An Idiosyncratic Exploration of 20th Century Scottish History and Culture

In 1935 the Orcadian poet, translator and writer Edwin Muir returned to his homeland for the first time in over a decade. He had been approached by the publishers Heinemann and Gollancz to write a companion piece to J.B. Priestley’s an English Journey, but rather than choose to compose a slight chronicle of Scotland’s scenic delights, Muir opted to use this commission as an opportunity to revisit all those aspects of Scotland that had alienated him, in an attempt to try to define that which was essentially Scottish about the Scots. Muir crossed the country – quite literally – in a borrowed 1921 standard car. He started off in Edinburgh from where he travelled down to the Borders and then up through the mining and industrial communities of Motherwell, Airdrie and Greenock, to Glasgow. His survey of the Highlands he left till last, perhaps because this was the region to which he felt the closest affinity and the most certain happiness. In all the journey took in the northern places he knew as a child, the Glasgow city suburbs in which he endured so much early grief and loss and the smaller communities of Scotland that he had come to understand and appreciate more fully in his self-imposed exile.

Tellingly in Scottish Journey, Muir comprehends his nation as a land of schisms and dualities. The North of the country does not really relate to the South of the country and vice-versa. The regal capital Edinburgh was at complete odds with its largest industrial cousin in the west Glasgow – the city that Muir believed to be the true heart of Scotland. The Kirk had held a great deal of influence within Scotland which had drastically altered both the private and public spheres of its citizens, and yet Muir, like so many of his generation, had wholeheartedly embraced a socialism that viewed society far more atheistically. There was also the minor issue of Christian sectarianism that divided Glasgow, and to a lesser extent Dundee and Edinburgh, along catholic and protestant lines, a division most clearly demonstrated in the footballing affiliations of each of those cities supporters. In his section on Edinburgh, in Scottish Journey, Muir also takes a moment to differentiate between the Nationalist risings in Ireland and his own perception of Scottish Nationalism by stating that:

The unfortunate thing for Scotland is that it is not an obviously oppressed nation, as Ireland was, but only a visibly depressed one searching for the source of its depression. (Muir, 2004, p. 29)

Muir was keenly aware of Scotland’s long, often bitter, yet frequently mutually beneficial relationship with England. From the early 19th Century onwards Scots sought out opportunities throughout the British Empire, out of necessity or curiosity, leading to wave after wave of migration from the Forth, the Tay and the Clyde. Muir had himself joined the exodus of educated Scots to London, and then Europe, in the period between the World Wars. Prior to this many Scots had taken up postings in the Raj, or traversed the Atlantic in search of greater economic opportunities in the United States and Canada. In the 1950’s and 60’s a new wave of Scots migrants would leave behind the decaying industrial quagmires of Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire and seek out North American or Antipodean dreams. My own family was part of a slightly later migration in the late 70’s as the old industries such as mining, textile production and steel finally gave out, leaving many large towns throughout the most populous ‘central belt’ of Scotland without any viable employment opportunities. The general consensus seemed to be, from as far back as Adam Smith’s time and given further credence by the example of the ‘man of parts’ such as Andrew Carnegie, that to ‘get on’ in the world a Scotsman had to leave Scotland behind and search out better opportunities in England or further afield. Many Scots would have found themselves in a similar situation to Muir in the early 1930’s, not at home in Scotland, or in exile, but rather inhabiting some strange liminal, unidentified country of their own devising, not necessarily of their own volition.

Describing the intention behind writing a Scottish Journey Muir wrote that:

in the beginning it was to give my impression of contemporary Scotland; not the romantic Scotland of the past nor the Scotland of the tourist, but the Scotland which presents itself to one who is not looking for anything in particular, and who is willing to believe what his eyes and ears tell him. (Muir, 2004, Preface ix)

