24th September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Letter from Edinburgh

, by , in Features

Mumford & Sons? I had to ask. Oh Daaaaaad. Don’t be such a (insert appropriate insult uttered by children)!

Well I didn’t know. I thought Davie Gardner had people queuing to meet a team of Aberdeen lawyers. I know our local legal profession are busy and people need other advice, but surely not queuing overnight to see a solicitor?

Luckily, after some time Goog­ling and an album now downloaded onto the iPod, I am better informed. The last south act to play Whiteness & Weisdale was, I think, Franz Fer­dinand and that was utterly fantastic. Big sound comes to a small Shetland hall and makes for an incredible night. I’ve no doubt that the lucky folk who did get tickets will have one heck of an evening.

A different kind of music has been playing out across the Middle East. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain. Where will this stop? Every night on the television news, the unwinding of dictatorships and state control becomes all the more extraordinary.

Has the internet, mobile phones and instant YouTube evidence down­loaded for the world to witness, changed the world? Absolutely! Even as regimes sought to shut down any form of communication, people got round it. The yearning for change is unanswerable.

People interviewed for foreign news organisations said that, yes, there was danger in street protests, life was threatened and in all too many cases, taken. But the greater danger was to do nothing.

A women interviewed from Trip­oli on radio this week, really brought it home. She explained that she hadn’t heard from her husband and two brothers for 24 hours. They had joined the protests across the city.

“Had they stayed at home, there was still the likelihood the house would have been broken into by the state, the men seized and I would have been raped. We’ve got to act. Got to overthrow the regime.”

This last week, and there’s no doubt of more to come, has certainly given everyone a sense of per­spec­tive. Especially with the terrible news from Christchurch, New Zealand, with so many Shetland connections.

This all came to me at an evening meeting business people in Glasgow. All the parties are asked to explain what they want to do, and the dis­cussion inevitably went through the economy, world oil prices, cost of fuel, then on to education and other areas of social and public policy.

But the killer question came near the end. “How does the parliament reflect Scotland? Why would any of us stand for office?”

I guessed that in that particular audience of lawyers, accountants, property developers and other prof­es­sionals, there weren’t many who would be short of a penny or two, no matter the current tough economic times.

But in light of events in the Arab world, they did take the wider calling argument.

Tavish Scott MSP