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Monday, 20 March 2017

Scotland (Scandinavia)


The Scotland in Sweden campaign may have had a greater
 long-term impact than was anticipated or appreciated at the time.
 We didn't know where it might lead...
Mixed feelings, in the current atmosphere.
Happier and friendlier days, back then.

For more information:

On the currency question, which would Scotland (the SNP) choose,
 if it had the choice - 
 the pound sterling, the Euro, the Norwegian krone, the Icelandic króna or the Swedish krona?
The bane of all currencies!

"Our merchants an' mill masters they wad never want a meal.
Though a' the banks in Scotland wad for a twalmonth fail;
For some o' them hae far mair goud than ony ane can see —
What care some gentry if they're weel though a' the pair wad dee!"

from The Last Sark, Ellen Johnston, 1859.

The Flower of Scotland - or - Scotland the Brave?

Reviving the old disdain of 'English gold'?

"But English gold has been our bane
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation...
We're bought and sold for English gold -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!" 

(Robert Burns and others)

Parcel O'Rogues - Alastair McDonald

Divisive identity politics within Scotland may be nothing new,
but I happen to admire the poetry of both Edwin Muir and Hugh MacDiarmid! 
There's room for everyone. Neil Oliver's BBC 2 documentary,
"Scotland and the Klan" challenged that assumption.

MacDiarmid and Muir: Scottish Modernism and the Nation as Anthropological Site (pdf)  -
 Paul Robichaud

Hugh MacDiarmid, The Eemis Stane

See also my 2014 posting, The Scandinavians and Scotland

Another Destination? -Three Scottish Poets in Prague, Czechoslovakia:

From A Drunken Man on Burns Night (Prague, 1959)

I wid ha' read ye gin I'd gane tae Scotland,
It was part o' my plan o' research
(Questions o' national identity and art).
I read ye in Prague frae time to time…

Is it true, ye got drunk on Burns Night, Hugh,
Blin' fou' on his Bicentenary?
An honoured guest like you!

… Did they quote ye in factories, in fields and in streets?
It's nae use preachin' tae the forcibly converted.
There are some elements o' truth, i' spite of the lies,
But the crude propaganda never dies, ne'er dies.

Jamey Macpherson had mair influence here than you; that's true -

D'ye ken that, Hugh?

Note: Hugh MacDiarmid visited Prague in 1955 as a guest of the Spartakiad, and again in 1959, to give the Bicentennial Lecture celebrating the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.

Edwin Muir on Prague, from The Good Town  (from The Labyrinth, 1949):

"Look at it well. This was the good town once...
My old friends
(Friends ere these great disasters) are dispersed
In parties, armies, camps, conspiracies.
We avoid each other. If you see a man
Who smiles good-day or waves a lordly greeting
Be sure he’s a policeman or a spy.
We know them by their free and candid air….

And now you see our town, the fine new prison,
The house-doors shut and barred, the frightened faces
Peeping round corners, secret police, informers,
And all afraid of all…

when evil comes
All things turn adverse, and we must begin
At the beginning, heave the groaning world
Back in its place again, and clamp it there.
Then all is hard and hazardous. We have seen
Good men made evil wrangling with the evil,
Straight minds grown crooked fighting crooked minds.
Our peace betrayed us; we betrayed our peace.
Look at it well. This was the good town once.”

These thoughts we have, walking among our ruins". 

Apart from Muir and MacDiarmid, I often read Douglas Dunn. He came to Prague in 1987

"As for the Scots, at least a few of them are looking northward. During the lead-up to the Scottish Independence referendum, there was talk of Scotland forging strong political links with Scandinavia.
Angus Robertson, defence spokesman for the Scottish National Party (SNP) even suggested - in the Guardian newspaper - that Scotland could join the Nordic Council".

Would the Scandinavians want Scotland? The campaign for an independent Scotland has suggested forming an independent state with its Nordic neighbours. But is the feeling reciprocal? The Guardian

"The alternative destinies being mooted by the campaign for an independent Scotland are vivid and appealing. They include the recurring theme of a Scandinavian Scotland, a small independent state not only emulating the social-democratic welfare models of its Nordic neighbours, but actually joining the institutions that Europe's so-called Nordic tier share among themselves".

The spirit of independence:

On Film-Making in Scotland (related; Guardian, studio update): Scottish smallholder refuses to make way for £250m film studio

A Scandinavian Scot, Robin Fulton:

A NORTHERN HABITAT: COLLECTED POEMS 1960-2010, Robin Fulton Macpherson

One poem I particularly admire is "To an English Composer". It begins:

"Landscapes flourish best
indoors. Here's one
You turned into music, green
in lush dissonance with green, forty years ago. It glows


More poems by Robin Fulton

A conversational interview - Mariela Griffor

Tomas Tranströmer obituary, Robin Fulton

Scottish Poetry

From Marmion, Sir Walter Scott (Canto VI, XVII, lines 332-333):

"O, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!"

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