2007 - 2021

The Sociology of the National Cringe

Alasdair-Gray-004The Personal and the Social: the debate on Scots in leadership positions needs a sociological perspective.

Liz Lochhead and Alasdair Gray have been subject to predictable abuse for raising the question of the number of Scots in leadership positions in the arts. Others have met the same response for questioning the social class background of elites and the gender and ethnicity distribution of those in top jobs. It is not only legitimate to raise these questions, it is irresponsible to avoid them because they are socially significant.

Some of the attempts to sideline these debates come from the usual suspects. Dogmatic unionists don’t want any focus on Scottish identity questions. Those on the political right want to pretend that we are in a classless society and there are men and some women who see any support for positive action on gender as a threat. While we can discount these, there are others who come from a more liberal position and are concerned about prejudice against individuals. This we need to engage with.

What has been missing in much of the discussion is an analytical framework which can guide us towards the social significance of elite positions and national, class, gender and ethnic identity. The great American sociologist, C.Wright Mills, distinguished between ‘personal troubles and public issues’ in his 1950s book , The Sociological Imagination’. A ‘trouble’ is a private matter directly related to the personal experience whereas an ‘issue’ has to do with the wider organisation of the institutions of a society and its related culture.

‘When in a city of 100 thousand only one man is unemployed, that is his personal trouble
and for its relief we properly look to the character of the man, his skills and his immediate
opportunities. But when in a nation of 50 million, 15 million are unemployed that is an issue
and we may not hope to find its solution within the range of opportunities open to any one
individual.’ (Mills 1959)

When someone is selected for a job after a fair and open procedure, this has all the appearance of a personal event and,indeed, it may be. But if, when you look at the wider picture, the pattern of those selected is hugely unrepresentative of the wider society or of a relevant grouping within that society, this becomes a social issue. When you see that not a single Scot has been Director of the Edinburgh Festival since its inception in 1947, when you see elite jobs dominated by the small minority from private schools, when you see that there were decades in which the number of women MPs in Scotland could be counted on one hand, these are social issues. We have to look at the institutional factors that produce certain outcomes. This does not necessarily offer solutions but it brings issues into the open rather than hidden as only the sum total of individual abilities. Reference has been made to the recent appointment without controversy of a Scot to a leading job in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. But would there be no controversy if half the jobs at the Abbey over the next ten years went to non-Irish?

This does not mean that any individual job appointments were wrong in their personal context. It does mean that we should address institutional factors if these appear to predispose leadership recruitment patterns in ways that are very unrepresentative of our society. That debate has been engaged on gender issues and positive action is now mainstream if imperfect. Difficult though it may be, if we try to pretend that these are not public issues but only a matter of personal qualities, then we fail to comprehend how our society works and we prevent legitimate discussion of how we can change. Preventing change is, of course, what our critics want.

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  1. peter thomson says:

    Excellent manner to open a wider debate. I have my doubts whether this is well-known
    throughout Scotland ? Being historically ‘placed’ either in an Institution or within the Arts
    I dare say was not scrutinized fully for birthplace, that wasn’t talked about then or now. But a ‘nod
    and a wink’, or a whisper in the right ear surpassed even the ‘old school tie’ and the sardonic how’s your father?

  2. Roderick MacLeod says:

    However well intentioned nationalty should never be an employment criterion. I have witnessed candidates from islamic countries excluded a priori from scientific jobs in the UK and Germany. While non-racial grounds are invariably given – “laboratory culture” is a favorite – prejudice is never far away. It may well be that Scots are underrepresented in certain key arts jobs at home, but is that sufficent grounds to apply a race test? Rather see the modest supply of Scottish arts pundits as a symptom not of race/class prejudice but of something far more insidious, the imprinting of Londoncentric TV culture on two successive generations.

    1. Jeff says:

      Islam is not a race it’s a religion.

      1. Roderick MacLeod says:

        No excuse!

    2. Ian Tully says:

      No one is suggesting applying a race test, it would be pretty much impossible anyway as the genetic evidence for a “Scottish race” is lacking. What is being suggested is that we are in danger of having a cultural scene which recognises nothing distinctive about Scotland and is peopled by those whose cultural identity is Anglo-British or so cosmopolitan that they have no cultural home at all as seems to be the case increasingly among a certain elite both in business and on the cultural scene, rather like Europe’s Ancien Regime aristocracy. Before you go forth to the world you need to be rooted somewhere. Our folk musicians exemplify this, they know their own tradition before enjoying cross-fertilisation with other traditions.
      It took until the present generation of historians for the distinctiveness of Scottish history to be re-asserted. For a long time – one might almost say since David Hume – Scottish history was seen as a little addendum to English and Imperial history. That Scotland not only had a different experience but different responses to common history was ignored. We were not allowed to know ourselves and so understand the past that led to the present, too often all that was left were novelists’ mythologies of the Wars of Independence and the Jacobites.
      The various Scots dialects were dismissed as poor English, and “speak properly” was the constant refrain with only Burns excepted, consequently Scotland never had a national language. The sheer international reach of English puts the Scots in the position of central Europe under Germanic domination pre-1918, when Czech was a “country language” not used by educated city dwellers. Even here on “Bella Caledonia” we all write in English as we have no other common tongue. We can put on EIF productions in a variety of languages, but put on one in Scots and hear the chorus of protests about unintelligibility.
      There is an issue about the difference between expressing a Scottish or specifically regional identity and Nationalism as a reactionary force. The SNP may reject the more chauvinist views but they are embedded in their own Party history and we have all heard the blind prejudice of anti-Englishness, which long precedes the rise of the SNP. Some recent work does have more than a tinge of propaganda and a suspicion is around that patronage is following political support, but is that confined to Scotland or the SNP? I seem to remember an Arts Establishment in Scotland that was pretty solidly Labour or at least socialist.

  3. Andrew Morton says:


    I grew up in an Edinburgh corporation scheme in the 1950s and 1960s. I won a scholarship to the Royal High School and when I left in 1970 I was interviewed for one of two management trainee positions at a large, UK insurance company in George Street. Out of fifty applicants I was one of the successful candidates. Not long after I started I was talking an older fellow employee and saying how lucky I thought I was to have got the job.

    “It wasn’t luck” he said, “It was where you went to school. The manager here always picks candidates from the fee paying schools and preferably they should be rugby players.”

    Edinburgh operates on the basis of the old school tie and a large number of those ties are Tory and Unionist.

  4. Andy Borland says:

    An interesting & welcome article.

