Misø

Misø

Rediscovered album of misø – a cassette of loops and instrumentals recorded in October 1998 from the mighty Pomegranate … Composed and Produced by Stef McGlinchey. misø (original cassette) by pomegranate

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The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven

Isn’t history underwhelming these days? Billed as a “seismic shift” and with journalists gorging on SDP-cliche, the Independence Group launched yesterday in a blaze of incoherence with a wonderful hot mic moment and some ad hoc racism. Given that one of their key accusations against Corbyn’s Labour Party is racism...

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From Project Hope to Project Hate –  from Better Together to Bitter Together

From Project Hope to Project Hate – from Better Together to Bitter Together

Scotland provides a useful comparison with Northern Ireland. Up until Indy-Ref1, liberal unionism, with its acceptance of more political devolution, continued to advance under New Labour and Cameron’s Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition. As recently as 2012, the powers of the devolved Cardiff Bay, Welsh Assembly were extended, using Scotland’s Holyrood devolved parliament...

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Crowded Out – Scotland’s Over Tourism Problem

Crowded Out – Scotland’s Over Tourism Problem

The crisis of over-tourism has arrived in Edinburgh with vested interests too slow and stupid to respond. Hyper-defensiveness, a succulent lamb arts media and a city council clueless about how to respond other than feeding a Cash Cow are all part of the problem. Inertia and business-as-usual only works if...

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The Time is Now

The Time is Now

At present there are several things happening in the world of Social Care in Scotland. Rightly, there is an enquiry into historical abuse within the children’s care system, long overdue and destined to show Scotland as a place that allowed continued abuse of children with hardly a murmur from society....

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The SNP’s Great  Moving Right Show

The SNP’s Great Moving Right Show

In January 1979, four months before a triumphant Margaret Thatcher was standing on the steps of Downing Street quoting St. Francis of Assisi, the celebrated sociologist Stuart Hall penned an astonishingly prophetic political analysis. Published in Marxism Today – the journal that would go on to capture the Zeitgeist by...

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Red John and the Rain Geese

Red John and the Rain Geese

Mairi McFadyen on why a bright future for renewable energy must also harness the past so our living culture can continue to flourish. As it is for many of us, questions of climate are never far from our minds. A hot topic of conversation where I live is the proposed...

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Ten Things We Learned from the School Strike

Ten Things We Learned from the School Strike

Multiple leadership is required. Charismatic leadership models are vulnerable to being a single point of failure and being manipulated by the media. One of the best things to happen was to take the pressure of Greta Thunberg and allow many different figures and voices to appear in different countries and...

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A Phased Return To Fortress Europe?

A Phased Return To Fortress Europe?

When Nicola Sturgeon first spoke about Scotland making a “phased return” to the EU, I couldn’t help picturing her standing in the ticket office at Glasgow Central, struggling to explain her intricate travel plan to the hapless ScotRail employee behind the glass-screened counter. “Naebody’s ever asked fur that before,” comes...

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From Visions of a Young Country to Mouldy Jam

From Visions of a Young Country to Mouldy Jam

It was only 1995 when Tony Blair described Britain as: ” a nation for all the people, built by all the people. Old divisions cast out. A new spirit in the nation …” – then slipping to into the strange non-language he patented he concluded: “Working together. Unity. Solidarity. Partnership.”...

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Replying to Andrew Wilson: a Scottish Currency is not Symbolism, its Power

Replying to Andrew Wilson: a Scottish Currency is not Symbolism, its Power

Andrew Wilson, author of the Growth Commission report, writes a new column in The National. This he does with great eloquence and passion. In his latest offering he attempts a defence of the Commission’s controversial proposal that independent Scotland keeps using the pound sterling for the foreseeable future. Regular readers...

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Unstaining the Edinburgh Science Festival

Unstaining the Edinburgh Science Festival

Taking the kids to the Science Festival this year? Make sure to explain to them that the sponsors are destroying their future. The science is clear – the activities of fossil fuel companies are incompatible with preventing catastrophic climate change. Fossil fuel companies, including many past and present Edinburgh International...

