Arts & Culture - Anti-Capitalism

2007 - 2022


Scotlands-RorschachBella is in reflective mood and wants to respond to the challenge laid down by Gerry Hassan about ‘the thinness of much of what passes for public debate’. We want to move beyond the ‘one-dimensional’, the tribal, the certain. The advantage of platforms like this is that we don’t need to behave like an institution. As William James said it: ‘Only small things can remain voracious and innocent’.

So here’s our top ten New Year’s Resolution and if we fall by the wayside in the year ahead you can call us on it citing this blog post.

1. We’re on a word-diet. Some articles need less words to make more sense. Expect shorter sharper posts (we’ll be bingeing on a lengthier print publication later in the year).

2. We already have lots of women writing for us from Rebecca Nada- Rajah (in Iran) to Fiona MacInnes (in Orkney) to Anna Arque (in Catalonia) to Moira Dalgetty (in Greece) and Clare Galloway (in Italy) to Hannah McGill (in Edinburgh). But expect more from these and others as the independence movement finds it’s feminine voice.

3. Let’s not bore on and on about independence. There’s a world out there and while it’s our driving force expect more and more on culture, arts, comics, film, theatre, language, music, writing and other stuff. Mostly music.

4. Collaborations. Expect lots. If you want to work with us get in touch.

5. Beyond social media. Social media’s a great tool, and we’re sharpening it. But we’re going to do other stuff too. Live (see 4 & 3, 7 & 8.)

6. We want a better debate so whilst we won’t step away from confronting imbalance, vested interests and hypocrisy in the mainstream media, and whilst we think there’s a role for passion and polemic, we’ll try and not be insulting or personal.

7. More international perspective. Let’s not get boxed in.

8. It’s not all bad. We’re kicking off a weekly column highlighting some of the positive inspirational projects and people that are leading the way all over the place.

9. This isn’t just about the constitutional. 

As Seamus Milne wrote recently: “Those at the sharp end are being hit hardest: from cuts to disability and housing benefits, tax credits and the educational maintenance allowance and now increases in council tax while NHS waiting lists are lengthening, food banks are mushrooming across the country and charities report sharp increases in the number of children going hungry. All this to pay for the collapse in corporate investment and tax revenues triggered by the greatest crash since the 30s.

At the other end of the spectrum though, things are going swimmingly. The richest 1,000 people in Britain have seen their wealth increase by £155bn since the crisis began – more than enough to pay off the whole government deficit of £119bn at a stroke. Anyone earning over £1m a year can look forward to a £42,000 tax cut in the spring.”

This is obscene. But it’s a state of reality formed and shaped by the powerful interests in British society. It’s unlikely ever to change within the confines of the British State.

10. We’ll be campaigning for Yes. But we’ll be campaigning by creating a pool of ideas and aspirations for us to swim about in.

Comments (12)

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  1. wanvote says:

    Worthy resolutions, Bella. Leaner diet; increased sexual equality; merr music; merr pals; better manners; world view; local heroes; and speaking up for the end to weans going hungry! Think I’ll adopt the same ones this year. Happy New Year to you all!
    ps- love the inkblot test 🙂

  2. Looking forward to your posts this year.. I see an alien with his/her hands on hips in the white space of the graphic… Have a great 2013

  3. ich bin ein burdiehouser says:

    1- A print publication ? a bit like the Skinny ? except the staff get paid and less venal ? or what about an app ?
    2- couldnt care less what gender anyone is, please no ghettoisation.
    3. I’m really sorry to break this, but the music scene is too slacktavistic here to be worth covering.
    4. There’s no contact info for Bella Caledonia – apart from the gies some mony email addy.
    5. Social media is a two way thing – see point 4, also – inward marketing. Telling us what ye’re gonnae implement without asking for feedback first invokes the dread “why wasnt i consulted ?” online reaction.
    6. Insulting and Personal ? sounds reasonable.
    7. fair enough
    8.fair enough.
    9.even more fair enough.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      You’ve raised this issue before about contact details – as I said the last time it’s in the Contributors section:

      Not like The Skinny. No.

  4. Gerry has become someone who has become stuck in a groove and cannot see past labour as the party of his choosing so he keeps regurgitating the same message add infinitum hoping that labour will realise their vast mistakes.

    O/T A vid There’s No Tomorrow which you will find interesting.

  5. MacNaughton says:

    Every time I hear Gerry Hassan going on about the level of debate in Scotland, I reminded of that cheesy line from the Rodney King trial, “why can’t we all just get along”, parodied in Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks”.

    Gerry, all due respect, but it’s not going to happen, here’s why:

    A) The vast majority of the people who will vote NO are worried about their pensions, Civil Service jobs or something similarly dreary and materialistic and boring. They see themselves threatened by independence and their reaction is to not debate if at all possible. The instinct of Unionism is “no debate, we don’t want to know about your ideas…, we don’t want to talk to you…cheerio”.

