Archive for February 2012

Keeping the faith

Keeping the faith

The recent court case over prayers at council meetings has catapulted religious faith into the public eye.           Coincidentally, Professor Robert Davis, of Glasgow University, called on teachers to ensure that “faith continues to be given its rightful place in the school curriculum”. […]

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Do we want to be part of the world or part of the kailyard?

Do we want to be part of the world or part of the kailyard?

Do we want to be part of the world or part of the kailyard?   Alex Wood   I It is an exciting time. Scotland is examining itself and contemplating its constitutional future. There’s a proper place in that process to debate financial issues such as taxation, […]

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‘Leaving Alexandria’ by Richard Holloway, review

‘Leaving Alexandria’ by Richard Holloway, review

Richard Holloway is well known for BBC Radio Scotland’s Sunday Morning with Richard Holloway.  His The relaxed, informative style makes a highly attractive programme.  He was previously an Anglican priest, Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh and Scottish Episcopal Primus. His 1999 book, ‘Godless Morality: Keeping Religion out of […]

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For Richard Holloway, ‘maybe’ is an important word

For Richard Holloway,  ‘maybe’ is an   important word

It’s possibly a tribute to Richard Holloway, former primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, that I’ve never heard a bad word about him from atheists and agnostics. My Christian friends are much more critical. Holloway explores (revels in) such paradoxes in his autobiography, ‘Leaving Alexandria’ (Canongate, RRP, […]

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Slipping standards

Slipping standards

We should by now be used to the headlines that scream about falling standards and the statistics that are used to back such claims. Often gross exaggeration, sometimes partial truth, they do however tend to indicate issues worth consideration. The Daily Mail (24 January 2012) revealed the […]

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Old Ideas by Leonard Cohen: Review

Old Ideas by Leonard Cohen: Review

Losing your pension pot is hardly justification for a 77 year old entertainer’s completing a strenuous series of world tours, from 2008 to 2010, with a new album.  But if that’s why Leonard Cohen did it perhaps we should briefly give thanks to those who cheated him […]

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What Orwell teaches us today

What Orwell teaches us today

Less than a year before his early death on 24 January 1950, 60 years ago, George Orwell offered his most chillingly prophetic warning. ‘Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.’ Winston Smith, the flawed and ultimately […]

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Scotland’s folk hero: Hamish Henderson

Scotland’s folk hero: Hamish Henderson

‘Poetry Becomes People’, the second volume of Timothy Neat’s biography of Hamish Henderson (Polygon Books, £25), completes the life of one of modern Scotland’s architects. The first volume, ‘The Making of the Poet’, (reviewed in Scottish Review, 6 January 2009) ends with Henderson starting his career as […]

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The eleventh hour: why I wear my poppy, and not my CND badge, this day

The eleventh hour: why I wear my poppy, and not my CND badge, this day

As a young man I wore my CND badge, rather than a poppy, on Armistice Day. For very different reasons, my father, a regular soldier from July 1939 until 1946, also avoided both poppies and Armistice Day: ‘I don’t need a special day, I remember my pals […]

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Rebel Hamish: Alex Wood on a Scottish folk singer who was a natural anarchist

Rebel Hamish: Alex Wood on a Scottish folk singer who was a natural anarchist

I should have watched Scotland play Holland. Normally that’s what I’d do. Instead I spent the evening in the local Masonic hall at a tribute to Hamish Imlach, the Scottish folk singer.      Imlach came to prominence, along with Matt McGinn, the Fishers and Alex Campbell, in […]

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