Top positive review
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A read about as balanced as you are likely to get....good job editors
on 28 July 2014
So where to start?
First of all I am currently a Mibbies
As a series of essays it is a great read, perhaps they don't quite mesh into a developing narrative of an entire book but given the form of the book this was unlikely ever to happen, but a good effort.
I tend to believe that if a book can manage to help give you the words that you have been struggling to articulate yourself then it is a success.
With that in mind this book is a success for the development of the idea of "Scottish Exceptionalism" That is that Indy ref yes would mean automatically that Scotland would just do everything better than what has been in the UK for the last 300 years.
This is certainly a bold claim and IMHO takes little account of how the world (unfortunately) actually works with the tied interests of Big Business and Big Politics, no matter what the size of the country.
So book is a winner just because in find the words to articulate the thought that I have been feeling for a while.
The debates about identity and any homogenous one that you can pin on the Clubs fan base are well set out and give the reader plenty to think about in considering either side.
The written debate between Alan Bissett and John D C Gow is a particular highlight and could have been a whole book in itself had the exchanges been allowed to continue.
Other highlights are:
"Life is not about having your allegiances, loyalties, identities, beliefs and prejudices all lined up neatly in a row and having them all rub along nicely with one another"
I think if folk embraced some of the internal contradiction that humanity allows each of us to have, in particular around all the Indy Ref stuff, it would be a much nicer place and a much more civilized debate.
"I believe that a more democratic, tiered ownership model is both feasible and appropriate" "Right now it needs a lot of the people who are hiding away to come to the rescue" " it is time we realised that we are the People, and that our voices should be heard"
Fanownership, it is the solution www.rangersfirst.org for instance. The "foundation story" is one of community and fanownership, but it was generations ago and should be refound, not just by Rangers Fans but Fans of any Club. The journey back to this can be "aspirational" target that the book cries out for.
The whole ethics issue which also revolves around the "Scottish Exceptionalism" argument is fascinating particularly its future foreign policy arguments if Scotland does vote Yes. Recall it was Robin Cook that first articulated the notion of an Ethical Foreign policy, which failed miserably.
The thoughts of Iain Duff on the whole issue of international Sport are great and highlight one issue of Scotland moving in the direction of a smaller state while the direction of travel on many other issues is Global, and his "democracy's a Bitch" section made me laugh and the £16.90 story is amusing also.
Finally I suppose where I am at is summarised in this quote from Allan Wilson.
"The two sides of the independence debate both feel alien to me. Neither feels truthful and neither offers the option of true human self-determination"
I think this is still where I am at, even after the good arguments from either side in this text.
My biggest fear just now is twofold as 70% turnout but a victory for one side or the other by 51 v 49 - voting should be compulsory
That there is a Yes vote but that it is based on over selling what the outcome will mean for a large number of the population and that as the negotiations go on for independence folk start saying, "hold on this in not what we voted for" and the whole thing unravels.
Scotland is IMHO an exceptional place, but that does not mean we will automatically do everything better, after all just like homogenising the Fan base of an entire football Club as Tory, Protestant and Unionist, how do you homogenise what 5 million people think is "better" than what we have now.