My own intention is, I would like to presume, something similar to Muir’s. What follows here is by no means a thorough and exhaustive analysis of Scottish History and Culture throughout the 20th Century, if such a thing were even possible I am not the man for such a task. Rather this is a brief and, as the title states, idiosyncratic look at the myriad influences that have poured directly from that Scottish spring down into this prodigal son, an impressionistic essay on that most mutable and indefinable of notions ‘heritage’. Unlike Muir my journey is a metaphorical one that deals in the various wynds and highways of memory and imagination. My knowledge of ‘home’, similar to Muir, extends to the far northern isles of Orkney, but bypasses much of the Highlands – for ashamedly I have only passed through the likes of Aberdeen and Inverness. It takes as its main focus the ‘central belt’ duopoly of Edinburgh and Glasgow, whilst ensuring there is a brief dalliance with my home region the old Pictish Kingdom of Fife. My primary concern, and what takes up the centrepiece of this study, is the oft-commented ‘divisiveness’ in the Scottish temperament, which leads me to take a high literary example from the Scottish Renaissance, Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem ‘The Caledonian Antisyzygy’ and compare it with an example of pop culture in Billy Mackenzie’s lyrics to The Associates single ‘Party Fears Two’. A more extended survey of this theme might have seen me take in other writers of the Scottish Renaissance such as Naomi Mitchison, as well as Edwin Morgan and contemporary writers such as W. N. Herbert, Don Paterson, Ali Smith, Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh, Janice Galloway and Elizabeth Young. It would have probably extended to coverage of Dundee and its scarily popular comic strips of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, that reinforced much of the ‘kailyard’ school of Scots literature’s twee imagery. I would also have been keen to emphasise the range of distinct Scot’s voices that have been heard in pop and rock music since the late 60’s. Scotland has always had a thriving local music scene, with each of the cities having a very distinct style and sound. It’s my assertion that the lyrical content of songs by bands such as Arab Strap, The Associates, Franz Ferdinand, The Proclaimers and Teenage Fanclub are as expressive of a ‘Scot’s psyche’ as anything that we find in the less populist art forms.

Angus Calder in his collection of essays Scotlands of the Mind attempts to make sense of the convoluted mythologies and outright falsehoods of a romanticised National history that seems, at times, almost the albatross around the nations neck. A historian and journalist, Calder, like Muir, was a Scot in exile, spending many years in London and Africa, before returning to Edinburgh. Calder proclaims:

Scottish ‘identity’ is of course, a myth. It is given substance only in the corporealities of persons who imagine that they have it. There is nothing outside consciousness which is ‘identity’, though Scots may invest their individual identities in Scottish landscape or Scottish football, Scottish poetry and music or Scottish beef cattle. (Calder, 2008, p. 24)

For Calder the Scottish Nationalism that emerges as an electoral presence in the 1960’s in Scotland is simply another impressive confection of ‘ideals’ and ‘inventions’ – the Scot’s mind constantly striving to remain creatively fertile – that harks back to the similar shenanigans of Sir Walter Scott and James Macpherson. However the Scottish Renaissance, spearheaded by Christopher Murray Grieve (aka Hugh MacDiarmid), which partly informed the ideology of the early Scottish National Party, was not attempting to look backwards toward a Scottish history of gallant defeat and patriotic support of the Stuart monarchy, but rather was trying to formulate a progressive and modern ‘Scottishness’, based upon a pursuit of excellence in the arts and technology and, I would argue, a precise understanding of the Scots divided identity as a source of adaptive strength. The eclectic tastes of polymaths such as MacDiarmid, Patrick Geddes and Naomi Mitchison ensured that the Scottish Renaissance did not develop the populist base of Walter Scott’s ‘tartan-Romance’, but it still stands as a defining movement in the Scottish cultural landscape, fuelling future generations of writers and artists, as well as planting the first seeds of a National politics that remains strongly bound up with the political-left to this day.

