Thursday, 7 September 2017

Andrew O'Hagan

Good lord, a real shot in the arm for the Nationalist Project - the esteemed Andrew O'Hagan, novelist, announced at the Edinburgh Book Festival that he's noo all for separation.

But from his speech, how do you square this -
"I have never believed writers should have anything to do with governments, and should never hitch their intellectual freedom to the shifting agendas of political parties, or the careers of those looking for votes.
I believed Alexander Solzenitzyn, many years ago, when he said that governments should be nervous of writers because each writer is a government in himself. The egotism of writers and that of politicians could scarcely be more different. What politicians want is power and what writers want — if they’re any good — is the truth beyond the facts, and to increase our capacity for wonder."
 and this - 
"If Mr Salmond had thought more about the currency question and less about how to unfurl a saltire flag over the Centre Court at Wimbledon, we might be standing now in the independent republic of Scotland"
with what follows in his own speech?
It's a quite remarkable imaginative tract, but that's all it is. Looked at rationally, it's all too easy to condemn it as a mass of woolly thinking, with huge dollops of romanticism. I don't expect O'Hagan to think about the currency question, but if he sets himself up as a seer and a leader we might expect that he at least gives it a bit of thought.
Enough of that, let's have some nuggets!

In my view, in the Internet of Things, Scotland is due to become one of the world’s strongest digital republics, a place whose institutions are daily enhanced and purified not only by the life of the country but by the life of all countries. We could one day be part of a neural network whose strongest boundaries are decency and goodness. The laws of Scotland will one day be both discreet and universal; right for the people of Leith, augmented by brilliance, and right for the people of Calcutta, restored and revised every minute in according to what we know and decide. 
That'll be a hard one to get through the Holyrood sub-committees - decency and goodness! Bless!

Scotland, your Scotland, is in the earliest days of a digital renaissance, when its greatest thinkers — David Hume, Adam Ferguson, Adam Smith, Francis Hutcheson — are redeployed to address the questions of rights and responsibilities in the coming age of artificial intelligence, and where new thinkers, as yet unborn, will address what it means to be a Scottish person with Scottish instincts in a world of code and algorithms and digital money, in an endlessly open society of nations, Scotland teaching the world perhaps how to author a new Gettysburg Address for Peace; showing the globe — with historical examples — how to author a Vindication of the Rights of Robots.
 Look, I'm going to stop there - the above is just lovely but as close to meaningless as it's possible to get. "Scotland" can author a new Gettysburg? If it's possible for a nation to author speeches (I'm not clear about that) then what exactly is stopping us now? You want to bring back a border across an island to errr become endlessly open? As for Scottish people, with Scottish instincts ... so very inclusive, dontcha think?    
 

Monday, 12 June 2017

The missing half million

Well what a turn up for the books - Corbyn storms across the finishing line! Not as winner but that gap fairly came down. As for the hapless May, if she had few allies before, well, she’s got fewer noo.  What a fabulous fuck up. From hubris to humiliation, as the Guardian said.



 Up here of course, the main result was the SNP down from their historic high last time to 37% - and a remarkable upsurge in the Tory vote. I guess that’s a bit different from down south - Sturgeon remarkably continued overplaying her hand pushing another referendum and suffered the backlash. Why that is, when surely her own focus groups told her that it was a vote-loser, is something of a mystery.
Her diehard supporters might have liked her boasting in Leith the day before the election that the SNP was the party of Corbyn, but that really isn’t a message that goes down well in the Mearns, shall we say. And of course, the said same diehards were quick out the traps to lay the blame. After their vote collapsed by nearly half a million votes. Where? Kezia Dugdale of course! She told Labour voters to vote Tor! And so another nationalist narrative is sent off running, garnering momentum. Absolute nonsense, of course.  She'd previously said this -

KEZIA Dugdale wants Tory and LibDem supporters to help Labour oust SNP MPs, but not the other way round.
As she launched the party’s Scottish Manifesto, Ms Dugdale said in seats where Labour is the best placed to defeat the SNP voters should “think before they vote”.
However where where the Tories or LibDems are in a better position than Labour she told her party’s supporters to still vote Labour.
Clear enough?
Later in the campaign, when asked specifically how voters should best vote to defeat the SNP, she answered Sky News - 

“The reality is the vast majority of seats across Scotland, it’s only the Labour party that can beat the SNP. There are a few differences in the Borders and the Highlands where the Tories might be better placed but right across Scotland’s centre belt, where the vast majority of Scotland’s population lives, the only party that can beat the SNP is the Labour party.”
And that becomes Kezia telling Labour voters to vote Tory!

 

Those Local Elections May 2017

I recall them well - not as bad a result as we feared and indeed, clear signs of something more, as I posted on the Herald at the time (I know, I'm a bore) -

To be serious and reflective, don't the results show that NS's strategy of building independence by converting the SNP to a social democratic Party has reached its limit? In other words, she's done a good job at getting labour voters on board, but a sizeable number of labour people will stay with the UK Party for all sorts of reasons.
Meanwhile that strategy has to demonise the right wing faction in Scotland who only have a home in the Tories. How does she propose to win these fiscally and socially conservative elements to independence? She has no strategy for this at all, and her supporters, by vilifying their fellow Scots, are being hugely counterproductive.
She's shown her limitations - brought up in Glasgow, she thinks that all she needs is to garner labour votes. She's gone right up a dead end there.

Of course, I was wrong, she's from Ayrshire.