Recent Posts - page 34

  • A Pinochet for Our Times

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    By Christopher Harvie Rupert Murdoch has apparently taken to the skies to protect the UK part of his media empire from the consequences of its misdeeds. There seems a certain parallel with the need of General Pinochet, fourteen years ago,… Read More ›

  • A Reputation Not Reconsidered

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    By Michael Gardiner In a recent Scottish Review article, Kenneth Roy takes the opportunity of the announcement of the late Edwin Morgan’s will to expose what he sees as a hypocrisy in the Scottish liberal left in terms of its… Read More ›

  • Independence-Lite: the Triumph of Hope over Reality

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    I suspect that in the past the idea of an independent Scotland has been such a ludicrous concept for British nationalists that it has blinded them to the fact that the SNP is not a joke party in the vein of a Wessex independence movement or a Yorkshire independence party and that’s part of the reason why Labour in particular has failed to recognise the threat to their hegemony in Scotland and to find a strategy to keep the SNP out of power in Holyrood…

  • Enough is Enough – MP Bigot Exposed

    The Traveller Education and Informatin Project - Girls from Aberdeen in a real Gypsy wagon at the Open Roads Festival in Glasgow in 2000.

    Continuing our series of ‘Letter Bombs’ – this as Ellie Dooks takes on Labour’s hapless Brian Donohoe MP: Below is an email I sent to MP Brian Donohoe this evening in response to his comments about Travellers in the Ayrshire… Read More ›

  • Climate Chaos – Can we stop it before its too late?

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    This is the first in a series of ‘Case for the Commons: The kinder Society we want’ posts – the second will argue that international agreements have failed and will fail: what is needed is a ‘Commons’ approach to the… Read More ›

  • FED – Ideas to Sustain

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    Realpolitik and Bella Caledonia present ‘FED – Ideas Worth Sustaining’, a one-day program of talks, discussions, and, most importantly, ideas. FED takes its cue from July’s TEDGlobal Edinburgh conference – but while TED costs an eye-watering £3,700 to attend, FED… Read More ›

  • Hari’s Game

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    by Kevin Williamson Many years ago I was interviewed for a national newspaper by one of its senior journalists.  The interview took place in Glasgow, on a Saturday morning prior to an Old Firm match.  The city centre was teeming… Read More ›

  • Anger Management

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    At the beginning of March 2011, Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, expressed his surprise to the British Treasury Select Committee (in the ‘Thatcher Room’ of all places), that there had not been more public anger in response to the financial crisis. In this respect, the muted response in Scotland to the crisis is little different to that in the other nations of Britain. But what is at least as surprising is that there has not been more public anger in Scotland at the absence of a Tory mandate to govern Scotland. We are, after all, talking about a government that was rejected by almost 85 per cent of Scottish voters and that won barely 2 per cent of seats in Scotland at the last British general election.

  • The Road to Nowhere

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    With the news that everything the protestors at the Pollock Free State – said was true all along we feature Rosie Kane from her new blog: “Tomorrow evening a whole bunch of smiling politicians and dignitaries will stand on the… Read More ›

  • Greek Crisis and Response

    new austerity measures June 15, 2011 in Athens, Greece

    The only way to describe recent developments in Greece is to refer to a peaceful popular insurrection that has led to an open political crisis. The mass gatherings at city squares at the centres of all major Greek cities continue to gather momentum. Since the 25th of May, Athens and most Greek cities have experienced some of the biggest mass rallies in recent history. It is a unique experience of social mobilization. It is also a highly original form of protest, which combines mass rallies with a democratic process of discussion through mass people’s assemblies.

  • BOA Constrictor

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    By Mike Small Two football stories jump out this week  – both share the common feature about a real lack of democracy in the game. One is about a club run by a fat-cat oligarch, the other is about the… Read More ›

  • FED – Ideas Worth Sustaining

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    On July 11, TEDGlobal will host its first conference in Edinburgh. ‘The Stuff of Life’ is the theme: for just $6,000 you can listen to Philip Blond wax lyrical on the Big Society, Niall Ferguson present his version of history… Read More ›

  • Naming the Movement

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    The early 21st century is marked by a profusion of initiatives that bring people together to discuss and explore big questions. It amounts to a great river of change – but to realise its potential the movement needs a formal designation, says Keith Kahn-Harris.

