I mentioned DestiNation as a sign of a now thriving alternative publishing movement in Scotland, on and off line. There’s more evidence over at the Scottish Left Review, where Davie Philip describes The Village, a ground-breaking ecological community in Cloughjordan. He writes: “We urgently need to take an evolutionary leap in the way we do things and to design systems from the bottom up in ways that fit this planet’s carrying capacity and we need to do this together, as communities.”
This bottom up model is what we are seeing in the media landscape as well, from Indymedia, to vlogging, twitter in Iran or our own Camcorders.
SLR has firmly established itself as part of this new picture. It’s a unifying force across the red-green spectrum, maybe only missing the black, open to new ideas, and, if it won’t win any design awards, it’s a bridge also between old left and new, and works nicely between its print and online editions.
In Ae Fond Kiss, And Then We Sever! Stephen Mullen over at Variant takes a swipe at the selective history being expressed by Homecoming Scotland 2009. Mullen asks: “Does the Homecoming initiative have implications for race relations in modern Scotland?” Frankly, no, and if it sounds a little formulaic, there’s no doubt that Variant is the high-brow end of a bustling new media community. More promising is Tom Jennings wonderfully lucid Parcel of Rogues on the wider ramifications of the Westminster expenses scandal: “Perhaps, though, it signals a manageable, if displaced, acknowledgement of the obscenity of wagering the futures of millions of lives on us accepting depleting incomes, dissolving welfare, and generally harsher prospects – when the only visible benefits reliably accrue precisely to those plotting the wholesale plunder of collective resources. Yet politicians in all mainstream parties parrot the mantra of ‘no alternative’ to a vain hope for trickledown from globalised profiteering – jostling to ridicule, suppress and criminalise dissenting expression and action – so it’s only right that they’re all tarred with the same brush. Meanwhile the chattering classes satisfy themselves with hand-wringing and crocodile tears bemoaning the supposedly sudden loss of faith in liberal democratic platitudes, tremulously wondering if further modernisation and regulation can bodge it together.”
Over at Product, Susan George takes on the myths of conspiracy theory, plus Paul Rogers on why a new generation committed to non-violent direct action will compel its political masters to respond to the global climate crisis, despite state violence whilst the Scottish blog scene is cooking along nicely. See also City Strolls, Craig Murray and Alan Smart’s Aye We Can as a random, eclectic and inadequate selection.
In short, newspapers may be collapsing, but who cares? This is the kind of free media that will break the Union and lead the way to the new thinking Davie Philips describes. I don’t know what we’re going to wrap our chips in but I’m sure we’ll think of something.