Bella is edited by Mike Small.
Bella is named after a character in Alasdair Gray’s Poor Things (1992). Like Bella we are looking for a publication and a movement that is innocent, vigorous and insatiably curious. Bella is aligned to no one and sees herself as the bastard child of parent publications too good for this world, from Calgacus to Red Herring, from Harpies & Quines to the Black Dwarf.
Poor Things is a remarkable book. Presented as the memoir of Dr Archibald McCandless, it describes his life and that of a colleague – Godwin Baxter. A monstrous proto-Frankenstein, Baxter performs surgical marvels, his greatest achievement being the (re) creation of life: he brings to life a drowned woman by transplanting the brain of the foetus she is carrying. The full-grown woman with the infant’s mind, is Bella.Earlier this year Alex Bell of All Media Scotland asked:
“Where is there a newspaper that champions independence as favoured, we are told by pollsters, by a majority of Scots? There is none. Never has been. It never ceases to amaze me that not one newspaper in Scotland supports the policy of independence supported by half of the six parties in Holyrood. That is not only anti-democratic, it is a disgrace to journalism and an affront to free speech.”
What’s at stake? Never mind sovereignty, or cultural identity, breaking with imperialism and the long overdue peace dividend is on offer. The Labour Party has moved fundamentally in the intervening twenty one years between Gordon Brown describing Trident as: “…unacceptably expensive, economically wasteful, and militarily unsound” as he did in 1984 – and David Cairns this week foaming at the mouth over a Scottish Government extending its sovereignty to effect a more peaceful world by refusing Son of Trident:
“Salmond prefers posturing on the world stage to delivering on bread-and-butter issues…instead he seeks to cavort across the world stage with his discredited looney left policies.”
Commenting on the anti-Trident summit in Glasgow, Labour’s éminence gris Baron Foulkes of Cumnock, spurted: “The SNP’s summit today is a ridiculous waste of time and taxpayers’ money. This is a reserved issue over which they have no control”. I suppose you could call good food for schoolchildren, or cancelling prescription charges, bread and butter issues, but then to develop these policies and deride the Treasury’s financial settlement, “makes us look like stupid, whingeing Jocks”, according to former Scottish Labour minister Sam Galbraith.Let’s not pretend this is anything other than an ethical choice about what kind of society we want to create and what kind of signals we want to project around the world.
Bella proves there is life after death.