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Scots Irish and the divided Scottish mind

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Scots Irish and the divided Scottish mind

by John Fitzpatrick

 

 

 

I was recently reading Charles Frazier´s novel “Cold Mountain”, a fine piece of writing that has become a classic of modern American literature since it was published in 1997.

It is about a wounded Southern soldier during the Civil War – or War of the States if you prefer* – who turns his back on the battlefield and heads back across the Blue Ridge Mountains to find a woman he met four years earlier.

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Bailing for Columbus

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 Opinion by John Fitzpatrick 

Scottish News: Bailing for Columbus

I was looking at two of William McTaggart´s paintings recently - “The Coming of St Columba” and “The Sailing of the Emigrant Ship” - and wondered about their relevance today.

In case you do not know them, the paintings show St Columba´s tiny craft about to land in Kintyre watched by two children while the other shows a ship in the distance leaving a barren land behind. The paintings can be seen at the National Galleries in Edinburgh.

The vessels in both paintings are dwarfed by the surrounding sea and sky and, if it were not for the titles, you would never guess what they portrayed.

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Take a (good hard) look at us now

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Opinion by Alex Robertson

 

Scottish News: Take a (good hard) look at us now

It is good now and again to step back from the hustle of the debate leading to the referendum, and just regain a sense of proportion and of focus on what we are trying to do and why, look at the bigger picture. I tried to do that this last week, and managed to steer round the outcrops of scare stories about an independent Scotland having to raise crippling taxes to fund the Scottish pension bill, and the threats that without Trident on the Clyde, we would all be at risk of being toast due to North Korean nuclear rockets, a Cameron version of the forty five minutes to readiness WMD of Saddam Hussein.

I even managed to shrug off the temptation to believe the earlier OBR predictions on declining Oil and Gas tax revenues accruing to an independent Scotland on account of the approaching end of the North Sea oilfields, when three Westminster Secretaries of State hauled themselves up to Aberdeen to say how spiffing the prospects for North Sea Oil and Gas were with all this inward investment flooding in, and as good as admitted that the best may very well be yet to come.

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A question no-one is asking

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Opinion by Alex Robertson

 

A question nobody is asking

Something has been bothering me for some time. Given an independent Scotland within the British Isles, what model would be best for a confederation of independent nations within the British Isles? It cannot be beyond the wit of men and women to come up with some options whereby an independent Scotland, or Northern Ireland or Wales come to that, or even including the Republic of Ireland (and don’t underestimate the effect Scottish independence would have in Northern Ireland) could form the type of collaborative grouping which would be best for all the nations, including the English.

The politicians, at least those in the Better-Dependent campaign seem to think in only black and white, only in terms of in or out of the existing Union. But there are many other models which could be employed, and which would maximize the benefits for all the people living on these islands.

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Going out in Scottish Style

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Opinion by Alex Robertson

There was a time in my life when I spent a lot of time travelling in and around Finland, Norway and Sweden, with occasional dips into Denmark and Estonia for good measure. And one of things that struck me about that part of the world was the very distinctive ‘look’ of the place. Wooden houses in bright colours, red, blue, yellow and a galaxy of others. The use of pine in their furniture, the use of candlelight everywhere to dispel the darkness in the short winter days, all of that was very distinctive. You knew you were in Scandinavia just by the sight and smell of the place. But each country had its own ‘look’, its own style

And elsewhere on the continent, each country had its own ‘look’ too, each one different and distinctive, just as indicative as the cuisine of where you were. I was talking about this with friends on the mainland over supper one evening, and then, of course, they thought for a moment or two, looked puzzled, and then asked me what the Scottish ‘look’ was. After the tartan, the whisky, and the bagpipes, what about the furniture, the architecture, the ‘style’ of the place? And I had to admit I was stumped to come up with an answer.

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Scotland versus Portugal – what we might have been

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Scottish independence: Scotland versus Portugal – what we might have been

Opinion by John Fitzpatrick

Nationalists often make a comparison between Scotland and two nations that gained their independence relatively recently in historical terms – Norway and Ireland.

However, I feel it is worth looking at one of Europe´s oldest states, Portugal, which has successfully upheld its independence for around 700 years.

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Scottish independence: a question of logic

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Opinion by Alex Robertson

 

THERE IS an old trick used in Logic and mathematics to establish if a proposition is true or not by first assuming the proposition is true and then examining the consequences, If one of the consequences can be proved to be untrue, then it follows that the original proposition is itself untrue. That trick fell into my mind when I began to suspect that there is another way of looking at the referendum question and how to vote. It’s called Reductio ad absurdum.

Let’s assume that Scotland is an independent and sovereign country already. And further, let’s assume that the referendum question is whether we want Scotland to join in a political Union with England. How would you answer that question?

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REYKJAVIK – and why it still matters

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Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev and former US President Ronald
Reagan were on the verge of abolishing nuclear weapons

 

Opinion by Dr James Wilkie

 

Scottish News: Reykjavik - and why it still matters

 

Imagine a world without nuclear weapons. Where there is no more fear that bombs on hair-trigger alert might be launched by accident or miscalculation.  Or that the thousands of arms stored in global nuclear arsenals might be used, unleashing forces powerful enough to destroy our planet many times over. The threat of terrorists obtaining these weapons of mass destruction no longer exists. And while the term Nuclear Superpower is now redundant, the trillions of dollars formerly spent on maintaining nuclear arsenals have been diverted to education, health and development.  Impossible?  Well, a quarter of a century ago that dream nearly became reality.

In October 1986 at the Reykjavik summit in Iceland, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev came close to abolishing all nuclear weapons.  Although the highest goal was not achieved, the Reykjavik summit led to the abolition of intermediate-range ballistic missiles and helped put nuclear disarmament back on the agenda. 

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Let´s Remember All the Scots Who Died in Battle

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Comment by John Fitzpatrick

Scottish News: Let´s Remember All the Scots Who Died in Battle

Remembrance Sunday has just passed and we have seen the traditional ceremonies as people showed their respect for those who fell in the many conflicts that the UK has been involved over the last century.

The event is marked strongly in Scotland since so many Scots were among the dead. While some fell in distant places on the other side of the globe, others died just across the water in Ireland, north and south.

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UK crisis: Only Scotland is solvent

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Opinion by Robert Ingram of the Scottish Democratic Alliance

 

 

The Edinburgh Agreement on a referendum has been signed - can we now look forward to some inspiring vision of Scotland if enough of us vote YES?

The No campaign say that we should continue under the umbrella of the UK with its - what? Britishness, social inequality, fuel poverty, austerity cuts, involvement in foreign wars, Trident replacement (£100b), the massive subsidies to London - no change.

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