2007 - 2021

Coming Off the Cultural Fence

Seven years after moving back to my family croft in the Isle of Tiree, Scotland— and having silently watched the increasingly swift decimation of our indigenous culture — I can’t keep quiet any longer.

2019 was the year I finally snapped — in a cultural sense. It has been a slow burn.

I moved “home” to Tiree almost 7 years ago, fulfilling a lifelong dream. A native Gaelic speaker who grew up in the big city of Edinburgh and spent her summers running wild in Tiree, I have long considered it to be the place I belong. It’s the only place in the world where I feel like I am able to breathe.

But I walk a fine line. Neither one thing nor the other — not island born and bred, but inextricably connected to the place. A city girl who was somehow hefted, be it by nature or nurture, to the land her ancestors had worked for over 400 years.

I inhabit two worlds. On one hand, I croft and Gaelic is my first language. I live in the house my great great grandfather built, I know my land — I’ve explored and adventured over it thousands of times. Tiree, and the crofts I share with my father in Caolas are home in every sense of the word.

On the other hand, I grew up in a different world. I moved to Tiree as an adult, seeking a different life. I work for an American based tech company and travel regularly, slipping in and out of identities with a strange ease. From wellies in the morning, to a transatlantic flight in the afternoon.

The Isle of Tiree from the air

I don’t fit perfectly into either world. And I’m ok with that. I’ve never quite fitted anywhere. I’ve always kind of prided myself on keeping the peace, and sitting on fences til my arse was sore, for fear of causing offence.

But I have found myself growing increasingly uneasy. I have watched lights go out in my township of Caolas over the last 7 years — their inhabitants, histories and family connections erased. If it affects me, which it does – deeply, I can’t imagine how it affects people like my father who have witnessed even greater change.

From the Caolas boundary, and including Milton, Harbour, Urbhaig and Miodar, there are only 12 houses permanently occupied. From Tullymet, the “Pink House” at the fork which takes you towards the most eastern part of Tiree (which includes Caolas) there are 4 of us under 50 crofting. A culture is slipping away despite our best efforts.

This summer I watched as helicopters and private planes arrived. As houses filled with holiday makers complaining to me about creels on the beach. I stood in the co-op and listened to people mocking the shopping options and pushing to the front of the line. Someone commented how sad it was that the local people didn’t seem to go and appreciate the beaches (spoiler: they’re working their socks off cleaning your holiday house).

And someone who had recently arrived lamented how there was so much potential in the place, and they didn’t understand why local people didn’t harness it…

And my attempt to sit on a fence and hold a party line started to crack. By the time I had reached the end of the summer I had snapped. I threw caution to the wind, opened my mouth and let my belly rumble all over Twitter. It was intended to be satire, it wasn’t nuanced, and it most certainly did not cover all the possible angles, whys, wherefores and whatevers about life in the islands today, but what it did do was strike a chord. My experience seemed to ring true across the highlands, islands and beyond.

I was thoroughly freaked out by how my rant blew up — to the extent that I spent an entire morning shaking uncontrollably. I was blown away by how much support I received, and sadly unsurprised by the abuse I got — although I got less than I anticipated.

The main outcome of that terrifying and unintended 15 minutes of notoriety was something I didn’t expect — a desire to keep at it. The culture I love is dying. It is being actively erased through ignorance, through greed and through a complete lack of cultural respect. I can’t stop it, but I can shout about it. And I’m going to. Fuck the fence.


Comments (41)

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  1. meg macleod says:

    the loss of culture begins in the schooling of our children…..they are disconnected from the arts and crafts and music….these things are needed for the human spirit to flourish..they are being overlookedand considered `extra ` available if you can afford to pay for those activities outside school hours…. there are a few good brave folk working hard to engender love of culture..our northern town is blessed with one..do what you can to encourage youngsters to look past the three `r`s if you don`t tell them or show them or activiety participate ..how can they begin to know these things….you are emminently suited , i beleive,to bring attention to the situation with your ability to see what is happening..perhaps twitter is not the best place to start …
    if we manage to get independence I would hope that we might get a party in place who might consider these things as important….our culture is sliding away partly because of political decisions being made by the party who promote the ideals of Independence.There is much to be done ..it is not irreversible.

