The idea came to the STUC‘s Lisa Whytock and Gordon Archer after their organisation of Rock Against the Poll Tax in the Usher Hall last year. Pat Kane‘s statement from the stage that it was only the start of a cultural offensive spurred them on to do something about what they felt was ‘the real issue‘. and they set about planning an event which would be a celebration. but also ‘expose an irony‘.
‘Scottish culture‘s alive and kicking.‘ says Whytock. ‘but Scottish people are deprived of any basic democratic right. Everything that is imposed in Scotland is imposed without a mandate. because the Scottish people never voted for the Government.‘
They went to Bill Speirs. Deputy General Secretary ofthe STUC. whose role it has been to persuade the General Council that staking ‘a couple of hundred thousand pounds — about 40 per cent of the total annual budget of the STUC‘ was a worthwhile risk.
Speirs is not worried by the prospect of a Fife Aid-style debacle. or so he claims. Ticket sales ten days before the event hovered around the 7,000-mark. and the more coherent organisation of A Day for Scotland,
its broader appeal and the low ticket-price make it a more likely candidate for success. But still: ‘I‘d
be less than honest.‘ he confesses, ‘if I didn‘t say that I‘ve woken up a few times at three o‘clock in the morning in a cold sweat.‘
The plan for a stirring evening concert on the esplanade of Stirling Castle was knocked back. and the blame put at the door of Michael Forsyth MP. who was. to be fair. hardly likely to bend over backwards to assist an explicitly anti-Governmental festival in his own constituency.
‘He‘s actually gone very quiet since then.‘ says Speirs. ‘The Tory group on Stirling District Council have wavered between denouncing the event as an anti-Government front and wishing it every success because it‘s bringing business into the community.‘
I wanted to ask Forsyth if he felt that the claims that A Day for Scotland was non-party'political had any credibility. since it was bound to have such an anti-Conservative bias. After hearing what I wanted to know. he declined to be interviewed. Speirs. however. doesn‘t blanch at the question.
‘Let me put it this way: It aims to project what‘s best in Scotland‘s artistic and cultural life and to get the message across that the best could be a great deal better ifpeople in Scotland had more control over their own lives — and ifsaying that
Scotland should have more control
Where is everyone? Pat Kane and Stu Who arrive at Falleninch Field two months early.
‘5 .g‘ ‘
over its own destiny is anti-Tory, then we would look at that as being a problem for the Tory Party. We‘re making a positive statement rather than being anti-anyone.‘
What kind ofa tangible effect could a positive statement of this kind have?
‘It‘s taking place at a time when the Constitutional Convention is moving towards the final stage of its deliberations on what kind of Scottish Parliament we want. A Day for Scotland will give a boost to that whole process. and I think it will be of assistance in setting the agenda in a whole number ofways for the next general election. Now that might sound a bit grandiose, but this is an opportunity for people to say. Look, ifself-determination is good enough for the people of Lithuania or Czechoslovakia, then it should be good enough for the people of Scotland. Self-determination is not necessarily the same thing as independence. but it‘s allowing people to choose for themselves. and if they choose to stick with the status quo. then that‘s their right.‘
Now there‘s a vision that makes Woodstock look like a village féte. and A Day for Scotland as potentially significant as an outdoor bash at Bannockburn.
A Day for Scotland happens on Sat 14 at Falleninch Field, Stirling. See Listings for details.
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I The CowhoyJunkies: ’Cause Cheap is How I Feel (RCA) A songthat‘s custom-made for those moments when you sink face-down into a puddle of spilled 8t) shilling on the bar. consumed with sclf~loathing and with nothing to look forward to in life but the awful onset of the DTs. We‘ve all lived this song. readers. It‘s so perfect. even the accordion sounds disgusted. (AM)
I Gary Clail's On-U Sound System: Beet (RCA) A night with the Gary (‘lail Sound System can be like the storming of the Bastille stagc~managed by The (‘razy World of Arthur Brown with accompaniment by Wagner and Public Enemy. ‘Beef‘ is limp in comparison. The all-star line-up boasted on the sleeve (Jah Wobble. Keith Levene. Paul ()kenfeld) have turned out. I‘m afrad to say. a bit of a dud. (AM)
I Power at Dreams: Never Been to Texas (Polydor) Like many others. I was impressed by this young Dublin band‘s support slot on the Wire tour. lfThe
l louse of Love drive you clear round the bend. POD might be more acceptable. ‘Never Been to Texas‘ has the best lyrics of the fortnight. taking the piss out of not one but two of the day‘s most prominent musical trends. (AM)
I Andrew Berry: Kiss Me I'm Cold (Phonogram) Destined to be known forever as Morrisscy‘s hairdresser. Berry‘s other quite interesting former career as a Hacienda DJ doesn‘t seem to have been quite so ‘highlighted‘. Whether his first waxing would cut it on that dancefloor I‘m not sure. but it should do very nicely in the indie charts. being a jaunty little number somewhat reminiscent ofJesus Jones. with weird lyrics and a variety ofconcept
. remixes. Though not l exactlyshornof
pretension. Berry could turnout to bear perm-anent fixture on the scene (sorry). (AB)
The List 13— Zoluly 1990 29