Scotland v USA: A Tale of Two Tax Reforms - and Most Read Blogs of 2017.
At the end of 2017, my two home countries of the USA and Scotland are going in different directions in terms of tax reform. While the Scottish government is introducing more progressive taxes, the US is in the process of passing a controversial bill which cuts tax bigly for the rich.
Mairi Campbell's Journey of Personal Growth on Stage in Massachusetts
There is a point in Mairi Campbell’s one-woman coming of age show Pulse where in an attempt to convey inarticulable emotion she writhes on the ground speaking gibberish. As she plays wild notes on her viola, animated scribbles light up the backdrop. Struggling with unrequited love for a priest, travelling alone in Mexico, in a culture she doesn’t understand, she has lost her way.
A middle-aged man stands at a street corner waiting for his customers, wrapped up against the December chill. Master violinmaker Paul Wiessmeyer, along with several others, has been summarily evicted from a Harry-Potter-ish building in Boston’s music quarter.
The place, 295 Huntington Ave was easy to miss - you could walk past the unprepossessing entrance without guessing what was inside up the narrow staircase. Built as a hotel a century or so ago, it became a cultural ecosystem about 60 years ago. There was a symbiosis in its corridors where music students, performers and media types rubbed shoulders.
Robert Kemp - 50 Years After the Death of a Scots Playwright, a Memoir
This month marks 50 years since the death of the playwright Robert Kemp. To commemorate this, I have created a memoir which is downloadable here as a PDF, readable on Kindle or any other device. This is a work in progress - a corrected and finalised version will appear soon. Comments and contributions welcome via Facebook or Twitter @jackiekemp.
The SNP and 50 Years of Parliamentary Democracy, some dramatic moments.
November 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Winnie Ewing's election as the first SNP MP. Here is the late Arnold Kemp’s account of some of the history of the SNP in Parliament after that iconic moment. (Excerpted from "The Hollow Drum" and the anthology of his journalism “Confusion to our Enemies” )
The devolution years really began for me in 1967. It was after midnight and on the Scotsman we were holding the Glasgow edition for the result of the Hamilton by-election. Seconds after the declaration – a stunning victory for the SNP candidate Mrs Winifred Ewing over Labour – David Bradford, one of the political editors, came on the line and bawled out the intro which I took down in longhand and sent to the composing room. I can remember that it began with the phrase, ‘The rising tide of Scottish nationalism ...’ and it expressed the mood of excitement. Mrs Ewing, though she lost the seat later, launched the SNP into the stratosphere of concentrated London media attention and from her victory is often traced the party’s modern prominence.
'Spirit of 47' - A Member of the Edinburgh International Festival Audience for 70 Years Looks Back.
The theme of the 70th Edinburgh International Festival this year is remembering the ‘Spirit of 47’. Among the audience is at least one faithful festival-goer who was there at the start - my uncle David Kemp. Here are some of David’s reminiscences of his many Festivals, stretching back to those post-war years when the colour and beauty of art returned to a traumatised world.
David Kemp outside the Usher Hall, Edinburgh before the Mariinsky/ RSNO concert on 23/08/2017