Monday, 31 August 2020

Hugh MacDiarmid’s Renaissance


MacDiarmid reimagined a Scottish rebirth and renewal of a truer heart and stories, that had been forgotten ever since the unwanted ‘union’ . 

He looked at the Edinburgh historic skylines, the seashores of Shetland, the north eastern town of Montrose and his border hometown of Langholme and felt  strong disgust at all that had been lost.in his 1942 Scottish art and letters essays: the Present position and Post war prospects, included 17 chapters on Scotland’s reconstruction. He welcomed a new generation of Scottish writers – Sorley MacLean, WS Graham, Sydney Goodsir Smith and others.

The Scottish renaissance was conceived in the first world war and then leapt into lusty life in the second world war. In the 1920s, national self-determination became a cultural priority. 

Partly as a result of reimaging of Scotland by MacDiarmid, and other writers, artists, composers, critics and historians. The 20rh century saw the irreversible development and re-establishment of cultural and political self-consciousness, and ideals of self-determination. In Scotland. The beat goes on. 

At the heart of that beat is a regenerated sense of national identity and international connection, both with a sense of historical depth. 

The artist is not refined out of existence, but bears the weight of conscious connection with his or her society, family, language and national history. And this is to do with a feeling of home or belonging. 

Friday, 28 August 2020

Song for Scotland -'Auld Lang Syne'



Scots spread around the world as – explorers, lecturers, innovators, writers – and had close trade to Europe.

Kane writes of the impact songs can have, to bring us all together in community spirit, to build hope. 
From a shattered apartment Beirut – windows blown in, amid her ruin an elderly woman sits at her piano and plays the classic international song by our Bard Robert Burns, his song of unity and friendship -

'Auld Lang Syne.’

Making beauty from ashes.....
This song's emotional power travels the globe and gives people hope. Not about divisions but about bringing people together in what really matters. 

Making beauty from ashes.

Scots and journalist musician Pat Kane concludes for indy (Scotland National August 8th)
All the way from Beirut the perfect national anthem for indy Scotland. 
“hardly for the first time, Scotland is already profoundly woven into the world, as the world waits for our official return. Closing suggestion, isn’t this the obvious, post indy Scottish national anthem in waiting? A song the world already sings – joyfully, harmoniously, in happy celebration? Right under our noises, all this time. “

Here are the pipes and chorus and a perfect rendition of Auld Lang Synehttps://www.youtube.com/auld-lang-syne

Burns heard the old song and added new verses - its a song too for the auld Scotia that was being lost. 
This is a song about bringing people together. Because Scotland's self-determination is not about any nationhood - but rather our right to democracy for all who live here in Scotland - for our fairer, more equal, greener and well being future. 

Kane writes of the impact songs can have, to bring us all together in community spirit, to build hope. Collective singing can ‘induce feelings of happiness, safety and security in a group – calming, energising, organising and inspiring. 
He recommends the book - David Levitin , The World in Six Songs. 

Odyssey of Thomas Muir

Odyssey of Thomas Muir
The '''Society of the Friends of the People''' was an organisation in Great Britain that was focused on advocating for Parliamentary Reform and votes for all men.

Muir was a leader of a movement for democratic reform and one of the Scottish Martyrs. 
There is a 90ft tall obelisk at the Calton Cemetery Edinburgh to the martyrs. It includes a quote of Muir’s - 'I have devoted myself to the cause of The People. It is a good cause – it shall ultimately prevail – it shall finally triumph. '

His attachment to the popular party in the kirk, his opposition to patronage, his involvement in student politics and influence of contemporary thinkers. The Reformers worked against corruption, nepotism, favouritism and elitism of landowning nobles who controlled the nation’s parliamentary representation at Westminster. Only 5% of men had a vote.
An organisation called 'Friends of the People' led by Thomas Muir, a lawyer from Glasgow and William Skirving, grew to a national movement. Other societies were also formed in England and Ireland.  
In France Muir met Thomas Paine. The movement met with determined and tremendous opposition in London, Edinburgh and Dublin. The radical but self-consciously legal and loyal campaigns of parliamentary reform were mercilessly killed off wittiin 4 years.

Muir and the other leaders were brought to trial, convicted and sentenced to transportation. Muir; Thomas Palmer, a minster from Dundee; Skirving, a farmer from Fife; Maurice a London wine merchant and Joseph Gerrald, a lawyer from the West indies. They were a diverse group.

Their enforced deportation voyage to Australia was recorded in letters and pamphlets by Palmer (published Cambridge 1798) which recorded the government repression and destruction of political and individual liberties.  


**Muir's Pacific journey on the Otter
After 2 years Muir escaped from botany bay on the French ship the otter, which was records in diaries by first mate, Pierre Francois Peron (published Memoirs 1824 Paris) Memoires du Capitane Peron sur ses Voyages.

