It is with great sadness that I wish to unsubscribe from the Scottish Review. I did not renew my friendship of SR at the beginning of this year because I was anxious about the trend in your choice of contributors to cover the Independence debate, and that anxiety has been vindicated.
I have been privileged to work with many dedicated and passionate young people – several through the magnificent National Collective and Radical Independence movements – who, quite frankly, have much more enjoyable things to do than spend constant months of their lives trying to convince an apathetic, fearful, self-interested and short sighted Scottish public that they have the wherewithal to create a better, fairer nation.
None of them ‘was their own worst enemy’; they were all our best friends. None of them ever called the opposition ‘bastards’; all of them engaged politely and knowledgeably with anyone who wished to discuss the referendum with them. None of them threw eggs; instead, they had a penchant for wish trees, balloons and some of the most inspiring writing, music and art I have encountered for years.
And some of them were hounded and assaulted by fascist thugs in George Square on Friday night.
Of course, Kenneth Roy was not directly responsible for the violence we saw in the streets of Glasgow. But if he is a journalist, and not a petty blogger fueled by personal animus because someone of importance didn’t take to heart his own inflated views expressed in a ‘columnar exchange’, then he has a duty to report it with the fairness and lack of bias that has been so lacking in this campaign.
Of course, I believe that the world is a better place for the Scottish Review and I wish you well, but I cannot continue to actively support you, write for you or recommend you.
I have a piece in today’s Scottish Review on the civil unrest in England.
It was prompted by an interview on the “Today” programme with Boris Johnson, a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth, a man who seems to walk into any job he wants regardless of his apparent lack of qualifications to do the job, and a man who, along with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, is a former member of the Bullingdon Club, famed for acts of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.
When Johnson, without a trace of irony, accused kids from backgrounds blighted by inner city deprivation and who have little chance of anything but the most menial employment of having an “endless sense of entitlement”, I just about choked on my cornflakes.
Thanks to the Scottish Review for publishing my thoughts on the matter.
What a wheeze! Scottish Review reports on the “Who’s Who in Scotland” opinion poll to find the greatest Scot of the last 25 years. Lots of politicians, a few writers, a couple of musicians, no actors or sportsmen, The Review asks for nominations for your own personal choice of the Greatest Scot of the last 25 years.
I’d need to think about Great Scots since 1986 (such a bland lot, it seems, and so little history to consider), but my immediate response would be to redefine the exercise by considering the Greatest Scot in my lifetime. A knee-jerk reaction – and I may change my mind, but I doubt it – would be for World Formula One Racing Champion Jim Clark. Hell, I even sent off a nomination to The Review before I realised I’d got my dates all wrong!
Dashing, handsome, quiet and apparently a real gentleman, he thrilled the world with a new form of driving that revolutionised motor sport. And yet, he was always happiest away from the track on his Berwickshire farm, eschewing the playboy lifestyle of the Monte Carlos of the world. He was typical of a thrawn Scottish mindset that turns up in wellies and rolled up sleeves and just damn well shows them how it’s done, then heads off back to the sticks, mission accomplished. It’s the attitude that seemed to epitomise what Graeme Obree brought to cycling, or that prompted the Scottish rugby team to walk – shock horror, walk! – out onto the pitch at Murrayfield to stuff the English in 1990.
I now have no time for motor sport – it’s boring, it’s elitist, it’s technical – but in Clark’s day, when death was a constant companion on the track, racing drivers were the most dangerous men on the planet working in the most dangerous profession. I still remember writing a news report on his accident for my Primary school class newspaper: for all its inevitability, it was up there in the top ten tragic deaths of the 1960s, just a short head behind all those horrendous political assassinations that blighted the USA.
So that’s My Lifetime Great Scot: any suggestions from you?
Here’s a link to an opinion piece I wrote published in today’s “Scottish Review”.