    Not one Director of the Edinburgh Festival has been Scottish.

    Think about that for a moment.

    The world’s largest arts festival has not managed to find a single Scot in almost 70 years suitable or qualified enough to be its Director?

    That’s not a selection issue.

    That’s cultural apartheid.

    In 21st century Scotland that’s unacceptable.

    What we have in far too many art appointments in Scotland is institutionalised class elitism.

    Picking people – predominantly English – solely from private school backgrounds is entirely unrepresentative of Scotland & the modern country we wish to create.

    Isn’t it about time we started to address this ludicrous imbalance?

    1. Mr T says:

      After the previous article I asked what the selection process was. No replies. Any idea anyone?

      1. James Coleman says:

        Never mind the selection process. More importantly, who are the selectors?

  5. James Coleman says:

    The following post is a copy I made from an earlier article in Bella. I don’t have a reference to the writer (but if you read this please let us know). It is excellent and covers many of the points above.

    “I’m afraid that Scotland is culturally an English run colony. It’s not just in the Arts either. Try watching the Scottish News or Radio Scotland, almost every spokesperson, expert, authority figure etc. with the exception of (mainly politicians) is English. Why? they account for only 9% of the population, but English candidates either are appointed because of the Scottish cringe by Scots, or Incumbent English employed in these organisations are discriminating against Scots, by selecting their own fellow nationals. They represent a disproportionate percentage of top jobs in the Arts ,Education ,Health and Social Care sectors.
    I believe both reasons are the case….but to see this as a situation which is unacceptable means that I and others like me are dubbed racist. Unfortunately, for the defenders of this situation, I am not racist. I would not accept this state of affairs in any other country. Each state should encourage foreign nationals with the talent and understanding of the host country to immigrate and work to enrich that state, but no group should be allowed to de facto be allowed to dominate and distort the host country’s culture into a parody or slave of their home country. This is what has happened for three hundred years to Scotland. There are many examples of English appointees to major artistic posts who have disdained any focus on giving their organisation a distinct Scottish flavour. Scottish Universities are dominated by English academics, with St. Andrews being the most obvious example.
    Moreover, the English themselves would not tolerate foreign nationals running most of their institutions…think of the abuse the Scottish ‘mafia’ under Gordon Brown received without any reply. Think of the constant racist abuse thrown at Scottish people daily by the msm and ‘comedy’ programmes.
    People have become afraid of being able to state the obvious for fear of the ‘R’ word being thrown at them. There is nothing wrong or distasteful about wanting Scotland to be run by Scots ‘identifiers’ (hopefully citizens in the future!) of whatever ethnic or racial origin, but the homogeneous English domination of our cultural institutions is not a healthy situation for any small country such as Scotland that is looking to discover its own authentic identity.”

    1. cynthia martin says:

      I agree with your last sentence. I was on the arts scene myself in London and up here in the late 80s and early 90s, and was totally struck by how many English artists were getting jobs up here – at the time, Arts Councils were encouraging dance anamateurs, artists in residence and so on, via local authorities to encourage participation for all in the arts. At the same time, such jobs, and others in smaller arts projects in London, were being filled by Scots. Then, I got the impression that the English thought Scots were better educated, but from up here, I think it was a complete lack of confidence in our own!

    2. Kenneth G Coutts says:

      Exactly!the drip drip drip of english colonialist propaganda ascomycete outwith and from within for the 300 plus years is pervasive .
      Where is it that says there isn’t Scots people out there, qualified to run our arts for Scotland.
      Even to the extent of being a collective , a body of actors artist poets and aspiring arts folk to drive it, our history cries out for it to be so.
      It takes a collective will for it to happen, I know there is the talent out there on the ground.
      One more thing to put on the Independence list.

  6. Fay Kennedy. says:

    Try Australia not much different. The Englishness of down under along with the Americanisation would astound many. As a working-class woman born in Glasgow I have experienced discrimination all of my life both in Scotland and in Australia. The class discrimination overlaps into racism, sexism . Never had the the right accent… the right school… nor right gender…. What a waste of human potential. Will it ever change? I will never stop fighting it while am alive.

  7. Douglas says:

    Walter Scott, a political Unionist but a cultural Nationalist, one day broke down in tears on The Mound in Edinburgh and was heard to say”They will not stop until they have removed every single cultural difference between Scotland and England”….

    ..well, Scott was right, and the arts appointments in Scotland are one way of snuffing out the few remaining pockets of resistance to the unrelenting Anglicization of Scotland.

    The SNP appear to be the opposite of Scott – and love him or hate him, he is a giant of world letters – the SNP appear to be political nationalists but cultural Unionists. I can’t understand why this would be the case, without resorting to the obvious: politicians, with some very rare exceptions, don’t really understand culture and they don’t care about it much either. They understand it can be politically useful, but that is about as far as it goes. To change the direction of Scottish cultural institutions requires courage, vision, lots of thinking and the reaction of a political shit-storm from the frenzied Unionist press. The SNP don’t have the cojones for the fight…

    I’d really like to hear from somebody in the SNP, BTL, on this thread, who can justify what the SNP have done in terms of Scottish culture since they came to office. No SNP supporter even begins to justify Creative Scotland or these completely unrepresentative arts appointments which in no way reflect the make-up of Scottish society.

    I have been working in the arts in Europe for over twenty years and there is no country I know of which hands something like 90% of its strategic jobs to people who no nothing of the national culture they are supposed to be administering…..

    Finally, remember how Paxman talked about “the Scottish Raj” when New Labour were in power with all those Scots who had been elected by the public of course?

    Well, I think we would be quite justified in talking about the English Empire and its meddling in Scottish cultural affairs for the last 300 or 400 years.

    Scottish culture is in a fight to the death against the Anglo-American Empire which will have drowned out anything Scottish in 20 years unless something bold, drastic and visionary is done by this SNP government, so laudable in some areas, so very disappointing in terms of Scottish culture.

    1. James Coleman says:

      “The SNP don’t have the cojones for the fight…”

      Sad but true. I oftimes wonder if the SNP really WANT Independence.

      And the nonsense about anti-English racism in the MSM needs to be confronted. It is just meaningless rubbish used by them to attack Independence and its supporters.

      1. Douglas says:

        Exactly James…my guess is a significant portion of the SNP actually are quite happy running Scotland, indie is not a priority for them, though of course in principle they would say they are for it.

        The wider point: the totally unacceptable and gross over representation of English arts administrators is demoralizing for the arts community in Scotland.

