Monday, September 15, 2014

Francis Spufford on Scottish Independence

Francis Spufforda truly fabulous writer I have recommended beforewrites in the comments to this Crooked Timber thread about the origins of the present possibilities of Scottish independence, and why he cares:
My sense of where this comes from, fwiw, is that we’re seeing another of the long-run institution-shredding consequences of Thatcherism. She was very good at melting solid things into air, and the final thing dissolved may turn out to be the British state itself...
Why do I care about this? Because, in line with my above reading of the history of the last forty years, it seems like yet another victory for a politics in which shared possessions (the National Health Service, a public sector in the economy, a more-than-national citizenship, 300 years of history) are splintered, financialised, privatised, discarded. Because I feel about the potential departure of Scotland the way that a liberal Democrat in North Carolina would feel about Massachusetts buggering off out of the Union of the United States, and taking its electoral college votes with it, forever. Because Scotland – which I certainly do not regard with contempt – contributes a tough, undeferential, vinegary, self-sufficient, Puritan, civic, hardscrabble, emphasis to our shared British politics and culture, without which it would be very noticeably more dominated by smooth looters and PR-people. Because I don’t want Alasdair Gray or Ken Macleod to be foreigners.
The ellipsis above includes details on how Scottish dependence was transformed first by Thatcherism and then by Blair-style labor.  Click through for the whole thing.  And if you're interested, Spufford is an active participant in the whole thread, which includes in the original post a video of him discussing this along with SF writer Ken MacLeod.

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