The Scottish Six – A part of the Edinburgh Fringe

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By Lesley Riddoch
 
After much talk about the need to debate Scotland’s future, and the prospect of a Scottish debate-free zone on the Fringe, land reform campaigner Andy Wightman and myself have decided to join forces and stick our heids o’er the parapet.
 
So we’ll have a show on at six o’clock every weekday night August 14-24 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the Festival of Spirituality.

By Lesley Riddoch
 
After much talk about the need to debate Scotland’s future, and the prospect of a Scottish debate-free zone on the Fringe, land reform campaigner Andy Wightman and myself have decided to join forces and stick our heids o’er the parapet.
 
So we’ll have a show on at six o’clock every weekday night August 14-24 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the Festival of Spirituality.

It’s called The Scottish Six — debates you don’t get on TV.  But the BBC and Scottish media will figure only fleetingly in the first gig.  Our much bigger concern is the way that inequality, entitlement and disempowerment disfigure Scotland and limit the ways most Scots can imagine the future.

Each night, land campaigner Andy Wightman (Who Owns Scotland & The Poor Had no Lawyers) will kick off The Scottish Six with a characteristically hard-hitting look at how the nexus of money, politics and property has created an unequal society in which too many people are powerless to make a positive contribution.

As the debate builds toward Scotland’s independence referendum in 2014, we want to ask tough questions about what kind of Scotland we expect to live in — as levels of poverty, exclusion and inequality continue to challenge the myth of Scotland as an innately egalitarian and progressive society.

In truth Scotland has been the subject of precisely the same neoliberal experiment as the rest of the western world – we think it’s time that came to an end and Scotland explores the alternatives operating across Europe – especially but not exclusively in the Nordic nations – where mainstream society has embraced co-operative, mutual, community-based ways of living, trading and sharing land and wealth.

Andy’s view is that; “The current financial crisis is a symptom of the freedom bestowed upon a feral elite who have wreaked havoc on our economy for their own personal aggrandisement.

“Instead of an economy designed to deliver prosperity, opportunity and equality, we have one built on the privatisation of the financial system, the corruption of our democratic institutions and an expansion of private debt and consumption.”

“Taken together with a history of elite rule, concentrated patterns of landownership and the demise of co-operative and mutual institutions, the UK and Scotland now have levels of inequality last witnessed in 1854 when Charles Dickens was writing Hard Times.”
 
We are both convinced that a prosperous, sustainable and equitable Scotland is possible and can be delivered by (among other things) expanding local democracy, democratising finance and monetary supply, and returning land to the people.

My part of the show is to demonstrate how inequality is not a lofty aim or an airy fairy abstraction but something that limits our lives every day.

So I’ll tackle a different subject every night;

  • #whosecultureisitanyway14aug (which musical tradition, whose language & what’s in our galleries & museums?)
  • #ourtidesrivers&wind15aug (how Scots have become disconnected from nature & renewable energy)
  • #harpies&quines16aug (20 years after the mag launch is this still Macho Caledonia?)
  • #kickthehabits17aug (why Scotland is still the Sick Man & Woman of Europe and have ye got tae drink?)
  • #loveurfrozennorth20aug (Scotland – Britain’s frozen north or Scandinavia’s fertile south?)
  • #havehuts21aug (Neighbours east & west escape to huts at weekends but Scots escape to pubs. Why and what are we missing?)
  • #earlyyearsrevolution22aug (… or will we keep trying to retrofit skills onto Scotland’s broken teenagers?)
  • #McKommunes23aug (how Scotland’s over-sized, un-local government stifles community control)
  • #isscotlandnordic24aug (well – are we made of the same stuff as our high-flying, equality-loving Nordic neighbours or not?)

These themes aren’t mentioned on the Festival of Spirituality website or the Hub booking page.  But they are happening. 

After Andy and I have let rip we’ll ask what the audience thinks.  So if an issue interests you, don’t hesitate – book here (http://www.hubtickets.co.uk/show.asp) and search for the Scottish Six.

 

Dates 14 -17 & 20 – 24 August 2012, Time 6 – 7pm, Venue 127 St John’s, Princes Street
Tickets are £6 to cover venue costs.  And check out our website
www.scottishsix.com