Here are some books I have found very valuable in the lead up to the referendum. None of the books are a particular case for or against Independence but contribute to the vibrant culture of ideas that are growing around it. One of the great positives of the last few months is how increasingly engaged and involved us Scots have become. I urge you to try and get a copy of them and give them a spin before September 18th.
When to sow: Late Summer/Early Autumn
In fertile ground plant ‘Soil and Soul’ by Alastair McIntosh. Sets the scene, a call to arms to ‘dig where we stand’ with ‘seeds of fire’, part memoir, part poetry, part manifesto. Ecological, theological and logical.
You’ll see shoots start to emerge and before long ‘Blossom’ by Lesley Riddoch. Some passionate soul searching about what Scotland is and could be that is by turns exhilarating, uncomfortable and profound.
As it starts to branch out you’ll notice ‘The Poor Have No Lawyers’ by Andy Wightman. A thorough and thoroughly compelling history of the question – ‘Who owns Scotland?’ The answers are complicated, sobering and outrageous. Read it and become informed, engaged and hopeful for a better future.
Remember to keep watering it (espresso, rooibos, chamomile a single malt…) and you’ll discover ‘The Spirit Level’ by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett – an intriguing study into why equality really is better for everyone, and also ‘Scots, The Mither Tongue’ by Billy Kay who argues we Scots have become alienated from Scots language and we would do well to immerse ourselves in the whole clanjamfry.
When to harvest: September 18th