        What do you do? You leave the country, that’s what you do…

        1. muttley79 says:

          Leave the country because things are not as you would like them to be? FFS, I am very happy that Salmond and Sturgeon and many others never adopted such defeatist attitudes as you Douglas.

          1. Douglas says:

            Muttley, I find it much more to my advantage as somebody who works in the arts to be Scottish abroad than Scottish in Scotland, where being Scottish is a handicap, especially if you work in film given that we don’t have a studio….not having a film studio is something like not having national football stadium…

            …there is such a thing as – to use that bullshit term – as “brand Scotland”. The Spaniards warm to the Scots and the Irish more than the English in my experience. My opportunities for work multiply as soon as I leave the country. Ditto thousands of others. We have a good reputation abroad, and the SNP govt, again, does nothing I can see to support Scottish culture outside of Scotland either…

            Why does your SNP not actually listen to the people who work in the arts in Scotland instead of giving us endless amounts of hot air and committees and reports? There have been about a gazillion reports on Scottish culture since the SNP came to power…there’s a whole page of them on the CS website, check them out…but NOTHING EVER CHANGES….

            Once people like your good self start calling for the resignation of Fiona Hyslop, on the grounds that she knows nothing about Scottish culture EITHER as is all too clear, then I will start taking this idea that the SNP are truly 100% behind Scottish culture in earnest…

      2. muttley79 says:

        The SNP have not given up on independence imo. I do not really understand where this is coming from. We just had our first referendum on independence since 1707, and by your logic the SNP have either given up on independence, or have suddenly gone cold on the idea! We have only had a devolved parliament, with primary making powers, for 16 years, after decades and decades of political activism. The fact remains that in power terms there is no contest between pro-independence organisations and the British state. The fact that there was a 45 per cent Yes vote last year should tell you something.

        1. Muscleguy says:

          1. They just ran a GE campaign strenuously denying a vote for them was in any way a vote for independence.

          2. They refuse to commit to even a conditional commitment to another referendum in their Holyrood manifesto.

          3. There is no ongoing Independence campaign outside of the likes of RIC. We have the continuing drip, drip of the MSM and just the HoS and The National to offer anything different.

          I understand the short term campaigning reasons for the above, but if you add in that the SNP govt has settled down into managerialism (probably because they have been tagged as taking their minds of governance during the referendum) and the complete absence of arguments for independence the impression given, fairly or otherwise, that the SNP has given up on Independence.

          Well the grass roots are mobilising. RIC is still here and the Yes Registry is trying to keep what remains going while stimulating others to pick it up again. The SNP could well find itself behind the curve of the public mood and not the best vehicle for our ambitions. As someone in RIC who has not joined the SNP these doubts are not new for me.

    2. Kenneth G Coutts says:

      Collectivisation from the ground up will bypass any , such as the SNP!
      Has anyone tackled the SNP on this, we will see if they want Independence or not,but then it isn’t up to them.
      When Independence does come , we the people will decide, until that time , those out there will have our backing to change the systems of council in our favour.

  8. Douglas says:

    By the way, if I see Alec Salmond reminding us all on TV for the nth time how remarkably intelligent it is of him not to be as stupid as his opponents over in the Labour Party – but not intelligent enough to get a film studio built in 8 years of SNP rule, unlike his counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland – I will chuck my TV out of the window….

    I regret never having joined the SNP, for one reason and one reason only: because their gross betrayal of Scottish culture would have given me the opportunity to tear up my membership card…

    The film studio debacle is enough on its own to see that the SNP do not care about Scottish culture, except for one day each year, when they put on their kilts and subject us all to their Burns cult…

    1. Jon Buchanan says:

      Worth remembering how significant a part A Salmond et al played in luring a certain online book publisher and seller to Scotland, which is now not only evading tax when it can, exploiting workers on zero hours contracts, ridiculous working conditions, refusing them the right to unionise etc but driving our independent publishing and bookselling industry to the wall by the day, making it more and more difficult for writers to publish hard copy independently or distribute widely; I was at the Thomas Muir Inaugural Lecture and heard no ‘demands’ for a pardon for the great man, as has been reported elsewhere, from Mr Salmond; I heard a rambling, relatively engaging in parts speech, in which he said if someone were to take up that cause he would support it! The introductory speech given by the proprietor of the bookshop who organised the lecture, who spoke to the de-democratisation of all our wider lives by the abuses of labour and tax laws by the aforementioned corporation and the narrowing of our cultural choices by the cultural hegemony it perpetrated, received one of the biggest rounds of spontaneous applause of the night! Our cultural output is constricted, directed and controlled by hegemonising forces which are remnants of both the inner colonialism, which has been doing its damndest for over 300 hundred years and the wider colonialisms of the last stutters of long wave capitalism!

      The article does take the exact right tone which needs to be injected into the debate around cultural posts in Scotland. The sociological perspective on deep-seated, ongoing control and manipulation of cultural output in Scotland needs a deeper, longer look, certainly the type of studies which should be engaging our sociology, contemporary cultural anthropology (among which I count myself) students looking at theses post GE/indyref etc and looking to further the cause!

  9. Manc says:

    Scotland has a vibrant and globally respected and independent culture. To deny so and claim victimisation (at the hands of the English or others) is an affront to all those cultures that are genuinely repressed. This fundamentally is a debate between Liberalism and nationalism. If Scottish culture and Scots in arts were oppressed, and if they consistently ignored Scots and Scottish culture while in positions of leadership then there would be a case. This is not the case> Vicky Featherstone and Blackwatch is a prime example.

    The EIF is not an appropriate example as it was never conceived as a ‘national’ festival, hence it’s name. It was conceived in deliberate opposition to Nationalism after the horrors of the 30s and 40s and their root in ‘cultural nationalism.’ If this is a problem then perhaps the EIF should move elsewhere, to a more inclusive and open place less obsessed with itself?

    And the argument is a regressive one. If you start prescribing what is ‘Scottish culture’ in such a way by deciding who is qualified to produce ‘Scottish culture’ or indulge in the absurdity that culture is exclusively ‘national’ rather than regional, or local, or transnational (even British) based on all manner of other ‘chosen, multiple and fluid’ identities – this is the real Liberal objection – then where do you stop? A dislike of prescribed narrow culture and overt politicization towards a political end. This is the underlying agenda that is objected to – by some nationalists included. Not that more Scots ought not be in positions of authority and leadership, certainly not more pluralistic class inclusion, but a small cabal who assume ownership of the culture and want to start telling others what their identity is.