  • ‘Yes’ Argument Should Soar Above and Beyond the SNP

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    Kenneth Hermse argues that the key to winning independence is to broaden the aim of what we mean by it and to reach out beyond party politics, to the disenfranchised, terminally bored and disaffected that make up half the voting public…

  • Hard Labour

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    By Doug the Dug I’ve been mulling over why the Labour party has failed in its efforts to stop the rise of the SNP since the Scottish Parliament was instituted in 1999 and oddly enough it’s the articles posted on… Read More ›

  • Trains, Planes & Automobiles

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    In the early days of Bella, Mr Williamson had an idea for a feature called ‘Letter Bombs’ – all the letters that national newspapers refused to publish. ‘All the news unfit to print’, that kind of thing. Mibbe it’s an… Read More ›

  • Eco Mindshift

    This is Natalie Jeremijenko on the art of eco-mindshift, from Pat Kane’s new Radical Animal site. Natalie Jeremijenko is an artist/engineer whose background includes studies in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering. She is an active member of the net.art… Read More ›

  • Shock of the Century

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    By Michael Greenwell Brian Taylor of BBC politics fame had a seemingly off-record quote about the startlingly obvious yesterday… Firstly, a UK minister told me, with considerable emphasis, that the government at Westminster was “not neutral” with regard to Scottish… Read More ›

  • Postcolonial Melancholia

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    By Michael Gardiner Mike Small’s Bella piece of 6 June is bang on when it describes Kevin McKenna’s Observer piece of the previous day as a pitiful piece of Uncle Tom unionism (though I’m not sure about the ‘nadir’ –… Read More ›

  • Decentralisation of Energy is Inevitable

    Jeremy Rifkin on the connection between linux, music sharing, nuclear energy, peak uranium and the ‘decentralisation of everything’. This is the ‘business case’ for the death of the nuclear industry. Post-Fukushima it’s as devastating case against new nuclear as I’ve… Read More ›

  • In the World, at the Limits to Growth

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    “It’s been part of the background noise for over half a century, warnings about resource scarcity, biodiversity loss, soil erosion or climate change. But impacts were always on the imaginative horizon. Sometime, far enough into the future to be re-assuring to a species that evolved with a clear preference for the short-term…”

  • 10 Reasons why the 2011 Edinburgh International Film Festival is looking pretty damned good

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    It has taken a bit of a battering in the press in recent months, as it goes through a  transition period, but a lot of it is undeserved, says Kevin Williamson.  Here are his ten reasons to be cheerful: 1…. Read More ›

  • We Need to Talk About Kevin

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    It’s difficult to know how to respond to Kevin McKenna’s weekend piece of writing in the Observer ‘If We Buy Taransay We Can Save the Union’ (Sun June 5 2011). It’s certainly a nadir for the Observer / Guardian newspaper and a departure into a form of Uncle Tom journalism for Kevin McKenna.

  • Cuts and the Independence Movement

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    By Mhairi McAlpine They say that nothing is certain in life but death and taxes. Over the next five years, if the UK government has its way, public sector spending cuts can be added to that unhappy list of certainties…. Read More ›

  • Freedom for Palestine

  • Empowerment, Addiction, Recovery & Dependence

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    What’s the relationship between addiction, poverty and self-determination? By AnneMarie Ward I think most folks can agree in terms of behavioural health that empowerment can be a wonderful thing for those that have the ‘capital’ to claim it. Empowerment means… Read More ›

  • Common Sense

    The consistently inspiring Variant has a new edition out (read it here).It includes an interview with John Holloway, author of Changing the World Without Taking Power (2002) and Crack Capitalism Pluto Press (2010). See also The Concept of Power and… Read More ›

  • The Gruniad, Britishness and its One-Faced Janus…

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    By Lallands Peat Worrier For those who keep an eye on the London-based UK press, its collective reaction to this month’s Holyrood result has been rather queer, particularly in the comment section. Without making any claims to comprehensiveness, recent pieces… Read More ›

  • Gil Scott-Heron: The Wisdom of Anger

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    By Mike Small I’m gutted to hear that Gil Scott-Heron, the American musician and poet, has died at the age of just 62. Described as the “Godfather of Rap”, a title he apparently disliked, Scott-Heron influenced the origins of rap… Read More ›

  • Report from the Scottish Independence Convention

    Elaine C Smith and Gerry Hassan at SIC event

    Kevin Williamson, Secretary of the Scottish Independence Convention, reports on a lively meeting held in the Scottish Parliament building last night. The first post-election meeting of the Scottish Independence Convention was packed out to hear and discuss Gerry Hassan’s ideas… Read More ›

  • Where Now for Scottish Labour?

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    By John McAllion The SNP’s crushing electoral victory has changed Britain’s political union for ever. Whatever else now happens, the constitutional and political status quo is no longer an option. The Scottish Parliament’s powers will change. Scotland’s political parties will… Read More ›

  • What’s Going On?

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    First up from our occasional series of assorted & haphazard shtuffwhatshappening…is our own NeuReekie…Friday 27 May…Scottish Books Trust, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, The Capital. Here’s the blurb: “Neu! Reekie! is a night of avant-garde poetry, music and film fusions…. Read More ›

  • End of the World: Not Many Affected

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    By Christopher Harvie If you were looking at Thursday 19 May’s evening news on BBC Scotland, hoping to see details of the Cabinet changes, and blinked, you’d miss them. They came after a quarter-hour on the Killer Webster and just… Read More ›

  • Which Way Forward?

