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By Maggie Chetty

Sir Jonathan Mill’s refusal to commission major items about the referendum for next year’s Edinburgh Festival programme is a debate that will not disappear quietly now that he has opened up the topic for discussion.

I find myself astonished that he offers up the topics of the Commemoration of First World War and the Commonwealth as neutral territory. As many others have commented these topics
are far from neutral.  All the major war poets, writers and artists like Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Paul Nash gave us images of hell and a grotesque waste of human life.  Is this a topic worthy of commemoration?

The anodyne term ‘the Commonwealth’ conceals the bloody suppression of nations across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean for centuries. Will he be remembering Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab in 1919 when General Dyer fired on an unarmed crowd of men, women children killing hundreds and wounding many more?

By next year we may even have some more notches to add to the UK imperial belt if the storm clouds over Syria develop into war.

When author and artist, Alisdair Gray raised the debate about ‘colonists’ and ‘settlers’ he spoke for many people but was roundly criticised for ‘anti-English’ sentiment.  The general point was the need to have people leading our major cultural institutions who have a profound knowledge of Scottish history, language and culture and a commitment to it. Their ethnicity or nationality is irrelevant – the issues are knowledge and commitment.

The other side of that argument is why are there so few Scots who are deemed good enough to fit the bill? Could it be that we have all been so steeped in what old style Marxists would call ‘cultural imperialism’ that we cannot see the wood for the trees? Or that we think it is quite natural for anyone other than a Scot to head up our cultural institutions?

Culture and struggle go hand in hand, intertwining like vines. It is our artists who say or sing or write or paint or create those thoughts and feelings closest to the heart.

With that in mind, Scottish Socialists for Independence are holding another event -

'A Night of Music, Culture and Politics’ in Partick Bowling Club,  30 Fortose Street at 7pm on Thursday September 12th (£5/£3). We will be welcoming Cailean Gallagher ,Labour Party and Yes researcher.  David Betteridge and friends reading poems of Independence.  Sandra Webster of Women for independence.  Danny McCafferty, West Dunbartonshire Yes Campaign Coordinator. Councillor Feargal Dalton SNP. Singers, Arthur Johnstone, Tom Laurie and Citizen Smart with the whole thing chaired by me, Maggie Chetty.

We have a view that a night of politics, culture and comradeship should be the background to convincing those who are unsure about the need for independence, both cultural and constitutional.

Comments  

 
# willie boy 2013-08-28 07:42
Sir Jonathan Mills censorship of the festival content is but a small part of the all pervasive blanket of censorship and misinformation that is modern Britain.

The press, the media, the BBC all operate in a way Goebellls would have been proud of.

The mechanism to censor the internet is now in place and already in use Indeed, if local authorities can block access to nationalist leaning online journals like Newsnet Scotland or the respected blog Then and Now, what are the government up to now they have required all the ISPsto install censorship pprotocols.

Our what about the military that have software to allow astounding whereby operatives can flood websites with multiple aliases and fake IP addresses.

Create an illusion of widespread support for something the system is already in use fomenting discontent around the world.
And these are the tools of Empire, so let us beware as we move forward
 
 
# Jo Bloggs 2013-08-30 13:27
So it would seem we have finally arrived in the era of information wars that Jackson Browne was singing about over a decade ago. I suppose they've always been at it, but the technological capacity for mis- and disinformation is now staggering.
 

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