    And the author of this article misses a point. He forgets to mention the political aspect of this from card carrying SNP members like Lochhead and Gray (supporter) who seek not to further a wide and pluralistic experience in the arts that includes aspects of Scottish culture, but also is brave enough to look further and beyond to the world, but they want ‘their version’ imposed on everyone. As for many like Lochhead, Gray, Kelman, the man complains about being sidelined seems hard to swallow when you look at the empirical evidence. All widely published and republished, all in print and stocked across the UK, they are repeatedly taught in schools and universities, and they are the recipients of UK wide honors and prizes (all partly due to their connections to ‘establishment’ institutions, from the GSA and other Universities and so on. They ARE the establishment.

    And the author misses another point that was consistently made. If Scotland feel the need to go down this path then it ought to be the case that others get to do reply in kind and protect their supposed primordial culture. And this ought to be the starting point. Scots should no longer apply for positions in England or abroad first!

    Which would be a crying shame as the Lanark play deserves a touring run as far and wide as possible, and would be highly successful up in England.

    This would be a mighty shame as it would mean

    1. Douglas says:

      Your response is the fairly typical, Anglo-centric ill-informed NONSENSE from somebody who is not aware of Scottish culture in its myriad forms, and who sees any defence of Scotland’s cultures – note the plural – as a by-word for quasi fascism. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      This is the kind of Unionist Anglo-American BULLYING that so many of us are simply sick of. This reply is being written from Spain by somebody who speaks four European languages, who has read Cervantes in Spanish and Camoes in Portuguese – as Liz Lochhead has Moliere in French, as Edwin Morgan read countless Russian, Polish and Italian poets in their native tongue; translators both of them .- so please, spare us all your cliches about cultural nationalists being narrow, prescriptive, backward looking and parochial. How many languages do you read may I ask?

      It is you people, CULTURAL FUCKING IMPERIALISTS, who insist on shoving your Anglo cultural world view down the throats of not just Scotland, but half the planet, who want us all to speak the language of your god forsaken Queen and Empire….it’s not just the Scottish cultural nationalists who bristle at you lot, it is the rest of the world minus the posh knobs who run England…your master’s voice….

      1. David Smith says:

        Thank you for conveying (far more eloquently than I could have managed) everything I felt inside at Manc’s patronising comment, friend! I for one no longer have enough tolerance remaining after the endless months of deliberate British trolling to articulate a civil response to Angloamerican fuckwittery!
        Thanks again.

    2. John Mooney says:

      Interesting point of view but”UP in ENGLAND” strange geographic position surely?

    3. Douglas says:

      And can we just keep the “Blackwatch” thing in proportion. okay?

      As far as I recall that was a play about Scottish soldiers serving in the BRITISH ARMY on an imperial war in Iraq…..yet another imperial war…I mean, a fine piece of work, but to use it as a justification for appointing English arts administrators to 9 out of every 10 arts posts in Scotland is a false argument….it makes no sense whatsoever….how could one play justify a perversion on such a scale?

      It’s cultural imperialism, and the English and the Anglo-Scot have had 300 years of practice it all around the world…ask the Commonwealth writers, ask Chinou Achebe and others like him…

    4. Douglas says:

      And how come jokers you always talk about the “horrors of nationalism” but NEVER about the horrors of British imperialism, about the potato famine in Ireland, the mass famines in India, the systematic plundering of Africa, the slave trade, the decimation of South America by the British Empire, the catastrophic handling of Palestine, the systematic destablization of one democratically elected government in the Middle Easter after another from 1945 right up to Morsi in Egypt last year, and of course, the war in Iraq?

      The world’s problem is not nationalism, the world’s problem is ANGLO-AMERICAN imperialism and the war it has waged since 1900, which most of the world’s nationalisms are a direct response to….

      …that War has a cultural side to it, and until you understand that indigenous Scottish culture is in a fight for its survival against the Anglo-American Empire, then you have understood nothing.

      1. kenneth mackinnon says:

        I , as a Gaelic speaking understand only too well the dislike the English ruling elite have for us , even to this day. We are an English vassal state, a submerged Nation, the SNP have done a wonderful job of motivating the Scots. The importance of having control of our Media must be the first step in regaining control of our own Country.

  10. James Coleman says:

    There is a very simple reason why the Scottish commentariat and cultural snobs don’t want more Scottish control of our cultural institutions including the BBC. The more Scottish our ‘culture’ becomes in schools, universities, the theatres, the halls and on TV, the less of a place within it there would be for those unionists who are dismissive, and deprecating of Scottish culture and politics. At the moment some influential Scots listen to (some of) these self serving ‘multi cultural’ paeans’ opinions, but in a more Scottish culture they would be well marginalised. Scots do not vote unionist in meaningful numbers, nor do they want English culture rammed down their throats, yet spokespersons for both are way over-represented in the Scottish media and on cultural bodies to an extent that their views do not coincide with those of the society which they claim to speak for.

  11. Dennis Smith says:

    Isobel Lindsay’s analysis is spot on: every individual appointment should be made on merit but we need to be constantly on the outlook for hidden (or overt) institutional biases.

    If we are talking about arts administrators, we need to recognise that there are arts posts where knowledge of the Scottish arts scene is essential and others where it is not. The National Museum uses the motto “Scotland to the world – the world to Scotland” (ideally printed in a circle so that neither phrase takes priority). If a museum is appointing a curator of oriental art the criteria should be curatorial skills and knowledge of oriental art: a prior connection with Scotland is of minimal relevance. If you’re appointing senior staff to Creative Scotland, on the other hand, immersion in the Scottish arts scene should come pretty near the top of the list.

    For this reason the directorship of the Edinburgh International Festival is a bad example to get worked up about. It falls at the “the world to Scotland” end of the spectrum – it’s about presenting international art in Scotland. Obviously Scotland has its rightful place among the nations, but Scottish art doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have a privileged position here. It has to stand or fall on its own merits, judges by global standards.

    1. Douglas says:

      Agree with you about the curator of oriental art of course, but not the EIF…

      …Cannes is the number one international film festival in the world. It has never had a director of the festival who wasn’t French, not one. San Sebastian is the biggest Spanish international film festival in Spain. It has never had a director who wasn’t Basque as far as I can remember, let alone Spanish.

      It is, at the least, a discourtesy to Scotland that non one director of the EFI has been Scottish. Much more worryingly, it is a clear sign of the Cringe. If in doubt, pick a non-Scot…

      1. Dennis Smith says:

        I’m not sure how far apart we are here. I agree that there is a Scottish cringe, though it’s more complex and variable than some people think. I agree it’s unfortunate that the EIF has never had a Scottish director.