    1. Alistair MacKichan says:

      Meg, as a Chaplain going into schools I had the opportunity to foster what you are saying. If I remember my own childhood, it was Halloween, and St Andrews, and Burns, big parties which involved the whole family, which gave me Scots culture. There was a Presbyterian Church ethos which conveyed something too. Language, art and songs are so important, and everyone can either promote them or place them for teachers, Ministers etc to use. One of my sons is enjoying the Gaelic speaking scene in Glasgow, music and social.

    2. Alistair MacKichan says:

      Meg, I am concerned with helping our Scottish Government act correctly towards our indigenous cultures. There are several indigenous cultures of which the most original and basic is the ethnology of the Celts who were our first people. The Celts developed Gaelic, and a music, arts and crafts expression of their lives, a vernacular architecture, and a synergism/harmony with their sometimes harsh/often picture-postcard environment including breeds of domesticated farm and home animals. In her piece above, Rhoda Meek cites ignorance, greed and the insensitivity of lacking cultural respect as the three dynamics oppressing indigenous culture now. I would be interested to know more of how to help Holyrood to get it right.

      1. meg macleod says:

        your question is one which underlies the concerns of many..just how do the people reach the heart of power to instigate changes.?At the root of this is a need to begin a different way of living and a differernt focus ..less competition … a greater acceptance that money has outrun its uses and that there a fundamental need to recognise that water ,food and a home should not be lost because one is `poor`.I do not know how to do this but we hve a better chance to make changes if we are not tied to westminster…making changes in a smaller community systems seems sensible…but first must come new thinking at the` top`. We are trapped in a system.

        1. Alistair MacKichan says:

          Meg, could we explore this over time, as situations arise for reflection, and opportunities to arise occur? I am fortunate to have close family members at the heart of Holyrood, Westminster, and Brussels EU, so have a sounding board of the status quo. I have a Facebook specific friends group dedicated to the development of a vision of a new rural Scotland, picking up from the work of Scottish greens, but also from imaginative friends. If you were agreeable, we could remain in contact in some manner?

          1. Clare Galloway says:

            I would also love to stay in touch with you, Alistair, around this discourse, if you’re willing 🙂

  2. Gerry Loose says:

    Keep at it Rhoda. It’s important to retain and clearly articulate your voice. I hear the same from holiday makers here on Bute, though lights are not going out and the last Gaelic speaker is long gone.

  3. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    Hi Rhoda,

    Being a fellow Gael of Scots/Irish extraction, dual Nationality, I fully understand that you are not being racist but simply expressing an opinion about how so many incomers, sadly especially the English think that they know how rural communities in Scotland should conduct their local affairs and how they ‘KNOW BETTER’ and want to change everything. When I moved to the Shetland Islands thirty years ago I and my family were polite, made friends and waited to be accepted. This came unexpectedly early one Saturday morning when a neighbour arrived at our door to ask if we were free could we come along and help with the ‘Tattie Howkin’ which we were delighted to oblige. Along with all our other neighbours we worked all morning and by noon we had gathered the crop and we were all entertained to a traditional Shetland Farmhouse Lunch and you could say we were accepted. There then followed an invitation to join the Community Hall Committee and this is where many incomers try and take-over for me I just added my opinion when asked and found myself re-elected for four more terms until I resigned, despite numerous phone calls to reconsider, to make way for the younger generation.

    We have a relaxed relationship with our neighbours, a relationship that does not include dropping-in every other day for coffee but one that allows us to ask for help if you need it and our door is always open. I’m sure that I do not need to on for you know how a rural community works and funnt enough I recently had a friend from rural Gloucestershire making a similar complaint about retirees from London.

