Brain v Blancmange


As Jenny Hjul appears to be cooking nicely in a ceviche of her own bile, the contrasting experiences of the campaign strike home. For one side the entire last year is something they wish never happened at all, for many of Better Together it’s been an excruciating and tedious period that has made them more and more miserable and angry. Instead of ‘imagining a new Scotland’ they’ve been busy shutting down any possibility of change. Britain must be protected. Set in stone. Nothing must change. No surrender.

The intellectual task has been formidable: how to make ‘nothing at all’ look engaging?

People have asked ‘why are there no Unionist blogs?’

The reason is (whisper it): they have nothing to say.

Where is the equivalent to Commonweal, National Collective or the outpouring of books from Yes?

Contrast that to the outpouring we’ve had from Yes: intellectual; political; cultural and social. Frightened Rabbit, Withered Hand or Wounded Knee, whether it’s a timorous bunny or an injured body part, the cultural response has been impressive (Wounded Knee aka Scottish vocal artist Drew Wright) was a standout at All Back to Bowie’s last week.

Reading IDP: 2043 featuring Barroux, Hannah Berry, Irvine Welsh and Denise Mina the outstanding dystopian graphic novel from Freight Books, or Caledonian Dreaming, or Yes, or Blossom, or Commonweal – Practical Idealism, or Cat Boyd and Jenny Morrison’s ‘Scottish Independence, a Feminist Response’ from Word Power books is to stand in the middle of a new wave of political and literary energy. As Bridget Fowler (University of Glasgow) puts it: “Its most distinctive and welcome element is its new strategy fora Scottish collectivist feminism.” It adds a new dimension to the referendum debate and the exciting potential of seeing, on the ground, through praxis, the connections between and amongst movements and breaking out of the single issue silos of the past.

It’s almost as if as the No campaign becomes narrower and more banal, focusing on less and less, the Yes movement is expanding and becoming richer and drawing on a wider diversity.

But if this sounds like some kid of dire 70s revivalism, doomed by self-seriousness and part of a descent into a purely theory-based witterings, we also have Kevin Bridges and Frankie Boyle. We also have Greg Moodie. Parp.

Like most of the indyref movement he has re-invented himself as an online entrepreneur and is currently seeking support for his tuba-obsessed graphic novel. Buy it here. Do it now. We’ll be featuring extracts all this week, watch this space. 





Comments (14)

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  1. Theuniondivvie says:

    ‘The reason is (whisper it): they have nothing to say.’


    Word of warning, I believe Denise Mina is a No and gets very exercised if dragged into the Yes camp, even by default.

    1. muttley79 says:

      Yes, I agree. Mike, I think you might want to remove Denise Mina’s name because she is a definitely a No voter.

  2. If I may plug my own blog again – – my latest article is on the point. In it, I’ve made some constructive suggestions to unionists – Scots and English alike – to get involved in building up relations between the peoples of the UK if they are serious about the union. I’d be more than happy if No voters started engaging with us English as to why we pay so little attention to Scotland – I don’t think this is a point made only by Yes voters.

    Even if unionists are in a majority across the UK as a whole, they have to accept that the union is in trouble and needs active nurturiing to keep it going and make it appeal to future generations. I don’t think there’s any vitality left in the union for this, but I would respect unionists who give it their best shot.

    1. I think you,re missing the point it is not the English we are against it is the corrupt Government creating a UK of haves and have-nots. They seem to think Scotland is a backwater of England and can impose any whim they can dream up

  3. Dan Huil says:

    To state the bleedin’ obvious: the No campaign is all about negativity. It is also about intellectual laziness: far easier to simply denounce any attempt at enlightenment. Thoughtless condemnation can, if allowed, strangle hope. The No campaign has the traditional media in support. Traditional media, especially newspapers, have a long history in reactionary reporting. However, this time the forces of negativity will be defeated. The Yes campaign has hope and thoughtful optimism. The Yes campaign has intellectual strength. In the internet the Yes campaign has the device to bypass traditional media. That is why Yes will win.