        But this takes us back to the original point that every individual appointment should be made on merit. It would be wrong to appoint a Scot on tokenistic grounds when there is a better candidate available. And the main job qualification here is knowledge of the international arts scene, not the Scottish arts scene. Has a suitably qualified Scot ever lost out essentially because s/he was Scottish? Is there clear evidence of institutional bias? I simply don’t know the answer.

        1. Douglas says:

          So Dennis, what would the criteria be for the head of the EIF? Experience running a big festival or such like? Okay. Knowledge of the arts? The world’s arts? Who has such knowledge? The whole world?

          No, not the whole world…. The EIF was originally a classical music festival primarily. It is skewered towards elite audiences. Hence it is a class thing as much as anything but that does not solve anything for us, because Scottishess – accent, etc – is perceived to be culturally inferior to the Oxbridge class who, as we all know, are not just our lords and masters, but the whole universe’s.

          To be Scottish, in any shape or form, is tantamount to be socially inferior to the toffs who run the country….you wouldn’t want anybody with a Scottish accent running the festival…the very thought of it..

          …so…IMO….that there has never been a Scottish director is entirely in keeping with the EIF’s mission, which is to promote high culture, remind the proles that they are proles and that they can’t understand these things, draw in lost of cash, and, oh aye, feed the Edinburgh bourgeoisie, the most ridiculous bourgeoisie in the world by some margin, with the illusion that if they go to see a couple of shows twice a year that makes them cultured people…

          Bref: Scotland as a setting, Scotland as a backdrop, Scotland as a stage set….

        2. James Coleman says:

          ” It would be wrong to appoint a Scot on tokenistic grounds when there is a better candidate available. ”

          Why? Every other country appoints heads of cultural bodies on tokenistic grounds. The jobs do not require unique intellects. And who is to judge as to whether one candidate is better than another? As a person with long experience of interviewing and employing job applicants I have realised that for every job there are many equally qualified candidates who could do the job as well as the next person so in the end it comes down to personal prejudice. And in Scotland that personal prejudice should mean a Scot be appointed.

          1. Dennis Smith says:

            Why? Two short answers: 1) it is unfair to other, better qualified candidates, and 2) because it betrays a lack of confidence in Scots and Scottish culture – it implies that Scots are so lacking in quality that they can only succeed if given favoured treatment.

            I specifically said that it would be tokenism to appoint a Scot when there are BETTER candidates available. I entirely agree, and tried to suggest in my first post (‘minimal relevance’), that where there are candidates of EQUAL competence it is justifiable to favour a Scot.

  12. Douglas says:

    Here’s my proposal for the new Scottish national anthem….a tune which catches the kind of passive resignation and total indifference which the powers that be in Scotland view the national languages, the national cultures, the destiny of the very fabric of what makes Scotland, Scotland….

  13. Tony Rozga says:

    Probably the most important area to keep under strict control, arts and culture. A nation will reach independence easily if culture is taught and nurtured from a young age. Language, song, poems etc broaden the mind and bring communities together and instill confidence. Confidence to get organised and campaign for getting our land back. Land is everything, so much of our language is based on describing our land. I don’t blame England or the English, I blame private education in Scotland, creating personalities designed to rule. Keeping the club small and tight, that way power is bullet proof. And it has to be, because they have so much to loose, their LAND!

  14. Douglas says:

    As for Vicky Featherstone – and poor Vicky, she probably wants out of all of this by now, but the BTL comments on Bella are full of people who use “Blackwatch” as the proof positive that all of us narrow, parochial, backward looking, culturally prescriptive and EXILED multi-lingual Scots are a bunch of quasi Nazi basket-cases – well, if Vicky had commissioned five contemporary European classics into Scots and/or Gaelic, then I would have been very sorry to see her go.

    A programme of translation into the national languages would have been number one on my list of priorities if I were head of the National Theatre of Scotland, certainly not the whimsical, happy-go-lucky James plays….more potted history about chippy, gallus Scots? The last thing we need….where is the intellectual meat in Scotland? Where is the substance? Fairy land stories about Kings and Queens…

  15. On Behalf of normal sighted readers ! says:

    Why am I reading posts in annoyingly large/massive font size!

    1. AnnaMac says:

      Try pressing CTRL key while scrolling, this reduces/increases screen view

  16. Big Jock says:

    I think if we are being absolutely honest. The problem is not non Scots getting jobs.

    It’s people from one country in the UK England. Being over represented in Scottish top jobs. A healthy balance of non Scots is good. But when a cultural cringe leads to the Englishing of Scottish institutions. Then we have a problem.

    So the problem is not non Scots. It’s one group of non Scots seemingly controlling Scottish institutions. Everything in balance is healthy. What we have in Scotland is not healthy. It feels like we are being controlled.

  17. Penny says:

    Not one Scot has directed the Edinburgh Festival? Ever? 50% of net revenues from the festival go to three obscure London based companies?

    Sometimes 1+1 does equal 2

    1. Dennis Smith says:

      Not quite. A lot of revenue from the Fringe is siphoned off by obscure London-based companies (there’s a story, true or false, that some of them use their Edinburgh profits to finance their winter seasons in London). But the Fringe and the Festival are totally separate organisations.

  18. Douglas says:

    What I would like to see The National Theatre of Scotland produce is Sophocles in Gaelic with English subtitles, directed by George Gunn say, of these very pages: Oedipus Rex in the Highlands.

    You obviously wouldn’t announce that it was going to be performed in Gaelic…you would keep that under your hat….then, the reaction….all those John Lewis shopaholics, their jaws dropping to the floor, storming out in a fury….that’s right, it would be political.

    On the other hand, maybe it’s best just to grow a thicker skin and forget all about these things and concentrate on one’s own work. I remember Don Paterson, probably our finest living poet, doing a reading in Waterstone’s in the West End of Edinburgh at an event chaired by some English guy from Granta who was up for the festival.

    Don was to read out one of his Scots poems. The English guy, young and nervous, couldn’t help but blurt out that Scots sounded to him like Jabberwocky, Lewis Carrol’s nonsense language….

    …I felt my blood pressure rise, but did Don Paterson’s? No it did not. He rubbished the guy with a throwaway one liner, which the Granta guy didn’t even get, and went into his reading without losing his stride: an example.

  19. Lochside says:

    I believe I wrote the segment(not article) quoted at the top of the thread. If not, then apologies to the real author, but I don’t keep copies of my contributions, so I can’t be entirely sure.