    So, Rhoda, we are not alone in moaning about certain types of ‘INCOMERS’, so keep moaning and they might just get the message – eventually, but maybe not.

    1. Morag Foster says:

      Good response

  4. Clare Galloway says:

    I’m so glad to read your article today, Rhoda, and to get connected with your great Twitter feed. I tried to get some of my thoughts on what it is that is being oppressed in our culture, into a vlog recently, but it still feels raw and not clear enough – but you break aspects of it down into some brilliant bite-sized pieces here and in your tweets – this holds great power in defining necessary boundaries, and in removing the privilege of power by incomers to dictate what life looks like in the islands.

    Having grown up on Arran in the 1970s, and having had parents from the mainland, I have a deep *felt* sense that my culture was of that land, but that the language I was indoctrinated into was hugely out of kilter with it all, with what I KNEW to be Real Life.
    I was a late talker. Mostly, growing up, I had a sense of inner rage about something horribly unfair, that I couldn’t even imagine what it was. I took a long time figuring out what was missing, and spent over 35 years developing a unique visual language as an artist, not being able to articulate in English what my sentient relationship-with-all-things was. English is a language that represents the Empire: it’s words and grammar constructed out of patriarchy, hierarchy, power-struggles,the polemic mind, disconnection from each other, and from all things.

    A great recent podcast I heard around native language and what it means and represents, is this one: https://soundcloud.com/earthconversations/tiokasinghosthorse

    Our upbringing in the 70s was a horrible mess of clumsy, over-enthusiastic incomers’ crashing into the delicate fabric of a place and its people. I never felt like an incomer, but I felt the profoundly disorienting effect of the Anglification-of-all-things, and this numbness where I should’ve had a thriving indigenous culture and natural language, rooted in place and ecosystems, that could have transmitted the necessary wisdom – which would’ve let me navigate the world I was born into.

    A language doesn’t get ‘lost’, it gets violently ripped out of hearts and minds, and beaten from tongues and gestures. The oppression of a language causes disconnect and destabilisation of the individual and the collective, much as does coming in with foreign (i.e. non-island) money, needs, tastes, perspectives. All these destroying and diluting forces mean that generations are brought into being who have no access to the necessary wisdom that their natural culture would have transmitted them: for example, indigenous knowledge about healing and living in alignment with season and landscape.. A language developed over millennia, in a place, by its people, is adapted specifically for their environment, their needs, their expression and identity. All of those things are undermined or anaesthetised by a language being diminished.

    There are many aspects which we so revere now in other minority cultures, and so desperately need in our own national systems and decision making.

    Scotland is so particular in its close proximity to its oppressing neighbour, and in her conspiring with her oppressor to enable her own oppression. But our riches are just sleeping, not dead.

    1. Alistair MacKichan says:

      Thank you Clare, for putting such profound personal summary into an open comment. Tapadh leat. I am greatly encouraged that you feel that Scottish culture is sleeping not dead, and all power to you in protecting what you have. I have distant kinsmen, descended from Knapdale emigrees, in South Dakota, and they are deeply involved with helping the Lakota Native Americans rediscover their almost dead language, and also healing practices and spirituality – smudging prayers. I have been doing what I can to support those oppressed minority people, and others like Catalans and those in East Baltistan in north Pakistan. The oppression of first peoples, and violent suppression of language and culture is a worldwide phenomenon, and the healing of our world depends on this becoming recognised and reversed. You are an inspiration in this regard, and I’m sure your art has a powerful effect too.