In 1934, the year prior to Muir’s publication of a Scottish Journey, MacDiarmid had worked upon a curious tome with the novelist, journalist and essayist James Leslie Mitchell (aka Lewis Grassic Gibbon). This publication was known as Scottish Scene: or The Intelligent Man’s Guide to Albyn. It comprised a series of essays, stories and poems written alternately by Mitchell and MacDiarmid, wholly independently of one another, with the exception of a brief ‘Curtain Raiser’. This book illustrated quite clearly Muir’s point about the divisive nature of Scotland as a distinct ‘identity’, for here was a lowland Scot and a highland Scot demonstrating in one volume the utterly different feeling they had for their nation. Mitchell – yet another exilic Scots voice – was from the farming community of Arbuthnott, a small village just south of Aberdeen. Much like Muir he had a hellish experience of the Glasgow slums early in his adult life, which contributed to his embrace of the socialist fervour of Clydeside in the 1910’s and 20’s and his eventual decampment to the leafy London suburbs. Mitchell’s writing was split between anthropological treatises and fiction, with his most famous works A Scot’s Quair and The 13th Disciple, as well as many of his short stories, being written under the pseudonym of Lewis Grassic Gibbon. These latter works were strongly rooted in the landscape of Mitchell’s upbringing and delineated a schism in Mitchell between the local as Scottish and greater International concerns (his anthropological writings were on the Mayan civilisation and many of Mitchell’s writings had little to do directly with Scotland). Mitchell appeared to use Scottish Scene as an opportunity to critically attack the backwardness and deprivation of his homeland, particularly in the Industrial centres of Glasgow and Aberdeen. Yet the fiction included in the volume speaks strongly of the affection he held for a certain quality in the Scottish character that lends itself to the title of the most impressive tale in the collection ‘Smeddum’. Smeddum is a Scots dialect word that describes a combination of determination, resourcefulness and common sense, and Mitchell seemed to see this spirit as a crucial quality in the best that Scotland has to offer, a quality of bloody-minded endurance.

MacDiarmid, although a lowland Scot hailing from Dumfrieshire, spent a large part of his life in the northern-most islands of Scotland, the Shetlands. Muir makes frequent reference to his own Orcadian origins as detaching him somewhat from the idea of a homogenous Scottish nation, for Orkney seems to function as an island community of its own. By all accounts the geographic isolation of the Shetlands makes it an even more detached part of Scotland and yet MacDiarmid chiselled out his own sense of ‘Scotland’ from his sanctuary upon those farthest shores. Despite this connection to the extreme North MacDiarmid remained attitudinally a creature of the Border regions, ensconced upon the imaginary geographical dividing line between England and Scotland. Where Muir sought to find some integrity in his use of English as the language given to him by history and best suited  to his creative expression, MacDiarmid fought to develop a form of ‘synthetic Scots’, constituting dialect and phrasing that exaggerated the everyday spoken language of Scottish people. Muir did not agree with such an assumption made by MacDiarmid, as he felt no one idea of a Scots language could account for the variety of vernacular Scots found in the different communities of the country. Mitchell in his Scottish works created a lyrical approximation of the Kincardineshire dialect he grew up in, with its subtle manipulations of English syllable sounds and sentence structure. All three figures were in some way caught between their poetic / literary ideals and their Nationalist / Internationalist politics. They were knowingly (without doubt in MacDiarmid’s case) or unknowingly, embodying a facet of the Scottish character recurrent throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century in works such as James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner, R.L. Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, George Douglas Brown’s The House with the Green Shutters, Mitchell’s own Sunset Song and Neil M. Gunn’s Highland River, namely the notion of a ‘self-division’, or the Scottish identity as being exemplary of a ‘divided self’. Cairns Craig in his study The Modern Scottish Novel: Narrative and the National Imagination utilises John MacMurray’s analysis of existentialism, Persons in Relation, and R. D. Laing’s existentialist study of the way modern psychiatry distinguishes between madness and sanity The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness to correct the commonly held notion that a divided identity is a flawed, or failed identity:

Too often in studies of Scottish culture the apparent lack of unity of the self is taken to be the symptom of a failed identity, of a self-contradictory and self-destructive identity, rather than that the healthy self is always a dialectic operating within and between ‘opposing’ elements of self and other (Craig, 1999, p. 113)

MacDiarmid takes this idea farther still in his famous poem ‘The Caledonian Antisyzygy’ in which he explores and interrogates a phrase coined by the Scottish literary critic George Gregory Smith, suggesting that the Scottish ‘divided self’ is actually the embodiment of the Scot’s keenly adaptive strength:

I write now in English and now in Scots

To the despair of friends who plead

For consistency; sometimes achieve the true lyric cry,

Next but chopped-up prose; and write whiles

In traditional forms, next in a mixture of styles.

So divided against myself, they ask:

How can I stand (or they understand) indeed?

Fatal division in my thought they think

Who forgot that although the thrush

Is more cheerful and constant, the lark

More continuous and celestial, and, after all,

The irritating cuckoo unique

In singing a true musical interval,

Yet the nightingale remains supreme,

The nightingale whose thin high call

And that deep throb,

Which seem to come from different birds

In different places, find an emotion

And vibrate in the memory as the song

Of no other bird – not even

The love-note of the curlew –

Can do!