  4. Roland Chaplain says:

    The nearest that the NO campaign has come to copying our positive message seems to have been their recent petition on the website.entitled Dan’s ode to Scotland

    My response to them was:

    I was saddened to read that a network designed to bring all of us together who hate injustice should be used to promote a continuation of a status quo which takes us into illegal wars and uses Scottish waters as a base for its weapons of mass destruction. This petition shows a profound misunderstanding of what the movement for self-government in Scotland is all about. It’s a denial of Schumacher’s principle of ‘small is beautiful’. Our movement is not one seeking ‘separation’ but just new, mature, creative relationships throughout these islands.
    I would request that you launch a petition along the following lines:
    “We call upon people throughout these islands who believe in change to recognise the right of people in Scotland not to be ruled by governments based in Westminster which support values which are fundamentally incompatible with our vision of what Scotland’s position in a globally interdependent world should be.”

    Recently there has been a huge surge of creative thinking about how Scotland can use independence from the Westminster/City of London wealth sucking club to start to build a society which is no longer one with almost the World’s greatest gap between the richest and poorest. We see the vote on September 18th as a once in a lifetime opportunity to start a process which will send a ripple of reform southwards and westwards to benefit all who live on these islands.
    The Westminster system of Government profoundly disempowers people. It is a facade of democracy that allows corruption and exploitation to flourish. In Scotland we want to break away from this legacy of empire and slowly but surelly build a society where people are engaged with the big decisiions of war and peace, climate disruption, etc. and where our representatives and civil servants can constantly be called to account.

  5. Clootie says:

    I think the YES campaign has created a wonderful legacy (regardless of the vote outcome).
    Social justice / fairer community values are now fixtures. The Blogs and Websites are not going to go away. Scotland is a better place.

    I would prefer a YES vote and rapid progress. However the direction of travel is clear and heaven help any politician who thinks the genie can be put back in the bottle.

    People are demanding change.

  6. Never heard of Jenny Hjul before. Just read her latest post about nationalists moving in next door during the Edinburgh festival. Really not nice.

    1. Mrs Alan Cochrane, it turns out; she says it was just meant as a light-hearted piece. But we’ve been hearing the same ‘joke’ from folk like her all our lives, whether in reference to Asians, or Catholics, or whoever. Middle-class bigotry and British Nationalism; reason alone to vote Yes.

      1. Dean Richardson says:

        As soon as you mentioned her being Alan Cochrane’s wife, I knew all I needed to know about her.

      2. setondene says:

        I worked occasionally with her father, a South African of Danish extraction. A bit pompous but an expert in his field of international fisheries. Shame she turned out this way…

  7. Adam Neilson says:

    Our experience at information stalls, canvassing, and any interaction with local people shows that many have never even heard of the groups, organisations, and individuals who are part of the pro-Independence campaign.
    They will know Frankie Boyle and Alan Bissett, Leslie Riddoch and Brian Cox – but they probably don’t know they’re active within the campaign – a campaign that they believe is all about Alex Salmond and the SNP (thanks to our media – which should be ashamed).
    That should surprise no-one, as we know that 1.4 million voters in Scotland do not have ‘easy access’ to a computer and the internet.
    If we really want to win this referendum, then my advice is to the able-bodied is to leave the computer, find your local Yes group, and join those who are knocking on doors and changing people’s media controlled minds – one by one, every day, every week.

  8. macart763 says:

    We’re motivated wee souls right enough and more than happy to punt blogs from site to site and on social networks. 🙂

    The surge in blogs and civic journalism since the beginning of this campaign has been nothing short of jaw dropping. That people were motivated enough and also felt the need to get their views across strongly enough to take action is hugely inspiring. It simply underlines the the unrepresentative nature of our mainstream media that people felt this step was necessary. More inspirational and encouraging yet has been the response of the public to our new media and commentary. Seems like there’s life in the old democracy yet. 🙂

    Speaking of which:

    Worth a look and a download.

  9. Ken MacColl says:

    I used to occasionally read the outpourings of Cocky because the concept of a Dundonian Tory intrigued me but with that idea firmly in my mind it was easy to see his outpourings in the DT -see what I did there – as entertainment rather than education. His wife’s regular articles in the Sunday Times eventually drove me away from that journal and it is easy to see that her attempts at “light entertainment” reported here contain a depth of bigotry and intolerance that is quite remarkable. What a truly unpleasant pair they make

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