    The defense of the Union is based on the idea that people like what they have enough, bizarre as that may be. What else could it be based on? Scotland is precisely unable to change anything in the UK on its own, so why would Unionism draw attention to that fact?

    B) As a commentator, G.H has a vested interest in the much sought after enhanced debate. I respect that, it is legitimate, but it’s worth mentioning.

    C) Animadversion is intrinsic to any civilized debate, and flyting is a Scottish literary tradition to be cherished, intelligent, informed, humorous flyting of course….

    D) Alisdair Gray deserves a medal for sparking a public debate, notwithstanding all of those whinging, holier than thou commentators in the establishment media who talk about enhancing the level of the debate, these journalists who torture us every day with their jargon inflected copy which a school boy with an eye for imitation could write given a laptop and a few minutes at school break.

    The mangling of language by the mainstream media – notwithstanding exceptions like Ian Bell and Ian Macwhirter -, is one of the great travesties of our time, and Nazis did exactly the same thing in Germany: fiscal cliff, squeezed, austerity, collateral damage etc.

    E) The debate has above all been BORING up until now, and unless the YES campaign makes it interesting, the chance for independence will be lost on the grounds of collective apathy and tedium.and boredom, and that the SNP is in fact, exactly the same thing as the Unionist parties, with some extras thrown in.

    F) There is no internet site that I know of in which Unionists and Independistas debate on the same page. Bella would do a sterling job if it could get a leading Unionist to debate on its pages. My bet is they won’t do it.

  6. MacNaughton says:

    Which is to say, I believe that the debate should get much more fiery and controversial: here are some of the articles I would like to read.

    1) The British Bungling Corporation; Why the BBC, the greatest colonizing power in World History until Fox News, should be dismantled lock, stick and barrel and its entire production and network system moved overseas, preferably to the Falkland Islands, out of earshot of listeners in Scotland.

    2) Scotland is not Catalonia: or why Arturo Más is an opportunist holding on to Alex Salmond’s coat tails, and why independence supporters should be wary of blindly supporting Catalan nationalism.

    3) Why an independent Scotland should be a Republic and nor part of the same godforsaken monarchy that conquered and enslaved a third of the world.

    4) The Republic of Letters: why Scotland should follow the policy many South American countries once did by offering honorary ambassadorial posts to its leading writers and artists, as they are the greatest exponents of Scottish culture we have and might thereafter be able to write more.

  7. Given Simon Pias latest babbling in the Dundee Courier, there is only one place Labour is going with the debate, Hassan knows it. The noise we now hear is the bottom of the barrel being excavated as Labour break through and compete with the slugs for food. Unionism, the No to Scotland camp, and Lamont now leave a trail like a snail wherever they go. Their abuse of the SNP, Alex Salmond, and a large slice of Scotlands voters, is subjecty to the laws of diminishing returns. All we get now is tired old hackneyed rhetoric regurgitated again and again just like Hassan has done once more. Change the record Gerry you are now the Sinatra of Scotland. You can only sing My Way so many times. You are dull, boring, predictable, and frankly irrelevant to Scotland, move on. Rewind to the fifties and study the Clement Atlee years you will then get an idea of where Labour is now. Labour and their Tory bedfellows are history in Scotland Gerry, take a look at the wood, the trees are kidding you on.

  8. Macart says:

    Poor Gerry, so much angst. I’m actually not interested in a debate (well conducted or otherwise) on our future between politicians or the great and the good for all the obvious reasons. The best debates are happening on forums, in workplaces, homes, the street or indeed the pub. All I need from the politicians are their factual costed visions for Scotland’s future. Then the electorate will go away and have a damn good argument/debate amongst themselves for the next 18 months or so and pick which future vision we’d most like to have.

    The politicians are merely sources of information in this referendum. This debate, this referendum is ours, a people’s referendum and we’ll choose our country’s direction after due consideration of what’s on offer. Their job is to carry out our decision.

  9. Hugh Kerr says:

    Ah Gerry Hassan the man who constantly complains there is not enough debate yet when anyone dares to criticise the great man he immediately unfriends and blocks them and dont ever suggest you might have a contribution to make to his exclusive gatherings in Ullapool my dears,Gerry must invite you.
    Ironically in his latest bleat in the Scotsman he says we should all learn from Ireland because they have just elected a poet for President.Now I have met Michael D Higgins he used to end his speeches to the European Parliament Culture Committee with a poem!However the real thing we should learn from Ireland is why we shouldnt bail out the banks but do like Iceland did and let them go bust.The other countries Gerry says we should learn from are in Scandinavia,ironically Gerry doesnt seem to notice that his fellow Scotsman columnist Lesley Riddoch has for 2 years been organising a highly informative series of seminars in the Scottish Parliament called Nordic Horizons.These have heard from leading experts in Scandinavia and government ministers,MSPs and the people but not Gerry! Still Gerry really only likes debates where he is the star he sets the questions and gives the answers.So the answer to the Gerry Hassan constant whine about the lack of debate? ignore him and get on with the job of persuading real people that we need our independence!

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