On Davos, Bolsonaro and the New Enclosure

On Davos, Bolsonaro and the New Enclosure

APRES SKI IN DAVOS? THE global great and good of neoliberal capitalism have gathered in the Swiss ski resort of Davos this week in what is a close approximation to a meeting of the Central Committee of the bourgeoisie – or at least international finance capitalism. Understandably, Brexit was high...

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Three to join Bella

Three to join Bella

As part of major expansion plans for Bella in 2019 we are delighted to announce three new columnists joining us, the very talented writers Layla-Roxanne Hill, Kirsty Strickland and Mairi McFadyen. We’ll be announcing the submissions of the guest editors spaces separately next week. Mairi McFadyen is a writer and...

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The Bigger Picture of Little England

The Bigger Picture of Little England

The pictures of the women espousing the politics of Enoch Powell, or the Tory peer urging Britain to re-colonise Zimbabwe may seem like social media flashpoints through which we can project a picture of an entire nation enthrall to dark forces of racism and nascent fascism. But smearing a whole...

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Media in the Time of Extinction and Climate Breakdown

Media in the Time of Extinction and Climate Breakdown

It’s a New Year and it’s time for a New You. That’s certainly what Kevin Keane, Scotland’s erstwhile ‘Environment Correspondent’ must have thought. On the 10 January he was still BBC Scotland’s ‘Environment Correspondent’. On the 11 January he was still BBC Scotland’s ‘Environment Correspondent’. (click on the image to...

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The Road not Taken, the Road Still Open

The Road not Taken, the Road Still Open

Sitting down to ponder again the impact of Paulo Freire’s work in Britain in the more than forty years since we first encountered it raises a storm of memories and emotions. To begin with, it would be churlish to deny that the allied victory over Fascism in the second world...

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Estonia: Digital Utopia or Orwellian Dystopia?

Estonia: Digital Utopia or Orwellian Dystopia?

THERE is much hyping of the notion Scotland should emulate Baltic Estonia and become a “digital frontier”. Recently, Angus Robertson was using his National column to laud the idea of “Scottish digital citizenship” on the Estonian model. I’m all for embracing new technology. But there is a bit of me...

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Reforming Local Democracy in an Independent Scotland

Reforming Local Democracy in an Independent Scotland

British politics is currently consumed in madness. Turn on your TV and it will be Brexit. Turn on your radio and it will be Brexit. Walk into a café and listen to a local political preacher ramble on about, you guessed it, Brexit. Yet within the realms of the Yes...

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This Script

This Script

Jenny Lindsay was one half of the mythical Rally and Broad is the author of Ire and Salt and is the founder and director of Flint and Pitch a platform for emerging, Scottish spoken word, theatre, live literature and music acts. ‘This Script’ is a part univocal poem in, and...

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The Authentic Andy Murray

The Authentic Andy Murray

“Maybe, I’ll see you again” In classic Andy Murray fashion, after the downcast press conference, the worldwide tributes and the schmaltzy retirement video by his fellow pros, he gave us all something to cling onto. This week he’s expected to announce if he’ll go ahead with a hip resurfacing operation,...

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Chasing Imperial Virility with Enoch Powell and Oliver’s Army

Chasing Imperial Virility with Enoch Powell and Oliver’s Army

This week saw the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of the Union, on January 16 1707. The past 24 hours (never mind the previous 312 years) has put such a strain on the Union that it seems at breaking point. The slow draining of the last residual respect...

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Friday Pods of Choice

Friday Pods of Choice

While we labour away mining in the audio caves to bring you our very own Bella podcast, here’s three very different ones to keep you going. Episode 16 from the Nutmeg podcast: a football & music special with Grant Hutchison from @FRabbits James Graham of @thetwilightsad & Mike Palmer from...

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The Return of the Barrastinian – Wake Up and Smell the Covfefe

The Return of the Barrastinian – Wake Up and Smell the Covfefe

He’s back! A Friday treat of Mixcloud melodies from the way outers, its Neil MacNeil from Barra with a mix-tape for your weekend … More music from Bella with Mixcloud streams and compilations here – and more guest-selected playlists for Spotify here.