    Anyway, the salient point is that the Scottish public school elite…the ‘cringers’.. have for three centuries attempted to transmogrify themselves into English(men mainly) and by doing so have collaborated at an increasing rate with the imperialist-minded English in completing a cultural take over in our country.

    The ‘Cringers’ have recruited their own ‘old School tie’ comrades and their English betters. The latter have discriminated against the Scots and hired their own.

    No-one is arguing that merit should be a major determinant in appointments for jobs at whatever level. But Scotland’s experience in the sectors quoted has been of an English ascendancy which has ignored even that basic qualification.

    If Scotland;s Arts etc had experienced successive non-Scot appointments from ELSEWHERE in the World. I would be questioning the quality of our own people. But when faced full square with a never-ending procession of English ‘experts’ I see clear Imperialism at work.

    I have noted over the past 7-8 years since the SNP came to power that the BBC in Scotland in particular, is wall to wall with English experts, many resident in this country, but not all. Therefore it appears to be a consistent attempt to present to the Scots the ever present , but tacit belief that the voice of truth and expertise must have an English voice. During the Referendum, this was reinforced even more so by the importation of novice reporters, who displayed a shocking inability to understand the Scottish scene and a basic inability to pronounce Scottish place names.

    Manc and others ignore my point that if the boot was on the other foot…i.e. a majority of Scots were running England’s cultural institutions, there would be outrage…..oh wait a minute it already has been!………or according to the English press, 56 SNP MPs and Nicola Sturgeon apparently threatened England’s precious identity. Add in the constant racial denigration of ‘Jocks’ on the ‘National’ media.

    I’ve said elsewhere, the answer to this situation is Independence. With this comes Scottish citizenship. All the 20-25% English residents who voted ‘YES’ in the Referendum could happily apply for Scottish passports. They and their identification with their new country would have the same rights and obligations to our Bill of Rights, part of which would be about protecting our culture and our language

    The ethnicity of the people is unimportant. The identification with the host country is. English Imperialism is not wanted or acceptable in this country.

  20. George says:

    This again?

    Cumbrian born and bred but married north and have little time for this whinging. I’ve worked all over the North of England in community education and regional theatre and it is disproportionately full of Scots trying to make a career for themselves on their way to bigger things. Good on them I say, northern English culture is enriched by it frankly and can withstand the invasion. This whole Scots for Scots arts thing is just stupid. How are they going to decide who is a proper Scot and who isn’t? Can’t be birth as that would exclude the likes of the fantastic author James Robertson as he was born in Kent, it can’t be upbringing or that would excluded the playwrite and director David Greig who grew up in Nigeria? So what is the criteria???? Whoever LIz lochhead approves of?? It would be laughable if it weren’t vomit enducingly hypocritical.

    The objection is that the English only come to Scotland to further their careers? And so this needs to be stopped as they are incapable of understanding Scottish culture? Yet it is interesting to note that almost all of the cultural nationalists have at some point done exactly the thing they now condemn, but elsewhere.

    Liz lochhead (on her way to becoming the ‘national’ Makar) – Fine art teacher at Bristol University, writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company, is published widely by English publishers.

    James Kelman (a fine fine writer) – started his writing career while working in London at the Barbican, has taught at Goldsmiths University, has been awarded multiple English honors such as the Cheltenham prize.

    Alisdair Gray: Published widely by English publishers, (took a while but most writers never get published) has received numerous English awards

    Alan Bissett: Started his teaching career at Leeds and has been on numerous British council trip to piublicise his and other Scottish work.

    Alan Riach: Professor of Scot literature at Glasgow uni studied at Cambridge and spent years in New Zealand at the Uni of Waikato – (wonder if the Mauri’s approve of his Scottish cultural imperialism – they would have genuine grievance.)

    Brian Cox: went to the London Academy of Music and Drama, the Birmingham Rep and has been resident at the Royal Shakespeare company and has won English awards including the Olivier, on the way to the dismal Braveheart. (a film which owes it central act to Shakespeare – Sons of Scotland I am William Wallace’

    ….pilfered from ‘I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field..’


    ‘Once more unto the breach…’ etc etc.

    Irvine Welsh: published by English publishers and sold everywhere, Trainspotting was put on by English company theatre and it took the genius and vision of a Lancashire Director to turn the it into a world renown film (and make Welsh rich).

    David Greig: Bristol University where he began his career.

    Alan Cummings: RSC, Olivier award….

    the list goes of Scots who have used England to further their careers is endless so can someone tell me how any of these moaning minis are oppressed? It’s not exactly my definition but there you go? Yet now they say no English can come North to broaden their horizons, get on a bit and do the same. Unbelievable?

    Seems very much like a one way thing. Perhaps Regional theatre in England should do the same and only employ Yorkshire/ Lancashire, Cumbrian folk…or are our dialects and cultural heritage less important than imperial Scottish National culture?

    Personally I think it would be a shame.

    1. Douglas says:

      You’re missing the point George. The issue is not the nationality of the cultural administrators per se. It is the fact that a) the overwhelming majority of such top posts are held by outsiders and b) they have no knowledge of Scottish culture when they are appointed.

      What does the list of jobs the Scottish artists you mention have anything to do with it? When we protest, and I don’t know why we bother, because nobody takes any notice, we are talking about ARTS ADMINISTRATORS…a handful of important jobs… such as the head of Creative Scotland, the Scottish National Theatre, the head of Scottish cinema…all of whom are English, all of whose predecessors were English…

      Nobody is saying, either, that good English plays by English playwrights, say, won’t play or be programmed in Scotland. Who is saying that?

      The people who make the strategic decisions about Scottish culture should be well versed in that culture, and its place in an international context. What is there to object to in such a statement? How can this be a controversy?

      Look, Dwelley, an Englishman, is one of the most revered figures in the Gaelic speaking world because he compiled the first Gaelic-English dictionary. He spent years of his life in the Highlands of Scotland working on it. His is one of the most selfless and heroic acts in defence of Gaelic Scotland. The point is he fully engaged with the local culture, took it seriously, and made a huge contribution to Scottish culture.

      Englishmen like Dwelley? Yes. People appointed because they have a posh accent and are merely trying to further their careers? No, sorry….those days should be over by now.

