Showing posts with label heroes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heroes. Show all posts

Tuesday 31 December 2019

Year of Flux and Turmoil

Change doesn’t mean we forget the past – we forget the past at our peril. 

The days are cold and frost lays heavy on the ground, but we must reflect this is a crossroads time – and we must now make important choices for our futures. Can we make a better future in the UK as a group of indy nations – like other modern states do? Can this be more successful? But what exactly does success mean? Does it mean more money in our back pockets, or saving the planet? Does it mean a well-being culture alongside successful businesses? 

Saving our planet from climate erosion is now a urgent priority. 
One dominant theme is the mistrust of politicians, but it is also mistrust of the media and press, who are supposed to inform us?

2019 ends with another major UK election but will it settle anything?
We are at the end of a decade and look forward to 2020. Our years of turmoil end with a major election in which choices were stark. Boris is a selfish, scheming chancer, and I have no trust in him or his side-kick Cummings. England continues to tie itself into knots. The trouble is Labour are providing no opposition. Will Ireland consider reunification – if so will Scotland vote for Indy?

In America there are several strong women role models I admire, women who give back – Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Angelie Jolie, Hilary Clinton and more. In Scotland and the UK I struggle to think of good, present day female role models though – Nicola Sturgeon, Anita Roddick, Virginia Woolfe, 

*HEROES of 2010s - Greta Thunberg, Obama, Andy Murray, 

I’ve believed change can only occur in small places, at the grassroots level and while we must see the big picture.

**The Past Decade
I look at photos of the 2010s
The early years were hopeful – we had Obama, a UK coalition, hope of Scottish indy, 
The decade held many tragedies – Grenfell, Windrush Trump, Brexit, Boris, climate crisis. 

Now we have chaos, and rich oligarchs gaining more power, and wealth.
Sometimes the world goes off its axis, and I hope it will right itself again!
Its hard to understand the Brexit vote – but Fintan O’Toole is the best read(Irish Times)

**Looking ahead 2020
Celtic Connections January 2020
Climate conference Glasgow, November 2020
700 years since 1320 Declaration or Arbroath, April 2020

HAPPY HEW YEAR FOR 2020, I took a late walk on the moors in the gloamin tonight and the sky was a perfect glow. Hope its a good sign for the year ahead!

***Time is now running out ** 
We are facing several major crises. Its crucial we see the urgency of our decisions.

*Respect for our Past
I worry some have little regard for culture, history or past stories. This isn’t about dusty books on shelves – but is essential to understand our choices today 
Scotland’s only hope is indy in Europe. 

And we do have horrific images to witness – dying species, melting ice sheets, dangerous fires, severe floods, 

Letter to EU 
I hope those in Europe understand why Scots seek indy now. Brexit is not about the EU. Its about English nationalism, and about a UK creaking and not fit for purpose. The UK today is a disunited kingdom – all 4 nations are not working well together. Both Ireland and Scotland are on different trajectories: and many in Ireland are seriously considering and debating reunification for the first time. 
Only 10 years ago the SNP had only a few MPs, now it has 80%. The SNP is socially democratic and progressive and not about racism in any shape or form: and totally opposite to other nationalist parties in Europe. Scottish nationalism is inclusive and outward-looking: it is empathically not narrow, elitist or exclusive. For centuries Scots heritage and ideals have been ones of travel on our seas to distant lands  Its English nationalism that is right wing. Perhaps it is in essence the Scottish democratic party? JK Rowling claims her villain Voldemort would be a ‘nationalist’ – its clear she totally misunderstands our Yes Movement. Its about the right of an ancient nation to self determination: and to have equal rights to those in the south! No more, no less.

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.