Posted by: scottishwriters | June 21, 2013

Yes or No?

Debate-Medley
Thank you to all who turned out on Wednesday night, for the SWC’s independence debate at Glasgow’s CCA. Our gratitude, also, to speakers Magi Gibson and Jenni Calder (as well as to our compere – the editor and cultural academic, Scott Hames).

The speakers’ points were well made – Magi comparing the current Union to a dysfunctional marriage, seen from a feminist perspective, in which fear and outmoded sexism repress individuality; Jenni airing her disquiet at the prospect of creating more borders in our interconnected world. The audience discussion and participation afterward proved to be lively but good natured, with a particular focus on the importance of culture (literary, and the arts generally) as an engine of change and thermometer of national consciousness.

Certain loose assumptions (such as whether Eire has been a successful economy within the EU, and the poor teaching of Scottish history in schools) were usefully challenged. Jenni spoke proudly of the increasing number of Scottish writers in translation (into German, Spanish, etc.) which she has found in the bookshops of foreign cities over the last twenty years – pointing to a cultural renaissance of which we can all be proud. What everyone in the audience could agree on, was that it would be a tragedy if a ‘No’ vote produced some kind of slump in national confidence, which would be in nobody’s interests.

Scott’s revelation that not a single national newspaper has yet reviewed the book Unstated: Writers on Scottish Independence, seems like a disturbing indictment of our complacent media culture. His examination of the press’s supposed “outcry” against some of Alasdair Gray’s remarks from the book yielded worrying results. The mature debate we need on these matters is not yet here it seems, but at least the SWC is playing its part!

For more information on the issues, here are some relevant sources that emerged from audience contributions:

The National Collective

Road to the Referendum

Unstated: Writers on Scottish Independence

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