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Gillette and Occam’s Razor

Gillette and Occam’s Razor

If Brexit represents a country having a nervous breakdown, ravaged by identity crisis and hyper-nostalgia, incapable of understanding itself and confused about its role in the world, Piers Morgan personifies this spasm of moronic populism. Morgan, who readers will recall was sacked for publishing faked photographs of troops torturing Iraqi...

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On French Protest Culture and Brexit from Brittany

On French Protest Culture and Brexit from Brittany

Ever since a child, I have seen images of protests relayed from France invariably appearing on the BBC. You know the ones, burning tyres and tractors blocking roads. Yes, there were regular reports of other protests from around the globe, but it seemed like there was a particular focus on...

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Neon Fascism and the Cult of Heroic Failure

Neon Fascism and the Cult of Heroic Failure

After Brexit, and the weird fissures of Empire Loyalism it has laid open, not only is the sense of a unified coherent ‘Britain’ now just laughable, but the idea of a unified coherent British ‘people’ is implausible. So the constant evocation of “the people” as a force is an immeasurably...

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Paradise Regained: Some Notes on the Idea of Reversals

Paradise Regained: Some Notes on the Idea of Reversals

The idea of workers’ control has fallen off the agenda but an independent Scotland could put us back on the radical road, writes Paul Tritschler. There is an illusion in the field of psychology known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. It refers to low ability individuals who confidently believe they have...

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Guest Editor Opportunity

Guest Editor Opportunity

We’re excited to announce the return of our Guest Editor position over the next few months. The idea is to make way for some fresh commissioning, to create fresh networks and unearth new writers and contacts. We also want to to begin to address issues of diversity and equality in...

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The Wealth of the Nation: Scotland, Culture and the Nation

The Wealth of the Nation: Scotland, Culture and the Nation

THE WEALTH OF THE NATION: SCOTLAND, CULTURE AND INDEPENDENCE by Cairns Craig, Edinburgh University Press (2018) Cairns Craig is a leading scholar in Scottish and modernist literature. He has been Professor of Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen since 2005. Before that, he taught at the University...

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A Golden Dawn at the Spectator

A Golden Dawn at the Spectator

As the right and the far-right enjoy a Brexit mind-meld it’s causing for some problems for the BBC’s highest people. Steve Peers analyses the crisis at The Spectator … Thread by @StevePeers: “1/ In principle, I agree there’s an obvious distinction between publishing something and agreeing with it. After all,...

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When May loses on Tuesday, there will be nowhere left to Hide

When May loses on Tuesday, there will be nowhere left to Hide

I’m saddened to see @HackneyAbbott doubling down on Labour leadership backing Brexit. Time for members and supporters to sign this. Members and supporters overwhelmingly want a @peoplesvote_uk https://t.co/sV06tqcCOD — Ian Murray (@IanMurrayMP) 11 January 2019 My response: I’ve been re-reading Hugo Young’s “This Sacred Plot” which is a wonderfully written...

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Could a No Budget Deal Trigger a Holyrood Brexit Election?

Could a No Budget Deal Trigger a Holyrood Brexit Election?

AS I write, the Holyrood budget for 2019-2020 still has not been agreed. Of course, with the SNP government in a minority, there is always an annual negotiation involving the minor parties, in order to secure a deal to get the budget passed. It has been this way since Alex...

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The Establishment and How they Get Away with It

The Establishment and How they Get Away with It

Owen Jones may be a bit of a Marmite figure, but, as we’ve said before “As a rule of thumb anyone being smeared or attacked by the media is probably doing something quite useful. “ Jones – author of Chavs, the Demonisation of the Working Class – and The Establishment:...

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What is an Environment Correspondent?

What is an Environment Correspondent?

You might think that this is a trick question. An Environment Correspondent is supposed to report on the live issues and news relating to the environment, and to have, one would assume, some passing knowledge of the key environmental issues of the day. As the best funded and globally networked...

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Modern Monetary Theory and an Independent Scotland

Modern Monetary Theory and an Independent Scotland

Last week Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp wrote an article in The National on the growing economic support of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). As a Modern Monetary Theorist I noticed many errors in his piece, some minor and others glaring. Therefore I would like to dedicate some time to setting the record straight...

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The History of the Sausage Roll in Constitutional Politics

The History of the Sausage Roll in Constitutional Politics

Those who have watched the Veganuary-inspired meltdown of Piers Morgan into a meaty testosterone-filled rage, or observed England’s finest yeomanry protesting at Gregg’s, may be ignorant to the longer-standing importance of hot pastry goods to Britain. Sausage Roll Rage may seem like a new phenomena, but its origins are indeed...

