Sunday, 27 November 2016

Scotlands Many Voices

Thinking this over – it seems England views Scotland as a north region, like Yorkshire say – rather than a separate country that has centuries old entirely separate history, many ancient traditions and old Celtic ballads and a distinct culture. Before James VI left to become King of England, Scotland had its line of Scottish Kings, from King David and later the Stuart kings. It's really a question of - does Scotland's separate identity matter for the success of the country and for the UK too?
Scotland is one of the oldest countries in Europe. Scotland is also a land of many huge contrasts from the great imposing drama of the highlands; the misty heathers and fast running streams; the green and cultivated lands of the north east; the quiet beauties of St Andrews and Fife and the coastal walks; and the charm of the borders.  

Alasdair Moffat and Alan Raich in their book, Arts of Resistance write of the destruction of Scottish culture. 
“The wholesale reduction of a culture to tartan tourist clichés. Ian Crichton Smith evoked images of the white streams screaming through the moonlight of the Cullen’s – a permanent scream of protest against all the trivialization of our history that has been foisted upon us.”  

Keeping Scots Alive!; culture, words, art and Music
In the 18th century after union of Parliament – many poets and others worked diligently to keep Scots and what the Scots believe in, alive...such as Allan Ramsay, Fergusson and Robert Burns.
They felt it was vitally important.
In the 17th century after Union of the Crowns, the Scottish royal court left Holyrood for London. This was good! It meant all the hangers on left too -  and meant the Thinkers and the Philosophers, were free to voice opinions! The Scottish Enlightenment led Europe. Many great Scottish thinkers left a huge mark on the world.

The poet Hugh MacDiarmid said in his Lost Interview, ""Lord [Harold] Acton, the historian, has said that no small nation in the history of the world has had a greater impact on mankind at large than the Scots have had. That influence flowed from the national character which is utterly different from the English. To analyze that national character is to discover the factors comprising our Scottish culture."

*Some Forgotten Scots Heroes – Thomas Muir, George Hamilton, James Clerk Maxwell, (Maxwell is the greatest physicist ever – and yet it was only in 2008 that a statue of him was unnveiled in Edinburgh. Odd really considering)

James Clerk Maxwell
*Scottish Artists – Arthur Melville, Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret MacDonald, Glasgow Boys, Henry Raeburn, 

*Great Scottish Poets – Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson, James MacPherson, Robert Burns, Hugh MacDiarmid,

*Scottish Writers – Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Iain Banks,
Alasdair Gray, Irvine Welsh, Janice Gallowy, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Nan Sheperd, George MacDonald,

*Scottish Scientists  - James Watt, Alexander Graham Bell, James Chrichton, Alexander Fleming, John Napier, John Leslie, Joseph Black, James Hutton, John Leslie, James Clerk Maxwell.

(I'm ashamed and saddened that growing up in Edinburgh I learned practically nothing of Scottish history, culture and the arts. I used to walk down the Royal Mile and wonder about all the history here... I am now teaching myself.

‘To be truly internationalism, we must first be nationalists.’ Hugh MacDiarmid.
The sky in Scotland changes with often rapid speed – when the wind gets up one moment and is suddenly still and clear the next. Then a sharp wind catches us as the skies darken and heavy clouds roll over and there will be a sudden heavy shower as we hurry for cover and wait for the weather to shift and for some warm rays to descend and we are grateful.

The dark and light of our weather.