      1. Clare Galloway says:

        Thank you deeply, Alistair – this means such a lot to me, your good words, and our collective movement into Truth and Connectedness… I’ve always felt like language is a fluid, malleable thing – like birds or bees swarming: that we all contribute to its movement and to where it is heading – our mutual agreement in values and intentions… But yes, cultural and language oppression worldwide is mirrored in what we’re doing to the environment: destruction of biodiversity and denial of interdependence, all for the false ‘profit’ of the few (ill and unhappy in their perverse excess) – but we’re waking up globally to what is happening, and we now have the tools to communicate that we never had before, so there is a lot to be optimistic about. 🙂 I’m so glad for you doing your work too. Lots of good things to you,

  5. Gordon EfirEbike says:

    Rhoda. I’m sorry to say it’s a nationwide problem more so in my opinion along the border hence the Tory rule, in our small town of 3000 I guess more than half are white settlers! (I was warned that they would boycott my shop if I persisted calling them settlers) ! Luckily I’m not dependent on my shop and I am very friendly with them but they do take over like Spanish ex-pats!

    1. Alistair MacKichan says:

      Also a Borderer, Gordon, between Duns and Coldstream, learning Gaelic on Duolingo now. Are there Gaelic speaking gatherings hereabouts?

      1. Gordon EfirEbike says:

        Snap Alistair, me too! Just started last week and it’s a great wee learning program, I believe there’s over a 100k takin it up. Brilliant!
        I knew a couple of guys in Edinburgh years ago went to a Gaidhlig club weekly but not heard of any in the south, sorry. Don’t suppose it will be long before clubs start with that take up!
        Guid luck caraid

        1. Clare Galloway says:

          Hi Gordon – I was trying to find the Duolingo Gaelic app, but am in Italia, so we might be limited to what we can access – do you have a specific name for the App – or just Duolingo Gaelic? It isn’t showing anything for me on Google Play… I’d love if anyone else knows of a good App they could recommend!

          1. Gordon EfirEbike says:

            Sent you a message on messenger Clare

          2. Clare Galloway says:

            Thank you Gordon and Mike! I’m delving in – so glad of these modern platforms, as I’ve tried several times to get into Gaelic from dry text books, and it simply is not how the language is meant to be taught – this is much more interactive and intuitive 🙂

  6. Alistair MacKichan says:

    Great stuff, Rhoda. Sgonneil. I had a moment like yours 43 years ago. I was working on a large farm in East Anglia. We had a close kinit workforce of 10, producing prize winning produce, and were all very respectful towards the farm owner, an aristocratic widow of some fame. This lady chastised me one day for not taking more interest in the fortunes of English Cricket, and I blew. “I am only English to the top of my socks” I told her, a sentence I had never thought of before, and for a while afterwards I was shaking. Four years later I married an Edinburgh girl, and with her brought up our two sons beside the Clyde estuary, and have now lived in Scotland for over 40 years. In my case, my father’s family farmed on the north shore of Loch Etive for hundreds of years, and were deeply involved in the mercantile life of Oban. My mother’s family are English yeomen, and my father has an English grandmother to throw in, so my Englishness is actually deeply engrained, and I was born and raised there, and managed to get to Oxford on merit, and worked hard for a degree there, and have an accent that shows it. But the Celtic spirit ignites in me often. My second degree was at New College, Edinburgh. In retirement I am learning the Gaidlig which was spoken by my Scottish grandfather as a boy. I do not have your advantage of having been born in Scotland, or of having much Gaelic. Over a thirty year career as a Parish Minister of the Church of Scotland I encountered so many cross-cultural moments, and would be pleased to contribute anecdotally to any research you undertake.

  7. MBC says:

    Well said Rhoda, all power to you. The name may be ‘meek’ but there is fire in your belly. In Edinburgh, of all places, we often feel the same, as AirBnbs take over the former HMOs that displaced the native people in the 1990s and the living heart of the city was hollowed out by the ‘Edinburgh clearances’ in central tenement Edinburgh. It’s global. The global flow of capital that began with Thatcher and Reagan agreeing to loosen the money supply in the 1980s has flowed across the world since unleashing global flows of capital. It has meant banks awash with money to lend, and lending it out unimaginatively to people investing in property whether buying student flats in Edinburgh or holiday homes in the Highlands, out-pricing locals. You have struck a chord far beyond Tiree. People are fed up with losing control over their localities and their culture. Look at Barcelona, Florence, same deal. Enough is enough. Local people with deep roots should come first. In Norway thereis the concept of the ‘cultural landscape’ meaning both the traditional agricultural practices and buildings and the people that keep them alive. We should have policies like that in Scotland that protect native Gaels and crofters like you. Some amount of diversity is fine, it invigorates to an extent, but it should never be allowed to dominate the local in culturally special areas.

