My father Arnold Kemp and the Leveson Inquiry

from the Scottish Review March 21, 2012

What would Arnold Kemp have thought of the Leveson inquiry? My father,  journalist and editor of this parish, will have been dead 10 years this September. So it was something of a surprise to his nearest and dearest to be called by the Guardian and told that his name had been raised at the Leveson inquiry in connection with a tragic and distressing case surrounding his columnist Jack McLean in the early 90s, a case touched on by Kenneth Roy in his SR column (13 March).

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The agenda behind the bill: feminisation of Scotland

From the Scottish Review, Dec 2011. 

This piece is also in the Scottish Review anthology, Scottish Review 2012, available from

It seems bizarre that the Scottish Government has forced through such a wide-ranging set of laws as the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill in the name of anti-sectarianism.

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An inspector calls

Jackie Kemp gives a low mark to the people who adjudicate on schools. From the Scottish Review ( http:/ October 5 2010.

There is a Chinese proverb which says: 'Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself'. Education therefore is about the pursuit of knowledge rather than, as George Bernard Shaw put it, 'knowledge in pursuit of children'. In recent times Scottish education has seemed more like the latter than the former with a surfeit of top-down state-led box-ticking initiatives aimed at having all children achieve this level or that level by certain ages.

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A flyte on the neglect of Hugh MacDiarmid

By Arnold Kemp, the Herald, August 15, 1992

THIS week has seen the hundredth anniversary of the birth of C. M Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid). The highlight was a BBC Radio Scotland broadcast on Tuesday evening, mostly from the Queen Street studio in Edinburgh before an invited audience but partly from the snug in Milne's Bar.

There was original music, from Ronald Stevenson, Michael Marra and Hue and Cry. Some Day, a short play by MacDiarmid, was performed, together with a new work, Root to a Tree, by Donald Campbell, which explored some of the contradictions in the MacDiarmid tradition. Norman MacCaig and Adam McNaughtan read poetry, MacCaig including his famous recommendation that MacDiarmid's centenary should be marked by a minute's pandemonium.

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