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The Collective Amnesia of Colonialism

The Collective Amnesia of Colonialism

I am supremely grateful for the opportunity to debate some of the most significant issues of our day. A first for me was to perform in such an environment as Question Time. I learned a lot about live television and communication. One of the points that I made that has...

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One Cigarette

One Cigarette

Jock Scot – One Cigarette by Edwin Morgan. A film by Steven Reynolds for Bella for Valentine’s Day.

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Spain on Trial

Spain on Trial

This week the trials began: the trials of Catalonian political prisoners in Spain, on trial for crimes of ‘rebellion’ and ‘sedition’. Let’s just pause to reflect on this. We have a leading European state putting 12 people on trial for peaceful political activities. All 12 were either elected or legitimately...

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Escaping Boris’s Blowhole

Escaping Boris’s Blowhole

A referendum POST Brexit, to confirm leaving the way that 1975 confirmed joining, seems sensible. It would also give Scotland the chance to make its own choice. This morning, I wouldn’t give it a snowball’s chance in a circle of hell of happening. It might, however, be the standard against...

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When The Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

When The Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs

A radio play by Raymond Briggs, based on his cartoon book of the same name, with Peter Sallis and Brenda Bruce. From 1983. Relevant again.

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Activists and the Surveillance State: Learning from Repression

Activists and the Surveillance State: Learning from Repression

Activists and the Surveillance State: Learning from Repression An evening with Aziz Choudry and Eveline Lubbers Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 4 PM – 6 PM The Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh, 17 West Montgomery Pl, EH7 5HA Edinburgh Join us for an evening of discussion with Aziz Choudry and Eveline...

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Building a New Catalonia: Self-Determination and Emancipation

Building a New Catalonia: Self-Determination and Emancipation

This book brings together leading voices in the Catalonian left independence movement alongside key figures in the international solidarity movement. The book articulates the political strategies and aspirations of the anti-capitalist, feminist and socialist struggles for self-determination in Catalonia in a series of 35 short and sharply written essays. The...

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Highlanders and Billy Boys

Highlanders and Billy Boys

The failure of BBC to review or respond to the criticisms of their ‘flagship’ programme is not strange – it makes perfect sense – because this isn’t a current affairs or a news programme it’s an entertainment spectacle. How else can you explain the repeat appearances of Orange Order and...

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Time To Convert Those 80-Minute Nats

Time To Convert Those 80-Minute Nats

Best scoop I bagged when working as a reporter in the old STV studios at Cowcaddens came from cajoling Jim Sillars into doing a camera interview in the aftermath of the 1992 General Election. Completely scunnered by the loss of his Glasgow Govan seat, the former SNP deputy leader got...

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Oil and Gas: Common Affairs and Common Futures

Oil and Gas: Common Affairs and Common Futures

OIL: BURN IT OR SHOVE IT? “MAXIMISE oil recovery!” That is the blunt message from the Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee this week. The committee is chaired by the feisty if conservative Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire. Pete is no fan of an early IndyRef2. The...

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RBS, the FCA and the Treasury – Making it Happen

RBS, the FCA and the Treasury – Making it Happen

The biggest scandal to hit the British banking sector since the crisis of 2008, isn’t Libor, it is the one the Labour shadow business secretary Clive Lewis says ‘may be the largest theft anywhere, ever’. And it just got a whole lot more interesting, with the spotlight now being shone...

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Routes to Independence Six: Escaping From England’s Attic

Routes to Independence Six: Escaping From England’s Attic

‘England’, wrote Robert Tombs in his celebratory tome The English and Their History, ‘is a rambling old property with ancient foundations, a large Victorian extension, a Sixties garage and some annoying leaks and drafts balancing its period charm.’ One key point this Cambridge professor carelessly omitted to mention in his...

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Paying People Properly Will Ruin the Festival says Fringe Boss

Paying People Properly Will Ruin the Festival says Fringe Boss

The sound of the world’s tiniest violins was heard across the capital yesterday as Shona McCarthy, the head of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe warned that a campaign targeting poor treatment of workers in venues is threatening the event’s future. McCarthy insisted that demands for all Fringe producers and venues to...

