Coming soon, a new book published by Word Power books Unstated: Writers on Scottish Independence edited by Scott Hames. Book an advanced copy here.
Over the past three decades, it is commonly argued, Scotland achieved ‘a form of cultural autonomy in the absence of its political equivalent’ (Murray Pittock) – a transformation led by its novelists, poets and dramatists. Why, then, is the debate over Scottish independence so much less passionate and imaginative than these writers or their politics?
We are deluged by facile arguments and factoids designed to ‘manage’ the Scottish question, or to rig the terrain on which it is contested. Before we get used to the parameters of a bogus debate, there must be room for more honest and nuanced thinking about what ‘independence’ means in and for Scottish culture. This book sets the question of independence within the more radical horizons which inform the work of 27 writers and activists based in Scotland. Standing adjacent to the official debate, it explores questions tactfully shirked or sub-ducted within the media narrative of the Yes/No campaigns, and opens a space in which the most difficult, most exciting prospects of statehood can be freely stated.
Here is a taste of what the writers have to say.
“We’re in danger of believing that if we just stick the weary word ‘Scottish’ in front of the same old thought-patterns, the same institutions, we will have achieved ‘independence’.”
“I understand about not frightening the horses – but actually I think it would be good to see a few wide-eyed sidelong glances and hear a nervous clattering of hooves.”
“We must talk the language of hurt as much as the language of hope. The so-called chip on the shoulder exists for a reason.”
“We need the freedom to start failing a little, and to learn a modesty appropriate to our imminent international status.”
“Most independence debates start with the participants telling the audience what their conclusions are and then trying to get them over to their side. This is not a discussion. This is a membership drive.”
“We are being asked to provide a priori evidence of our fitness to determine our own existence before the freedom to do so is allowed.”
“Deep down, sometimes surprisingly deep down, English feelings about North Britain run deep.”
“Democracy has come to subsist in the freedom merely to choose one’s own, peculiar form of ‘schizophrenia’, one’s own, specific, individuated brand of alienation.”
“The appointed director of Creative Scotland is not Scottish, admits to knowing nothing of Scottish culture, but says he is willing to learn. Ain’t Scotland lucky?”
“The worries I have about the Scottish nation rediscovering itself are nothing compared to the dread I feel about an English awakening.”
“We are looking at a post-independence Scotland which retains the Queen as Head of State and ties us to the dubious colonial past. In this regard, the events of recent Australian history have something to tell us.”
Unstated: Writers on Scottish Independence will be published in November 2012, but is now available for pre-order (£12.99).