Thursday, 11 September 2014

Go for it, Scotland!

‘We discourage centralisation all we can’ declares old Hammond in News from Nowhere (ch.X), a statement which we may take as giving his positive endorsement to the current Scottish independence campaign. As the Westminster, banking and business establishments go into panic mode in the final days before the referendum, what is at stake in all the turmoil?


Of course, Scotland will not get socialism if it votes ‘yes’ next Thursday, but it will think at least some new political thoughts (booting UK nuclear weapons out of the country, for one). And new thought is ultimately what this campaign has been all about. Live without ideas, the neo-liberal establishment tells us all; just get on with your shopping, for docile consumerism is life. Never mind grotesque and growing levels of inequality, the accelerating trashing of nature all around you, or US and NATO military adventurism across the globe – just go to Sainsburys or Topshop and get on with it.


So we must hope that Scotland holds its courage and lives up to the recent YouGov poll that gave a one per cent lead for the independence campaign. If it does so, it will have shown us what life lived in the light of an Idea looks like, even if, as I concede, this is not a socialist Idea as such. And that example will mobilise others, stirring us from consumerist slumbers into becoming militants of utopian Ideas of other kinds. So, invoking the memory of my beloved Auntie Edna from Aberdeen (pictured below, circa 1985) as well as Morris’s old Hammond, I heartily say: go for it, Scotland.

6 comments:

Margaret said...

I do agree that England too needs a boost of ideas but the question is, by what conduit? We live in an age of increasing connectivity re.internet etc. but people evidently aren’t using them to seek out other ways of doing things /thinking in sufficient numbers. Maybe there is a role for universities to open up to those who have never had access to higher education by doing some free public lectures which some have done from time to time. And what about lecturers, whether active or retired going out to other venues such as community centres to create debate?

Tony Pinkney said...

Thanks for this, Margaret. University extra-mural work has been very much squeezed in recent years, but individual academics are still doing what they can on that front. I'd like to see the William Morris Society move decisively towards contemporary issues, rather than historical scholarship on Morris and his late-Victorian context. Only a few hours left till the Scotland independence vote - touch wood!

Margaret said...

Yes I have decided a 'yes' vote would be a good idea, having previously been a committed unionist-perhaps the result of subliminal messages from this blog! And a final thought on the above- unless there is a challenge to prevailing ideas that reaches the majority of people- as opposed to just esoteric and very small organisations and societies, absolutely nothing will change. The means has to be thought about as well as the ideas themselves.

Anonymous said...

Alex "The Lying Scotsman" Salmond = you must be joking! It's TOO LATE the noo?

Tony Pinkney said...

Referendum results now out, and it is indeed, as I feared in my Twitter feed yesterday (borrowing Samuel Beckett's phrase), the "screaming silence of no's knife in yes's wound".

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