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A Potted History of Scottish Gaelic

A Potted History of Scottish Gaelic

This is from @ScotsGaelicfor … we think its funny … don’t take it (or yourselves) too seriously. 1. The story begins yonks ago when some lads from Antrim decided they would take a 12 mile sailing holiday to Scotland to box the Picts in the mouth. They spoke Middle Irish...

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Banging the Drum – Leith Depot and the Resistible Rise of Stead’s Place

Banging the Drum – Leith Depot and the Resistible Rise of Stead’s Place

It was somehow fitting that the proposed demolition of Stead’s Place on Leith Walk in Edinburgh was thrown out by City of Edinburgh Council’s planning department during Independent Venue Week. This is the UK-wide initiative designed to showcase grassroots live music venues in the face of potentially being put out...

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Na Dùthchannan Ceilteach – The Celtic Nations

Na Dùthchannan Ceilteach – The Celtic Nations

The brilliant @ScotsGaelicfor has created this primer disentangling the various Celtic Nations flags and languages … 1. Cornwall is “a’ Chòrn.” Cornish (#Kernowek) is “Còrnais.” It’s very similar to Welsh and has around 500 – 600 speakers (we think). It’s been brought back from the brink and the number of...

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Nuclear Weapons are a Feminist Issue – This is Why

Nuclear Weapons are a Feminist Issue – This is Why

THE devolved parliament in Scotland, elected through proportional representation, has undoubtedly attended to many of what are described as women’s issues. New legislation to protect women from men’s violence towards them and their children for a start. Women within the movement for independence are deeply committed to ensuring that women...

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FORWARD, Building a North East Plan For Independence

FORWARD, Building a North East Plan For Independence

February 24th sees the North East Independence movement pushing forward and getting ready for the campaign about to start. Aberdeen Independence Movement and Dundee Angus Independence Group hold their joint conference in the Park Inn in Aberdeen, seeking to encourage the evolution of our movement that will work with the...

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Martial Law

Martial Law

So previously the British Army had played with the idea of “Belonging”, in its latest advertising campaign it has shifted to the idea of “Resilience” again playing on the idea of disaffected alienated young people, and, hilariously, suggesting that the army would be some kind of shelter from an economically...

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Defending Essential Nursery School Provision

Defending Essential Nursery School Provision

Scotland has a proud history of kindergarten and nursery education. It is in danger of throwing that away. Edinburgh’s nursery provision is under direct threat from proposed Council cutbacks. This is an open letter from the Child’s Curriculum Group opposing the moves. We of The Child’s Curriculum Group read with...

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What We Might Find in Making  Ourselves at Home

What We Might Find in Making Ourselves at Home

In everyday economics, there is no such thing as enough, or too much, growth. Yet in the world’s most developed countries, growth has already brought unrivaled prosperity: we have ‘arrived’. More than that, through debt, inequality, climate change and fractured politics, the fruits of growth may rot before everyone has...

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The Ulsterisation of British Politics

The Ulsterisation of British Politics

At the height of the Troubles in the 1970s, a new Northern Ireland Secretary named Merlyn Rees introduced a three-part strategy for dealing with the crisis: normalisation, criminalisation; and Ulsterisation. The first part was a straightforward attempt to reduce the level of strife, and above all the death toll, to...

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Derek’s Budget Boost to the Economy

Derek’s Budget Boost to the Economy

DEREK Mackay has secured his third Holyrood budget, by 67 to 58, thanks to support from the Greens. Leave aside the usual party-political claims and counterclaims. What macro effects will the Budget have on the Scottish economy, given the proposed numbers? The cash allocated to revenue spending (called the Fiscal...

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The Silent Poetry of Brexit

The Silent Poetry of Brexit

With every vote in the House of Commons which adds new steps to the dance of death which is Brexit, the need for either primal scream therapy or a loud, protracted rebel yell becomes ever more apparent, unbearable, necessary and distant. In Scotland, up to and during the campaigns for...

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Fugue State

Fugue State

Dissociative fugue, formerly fugue state or psychogenic fugue, is a dissociative disorder and a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality. The state can last days, months or longer. Dissociative fugue usually involves unplanned travel or wandering,...