    1. GBB says:

      On the Isle of Mull you would all be barred on the local Facebook page. I need add nothing more.

  8. gun ainm says:

    I’m a wee bit unclear what your main gripe is Rhoda?

    is it the demise of crofting? how should our collective relationship with the land (and the sea) and its management change?

    the insensitivity of outsiders? what can we do better to inculcate a greater understanding of cultural worth?

    the H&Is economy transformed as experiential opportunities for the well off? what would sustainable tourism look like on Tiree?

    or perhaps you just don’t like how Tiree and the wider Gàidhealtachd is changing? how would you like it to change instead, how do we then get there?

    I’m sympathetic to plenty in your article but i’d be really interested to hear about any proposed solutions to common complaints.

  9. Lena says:

    Lots of bells ringing across Aberdeenshire, too, Rhoda.

  10. Richard Easson says:

    Greetings Rhoda, from Ambridge, sorry I mean Dornoch.

    1. John macleod says:

      Belonging to West Sutherland with family connections in Golspie after 30 years away i had romantic notion of returning home to Sutherland east or west i wasnt sure. After spending time back and speaking to people i knew i just couldnt return because i would not be able to accept how much it has changed so after best part of tens years of searching i will be retiring here in Aberdeenshire which is no bad thing. Ambridge sums it up so well, the problem I find with many settlers from England is their absolute ‘Know All’ attitude even with people who clearly know *uck all! dont get me wrong i know many scottish people who fall into the same category but its on a ratio of 1 in 50 not every second one! and even more strangely when i’m in England they are lovely people with no hint of the same attitude, maybe its the damp air that does it to them!

  11. Wul says:

    A common thread here, as MBC pointed out, is an oversupply of “outside” money. Unearned money?

    Put simply, too many people have more money than sense(ibility). This leads them to look around giddily for places to “play”. Rural communities are a cheap playground. The whole of Scotland is a cheap playground when viewed from the City of London.

    Native cultures must become stronger and the supply of stupid money reduced. Effective brakes on giddy property speculation would be good, cheap state-housing and a land value tax.

    1. Alistair MacKichan says:

      Wul, you’re right. However, Holyrood is trying to keep all the Capitalists in Scotland on board, for the sake of a credible economic programme as seen by the establishment. Holyrood is not proving capable of ditching the stupid money syndrome. Westminster is worse of course, and will get even worster once Brexit is by, so how to sidestep the establishment pressure, and make room for native culture and community and land use to flourish once more? What about Cultural Parks like National Parks – one island and one glen at a time – designated as “no stupid money zones”?

      1. Clare Galloway says:

        I LOVE this discourse around ‘stupid money’! It’s so relevant also in the town where I live in Italy (I have the keys to the city) – where I’ve been protagonist in repopulating the medieval quarter… So many reverberations, as it has become top-heavy with north-americans here, with my own island upbringing: stupid money is such a rich concept, for what is brought in and normalised, whilst prices rise and layers of separation take shape… Hierarchies and frictional power dynamics,and removal of culture – replacing it with ‘performed’ ‘culture’, as I knew as a child, observing traditional music as entertainment for our guests, rather than the heartbeat of the soul of our place.

        It is a potent thing, that we have such strong illustration in our islands and rural areas, of what the contrast is. Glad that we’re unpacking it all.

