A Snow Bunting looks across a mountain landscape with little sign of human habitation. This photograph was taken by my husband Rob Bruce on our Highland holiday this year, on land owned by a reclusive Malaysian businessman.
Real newspapers can be used for many things that their digital counterparts never could - from lining the veg box to making paper boats and beyond. Artist Jane Couroussopoulos finds a novel use for the pile of old Guardians she keeps in her studio, turning them into works of art.
Brexit is an immediate threat: - Remainers should vote SNP; Indyref 2 is a battle for another day.
Every democratic election is a choice, to a certain extent, between the bad and the worse. In that sense, it is much like life. There is seldom a perfect option. And every voter who takes pencil in hand in the privacy of the polling booth will assess the issues, compromise on some and prioritise others.
In the First Past the Post Westminster election, we also vote for - or against - an individual whose name appears on the ballot. It seems likely that across the UK on Thursday night some big names will lose their seats and be subjected to the kind of ritual humiliation by media that goes with the job of MP these days. Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson may be among them.
I am not a nationalist but I will be voting SNP. More specifically, I will vote for Tommy Sheppard in Edinburgh East. Sheppard seems to be a man who takes an international view, not a narrow nationalist one. But my decision is based on his party’s strong pro-EU stance. In the event of a hung Parliament - unlikely though that may be - the SNP would be a voice for staying in the single market, the customs union, for freedom of movement.
The Scottish Economy - Could it Survive as an Independent Country?
The debate about the Scottish economy centres largely on GERS which looks at public expenditure - the taxes raised in Scotland and the government spending. These suggest an independent Scotland would have a massive deficit.
This reflects the fact that Scotland has a shrunken private sector. Scotland has a very big public sector and those people are paid, of course, with money that has to be raised from taxation. So if Scotland were to have a sustainable future as an independent country, it would have to expand its private sector and create more profitable businesses.
How Le Monde Sees Brexit and the Scottish Referendum
The week that ‘Article 30’ was triggered by Nicola Sturgeon and ‘Article 50’ was triggered by Theresa May’s letter, I was in France and over a cafe creme each morning, read about it all in Le Monde. This great European newspaper with its painstaking reportage and thoughtful opinion; sophisticated use of photography, and broad agenda of international news, illuminated the situation and it is always interesting to see oursels as ithers see us, as the poet said.
At their meeting in Glasgow, May said to Sturgeon about the referendum call: “Ce n’est pas le bon moment.” Some things just sound better in French. In English her: “Now is not the time,” has a rather nanny-ish ring, it’s one of those circular phrases that May likes. I can imagine a character saying this in Alice In Wonderland and the White Rabbit replying, irritated, looking at his watch: “The time is always now, don’t you know anything?” But “Ce n’est pas le bon moment,” sounds faintly desperate. It reminds me of the Jacques Brel classic “Ne me quitte pas,” with its lines “Oublier le temps..et le temps perdu” (Forget the time and the time that’s past). This song, of course, would also do as a soundtrack for Brexit.
A Thought for the Day the Scottish Parliament Votes for a New Independence Referendum
(Below this piece is a response from Bob Tait, in which he recounts being called a "rootless cosmpolitan" by the poet Hugh MacDiarmid.)
Recently, listening to Radio Four’s ‘Thought for the Day’, a programme that is intended for a moment of religiously-inspired reflection in the morning news cycle, I heard the Reverend Giles Fraser denouncing “rootless cosmopolitans’.I was surprised and horrified as to me this phrase connotes ‘Jews’. It has a history - the ideological separation of non-ethnic Germans from the rest of the population by the Nazi regime.