The List’s indy issue is really odd. Promising ‘a range of cultural voices’ I thought of all the papers out there The List has managed at last to unearth some No voting creative types. Seems, they hadn’t. Instead we had publisher Robin Hodge, Alasdair Gray, Stuart Kelly and, er Rab C Nesbitt.
Stuart Kelly writes:
“A great deal of the campaign has been rhetorical in the pejorative sense of that word. Example is met with counter-example, hypothesis with antithesis, each pie chart of spending placed next to a histogram showing the opposite. This is not unique to the independence referendum: it is merely the manner in which contemporary politics is usually conducted. Had I one wish, it would be that politics, and its dismal unscientific handmaiden, economics, might be taken out of the debate altogether, because the referendum is much more important than that. It is, to use an ugly but useful word, a cratological proposition: it is about power, not politics.”
I don’t quite understand what he’s getting at ‘example is met with counter-example’. Yes? And what is the difference between power and politics? Politics is about power.
“All this leaves us with questions about the nature of power: who wields it, at what level, and to what end? What could an independent Scotland do that only independence can allow? What levels of trans-national power and self-determination can be achieved within the union?”
That’s what the discussion is about: power. The last sentence doesn’t make sense. How can you have self-determination within the union? That’s ipso facto impossible.
Robin Hodge OBE writes: “The question is, which way forward should we choose: Is it, as some would argue, the time to pull away from our neighbours, to leave shared cultural institutions, and to emphasise what divides us? Or should we nurture and enhance the links and connections we have – links and connections that help us participate in the wider development of contemporary culture and contribute to the better understanding of the human condition.”
That’s not really the question at all but it’s an extraordinary contribution.
As is the main thrust of his argument for the Union: “Given the historic achievements of those such as David Hume, Robert Adam, James Boswell, Henry Raeburn, Robert Burns, Walter Scott, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Buchan, Neil Gunn, Naomi Mitchison, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sorley MacLean, Muriel Spark and Joan Eardley (to name but a few), Scottish culture has clearly flourished since the Act of Union.”
So we have artists so we don’t need democracy?
Is the argument that the reason we have writers, painters or artists at all is the Union, or that we wouldn’t have had any culture without it? Or that Sorley Maclean wouldn’t have written without Westminster? At least half the figures quoted were committed nationalists so the point is even more bizarre.
He goes on: “Authors want their books to be available to as wide a readership as they can be, performers to attract as big an audience as possible, and so on. This involves connecting, reaching out to one another and sharing human experience.”
Does Denmark not do books? How does France manage to have any culture at all shut-off from the world like it must be? Only countries ruled by other countries can share the human experience? I’m confused.
What are the shared cultural institutions we’d leave that would scupper our cultural activities?