Drift, blur, and the effect of words

Reflections from the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow

A loch seen from the train south from Oban


D in Oban, down by the harbour

Mountains, Pines

I wasn’t going to post again today, but something has been weighing on my mind, and I felt the need to write it out in public.  It’s on the question that will be posed to Scotland in the Autumn of 2014:  “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” Now, the referendum is not for a long time yet, but articles on the matter seem to be sprouting like mushrooms all over the place – that is, like mushrooms, their roots are underground, and have been there a long time, and only are now popping up for air and to spore.


Part of the pressure I’m feeling on my poor brain is from the book I’m reading, And The Land Lay Still, by James Robertson. I think I’ve written that title and name out a half a dozen times today, and I apologise. This isn’t even a review of it yet. Just that it is all about independence, the movement for it, the arguments from recent history for an independent Scotland. Books have influence, and if ever a book wanted to influence, it’s this one, much the same way as Orwell wanted to get his message across (although Orwell was more convincingly literary, but I’ll get to that another day).


Further, in the last day I’ve been reading this post in the Guardian by comedian Stewart Lee. You can go and read it now, if you like. I’ll wait…yes, so, what did you think? Lee is a comedian, and satirist, which allows him to say all sorts of things in the guise of comedy. In the guise of old stereotypes – I know what he is doing is using hyperbolic language to undermine points made in newspapers against the idea that Scotland could ever be independent. But i also know, I think, when someone is using a joke to say, the first leader (prime minister) of Scotland associates with homophobics, is a coward, can’t be trusted, will lead to a collapse of the left wing support if Scotland is to leave the union.  All of which, I believe is a nonsense.  I could deconstruct every flaw with what I perceive his argument is, but we’d be here all day, and I don’t trust myself to know precisely where the satire ends and the truth begins. Perhaps the flaws in my sense of humour, perhaps in his.


To cut a long story short, the reason I wrote this post is to link to my tumblr, where I wrote a bit of a screed on the positive sides of the case for independence. It’s not meant to sway anyone, but just to have a more positive angle out there, one that is, I hope, rational rather than romantic.  All of this could be considered background for my book review on Robertson’s epic, but equally it might just be all a fash to my international readers, a signal that there may be more to come, down the line – but I hope you might find it interesting at least on this occasion to read some of the politics coming out of a little corner of North Western Europe, and I know I would love to hear all of your opinions.



Filed under 2012, Scotland, The Now

8 responses to “Drift, blur, and the effect of words

  1. psalmboxkey

    Good points on your “bit of a screed” on Scottish Independence. As much as I dislike nationalism, in Scotland’s case, as you’ve said, would not be exclusionary. My hope would be that the Scots rid themselves of the monarchy. (My mother was born in Clyde Bank and never liked the idea of the royals.)

  2. Unfortunately, I know nothing of the politics of Scotland (and I fulfill every truth about the United States citizens being egocentric in their knowledge…so true in my case). But I do believe that it is the citizens of a nation who should decide what is in their best interest (provided they aren’t living under a ruthless dictator or somesuch, clearly).
    On a far less serious note, having exceeded my limited understanding of politics in any arena, I love that first picture with the coffee cup reflection. Seems kind of silly comment (about the picture) in light of the intelligence of your post, but I just wanted to let you know…

    • Thanks for the input Lyra – the UK is not that big of a country, and Scotland is smaller still. I don’t know much at all about, say, Canadian politics (despite knowing a fair few number of people from there), so no blame on this end!

      Things are getting quite heated over here, and mostly I am getting frustrated because the newspapers are all pro-union, and so it seems very one sided.

      I really appreciate you saying you like the photo – I put the photos on the post because I wanted something for people to be interested in if politics wasn’t their thing.

  3. macdougalstreetbaby

    Scots are mistrustful of fruit? Is he being literal here or is this a euphemism? There is so much here that I don’t know about, I wouldn’t dare comment but thank you for posting about it. The next time someone says, “I like salmon,” I’ll have myself a bit of a chuckle. And, yes, your pictures are lovely.

    • Well, we are known for having a terrible diet – the worst heart attack rates for women in Europe (and possibly the world), that sort of thing. It’s down to poverty for the most part (produce is quite expensive here, especially if you are trying to feed a family of four). It’s also cultural. Southern food? Imagine that level of healthiness, most of the time.

      • That’s really interesting, about the fruit. I wouldn’t have thought of it, but of course diet is largely influenced by region so it makes sense. America is so vast and covers such a wide variety of terrain, we can get almost anything in the way of fresh produce–even here in the desert.

        I actually love to hear about regional politics from the locals. To me it’s much more interesting than hearing it on the news, especially when you know something of the people delivering the opinions. So I hope you’ll explore this in the future, Helen. We’re awful about educating ourselves in the US.

        The loch picture is lovely as your new header.

  4. Thanks Averil – I really don’t know why it’s that bit harder to get good fruit cheaply in Scotland. I remember tasting watermelon for the first time in Sydney. Properly ripe mango…although we have soft fruits like raspberries and strawberries for not too much, when in season. Now I’m craving some.

    I hope, once I finish this book (getting so much under my skin) that I’ll be able to move on a bit more from politics, exorcise them a little with a long review. At least until 2014 comes around.

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