      Unfortunately Fiona Hyslop and the SNP appear to have the cultural equivalent of Stockholm syndrome…

      1. Ramesh says:

        I think it’s you who doesn’t get it Douglas. If this was about class and access to Scottish and UK arts, or if Scottish culture/ artists were genuinely repressed then fine, 90% of England would be with you, but it isn’t about that. After all Liz Lochhead, David Greig and others in the Scottish nationalist arts clique and media are from their own middle class establishment. Why is it any different and why replace one with another that potentially excludes working class English?

        What’s being touted is a nationalist agenda of Scots for Scots culture, not greater access for all. At which point the English, especially in the poorer boroughs of London, SW or the North in regional arts, have every right to act in kind and stop establishment Scots on the make with their own cultural agenda, from taking up posts on their manor. After all how could someone like Kelman teach Creative writing in a London University where those attending will be bringing cultural baggage from every corner of the globe?

        This is the logic of the matter.

        1. Ramesh says:

          ‘Nobody is saying, either, that good English plays by English playwrights, say, won’t play or be programmed in Scotland. Who is saying that?…’

          The cultural nationalists are. This article is if you read between the lines – it’s not simply about more Scots in administrative positions but Scots with a certain agenda, which will impact on the plurality, outwardness and diversity of Scottish cultural output. And this is what is being objected to and is the unspoken agenda behind it all. It’s about making a clear distinction between a certain version of Scottish culture and others south of the border – which will and does (already) exclude anyone born in England or of English heritage. When was the last time a purely English play was commissioned by a Scottish arts body? Compare that with Scottish culture commissioned in England (or Britain). Which is fine if that’s your bag and you re a nationalist, but don’t dress it up as what it isn’t. After all why, if it wasn’t about the associated and implied cultural content, would it be an issue?

          ‘The people who make the strategic decisions about Scottish culture should be well versed in that culture, and its place in an international context. What is there to object to in such a statement? How can this be a controversy?’

          Yeah but you seem to think it is all one way traffic, English arts and media are hugely dominated disproportionately by middle class Scots. And why can’t the same therefore goes for multi faceated English culture. Scots go first, stop applying for senior media and arts jobs in England! What is controversial about that?

          1. Douglas says:

            Ramesh, two fundamental points:

            A) We can agree that the arts in Scotland, like the arts everywhere in the world, are dominated by the middle class, and that the working class Scot does not have the same access to culture as the middle class Scot does. Also true in England. Most likely, if the working class Scot has an artistic instinct, rather than being nurtured, that artistic interest or curiosity will be crushed out of him or her at school, and a Scottish education system which prides on dividing children into winners and losers from a very young age – an idea Nicola Sturgeon seems to buy into with those Blairite league tables for schools.

            But that is capitalism and the class system which is fundamental to it, as you know. I don’ have the answer to that, except the obvious one: end capitalism, and in the meantime radically redesign the Scottish education system – far too highly praised – so that it produces students with critical faculties, intellectual curiosity and emotional intelligence as opposed to the bullshit rat race kids are exposed to from the age of about 12 which is all about passing exams.

            B)As for the national question, your argument rests on the idea that English culture and Scottish culture are of equal weight. They are nothing of the kind. England dominates Scotland culturally by an order of something like 100 to 1. It doesn’t just dominate Scottish culture like Spanish culture dominates Catalan culture, because English is also the world language….the lingua franca of our time….it dominates the cultures of numerous other countries too. The French complain about American cultural colonization too and have refused, for four decades now, to give up protecting their national cinema. The French government will not allow film to be included in the GAAT free trade deal. They declare film to be of national interest and a cultural exception. They have, of course, the highest quota for national films in Europe as a result of that policy. It is called cultural protectionism, and without it, we will be drowned in a shit-tide of mediocre Anglo-Americana, in the same way that the cinema screens of the UK are dominated by unwatchable Hollywood dross.

            Our two languages are dying around us, and English is getting stronger by the day, at least in numbers. We are in the centre of the Anglo-American maelstrom. IF you don’t start fostering and unashamedly protecting Scottish culture and the two national languages which we are guardians and custodians of, which are our RESPONSIBILITY, then in one or two generations nobody in Scotland will understand a word of Burns, or our poetic tradition, much less the Gaelic repertoire – “the single biggest Scottish contribution to world culture” according to the last Scottish poet seriously considered for the Nobel Prize for literature. Does anybody even know what the GAelic repertoire is, let alone what it consists of?How come there has never been a play in Gaelic as part of the Edinburgh Festival line up? How can than be possible?

            The point is that so few Scots know anything about Scottish culture.

            It is not about putting up fences, it is not about closing down options, it’s not about excluding people. It is about raising consciousness in Scots as to their own culture, which has been suppressed – by the Scottish education system, the BBC, the media, the political context – for hundreds of years.

            It is about establishing a vibrant, autonomous and diverse cultural forcefield which is not defined much less run by the London Oxbridge mafia who come up here to spare our lives for us…the gorge rises at it….

  21. Jerry says:

    haha…yeah, couldn’t make it up.

    The one that really annoys me is the wee Martin Compston who owes his entire career to the generosity of the evil English cultural imperialist!… Ken Loach. Who also gave Rob Carlyle his foot up lol. Can England get Compston off our screens if Scotland gets it’s list and starts ticking people off?

  22. Jerry says:

    ‘Anyway, the salient point is that the Scottish public school elite…the ‘cringers’.. have for three centuries attempted to transmogrify themselves into English(men mainly)..’

    Why does this just apply to the arts, why not sport also? Is arguably more culturally important? Scottish Englishmen like….c’mon united!

    Bremner, Lorimer, Gray, Strachan, Storrie, Collins, Harvey, Jordan, F Gray, Mcqueen, Graham, Rennie, Mcallister, Matteo, Sullivan, Snodgrass, McCormack, and that’s only going back to the 70s.

  23. Dunderheid says:

    Kind of lost in this discussion is the fact that despite the non-ethnically acceptable leadership the Edinburgh Festival has become one of the pre-eminent arts festivals in the world and a superlative showcase for Scotland and its arts.
    But I guess that sums up Nationalism….who cares if it works or not if it’s not SCOTTISH

    1. Douglas says:

      Spare us your “ethnic” bullshit….

      …what kind of country hosts an international arts festival for 60 years and doesn’t perform anything at all in its own two national languages? In 60 years? What kind of country doesn’t showcase its own culture as a modest part of the international festival? What is that?

      I’ll tell you what it is…a national disgrace….Scottish shame….shame for no being English….

      The SNP are completely lost here….they have no idea what they’re doing, and are victims of the same syndrome which afflicts the country at large…

    2. JBS says:

      Poor Dunder. Thought he would just drop in for a minute and leave one of his standard wee smears on Scottish independence aspirations, and found himself impaled on Douglas’s flaming sword instead.