His voyage took him to Nootka Sound, Vancouver island to Monterrey, San Blas and on to Mexico City, where Muir requested to be allowed travel to America. But the Spanish refused and sent him back to Spain. 
He travelled then Havana, Cuba and Cadiz, Spain – where he was caught up in a naval battle with British men of war and in the gunfire his face was badly injured.

He travelled to Bordeaux, where he was hailed as a 'Hero of the French Republic' and then on to Paris.
Muir's confidant 1798 was Dr Robert Watson of Elgin, emissary to France on behalf of the United Englishmen and he learned of the United Scotsman, the new revolutionary association which replaced the Friends of the People.
In November 1798, Muir moved secretly to Ille-de-France, village of Chantilly, to await the arrival of Scots compatriots. There on 26 January 1799 he died, suddenly and alone. 
Shortly before his death, he said: We have achieved a great duty in these critical times. After the destruction of so many years, we have been the first to revive the spirit of our country and give it a National Existence. 
Martyrs monument Calton hill Edinburgh

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Peace maker John Hume 1937 - 2020



 Hume died August 2020
‘Until you agree on the problem you can’t agree the solution.’ 

 ‘This piece of earth, our divided people.’
‘He made hope and history rhyme, ‘Seamus Heaney.

He was instrumental in the Irish peace process, and won 3 peace awards – The Nobel Peace prize, the Martin Luther king peace prize and the Ghandi peace award. He will be remembered with other peace makers.
He paved the foundations for the peace and the Good Friday agreement, signed in April 1998 and agreed on by two referendums in May1998, which ended the 30 years of the Troubles (1960s – 1990s) Issues relating to sovereignty, civil, and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, demilitarisation, justice and policing were central to the agreement.
There are some visionaries who can see the bigger picture, join up the dots and offer new stories and hopes. John Hume was one. 
My parents were Ulster unionists and I remember well the despair and dreadful violence and indiscriminate killings every day on the news during the troubles. It was a scary time. I remember visiting my family in northern Ireland as a child and returning when I was older when there were army roadblocks and helicopters circling over head. And each day there were more killings. 

Hume saw past all that – past the old sectarian hatreds and divides. 
In the 1980s Hume gave speeches at universities around northern Ireland: at Queens university students union when he would say – 
‘I’m here to make the single transferrable speech.’
The place was packed, and Hume was heckled by both nationalists and unionists. He always had an answer though  ‘This is not a history lesson,' he’d say.’

‘Foxes and hedgehogs know one big thing, we are all different. Diversity is to be celebrated. How does that threaten anyone?’ 
You can’t eat a flag.’
On human dignity – ‘An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.’
‘Spill sweat not blood.’
 ‘It not our land, its our people.’

He played better outside than inside the inward-looking, insular Northern Ireland and he knew it was more important to get the message out abroad. He spoke with US President Bill Clinton, about the political process rather than the military one. 

He got both Paisley and Thatcher to agree, he changed minds - and to see Northern Ireland not as an occupied territory, but as one day liberated. 
He asked the UK government, for civil rights and equality, how could they refuse?

It was his peace solution based on the European Union – The European Parliament, the European Commission and European Council. 
John Hume’s speech at the EU Parliament Strasburg – He speaks of the EU’s philosophy of peace and to respect difference. He asks that the EU should send not arms but their philosophy of peace to places of conflict. All conflicts is about seeing conflict, because difference is only an accident of birth. We should respect difference. 

He never held high office but he moved mountains. 
His endless persuasion worked. 
‘This piece of earth, our divided people.’

‘He made hope and history rhyme, ‘ poet Seamus Heaney. 


John Hume (1937 – 2020) was an Irish nationalist politician Irish nationalist politician from Northern Ireland, widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the recent political history of Ireland, as one of the architects of  The Northern Ireland Peace process - with the Good Friday Agreement signed April 1998. 
A native of Derry, he was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour party (SDLP) and served as its second leader from 1979 to 2001. He also served as a Member of the European Parliament, and a Member of the UK Parliament, as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. He was named "Ireland's Greatest" in a 2010 public poll by Irish national broadcaster RTE to find the greatest person in Ireland's history. 
Gerry Adams, John Hume, Bill Clinton, David Trimble

Gerry Adams, Albert Reynolds & John Hume
The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement (Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or Comhaontú Bhéal Feirste; Ulster-Scots Guid Friday Greeance or Bilfawst Greeance), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of the Troubles: a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had been on going since the 1960s. It served as a major development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s Northern Ireland present devolved system of government is based on the agreement. The agreement also created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. 
The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland, voters were asked in the 1998 Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement referendum whether they supported the multi-party agreement. In the Republic of Ireland, voters were asked whether they would allow the state to sign the agreement and allow necessary constitutional changes to facilitate it. The people of both jurisdictions needed to approve   agreement in order to give effect to it.The British–Irish Agreement came into force on 2 December 1999. 
Hume was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble, and also a received both the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award. He is the only person to receive the three major peace awards. He was named "Ireland's Greatest" in a 2010 public poll by Irish national broadcaster RTE to find the greatest person in Ireland's history.[5]