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Irvine Welsh on Scottish Independence

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_Pwb9_J400&w=420&h=315]

6 min clip of Irvine Welsh v Tristram Hunt with Jeremy Paxman in the chair.  (From BBC Newsnight on 20th Apr 2012)


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  1. The problem encapsulated:
    Hunt – we are important and influential on world stage
    Welsh – we don’t care

    The Scots do NOT want to fight unwinnable wars in Afghanistan and lose our youngsters to roadside bombs in Iraq.
    We want to stay home and build a country.

  2. bellacaledonia says:

    Politicos could learn a lot from the way Irvine puts forward the case for Independence. Not just in substance but in manner. Anger, polemic and bluster are much less effective.

    1. chicmac says:

      Similar, but as a poetic monologue

  3. Brilliant and totally lucid. Welsh has captured the mood and feeling that’s been brewing for over fifteen years. ‘People have moved on in Scotland’. Damn right.

  4. R Louis says:

    Every single politician, including nationalists should be made to watch that short clip. I have yet to hear many others talk such clear common sense regarding the reason why the union is already effectively dead.

    We are effectively marking time on the last days of this very tired and outdated political union. As Irvine Welsh suggests, the notion f cultural ties would likely be strengthened by the ending of the political union.

    Having said that, I do think Renton did have a point.

  5. Tocasaid says:

    Was that the positive case for the Union? Hunt actually seems a bit thick. And, can the English only fully express their identity by within the Union?

  6. Scottish gardener says:

    Love the look on Hunt’s face when Welsh tells him we’re not interested in being thugs on the world stage, Poor wee laddie can’t get his head round it.

  7. Scottish gardener says:

    Also, did I detect more disdain felt from Paxman towards Hunt than to the Scot in the room? That has to be a first.

  8. shanalhirsch says:

    It is too bad that Welsh starts out with a political argument for independence and then falls back into using an ethnic or deep cultural/traditional argument for Scottish nationalism. That said, though, I did like his calm manner in discussing the topic.

  9. Andrew says:

    Looks like the only people not to understand that the empire is finished are still living in the 19th century.

  10. Siôn Jones says:

    Tristram Hunt, estimable man that he undoubtedly is, does encapsulate why not all of us in these islands can value the Unions – it is ENGLISH!

  11. Dougie Strang says:

    Deeply impressed by Irvine Welsh. He handled Paxman and Hunt effortlessly, wasn’t rattled or ratty, and spoke with intellegence and warmth. First pres’ of the new republic?

    I rarely see Paxman in action (nae telly) but whenever I do, I just can’t understand why he’s still in employ. He really is such a caricature: a sneering horrible arse of a man. And by all accounts, this was him fairly restrained…

  12. Mr Strang, I agree absolutely. As I said up top, Welsh was brilliant. And Paxman is an arrogant plonker who introduced ‘Irvine Walsh’. This was in keeping with his behaviour towards Alex Salmond and, much worse, Nicola Sturgeon. Either he or I have forgotten what the first ‘B’ stands for in BBC.

  13. Doug Daniel says:

    Excellent clip. It’s strange, I’d never envisaged Welsh as a nationalist until his recent appearance on Newsnight Review, and he admits he’s surprised himself, but he makes such a good case for it. It’s people like Welsh who are going to make the strongest arguments for independence – they are articulate, they don’t have political baggage, and most importantly, they cannot be accused of the same ridiculous careerist motives that some use against pro-nationalist politicians (how many times have you heard that Salmond just wants independence to get more power for himself?) For more proof, see also Alan Bissett’s excellent piece that appeared on Bella some months ago.

    And this is also why we can’t fail. You can easily rattle off a list of writers and thinkers who think Scotland should be independent, but trying to do so for unionism is not so easy. Even English intellectuals appreciate the inevitability of Scottish independence, and indeed, some are actually pleased for us (I refer to Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke, who told the audience earlier this year in Glasgow how pleased he was that Scotland would be getting its independence, and pleaded with us not to make the same mistakes as Westminster.)

    Welsh also pushes forward perhaps the strongest case for why people will eventually vote for independence: because the union is quite simply moribund, and there is nothing left to save but the reputation of a posh git from Eton with plums in his mouth (and the plums have mutated and they’ve grown beaks).

    1. Siôn Jones says:

      And let us not forget another Welch chap who also , Eurfyl ap Gwilym who also broke the disgustingly patrician Paxman like a gipsy breaks a horse!

  14. Siôn Jones says:

    *Welsh – not wech

  15. Good at diplomacy =great liars!
    On the world stage why? why not make yourself good and a worthwhile country,and lead by example.Therefore others will try to emulate what you and you country have done.

  16. I’d rather emulate Norway, They don’t need to strut on the world stage to do what they are elected to do- run a decent economy, organise decent civil society, keep the poor safe and crime under control…doesn’t seem to much to ask…em …well here it is apparently!
    As a completly unrelated point- isn’t it funny how Iceland has fallen off the news recently…wonder why that is???
    Irvine was excellent, and Hunt is typical-these Westminster walllies just don’t get us-at all.
    The union has nothing to offer Scots- if it had why are we skint after 300 years, oil, wars, clearances and industrialisation?. I recall a film where Gordon Brown, then a young reporter and not motivated by British ambitions, compared Scotland to Norway unfavourably…all conveniently forgotten and buried by the Liebour party.

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