‘This is not the model of capitalism envisaged by Adam Smith, that beautiful smooth-running machine with its assumptions of benign reciprocity between an industrialist and a workforce. It is, rather, an unfettered Hobbesian monster, not unlike the rampant and exploitative mercantilism which Smith (a proto-social psychologist, as well as economic theorist) sought to discredit.’ First of three in a series on Edinburgh’s architecture…
Folklorist and photographer Margaret Fay Shaw captured disappearing ways of island life. Her shadow appears in many of her photographs. Was this a deliberate self-portrait or an accident? asks the Canna House archivist
‘Germany, even if one goes as far back as Bismarck and 1871, is a relatively young country and, in its latest iteration, highly attractive to a lot of Europe’s youth. It does offer, then, a model for any nascent Scottish republic: open, tolerant, European, nationalist in a civic, secular sense. But, as its friends, including Kampfner, acknowledge, it faces significant challenges now and in future.’
“An informed view today tells us that Scotland’s Islands are not ‘peripheral’, and are less ‘remote’ than places deep inland; and these places which may be perceived as perfectly accessible from modern conurbations then serve to reinforce the core/periphery model.” Part 2 of UHI’s Prof Cheape’s challenging revisit of Gaelic culture/history
In Part 2 of his historical analysis of Scotland’s relationship with slavery, David Black highlights a typical ambivalence: progressive views sitting alongside naked exploitation.
‘…our statue problems in Scotland are surely puny; our current outrage a mite self-indulgent and synthetic, though the emblematic validity of our public monuments should indeed be critically scrutinised from time to time.’ Pt 1 of an exploration of our ambivalent representations of history.
We discovered (Tao O’Noth) had once contained 800 dwelling platforms – housing as many as 4,000 people – and if they all date to the same period this would stand as almost urban-scale settlement, which archaeologists previously did not believe existed in Scotland until the 12th century.
John Lloyd book review: ‘What marks the book out is Lloyd’s personal transition to virtually self-hating Scot. This is not just the regular Unionist assertion that Scotland is too wee, too weak, to cut it as an independent country but a visceral assault on “Scotland’s self-serving, self-pitying, self-obsessed keening about others, mainly the English, stealing their birthright and smashing their culture” and/or continuous “moral superiority.”‘
‘In due course, through triumph or tragedy, the coronavirus pandemic will subside. Is a return to pre-crisis capitalism possible? Perhaps. But would it be worth it?’ asks a writer who experienced the collapse of communism in her native Bulgaria
‘Since the referendum and the subsequent Brexit takeover of the party, they (Conservatives) have moved further into the shadows. What are their values? Where are they headed? What are the implications for all of our futures?’