Monday, August 29, 2011

The future of the 200-year union between England and Scotland was discussed has never been so hot. We asked some of Scotland's 's best-known authors for their opinions on the state of marriage and what that could mean independence for their homeland

Iain Banks: 'Scotland could have a future as a fully independent country'

Iain Banks, 57, was born in Fife, where he still lives. Beginning with The Wasp Factory (1984), he has 23 novels, including written last Surface details , one of 13 science fiction titles published under the name Iain M Banks.

When I was about eight years old, I told my parents that I felt more Scottish than British. They were horrified. These days I feel much more Scottish than British. Sometimes I feel more European than British.

At that time I felt proud that we (has been told) the best police force in the world and the best post in the world (etc.) and that we, the BBC and the NHS and all the other institutions that unites people through the feeling that - despite the class system and the divisions between bosses and workers - but somehow we were all together, yet a nation.

Then Margaret Thatcher took over the Tory party and swung to the right. Out went one-nation Conservatism; came deep cuts, privatization, the glorification of greed and globalization. And the Big Bang for the city, the deregulation program, the minimum required and probably sufficient to our role in the financial crisis that began in 2008 and their most debilitating results, we have to suffer, perhaps still was.

The thing is, the Scots was never Thatcherism. We were always skeptical. When they announced that there were no such thing as society, most of us, frankly, incredulous. Thatcherism, and the enthusiasm with which it was adopted by so many in England did, to recognize a lot of Scots begin, after all that we sense different from English en masse, more communitarian, less convinced of the primacy of competition over cooperation. There was not a nation.

So, the Scots learned to vote tactically, ganged up on the Tories and reduced the Conservative party in Scotland to a rump. In England, even in the depths of its unelectable ghastliness, I don't remember seeing a poll where they scored under 30%.

I spent the early and mid 80s in London and Kent, returning in 1988. From then on through the 90s, I remember reading Scottish National Party manifesto and think they 're the left of Labour. Of course, as Labour had shifted to the right of Ted Heath 's last government that left him didn' t tell that Hercules a success, but still.

Until then, I 'd only ever voted Labour. After Blair had the same trick with the Labour Party, which had turned to Thatcher, the Tories, I have never voted Labour again. I Green, Scottish Socialist Party, Liberal Democrats or SNP, mostly as a protest vote, but by and by - and with a little more hope - increasingly for the SNP. Not because I was very nationalist - as many people on the left I 've always suspicious of the populist, divisive appeal of nationalism - but because the SNP' s have been policies of progressive, left wing, more fair, at the end of another party with a realistic chance to power over. Labour stopped working, so I was a pragmatic vote for the SNP.

These days, I support the idea of an independent Scotland. It's with a heavy heart in some ways; I think I'd still sacrifice an independent Scotland for a socialist UK, but. I can't really see that happening. What I can imagine is England continuing to turn to the right and eventually leaving the EU altogether.

Scotland could, however, a viable future as either a fully independent country, or - more likely - in Europe. The European ideal takes an abuse immediately, safely, and the gloss has compared our prospects for Ireland 's or Iceland' s coming, but it remains possible and plausible that Scotland could be a transparent, low-inequality society to become the Scandinavian model, with fair, non-regressive taxes, strong unions, a nuclear-free policy, no sanctions tertiary education system, enlightened social policy in general and long-term support for green energy programs.

We 'd have to make sure that our banks were small enough to fail, and there are problems of poverty, disease and religious tribalism, take decades to overcome. But with the benefits and attractions that Scotland already has, and, more importantly, taking into account the moral thrust, the sheer excitement of an entire nation that would arise because we finally had our destiny, at least substantially back again into our own hands - I think we could do it.

And we should.

Janice Galloway: "You will not miss us, just what we mean - the last kick of Empire '

Novelist Janice Galloway was born in 1955. She describes her first years in Ayrshire in This Is Not About Me , An award-winning 'anti-memoir'. A second volume, All Made Up Was published this month (Granta, £ 16.99). She now lives in Lanarkshire.

We were in London, me and a wonderful writer from Oban, share a taxi to Westminster. The taxi driver had noticed my hair color, my friend 's Highland pine, but somehow our different accents individually defined. The Bank of Scotland ten we offered as a deal, but he threw. No use, he said. It 's Scotch. We had nothing else. He refused again and announces slowly. It 's, he repeated, scotch. This is what we 've got my friend said. Please. Stop buggering about and take it. The taxi driver got out, threw note insult to the wind, quietly advised us to fuck off, then reached for a can of air freshener. Bleedin 'Scotch, he staged whispered, more in sorrow than anger, from the heart of a hissing lavender fug. Bleedin 'smart-mouth Bastard Scotch.

Small Is Beautiful than "Scotland the Brave"

I 'm an old-fashioned social democrat and while my heart was marbled through with love of country my head always distrusted nationalism. I'm nationalism with racism, xenophobia, inward-ness and equate militarism. I've spent my adult life, voting and campaigning for a British Labour Party. The whole time I 've kept my eye on Scottish nationalism watch, and wait, they distrust, expected to reveal his true dark heart.

But it never has.

For 25 years, Scottish nationalism is a civic, social democratic, multicultural movement. Nationalists have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in opposition to Trident it. They have been open for a campaign more Immigration. The SNP proudly claims the multicultural nature of modern Scotland and its MSPs at the parliamentary oath in Urdu, Gaelic, Italian and English. Nationalists promote and engage with the EU. They advocate sustainable energy, land reform, promotion of art ... the list goes on.

Novelist Shena Mackay was born in Edinburgh in 1944, but has lived mainly in the south of England. Your selected stories The Atmospheric Railway , Are now available in paperback (Vintage, £ 9.99)

In JMcorrect Barrie's novelSentimental Tommy Has Tommy Sandys, a young Scottish boy lives in a London slum, was brought to his exiled Scottish mother 's stories of her hometown, Thrums. He brags to his friend forever Shovel (a hard and brutal abuse lad) of the beauty and superiority Thrums. After her mother 's death, are Tommy and his little sister, Elspeth, returned to Thrums. The local boys taunt his English accent and pretend not to his attempts to "scotch" to speak and understand. Tommy yells that he could and shovel the fight many of them. Heartbroken, he sobs, to Elspeth, that he is always bragging about Thrums to shovel and here he is in Thrums "bouncing" on blade.

The question should be: what would be best for Scotland, and England, but I feel I have nothing useful to add to the debate because any feelings I might have are sentimental, and although I am delighted when I am counted as a Scottish writer, I don't imagine that anybody in Scotland will care much what I or other disenfranchised expatriates think. I see why many Scots want independence but voters in England will have no say in the matter.


Blog Archive