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Wishing you an Anti-Racist New Year

Wishing you an Anti-Racist New Year

Labour’s Deputy leader is hosting the LBC phone-in show. Discussing the English Channel “migrant crisis” (sic) his caller Andy explains that a “large portion of the country is in poverty” and that there should be “no more” before going on to suggest that if there were a boat load of...

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An Alternative for Scotland: the investment-led model

An Alternative for Scotland: the investment-led model

The future is arriving faster than most people think. When we look around us, we see that digital technology is woven into the fabric of our lives. Where the pace of change is accelerating and the trajectory has become exponential. We are now living in a looking glass world where...

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Profanity Filter

Profanity Filter

Fuck this shit. As elite rule takes a turn towards chaos and authoritarianism, ruling class barbarism and increased social violence, it seems we are getting more potty-mouthed in our response. This is long overdue. Way back in December 2018, your digitally-addled mind may faintly recall, Jeremy Corbyn got into trouble...

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A Guid New Year tae yin and a!

A Guid New Year tae yin and a!

Stewart Bremner’s posters an cairds brocht a smile tae mony and the ‘Spirit O Scotland’ is kenspeckle to a they fowk that cam oot for the Scottish indy referendum o 2014. Lang afore that, Ia mind hoo ma faither had a braw grasp o the Scots leid, but he rarely...

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Will 219 see the Beginning of the End for the Euro?

Will 219 see the Beginning of the End for the Euro?

WHAT are the prospects for the global economy in 2019? First Europe. The German economy, the very beating heart of the eurozone, is slowing palpably, taking the rest of the continental EU with it. In the third quarter of 2018, German output declined, as a result both of a contraction...

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Will 2019 see the Beginning of the End for the Euro?

Will 2019 see the Beginning of the End for the Euro?

WHAT are the prospects for the global economy in 2019? First Europe. The German economy, the very beating heart of the eurozone, is slowing palpably, taking the rest of the continental EU with it. In the third quarter of 2018, German output declined, as a result both of a contraction...

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Crisis, What Crisis?

Crisis, What Crisis?

If the season of goodwill seems to have come to an abrupt end (unless you’re an ambitious ferry start-up business with friends in the right places), it has. Look no further than the British State’s hysterical reaction to a handful of desperate people making landing on the south coast of...

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Best of Bella Women Writers of 2018

Best of Bella Women Writers of 2018

Continuing our series of reviews and listicles here’s some of our best women writers of 2018 … covering opinion, news, review and international reporting. Later this month we’ll be announcing the Bella Guest Editor project for 2019. Get in touch if you have ideas to take over Bella for the...

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The Top Twenty Five Bella Articles of 2018

The Top Twenty Five Bella Articles of 2018

The Top Twenty Five Bella articles of 2018 … SCL – a Very British Coup by Liam O Hare Revealed: The emails between Boris’s Foreign Office and Analytica by Liam O Hare Artwash, Over-Tourism and Edinburgh by Mike Small Time to Wake Up and Ask Some Difficult Questions about the...

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Diary of a Bad Year

Diary of a Bad Year

January: I read J.M Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year, a novel in which two parallel texts occupy the same page, one about the writer’s life, another about the characters in the story he has written. Coetzee remarks somewhere that the novelist must attempt something new when he writes but...

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Dealing with the dead — the year disaster capitalism came home

Dealing with the dead — the year disaster capitalism came home

In 2018 it became impossible to pay any attention to the news in Britain and not hear warnings of something darker on the horizon. Alongside tedious yelps from the country’s most privileged, as they consume each other in a fit of self-regard, dark prophecies began to ring out in a...

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Review of 2018: the Year of Imperial Fantasy

Review of 2018: the Year of Imperial Fantasy

We started the year by publishing a map of Scotland the Dump, detailing the toxic legacy of the British State. The year ends with the Ferret revealing how there were plans in 1989 for 22 nuclear subs to be dumped – sorry, “stored” – off the west coast of Scotland....