      No pink bunny hugs this time…

  24. Douglas says:

    The Scots are a nation of f*ckin MUGS….

    …you just give up….leave the country, learn another language, write yourself into another tradition.

    What’s the point of Scotland? A half-baked country if there ever was one…

  25. Douglas says:

    Bend over Scotland….and take it up the ass for 300 years….and if you squeal, if you complain, if you protest, you are a narrow, parochial, ethnic nationalist…slap, slap, slap….Shona MacAlpine was totally right in her comparison of Scotland in the Union to an abusive relationship….and just like so many women who are beaten by men, Scotland won’t walk away….

    Scotland needs councilling. Scotland needs therapy…

    …meanwhile, at the same moment in history when Scotland’s arts are being run by a clique of English interlopers and fly-by-nights, carpet baggers up for a fat pay cheque, the Anglo-American imperial project – which any Scottish independence supporter should define themselves against, and if possible, by using a language, any language, which isn’t English – causes a Civil War in the Middle East costing millions of lives, and Britain takes in just over 200 Syrian refugees….

    Britain, the nasty, shitty, selfish wee island….no wonder they have an antipathy for the English all around the world…

    But it’s we cultural nationalists who are a danger to humanity…try telling that to a South American, a Spaniard, the French, the Germans….they would laugh in your face. Foreigners are more on the side of Scottish culture than the Scots are….a paradox which suggests the C word…COLONIZATION…

    1. James Coleman says:

      Go on yourself Douglas!

      1. James Coleman says:

        Douglas I support your views here wholeheartedly. And many others do too. I have not written in support for a number of hours simply because I you are making all the necessary arguments much better than I could.

        1. Douglas says:

          Cheers, James!

    2. David Smith says:

      Well said Douglas! I agree with every word.
      As for the gentleman who came out with “Cumbrian born and bred”, I knew there would be a load of Jock bashing coming automatically, having stayed in Carlisle for 18 years. This is the county where a junior pipe band was pelted with missiles in 2007…

  26. barakabe says:

    I’m just in from work so I come to this debate a bit late & more than a bit jaded after a hard day but I would like to factor in a few points from my own film-background perspective. It seems to me class is a significant element in this debate- in all probability the Scottish establishment have only promoted a Scottish culture they sanction- & those middle to higher class Scots who gain success in England often champion a Scottishness that is suitably secondary to Britishness. Of course there are exceptions to the rule as in all cases. There is undoubtedly a problem with national cringe in Scotland, partly evolved from over-exposure to a large dominant & culturally aggressive neighbour ( that has largely resulted in a form of psychic colonialism most enthusiastically appropriated by the establishment); but the most significant factor may well be the class snobbery of a Scottish establishment that views vernacular Scots, working class life, the real issues of everyday life & the more ‘authentic’ aspects of Scottish social life to be ‘inferior’ to their own rarefied preoccupations. I don’t know but I do agree with Douglas that it seems perverse for the Edinburgh festival not to showcase or promote domestic fields of art or to frame Scottish culture in a meaningful way to the wider world- what other country does it?
    As for the Liberal argument: what a lot of baloney playing that old card. Liberalism is the bourgeois pretense at sterilizing conflict out of society by means of the levelling out process of a relativising false equality- what use is it when we have the aggressive monopolization of global capital utterly dominating the structure of all cultural production? Conflict is fundamental to existence & makes society dynamic; dissent is the essence of true democracy; non-conformity, moral resistance & civil disobedience is the manifestation of social justice in action…these are forces that agitate the prevailing bourgeois complacency & need to be the foundational values of all real art. Capital does not sponsor or patronize whatever opposes it: this where the problem lies. Liberalism is a place for a lot of bourgeois folk to seek refuge & hide behind labels rather than resist & take a side. Bourgeois culture has appropriated art & uses it to perpetuate the existing exploitative structures of monopoly capitalism & promotes ‘art products’ that propagandize power, hierarchy, security & comfort against the true oppositional values of real art.
    In terms of film the history of European Art-Film is an institutional unification of regional-national cinemas that include Denmark, Sweden to the larger cinematic industries of France or Italy to the marginal nations such as Turkey, Romania, Hungary or Poland. The rich diversity of European cinema is only possible- in opposition to the homogenized overly commercialized market products of American cinema- due to each national cinema having the freedom to express its own unique ‘regional’ voice. We need to get back to regional, grassroots, ‘organic’, local forms of art ( including film) that emerges more fully representative of truth from its own environment instead of this sterile bubble-wrapped mass market ‘transnational’ culture ( whatever the fuck that is). The reality is that monopoly capital, big corporations in conspiracy with governments will not allow this as it opposes there own values. A point in face is Scotland’s own May Miles Thomas who has had a long vain battle to gain funds for producing her own films here in her own nation (most recently having to fund her own film Voyageuse) despite being one of Europe’s most visionary, innovative, cutting edge & celebrated filmmakers- is this how we as a nation support our greatest artists & how the Scottish government promotes its own culture?

  27. Wul says:

    Before the Indyref I mainly listened to Radio4, I liked the cosmopolitan sophistication of the content. I never listened to Radio Clyde or Radio Scotland. They seemed small, parochial, slightly embarrassing. Less “clever” somehow.
    Since the Indyref this has completely reversed. I am now very interested in what people living in my own country have to say. Scotland still feels small, but it feels deeply layered, its culture infinitely dense, interesting, important and relevant.
    Its not that I suddenly dislike “outsiders”, its just that I’ve discovered that what is already here, under my own feet, is good and worthwhile. That’s all. I don’t want it to disappear.

  28. john young says:

    Our Imperial masters might just pull us into another war that will impact much closer to home if Cameron carrys out his intent to get deeper involved in Syria a whole possibility of Russia getting involved,you would hear the NO,s screaming from the rooftops.

  29. Ken Waldron says:

    As an example of this kind of cultural cringe & colonialism I recall the cultural contribution of the wannabe aristocrat Timothy Clifford, who, lacking the serious mansion pile he thought should have been his birthright, was accordingly given free reign to pimp out our National Gallery as its director and did so with the kind of assorted mismatched expensive tat and badly double hung paintings he would have liked to see in his own home.
    His daughter when once interviewed by Tatler Magazine was asked if she had a current boyfriend and replied to the effect of “Oh Yes… he went to public school in Edinburgh but daddy doesn’t like him as he has a Scottish accent..”

    Oh from the mouths of babes…

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