You’ll be aware (or not) that as a nation we are having a cultural consultation or cultural conversation, or some such, which frankly, to many of us seems less relevant than what’s going down in Catalonia, and which few folk I’ve spoken to think will make as much as a hill of beans difference to cultural policy or our actual experience of it as they say these days ‘going forward.’
I might suggest what’s happening (or not really happening because the ‘right to reply’ is somewhat limited) with the Kailyard debate is not so much a cultural consultation or conversation as a stairheid rammie (or is that rammy, I’m sure some Scots language purist will pit me straicht.)
To bring you up to speed. Professor Alan Riach has been putting forward his intellectually erudite (nb Scots humour employed here) on the matter of the Kailyard in The National Newspaper.
Now, I hate to be negative, but if I were to attempt to describe The National to a Martian I might well say: The National – definition – the Herald’s attempt to hang on to market-share post Indy Ref.
Yes, I’m sorry, I’m a bit negative about the whole notion of The National, Bella Caledonia and all these ‘alternative’ media sources who want us to ‘support’ them via our wallets but aren’t so keen on letting us actually speak in their forums (or should that be fora – I’m sure someone can correct me there!) I’m probably just being petty because I’ve just been banned from reading any more ‘content’ after having ‘consumed’ 3 articles in 8 days for free. Never mind that I paid up my £1 on Saturday to read Riach’s latest piece – only to discover it had probably been in there on Friday - to be confronted (among other things) with a load of tripe about Travellers. The irony and the pure patronising middle class ‘tone’ of the whole things has rather got my goat. But… to press on…
Cally Phillips has suggested to me that Kailyard debate might actually be seen as a ‘contextualisation’ for a secular version of Auld/New Lichts. Which makes Crockett and Barrie in fact pretty radical. From beyond the grave it suggests that the very folk who are discrediting them and denying their worth are in fact just modern (and in some instances perhaps post-modern) versions of the ministers and dominies who populate (and are ridiculed by) Barrie and Crockett in their works. 
Wake up folks. Smell the bannocks. It’s not about removing your See You Jimmy Hat, painting over the pretty picture on the shortbread tin, or turning tartan into fifty shades of fashion, it’s about digging into the rich Scots soil and turning it over and discovering that there’s nothing wrong with the many native writers who don’t fit into the literary canon. You’ll have had your porridge! Or your jotters?
Totalitarianism has many faces – Orwell taught us that in 1984. Where only Big Brother’s world view is allowed, freedom is denied. I fear that in modern and proto post modern Scotland MacBig Brother still holds sway. Pause for effect: Can it be true? Have I just suggested that one Christopher Grieve may cast a not entirely beneficial long shadow over Scotland? You bet.
We may have the best democracy money can buy, but we don’t have our cultural freedom. I don’t remember Braveheart suggesting that you could take our culture but not our freedom, perhaps because the two are inextricably intertwined! From my point of view, if you take away our culture, you do take away our lives. We are dead men (and women) walking. Cultural imperialism is alive and well and living in Scotland.
On the day that we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the murder of Che Guevara, a man who shows the power of myth works both ways, I can’t avoid offering a wee tribute to him. He famously said ‘words that do not match deeds are unimportant’ , quoted, lived and died Zapata’s words that it’s ‘better to die on your feet than live on your knees.’ Stick that in your Outlander Braveheart bunnet and think again. Some things, friends, are more important than whether Scotland could have made it to Russia in 2018.
While I’m on the quote roll, I would like to leave you with the words:
'First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.'
There’s an argument (of course) about who first said this, but that aside; as regards Crockett, Barrie, and a wheen of other forgotten, overlooked and ‘wee’ Scots voices all I can say is we are up and ready for the fight.
 This is a developing argument from one who knows… I cannot claim credit and you’ll have to wait to read her own words on this score. But it fair lit up my day so I thocht I’d share the bones o’ it.