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No Second Jobs for MSPs

No Second Jobs for MSPs

HolyroodWe rightly mock the archaic rules and culture that pervades Westminster. But as Holyrood comes up for its 20th anniversary, it needs reformed and improved. One idea to do so comes from Labour MSP Neil Findlay who is launching a Private Members Bill at the Scottish Parliament that seeks to...

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For a Courageous Cosmopolitan BBC Scotland

For a Courageous Cosmopolitan BBC Scotland

As we enter the final countdown to the launch of BBC Scotland’s own dedicated digital channel, the nation’s blethering and blathering classes are set to cash in on their very own North Sea oil-style bonanza. Commissioning chief Steve Carson has signalled that two pillars of the new channel will be...

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Routes to Independence Five: Change is Coming

Routes to Independence Five: Change is Coming

The fastest way to get to independence is to move opinion then trigger a vote. The fastest way to move opinion is to form a solid, shared strategy and then put our shoulders behind it, argues Robin McAlpine. This is a follow-up to the article published in Bella (and reprinted...

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Spycops in Context: Why does the state infiltrate political organisations?

Spycops in Context: Why does the state infiltrate political organisations?

Recent revelations show that at least 140 English and Welsh ‘spycops’, long-term undercover agents, infiltrated around 120 dissident political organisations between 1968 and 2011 – the vast majority of the these being organisations on the left. But why does the state infiltrate political organisations? And why does it disproportionately target...

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Becoming Safer

Becoming Safer

“The process of trying to assimilate into an existing category in many ways runs counter to efforts to produce radical or revolutionary results.” – Angela Davis Let’s start with an example of the malign bizarre. Gavin Williamson, who has risen without trace to become the UK’s Defence Minister, licks his...

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What International Liberal Order?

What International Liberal Order?

2018 was the year our international liberal order died and US President Donald Trump killed it. Several times. So we are told. From reinstating tough economic sanctions on Iran and announcing plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, to the weaponisation of the dollar, the recognition...

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Burns and Mrs Brown

Burns and Mrs Brown

I was recently invited to give an immortal memory at a Burns supper, no great boast, most wise people would rather stick pins in their eyes than speak in public and Burns audiences are not known for their sobriety so the organisers of many Burns supper audiences have to seek...

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The North Sea Changed Scotland Forever – But The Era Of Big Oil Is Over

The North Sea Changed Scotland Forever – But The Era Of Big Oil Is Over

In December 1969, the Amoco Corporation struck oil 130 miles east of the Aberdeenshire shoreline—and the axis of Scottish politics suddenly shifted. In the years that followed, the claim that Scotland’s economy was too weak to support an independent state rapidly crumbled. Even an aspiring British prime minister was forced...

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Routes to Independence Four: Howls of Frustration Aren’t Enough

Routes to Independence Four: Howls of Frustration Aren’t Enough

“I totally understand if you want to go faster – but it is time to interrogate the depth of that thinking. How are you going to deliver a referendum, a winning vote, an acceptable withdrawal deal with the rUK and the orderly set-up of a new (and functioning) nation state...

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Routes to Independence Three: A Collective Transformation

Routes to Independence Three: A Collective Transformation

TO answer questions regarding the routes to IndyRef2, we need to grasp the fact that winning Scottish independence is not reduceable to a neat constitutional process. Rather, we are dealing with a political and social revolution. Not a revolution with guns – though there will be more than a few...

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England, a Love Letter

England, a Love Letter

England. I want to say something about England (as if the naming of a place could ever account for its rich complexity). As we head towards a tragic crash out from the EU, so much current chat I hear in Scotland and Ireland is obviously both incredulous and despairing, while...

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Routes to Independence 2: If Not Now, When?

Routes to Independence 2: If Not Now, When?

In the second of our Routes to Independence series Ruth Wishart argues on the need for a consultative referendum now. It is in the DNA of the political journalist that he or she will endlessly enquire of the First Minister when she will announce plans for a second independence referendum....

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Routes to Independence 1: Changing Minds

Routes to Independence 1: Changing Minds

In the first of a series about Routes To Independence, Gerry Hassan reflects on where we are – and argues that independence is about more than a referendum. It is about changing minds and Scotland. Independence has to be about more than tactics and processes – which has dominated too...

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