        1. MBC says:

          They should just place much stronger restraints on second home ownership. Fine, if there is over supply (but there isn’t). As long as local people can’t afford homes and are really struggling, second home ownership should just be banned. Existing second homes should be taxed heavily and incentivised to lease to locals. Let the second home owner live in the caravan by the road, and let the local have the house! Certain areas of the country where the problem Rhoda expresses is acute should be designated ‘Special Areas’ and locals protected by a raft of measures.

          1. Clare Galloway says:

            YEEESSSSSS – all this and much more of that kind of thing!!

          2. Alistair MacKichan says:

            MBC: the “special raft of measures” you suggest for “Special Areas” where living Scots culture can be protected and reasserted…. you mention affordable housing for locals and the Whitebeam homes initiative by Scottish Churches Housing Action on Arran is an example (buying local cottage for refurbishment, then renting at locally socially accessible rent, then using the rent and skills of resident to refurbish next house, and so on), and beyond that the right to water, food, housing, and a locally based education for children, place signs in Gaelic and a good local newspaper solely in Gaelic, a Gaelic library and musical instrument bank… a community room with a live-in caretaker… a trades and skills sharing token system by barter to replace money… a shared sustainable remakery to upcycle possessions… there must already be good models for what is needed.

  12. John O'Dowd says:

    Tapadh leibh Rhoda airson an ar-a-mach sgoinneil seo a thòiseachadh.

    In my retirement I am exploring my own Gaelic roots (Scottish and Irish). Except for the (sadly anglicised) version of my surname (properly Ó Dubhda) all has been expunged – largely by force. My maternal line includes Moireasdan (Morrison), MacLeòid (McLeod) Mac an Ghoill (MacGill) among many others from the Scottish ’Ghàidhealtachd that I was completely unaware of until my wife stated investigating our genealogies .

    The latter two (McGill and McLeod) being of galgael origin, is itself an indicator of the arrival of migrants – but who unlike the Anglo-Saxons – became incorporated into gaeldom.

    Tha mi à Alba. Buinidh mi do dh’Alba

    My present incipient struggles with the Gàidhlig (apologies for the above !) immediately confirmed to me the truth of what Clare Galloway so acutely observes above – its etymology, structure , grammar and idiom – tied to shared and common land, way of life and culture are so alien to the English language of ownership, dominance and possession.

    But even my nascent discovery of these things has brought something profound to me of my own roots, origins and belonging to this land.

    Tha mi à Alba. Buinidh mi do dh’Alba.

    We need to recover what we are.

    Thank you Rhoda – thank you Clare, Meg, Alistair and Charles – and all contributing here.

  13. MBC says:

    All this second home business… I was thinking the other day about Lesley Riddoch’s hutting crusade. If hutting was more of a practice here, all those city folks from down south wouldn’t need to buy the locals out of house and home. They could just have a nice cabin. I mean, what more do you need for three weeks a year? Then the locals could have the proper houses. Though of course, cabins would have to be regulated by planning. You couldn’t have entire hillsides populated by them.

    1. Alistair MacKichan says:

      The value of your idea is that the traditional homes would be reserved for residents, and visitors would only be permitted to build outside the hub of the township. This would retain the cohesion of the community, and the atmosphere and architecture of cultural continuity.

    2. Lorna Campbell says:

      Many military people buy up properties in areas where they are stationed with the intention of returning to retire. That is going to become a massive financial problem in the future for an independent Scotland or a Scotland that is not independent but which manages to retain its devolution and a mitigating SNP government. Nobody wants to be less than welcoming to people who want to settle here, but we cannot sustain an ever-increasing older population either, and we do wish to retain our Scottish cultural identities, as human rights dictate that we should. People should not be forced to give up their own cultural roots either, of course, in order to integrate, when they come north, but sensitivity and humility rather than superiority and arrogance, can go a long way.

