter) constitution. The ramshackle method of governance of the Union is a disgrace for a modern-day state and should be the priority of change for us all. I am 25% highland Scot so consider myself well qualified to pitch-in to your debates which I find are often so narrow minded, racist, nationalistic and bigoted as to be virtually worthless which is a shame. You can do so much better. So yes, let’s change our state of mind for the collective good. More pretty little parish council parliaments spread over our island of new mini-states might suit local politicos and flag makers but won’t hold the ring in a competitive world. Sadly, I sense that many of your rhetoric-inflamed contributors, embittered with centuries of feelings of inferiority, would rather leap off the sinking ship naked and without a life-jacket than start plugging up some of the holes. For a long time now the Union Flag has been used by many a false patriot and scoundrel as a means of concealment, and it is sad to see so many Scots adopting the Saltire for the same purpose. Yes, Westminster stinks, but so do middens anywhere, including in Edinburgh. I therefore suggest we put aside our bigotries and prejudices and get ourselves a decent, practical constitution. That is the state of mind change I would like to see, and pronto!

    • “I therefore suggest we put aside our bigotries and prejudices and get ourselves a decent, practical constitution.”

      And where is this movement for a new UK constitution happening then? Strange that we pestilential Scots are grudgingly noticed only when we begin to say that we are tired of the present system and want to create something new. Now here we we have someone rushing to wag an admonishing finger at us and tell us that all we had to do was ask – for a new constitution, in this case. (Funny, it doesn’t sound like a friendly or comradely invitation.) I haven’t noticed a new constitution being on offer, Hereward, and anyway you sound pretty peevish about it, in much the same spirit as the paltry arrangements of the Smith Commission, now being busily watered down.

      “More pretty little parish council parliaments spread over our island of new mini-states” displays the kind of disdain for greater democracy which makes me less than enthusiastic about the kind of written constitution which would appeal to you.

      It’s also a bit rich being lectured about being “rhetoric-inflamed” by someone who calls us “narrow minded, racist, nationalistic and bigoted” with no sense of irony at all. Have you also read some of the intolerant and splenetic contributions coming from trolls on this site? Your own supposed invitation to common purpose comes laced with a deal of insult and is slyly meant to provoke.

      • ( Bella ,sorry, some of the text got mixed up with the name field. Didn’t notice until after posting. Don’t know how that happened Could you sort it out in moderation? )

  25. ‘I am 25% highland Scot so consider myself well qualified to pitch-in to your debates which I find are often so narrow minded, racist, nationalistic and bigoted as to be virtually worthless’

    This from someone who names himself after an Anglo-Saxon ‘freedom fighter’ against the invading Normans..no irony there then. And by the way what is 25%, an arm? a leg? half a brain?

    ‘More pretty little parish council parliaments spread over our island of new mini-states might suit local politicos and flag makers but won’t hold the ring in a competitive world.’ So you’re a BritishTory who has no understanding or respect for Scottish identity?

    Scotland existed 1000 years ago, same borders, multi-racial inhabitants. Our Independence was sold off 300 years ago by bankrupt aristocrats…the ordinary people rioted against the Union. All we seek on here is to achieve our Independence back.

    ’embittered with centuries of feelings of inferiority’…..says who? You?..so self determination=inferiority complex. That is a strange and frankly absurd conclusion.

    The one thing I agree with you on is having a proper written constitution…..for Scotland. If you read a bit more deeply instead of insulting commentators on this site, you may find that Bella and Common Weal and others have done great work in terms of formulating a Scottish Constitution for the 21st Century. RUK I’m afraid can get on with its archaic 16th century Ruritanian farce until it finally collapses in on itself.

    • Greetings, JGedd and Lochside.

      Touched a few tender spots there, didn’t I! Horror of horrors, its the first time, and I hope the last, that I’ve ever been labelled a Tory. Not sure I can ever forgive that! Now I note that you’re both frequenters of the ‘pick & mix’ counter at the sweetie shop of history and racial purity. Trouble is that the ludicrous whitewashing of our past by Braveheart-type Hollywood pap does nothing to encourage sensible modern debate on these matters.

      Take race and nationhood, for example. We’re an island group of feisty mongrels, like it or not. My dabblings in personal genealogy have indicated family connections with Celtic, Roman, Ango-Saxon, Viking and French roots and goodness knows what else. So depending on the prejudice of the moment I can pick up enough chips on the shoulder to see me through most days, which is why I find it so sad that much of BC is given over to the narrow-minded, bitter and twisted. Get real! There never was a golden age of Scottish or any other sort of Utopia, its up to us lot to create something better out of the haggis-like melange of our history, not just wallow in a cess-pit of prejudice dripping with nostalgia for a ‘White Heather Club’ world that never existed.

      So, Scots, if you want your ‘freedom’, whatever that is, you’re welcome to it, but I fear you will end up loosing far more than you gain. In the meantime I shall crack on shouting for a proper written British constitution, while hosing myself down to remove those invidious stains of Toryism. Hereward is awake, at last!

  26. Hereward the Asleep: As expected,more from the Unionist troll lexicon of racist anti-Scottish clichés:
    ‘sweetie shop of history and racial purity’;’ Braveheart-type Hollywood pap’; ‘White Heather Club world that never existed’. Yet you have the bare faced gall to state that it ‘does nothing to encourage sensible modern debate on these matters’ Well if I or JGedd had alluded to any of the above I would agree. But like all of the deliberately hard of thinking Onanists like you, you only listen to the high pitched voices in your heads .

    ‘There never was a golden age of Scottish or any other utopia’…who suggested there was?

    And as for ‘wallowing in a cess-pit of prejudice dripping with nostalgia’, I would suggest Hereward that you are the only one rolling about in shite. Either that or get someone with the reading age above 12 years old to read out our posts and explain them to you.

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