Showing posts with label James Connolly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James Connolly. Show all posts

Friday 20 May 2016

Top Writer Ian Bell

There are few writers that inspire. Bell wrote with a rare clarity.
Many Illuminate - they write articulately, cleverly, are well informed and insightful, but they often have a limited view or write mostly about their own agenda, be it business, political agendas and more.

Bell wrote with a rare clarity – and he viewed the broad sweep and the bigger view – while he also dug deep into the issues with an eye for the unheard details or clever lateral thinking.

And I miss his articles.

I imagine after the Hillsborough news recently in May and the Justice for the 96, that the dead and the football fans are now free of blame - that Bell would have written articulately, clearly and openly about the rottenness at the heart of many UK institutions. The Yorkshire police are an Old Boys network – for the past centuries the Irish have been seen as second class citizens.

Liverpool has strong Irish connections from its trade to Ireland and not long ago Irish nationals were locked up from no reason. It was dark days when Ireland had to fight so hard to run its own affairs. Why, when Home Rule was put forward before the war? His grandfather's brother James Connolly who was part of the Easter rising. 

Someone posted on Twitter – are any of us safe – if the truth can be hidden for 27 years!’
Many British commentators talk of the corruption and dictators across the world – as if they believe in the UK that we are a Beacon of democracy and openess! They truly delude themselves!

I wonder what he would make of the 2016 Scottish parliament Elections and the demise of Labour. What would he say? He was a strong supporter of Scottish independence and he viewed that, as I do, as the only way forward for Scotland. We’ll see. It is time for the SNP to take more charge of the Constitution arguments and ask – what do the Conservatives, Lib Dems or Labour stand for. Tories say they are for the Union – but what kind of union exactly?

People are spoon-fed media lies from the hard right  - and they often fool themselves and believe it.
Then there’s the Chilcot Report due for release July only 2,000 days after the inquiry finished – will this be another whitewash? 

Democracy is only achieved with a free press and most of the UK press is now foreign owned and lacks credibility - it is manipulated, sensational, misleading, empty rhetoric, with mainly meaningless innuendo or gossip. I would guess London journalists fear for their careers and have to toe the broadsheet lines.

Many years back I kept one of Bells articles on Sense of Place. I cut out articles tto keep that resonate and inspire for future reference. Bell was quite simply not only a great British writer, but one of the best worldwide. He is sadly missed in the world of words.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword and in his case this was utterly the truth .Yeats, Burns prove this.
There are very few voices of Truth – and Bell was one.

(Bell was an award-winning columnist for the Scotsman and The Herald)

Time out of Mind at EIBF 2014 BLOG -

Thursday 31 December 2015

Forgotten Scottish Voices

Many Scots artists, writers, scientists and explorers and more have been airbrushed out of history (as have many women!). 

I  James Clerk Maxwell;  I recommend BBC Scotland's TV program on one of the world's greatest physicists - James Clerk Maxwell
One of Edinburgh’s many great intellectual sons: James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79), the titanic Victorian scientist whose work was described by Albert Einstein as the “most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton.” His genius touched pure mathematics, electromagnetics, optics (color theory), kinetic theory and thermodynamics, astronomy (the rings of Saturn), and many other disciplines. He was also a poet
He was the shoulders on which Einstein stood and he kept a photo of him on his wall. When the Berlin Wall came down engineers from East Germany came over to Ayrshire to visit Maxwell's grave. Yes in Germany scientific inventors and engineers are highly regarded! 

Yet in his home country of Scotland Maxwell is virtually unknown...... Scotland and the north of England were once the great centres of scientific, engineering excellence and manufacturing. In 2008 and statue to Maxwell was unveiled in George street, Edinburgh.  
James Clerk Maxwell
II  The Scottish suffragettes.  In the recent movie Suffragette, the role played by the Scottish suffragettes are totally ignored.

Flora Drummond, “The General”, who rode a white horse at the head of marches and Marion Wallace Dunlop (a descendant of William Wallace) who pioneered the hunger strike as a political protest. Dunlop was eulogised by George Bernard Shaw, who called for a statue of her to be placed in Trafalgar Sq. In Scotland the cause spread far and wide. King, the curator of the People’s Palace in Glasgow from 1974 to 1991, who was a driving force behind its acclaimed collection of women’s suffrage artefacts, says the movement was more radical in Scotland. Councils and churches put their shoulders to the wheel too. “What didn’t happen in England, but did in Scotland, was you would get a lot of the  authorities making statements in favour of women’s suffrage and support from a lot of the ministers.  The Church of Scotland was pro-suffrage and ministers spoke for votes for women.”  
Flora Drummond
There was also a Mary Barbour
- there has been a recent campaign in Glasgow for a statue in her honour. (1875 - 1958) was a Scottish political activist, councilor and magistrate. She was closely associated with the Red Clydeside movement in the early 20th century and especially for her role as the main organiser of the women of  Govan who took part in the rent strikes of 1915. 

Remembering the Scots at the heart of the suffragette movement by political editor Alison Rowat  -

Also Labour party founder Kier Hardie had a close relationship with Emmeline Pankhurst.  Scottish ministers even preached for the votes for women. In fact it appears that Scottish voices led the way in this crucial movement...

James Connolly
III  Scotland and The Easter Rising:        

Scot James Connolly, as were many other Scots, was a major player in Ireland's struggle for Ireland's independence. Next April will mark the 100 year anniversary of Ireland's Easter Rising. Connolly was a founder of both the Irish Socialist Part and of the Scottish Labour party, long before Keir Hardie. The present Labour Glasgow city council believe any mention of Irish independence is too controversial a topic though to mark the anniversary in any way!  Old prejudices die hard it seems. Connolly was also the brother of well respected Scottish journalist Ian Bell's grandfather (who sadly died recently).

IV   Broadcasting
Even our Scots language is not recognised as an official language. Linguists accept the status of Scots as a language. Recently Osborne announced the BBC will not support the Gaelic language channel BBC Alba.  Of the £335 m raised in tv licence fees in Scotland - only £35m is spent on Scottish tv production. 

 V   Secularism versus
For me questions of how we are governed are nothing to do with religion, which should be a private rather than state matter.  This war of ideology with Muslims is really over whether religion should be part of government?? Religion needs to be taken out of schools and other institutions. 

and Independence
The term 'Independence' seems too strong a word for many in England - who apparently feel they are being very nice by helping us folks in Scotland out!  This is quite simply about de-centralising and growing up here in Scotland and running our own affairs - while still maintaining very close ties with the rest of these islands. .. Well perhaps we need to be more radical and have our own currency that is not tied into the world banking system...??  

Statue of James Clerk Maxwell in Edinburgh, 2008

We urgently need informed debates on these topics for Scotland - AND not by political parties - but by business people, scientists, economists etc.      

Does all this matter? Should or does history represent as truthful a view of the past as possible? We might argue history is always limited or represents one viewpoint.

Well yes it does, especially in today's world of mass communication. There is no reason to hide the truths.