Write Stuff

propaI mentioned DestiNation as a sign of a now thriving alternative publishing movement  in Scotland, on and off line. There’s more evidence  over at the Scottish Left Review, where  Davie Philip describes The Village, a ground-breaking ecological community in Cloughjordan. He writes: “We urgently need to take an evolutionary leap in the way we do things and to design systems from the bottom up in ways that fit this planet’s carrying capacity and we need to do this together, as communities.”
This bottom up model is what we are seeing in the media landscape as well, from Indymedia, to vlogging, twitter in Iran or our own Camcorders.

SLR has firmly established itself as part of this new picture. It’s a unifying force across the red-green spectrum, maybe only missing the black, open to new ideas, and, if it won’t win any design awards, it’s a bridge also between old left and new, and works nicely between its print and online editions.

In Ae Fond Kiss, And Then We Sever! Stephen Mullen over at Variant takes a swipe at the selective history being expressed by Homecoming Scotland 2009.  Mullen asks: “Does the Homecoming initiative have implications for race relations in modern Scotland?” Frankly, no, and if it sounds  a little formulaic, there’s no doubt that Variant is the high-brow end of a bustling new media community. More promising is Tom Jennings wonderfully lucid Parcel of Rogues on the wider ramifications of the Westminster expenses scandal: “Perhaps, though, it signals a manageable, if displaced, acknowledgement of the obscenity of wagering the futures of millions of lives on us accepting depleting incomes, dissolving welfare, and generally harsher prospects – when the only visible benefits reliably accrue precisely to those plotting the wholesale plunder of collective resources. Yet politicians in all mainstream parties parrot the mantra of ‘no alternative’ to a vain hope for trickledown from globalised profiteering – jostling to ridicule, suppress and criminalise dissenting expression and action – so it’s only right that they’re all tarred with the same brush. Meanwhile the chattering classes satisfy themselves with hand-wringing and crocodile tears bemoaning the supposedly sudden loss of faith in liberal democratic platitudes, tremulously wondering if further modernisation and regulation can bodge it together.”

Over at Product Susan George takes on the myths of conspiracy theory, plus Paul Rogers on why a new generation committed to non-violent direct action will compel its political masters to respond to the global climate crisis, despite state violence whilst the Scottish blog scene is cooking along nicely. See also City Strolls, Craig Murray and  Alan Smart’s Aye We Can as a random, eclectic and inadequate selection.

In short, newspapers may be collapsing, but who cares? This is the kind of free media that will break the Union and lead the way to the new thinking Davie Philips describes. I don’t know what we’re going to wrap our chips in but I’m sure we’ll think of something.

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  1. R Bell says:

    “Does the Homecoming initiative have implications for race relations in modern Scotland?”

    Agree with the “Frankly no” comment. If only because the Homecoming probably doesn’t affect the lives of most people within Scotland very much. At least not directly.

    If we take the Diaspora to mean everyone in the world of Scottish descent, during the last few centuries, then we’re talking of a much more diverse group than Scottish society itself is. The media tends to portray this “Diaspora” as being white and/or English speaking, but in actual fact it includes everything from tribal chiefs in North America, to noted Jamaican reggae musicians; at least 100,000 odd Argentinians (and tens of thousands of other Latin Americans from Mexico to Chile), “Anglo”-Indians, certain North African families and people from certain villages in Italy, Russia, Poland, Spain etc People of Scottish descent come in all varieties, and speak all the world’s major languages. Quite a few minor ones too. Of course, while some of these people get their Scottish ancestry through loving relationships, in other cases, the truth might be something less savoury.

    In reality, there’s a diversity in this group, which goes far beyond anything within Scotland. Not that the media seem to be much aware of it!

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      I think Mullens piece is great, but also that having a go at Homecoming is like shooting fish in a barrel. Colonialism and complicity is complex and our history has been woeful for many years. An example of such complexity can be seen in the remarkable ‘Glencoe & the Indians’ by James Hunter (1996) for one such account of McDonald’s from Glencoe integrating with native people in North America.

  2. Cruachan says:

    The printed media may well be largely London-centric, Unionist biased and Establishment controlled, but they do significantly set the tone and nature of political debate at any given time.

    Despite falling circulation figures, newspapers are still important. If every morning a family reads headlines that effectively say Scotland is not up to it and thanks goodness for the safety blanket of the UK, that has an effect.

    The growth of blogs and forums giving new perspectives outwith the control of editors and vestwed interests is a great thing. As long as we don’t just end up just convincing each other. In the coming Referendum it is the 30% “undecided” that will hold the key to independence

  3. subrosa says:

    Scunnert of scunnert nation has been recommending your site on my blog so here I am!

    I find Stephen Mullen’s question rather strange and agree that the answer is no.

    Having been in a couple of groups for ‘all things Scotland’ for the past few years, the diaspora are perhaps least interested in racial matters than any other subject. I shall post his comment in the groups and should replies disagree then I’d be happy to let you know the reasons.

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