  14. Alistair MacKichan says:

    For some years I owned an old vernacular cottage in the township of Achnagoul four miles south west of Inveraray, and not far from the Heritage Centre at Auchendrain – indeed when the Heritage Centre was developing we donated a potato riddle and various tillage implements from our cottage at Achnagoul which had been in use as a bothy before we took it on and renovated it. The foundations of the cottage were big stones, on which upright wood bearers were set, and then cross pieces set on these formed the shape of the roof. Woodworm and damp took their toll of the wood frame, and I was told that about once in a hundred years, the whole cottage had been dismantled, new bearers placed, the rubble stone walls reformed around them, and a new heather thatch set above. In our day, Argyll Estates had added a slate roof before our time, but before that the old practice pertained. Achnagoul was a historically a township of twenty or thirty cottages, and among the tenants all skills would be represented including crofting workers, blacksmith, carpenter, shoe makers, spinners and weavers, woodsman/trapperetc etc, When the time came to rebuild a cottage, the whole community took part. The new materials were brought, the cottage was taken down one day, and rebuilt the next. It was a three day process, and it happened to all the buildings. There was a great community spirit, and at Hogmanay a shinty match between Achnagoul and Auchendrain. The two townships combined to take on the Inveraray team, with serious injury involved in that annual affray. Anyway, the point of my story is that townships were a discrete cultural hub. Has the Crofting Commission, or other rural body, defined and protected Townships anywhere, and could their concept become the seed of Gaelic cultural regeneration?

  15. Lorna Campbell says:

    Not just the islands either. On the mainland, our children are losing all connection with Scots, and the dialects are affected by the total loss of the ‘ch’ sound among the young. I recall a lady from the South who enquired of my English co-worker why the Scots pronounced certain words in a certain way. Fuming at her lack of sensitivity and having the gall to ask a fellow English person in front of me, I suggested that, perhaps they pronounced them the way they did because they were Scottish words? She was most offended. On another occasion, I was told by a Southerner that Scotland was part of England and that this independence nonsense would have to stop. This is just a small sample of the utterly crass cultural faux pas I, personally, have endured, and it is the reason that I do not believe that the Scots will ever achieve independence until they are willing to stride on and ignore these ignorant people. Let them scream about democracy. Who gives a toss anymore about their version of democracy? Resile the Treaty and hold a ratifying/confirmatory plebiscite, and we can avoid a second indyref – which we are never going to get anyway, or, if by some miracle we do, it will be scuppered like last time, and by the same people – and still be legitimate, legal, democratic and in line for international recognition.

    1. Alistair MacKichan says:

      I am reading the reflection of many people, that the push towards IndyRef2 is too blunt, and too superficial. Your point is that Independence will not come that way, and you suggest a wresting of power. That was recently tried in Catalonia with disheartening results. There is a broad front of thought about moving Scotland into independence at many levels – preparing the economy, reforming land use – and this can only help. This thread has the best route in it, I believe, in shifting the energy and spirit of the true Scots into reigniting the groundswell of indigenous culture. This is subversive in that it creates space for Scottishness which power and money will never confer, redeveloping the national heart and soul. It is interesting to follow the present of resurgence of support for unification of Ireland, which follows the political dynamics caused by Brexit, but which also expands a vacuum in the heart of Ireland. The native culture is struggling there too, an European money flowing in through Dublin does not reach or promote the interest of the Gaelic speaking area or prevent the rupture of life from the rural areas as youth leave and the post offices close: there is a growing voice which opines that Ireland must rediscover her true heart before seeking to heal the fissure with her northern counties. The need there is the same as in Scotland, to restore the confidence of the residual native culture, and to reinject joy, passion, expression and fulfilment in the non-Anglicised minority. This is empowerment, and the seedbed for a nation proud to be itself.

  16. meg macleod says:

    It will take time but this is the way forward…if this could be in a snp manifesto!

  17. David McGill says:

    ‘…having silently watched the increasingly swift decimation of our indigenous culture.’ As a lifelong native of Edinburgh I know exactly how you feel.

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