There is MacDiarmid’s typical playfulness and sharp wit at work in this poem. Although he didn’t write everything in ‘synthetic Scots’ – and certainly his post-World War II output was far more conventional in its use of English – this poem seems to be deliberately spiting itself, utilising odd nouns like curlew, that hint at Scots phrasing. It is also self-analytical, self-aware, describing its form as part of the opening stanza, chopped-up prose, traditional forms and an obliging lack of consistency as the oxymoronic constant. The opening line of the second stanza sets up the ‘you’ and ‘I’ division in the ‘they’ and ‘my’, and with this self-division established against the Other, MacDiarmid plays ‘fowl’ and fair with his avian metaphor of a richness and purity in the dissonance of the dissembling nightingale’s song. The exclaimed final rhyme, is a suitably strident piece of agit-prop from MacDiarmid, a two-syllable call to arms.

This self-affirmation that Scotland provides the Scot is demonstrated rather more succinctly in Edwin Muir’s observations of street life in Edinburgh as opposed to London. In one particular section from Muir’s Scottish Journey he claims:

In Princes Street you are seen, whoever you may be, and this knowledge, partly alarming and partly exhilarating like a plunge into cold water, forces the pedestrian to assemble his powers and be as intent as his neighbours. The concentrated force of observation sent out by the people he passes is sometimes so strong that he has the feeling of breaking, as he passes, through a series of invisible obstacles, of snapping a succession of threads laden with some retarding current. In London he can walk the most crowded streets for hours without feeling that he is either visible or existent: a disconcerting, almost frightening experience for a Scotsman until he gets used to it. (Muir, 2004, p.17)

The Scottish public existence, particularly in the island communities and southern towns and cities was for many years morally policed by the Kirk, which as Muir demonstrates has leant it a quality which is almost the equivalent of our modern surveillance culture. Perhaps this is where some of the stifling nature of Scottish communal life stems from, as illustrated in John Galt, George Douglas Brown and James Leslie Mitchell. The migrant Scot is perhaps attempting to escape the claustrophobia of ‘home’ – the antithesis of a big country. Yet Muir’s nightmare landscape is that of the Glasgow industrial slums and it is in such a poisonous environment that Muir’s observation is put into its proper context, for as a Scot he finds himself a willing victim of that Caledonian Antisyzygy MacDiarmid details.

For fifteen years of his childhood and early adulthood Muir had lived in a Glasgow suburb, not far removed from the industrial slums that surrounded it, yet it is not just the commission that has compelled him to go back to the city in which he suffered and endured. Glasgow forms the heart of Muir’s travelogue in the same way it forms the heart of Scotland in Muir’s imagination, the antithesis of Elysian Orkney. Exiled from paradise, Muir found himself not in hell, but rather the purgatory of the nineteenth century industrial city existence. Yet Glasgow’s dissonance is melded perfectly to the harmonious childhood rhythms of his Orcadian upbringing. This revelation of two utterly distinct Scotlands forges in Muir’s imagination, as the Shetlands does in MacDiarmid’s, a sense that division, lack of a unified cultural identity is in fact something that adds a strength to a national culture. The Scottish exile is forever fending off the disapproving eye of public condemnation, yet frequently remaining unhappy, or unfulfilled without that sense that they are being publicly met by the observant eye of each passer-by.

My own upbringing straddled the twin positions of Scot at home and Scot abroad. Each year of my childhood was divided into the two-thirds spent living and going to school in London and the one-third spent on holiday at New Year and during the long summer months in my hometown of Kirkcaldy, Fife. Despite two decades spent in London, a wholly English education and a not overly-patriotic family background I preserved my Scottish accent to the extent that on returning to Scotland in my mid-twenties, it was assumed that I was a Fifer by my new friends and work colleagues. I now think that the subconscious decision I made in preserving my accent was purely the acceptance it gained me on my family holidays in the Kingdom. Being a Scot in London was infinitely more bearable than being a London-accented Scot in Fife and moreover this acceptance must have been something that made my London existence more satisfying. The dislocation seemingly felt by so many Scots on arriving in London – a dislocation that helps propagate the stereotype of the Scottish drunkard – was bypassed in my case because I had grown up with an internalised sense of Fife, that was refreshed and recharged twice a year. The loneliness of London, to which Muir makes reference, was not my experience as the area of South London I knew was very much a home to me and my imagination seemed more than capable of merging Kirkcaldy and Crystal Palace into a incongruous, but functional reality, a Rod Stewart parody, perhaps.