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    Mhairi McAlpine (West Glasgow SSP) writes: My excitement at the implications of the national election result on May 5th, has been tempered over the last few weeks with the realisation that, despite a majority in Holyrood being from a party… Read More ›

  • Joan McAlpine: Time to change Auntie’s Anglocentric channel

    The new all-purpose BBC HQ in Manchester

    In today’s Scotsman, Joan McAlpine MSP, argues that the BBC has failed to come to terms with devolution and its programming proves how far from fit for purpose it is for Scots. Just days after the election I was invited… Read More ›

  • This is not who we are

    Imagine, writes Robin McAlpine, the Scottish people as if they are a Peter Howson portrait, all simmering anger and grimy masculinity, a crowd scene of shared mistrust, the washed-out neutral tones of a dark memory.  Imagine us like we are… Read More ›

  • The Weekend Starts Here: Win a Scottish Spring T-shirt

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    The last few weeks have taken their toll on the Bella Caledonia team so we’re having the weekend off.  I know, how dare we, the world keeps spinning. But before we down tools and enjoy a couple of days in… Read More ›

  • Iain Banks & The Culture

    Iain M Banks Culture novels

    Steve Arnott takes a personal look at the ‘Culture’ novels of Iain Banks and argues that sceptics of the genre are missing out on something big. ‘Perspective, she thought, woozily, slowly, as she died; what a wonderful thing.’ Iain M…. Read More ›

  • North and South, Ecology and Justice

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    With neoliberalism on a down slope and a new era of South-South cooperation dawning, this is the most favorable historical moment in decades to retake the endeavor of Third World militance and solidarity.

  • The Socialist Left and the Scottish Election

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    By James Doleman You do not need to be a psephologist to realise that the Socialist Left* in Scotland did not, to say the least, have a triumphant 2011 Holyrood election campaign. The Scottish Socialist Party received only 8,272 votes… Read More ›

  • Independence Lite?

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    By Pat Kane (from Thoughtland) It’s fair to say – along with the not-so-gentle student arm-twisting of a newly elected representative for the South of Scotland region – that the veteran SNP grandee Jim Sillars is responsible for my current… Read More ›

  • Donald Dewar’s Glasses

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    By Gordon Darroch Donald Dewar will be remembered, among other things, as the last Labour figure whom Scots looked upon with any real sense of affection. After his sudden death, while the Parliament he proclaimed was still learning to walk,… Read More ›

  • Altered State

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    By Mike Small “We have given ourselves the permission to be ambitious.” More than anything among a barrage of new sensations (collective relief, delight, and unbridled optimism) it was the sense of the possible…the hopeful that followed Thursdays election that… Read More ›

  • A Scottish Spring

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    This is about more than one election result. This is about a deep, long-term transformation of Scotland which has been occurring for decades. From the age of Labour identification, and seeing the world in terms of workplace politics and class. Away from the visceral anti-Nationalist politics which shaped so much of urban Scotland for so long. And towards a new era of SNP support, identity politics and sense of national purpose.

  • It Was the Scottish People Wot Won It

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    By Kate Higgins What will it take for the opposition parties to “get it”. Even as Alex Salmond was arriving in his helicopter at Prestonfield House to claim victory, Annabel Goldie was on Radio Scotland’s Newsdrive, trotting out the fallacy… Read More ›

  • It’s A New Dawn, It’s A New Day

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    Scotland has shown that it is no longer content to be a second-class satellite of a union that is built on a global city and a depressed, and increasingly unloved hinterland. Now is the time to start defining what it wants to be instead.

  • History in the making. And yes it feels good!

    The poet Paul Reekie

    by Kevin Williamson On the night of the 1997 British general election, along with my friend Paul Reekie, I took part in an election night cabaret in West Pilton at the Triangle club. We were two poets supporting a local… Read More ›

  • Porty, Clause 4 and Election Fever

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    By Justin Kenrick ( a response to A Liminal Moment) Elections are always liminal moments, moments of ‘in between’ when the normal state of things is turned upside down and there is the possibility for completely other outcomes. In the… Read More ›

  • A Liminal Moment

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    By Mike Small ‘A relationship is like a shark. It’s got to keep on going forward. What we have is a dead shark.’ – Woody Allen Woody Allen’s views on the British constitution are not well known, but he neatly… Read More ›

  • A Parting Hymn: Lies, Deceit and the Death of the Labour Party

    Thanks to Michael Greenwell who sent us this link. The film was made by former members of the Labour Party, the typos are all theirs.