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Kiwis Come Home to Roost for SNP Growth Report

Kiwis Come Home to Roost for SNP Growth Report

I HAVE a New Zealand friend staying this Christmas. They were something big in the NZ civil service for a long time, on the welfare and insurance side of things. It has been heartrending hearing my friend tell angrily of the destruction of New Zealand’s once universal and egalitarian social...

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On the McClatchy story about Cohen going to Prague

On the McClatchy story about Cohen going to Prague

As we tip into the New Year it’s worth reading this thread on the latest of the Trump debacle … Thread by @SethAbramson: “(THREAD) What’s happening with the McClatchy story about Cohen going to Prague is what happened with the Kavanaugh hearings: journalists are ”

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The Brexit Absolution is Coming — and We Must Stand Up to It

The Brexit Absolution is Coming — and We Must Stand Up to It

Absolution. Alongside hypocrisy it’s a key characteristic of Brexit and has been since day one. David Cameron sought to absolve himself of, for him, uncomfortable responsibilities as a party leader, wanting to resolve internal Tory infighting with a national referendum on Britain’s EU membership. Leave leaders like Boris Johnson, Michael...

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The EU Lies of Daniel Hannan and Ruth Davidson

The EU Lies of Daniel Hannan and Ruth Davidson

As we slide into the annual feast of cronyism, backslapping and institutionalised corruption that is the “Honours” system, the Brexit moment hits a new low. Not just with the predictable packing of the Lords with pro-Brexit “bastards” like John Redwood to grease-through May’s discredited deal, but with three other Tory...

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Radge Against the Machine: Deid Wirds, Deid Warlds, an Why Scots Maitters

Radge Against the Machine: Deid Wirds, Deid Warlds, an Why Scots Maitters

Ah ken we’ve still the stoppage time tae rin, but in review, 2018 wisnae a bad wee year for Scots. Kick things aff wi Matthew Fitt’s gallus translation o Harry Potter, that threw doon ilka rule aboot sale fígures for buiks in Scots an danced jigs on thaim, an fínish...

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BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES: From The Province of the Cat

BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES: From The Province of the Cat

Nuclear waste, don’t you just love it? It is going to be spread all over the north coast of Scotland like radioactive but there are no drone-bees left to love it. Cavendish Nuclear and Nuvia (UK) have been “awarded” multi-million-pound contracts to demolish the old test reactor (the one that...

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Nebulous Britain

Nebulous Britain

Two short video clips summed up the weird world we inhabit, the swirling mess of lies and political failure that seem to engulf us. The first was the cinematic glory of a film-maker being ushered out of a building in Brussels where Theresa May harangued Jean-Claude Juncker for calling her...

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Bella’s Top Scottish Alternative Media 2018

Bella’s Top Scottish Alternative Media 2018

We spend a lot of the time slagging off the old tired media, quite rightly, for reasons too often repeated to go into right now. But we probably spend too little time celebrating the newer alternative media and flourishing of small print, zines and podcasts, independent film-makers and publishers. Earlier...

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The Bonfire of the Red Tape: the Reckoning

The Bonfire of the Red Tape: the Reckoning

It is a standard trope of neo-liberal, Brexit, and often Unionist ideology that all our ills require but a single solution: the bonfire of ‘red tape’. Britain is open for business, it is claimed in this seductive story; but business is drowning in red tape, and the solution is combustion:...

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Remembering Tom Leonard

Remembering Tom Leonard

Remembering Tom Leonard – a brilliant uncompromising person – here’s Fiona Karen Alexander reading his The Six O Clock News …

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Yuletide Economics

Yuletide Economics

SCOTTISH GDP figures – for the third quarter to September – are in. They show the economy grew by 0.3 percentage points over the three summer months, making the annual increase 1.5 per cent. That’s bang on the yearly average for the past couple of decades, so you can say...

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Help a Leitrim Person this Winter

Help a Leitrim Person this Winter

Seamus O’Rourke calls for a hard border, and Justice for Leitrim …

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Denying Oxygen to White Nationalism – Media Myths of Bannon

Denying Oxygen to White Nationalism – Media Myths of Bannon

Steve Bannon’s appearance at the News Xchange journalism conference in Edinburgh was always going to be controversial. Despite public and political scepticism – including first minister Nicola Sturgeon pulling out of the event in protest – an interview with the BBC’s Sarah Smith went ahead on 14 November. The conference...

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