Beyond my father’s tins of Tartan Bitter, the bottles of Irn Bru, my gran’s homemade tablet and coconut macaroons, the comedy sketch shows like Naked Video and Absolutely, the football updates in the Sunday Mail, the Oor Wullie or The Broons annuals at Christmas, my first and strongest connection with a deeper facet of Scottish literature and culture, was with the works of the aforementioned James Leslie Mitchell. Mitchell’s work, particularly his short fiction, was so keenly observant of landscape and the way the landscape inhabited people, that it immediately made an indelible impression upon me. Being in Fife during those summer months introduced me to a very Scottish expression – itself of Old English origin – which was the ‘gloamin’. The ‘gloamin’ is what gives me my distinct physical sense of Kirkcaldy and its Fife siblings – Cowdenbeath, Kinghorn and Burntisland. The quality of light shortly before the onset of twilight, when the sunlight is bleeding low in the sky and rich earthy colours such as moss-green and brown take on a curious otherworldly phosphorescence, as if this light were an animator, reviving decomposing life. This stands out stark in my memories of my hometown by the Firth of Forth, exactly opposite the city of Edinburgh to which I eventually returned. There is something quite literally in the air in southern Fife, balanced as it is upon the now all but barren Wemyss coal-fields, perpetually whipped by the saltwater spray of the North Sea that the undulating hills of the interior do well to fend away. Kirkcaldy ‘the Lang toun’ has recently enjoyed its most sustained coverage in the British media since the football team’s surprise success in a domestic cup competition almost two decades ago – never underestimate the Scottish obsession with that particular game. The now departed UK prime minister and former chancellor called Kirkcaldy his home and in many ways Gordon Brown epitomises the towns dour muted, somewhat earnest, charms. Kirkcaldy was the place Adam Smith and Sandford Fleming both escaped from, yet both returned to during those moments of their peak creativity and ingenuity. What is this perpetual yo-yoing back and forth in the Scottish identity?

I seek to conclude these erratic ruminations with a sweeping upswing to the murky banks of the Tay, a river that no matter what time of the year, seems to be perpetually swathed in a low-lying mist. The city of Dundee has produced its fair share of intriguing Scottish characters, but the one that captured my generations teenage imagination was a wordsmith and vocalist of extravagant and perplexing beauty. If MacDiarmid and the writers of the Renaissance laid the foundations for a correcting of the negative view of the divided Scots identity by appropriating that divisiveness and division as a source of strength, then Billy Mackenzie brazenly wore his fractured sensibility like a tattoo on his forearm. The song ‘Party Fears Two’ is, I would argue, a progression of the Renaissance train of thought, except the Caledonian Antisyzygy is now shot through with an urgency of intent that suggests the genuine fear of a possible relapse into the apathetic acceptance of the Scottish identity as a failed homogenous identity. Mackenzie details in his lyrics the crisis of personality that ultimately disables the most basic process of simply being:

I’ll have a shower

And then phone my brother up

Within the hour

I’ll smash another cup

Please don’t start saying that

Or I’ll start believing you

If I start believing you

I’ll know that this party fears two

And what if this party fears two?

The alcohol loves you while turning you blue

View it from here

From closer to near

Awake me

Don’t turn around

I won’t have to look at you

And what’s not found

Is all that I see in you

My manners are failing me

I’m left feeling ugly

And you say it’s wonderful

To live with I never will

So what if this party fears two?

The alcohol loves you while turning you blue

View it from here

From closer to near

Awake me

I’m standing still

And you say I dress too well

Still standing still

I might but it’s hard to tell

Even a slight remark

Makes nonsense and turns to shark

Have I done something wrong?

What’s wrong’s the wrong that’s always in wrong

I’ll have a shower

And then phone my brother up

Within the hour

I’ll smash another cup

Mackenzie was writing in the aftermath of the failed 1979 referendum on Scottish devolution / independence. He had ran off to the States in the mid-70’s seemingly fed-up with the stifling lack of opportunities for ‘a young man on the make’. On returning to Scotland in 1976 Mackenzie quickly absorbed a change in what he saw around him in Dundee and Edinburgh, the exile on returning could now see all that was not found. He met Alan Rankine, a musician keenly following the latest trends in synthesiser technology that informed much of the ambient and New Romantic sound of the early 80’s music scene, and they formed the band that would later be known as The Associates. The Scottish National Party’s referendum endgame had failed because in total close to 40% of the Scottish electorate failed to register a vote and thus despite a majority ‘yes’ vote the bill was vetoed due to having failed to reach the minimum voter turn-out. Against this backdrop of generalised apathy Mackenzie and Rankine created the album Sulk in 1981, which featured alongside ‘Party Fears Two’ the striking dissection of early 80’s decadence ‘Club Culture’. This was the record that propelled Mackenzie briefly into the mainstream, his powerful vocal delivery a distinguishing mark, despite the wide-ranging choice of musical styles from the immensely popular Scottish White Soul of the period, to the early electronica that fed into later ‘rave’ culture in Scotland and England. After Sulk Mackenzie found himself isolated and increasingly volatile in first London and then Amsterdam, before returning to Scotland and his family home in the late eighties.

The Associates revealed a surprising degree of political nous in their lyrics, that broadly aligns them with bands like Bristol’s The Pop Group, rather than with Scottish contemporaries such as Orange Juice. Crucially in the song ‘Party Fears Two’ Mackenzie openly discusses that bane of Scottish domestic life alcoholism, which MacDiarmid, Muir and Mitchell all devote substantial passages in their own work to discussing, but not necessarily in the context of a societal problem. Scotland had of course endured periods of enforced abstinence, when the Kirk had taken the policing of alcohol consumption into their own hands. However far from eradicating the often chronic dependency on alcohol as a verbal laxative and integral part of Scots socialising, it had just added another layer of division into the Scots psyche, establishing private spaces in which social drinking was acceptable, such as social clubs, gentleman’s clubs and the hard-to-find brewery bars, that were always talked of in hushed tones, yet were frankly an open secret.

What’s particularly intriguing about Mackenzie’s referencing of the ‘alcohol problem’ is that it underpins the apathy that he observed around him in the Scottish society of the time. The alcohol fuels pointless rages, ‘I’ll smash another cup’, and also brings about those intense periods of introspection we poetically refer to as ‘the blues’. Once again Muir in his earlier journey contrasts Scottish drinking habits with that of their southerly neighbours drawing the conclusion that: ‘Scottish people drink spasmodically and intensely, for the sake of a momentary but complete release [the ‘awake me’ of Mackenzie], whereas the English like to bathe and paddle about bucolically in a mild puddle of beer.’ (Muir, 2004, p. 14). The instability of the Scottish psyche, even if perceived as a strength allowing for creative and inventive acts, ultimately can have its erratic nature further amplified in dabbling with the ‘demon drink’.

The final verse of the song plays the border-line nonsense games so beloved of MacDiarmid by using repetition, that alters and amends the original utterance, whilst barely changing the phrasing. So we get the quite wonderfully inexorable line ‘What’s wrong’s the wrong that’s always in wrong’, which ties in with Muir’s assessment that ‘the Scottish character has a thoroughness, or in other words an inability to know where to stop’ (Muir, 2004, p. 26). In case of falling into the same trap myself I will simply draw your attention to the lines ‘Even a slight remark / Makes nonsense and turns to shark’, which has some of the alacrity of poetic meaning that we find in MacDiarmid’s ‘not even / the love-note of the curlew – / Can do!’. Whereas MacDiarmid had the conviction of his beliefs, that his sense of Scottishness, however outwardly shambolic, exhibited a powerful national character in its voracious pursuit of internal and external conflict, the modern apathetic political landscape introverted and internalised this tussle over identities as exemplified by the songwriting of Billy Mackenzie. A regression, of sorts, that so suitably contradictory would ultimately give impetus to the modern devolution process in the Scotland of the 90’s. The resultant blossoming of literature, music and art in Scotland since devolution, allied to, until recently, a consistently developing economy, has seen a gradual reversal of the migrant trend in Scotland. How long can the Scottish psyche maintain this stasis?

This lengthy essay was originally presented, in edited form, at The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL), in June 2010.

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