The strength of Scottish culture should give us the confi dence to continue to connect with our neighbours in every possible way and cherish the links

that exist, says List publisher Robin Hodge


How many times can I vote? As many as you want. Ofi cially the rule is ‘don’t take the piss’. Just vote as many times as you think is fair.

Do I get paid for voting? Only in Falkirk.

What if I change my mind? Simply return to the polling station, ideally drunk, and explain to as many people as possible that you’ve had a rethink.

Once I’ve marked the voting card, what do I do with it? Pop it in your pocket and take the bus home. It’s a wee memento of the day. Does everyone have the vote? All men and most women are allowed to vote. Females in the following categories are NOT allowed to vote: soldiers, street performers and murderesses. Pregnant women are technically allowed to vote, but strongly discouraged because their heads are, medically speaking, ‘minced’, and they’d just vote for the candidate with the nicest bottom.

What happens if Scotland votes yes? We switch, with immediate effect, to continental style plugs. Other than that, no real change. What happens if Scotland votes no? England wins Dumfries.

Where does Corbett stand in all of this? Good question. Without doubt, on either side the most important consideration is ‘what are the actors saying?’ That guy that was in that thing where he pretended to be a spaceman: what’s his thoughts on the whole thing? If I had my way, only actors would be given the vote. And cheeseburger van magnates. But NOT posties, for obvious reasons.

Where do you stand, Bob? On the morning of the vote, I will be watching a ‘double bill’ of Braveheart and then Zulu. I will go into it with an open mind and whatever movie affects my breathing the most (monitored by Frank) will decide my vote. I suggest you all do the same.

Your Scottish Servant, Bob Servant Bob Servant Independent is out now on DVD.

20 THE LIST 23 Jan–20 Feb 2014

I t is often said that decisions need to be taken by the head or the heart. In the debate leading up to the referendum in September, the discussion has so far mainly focused on the economic and political issues. What exactly would independence mean in terms of currency, i nancial regulation, the head of state, membership of the EU, defence, and so on?

These are all valid questions and I think that, contrary to some expectations, the tone of the debate has been much more respectful than was feared. It is clear that there are those on both sides putting forward genuinely held beliefs as to what they consider to be in the best interests of Scotland. The zealots and abusive cyberbullies who initially seemed determined to close off debate and shout down their opponents have thankfully faded into the background. This has enabled the focus to be on substance whether it is better to stick with the structures that have generally served us well over the past three to cast centuries, or whether to cast them aside and start again. These are issues primarily of the head.


there are other matters ones closer to the heart beyond economics and politics that need to be considered, e too will be as y signii cantly affected by . the outcome of the vote. it Primary among these, it e seems to me, is the future of the arts and culture. they




c historic se those achievements e, such as David Hume, es James Robert Adam, rn, Boswell, Henry Raeburn, ter Robert Burns, Walter ert Scott, James Hogg, Robert hn John Louis mi Buchan, Neil Gunn, Naomi sic Mitchison, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sorley MacLean, Muriel Spark and Joan Eardley (to name but a few), Scottish culture has clearly l ourished since the Act of Union. Stevenson,

At the same time, the scale, reputation and impact of our festivals have grown far beyond the most optimistic expectations. The Edinburgh Fringe last year hosted over 2700 shows and is clearly established as the biggest arts event in the world. In Glasgow, Celtic Connections is marking 21 years of success in expanding the reach of traditional music making. And there are many more successful festivals spread across Scotland each year. It is clear that we have much to celebrate together and a wide range of emerging new talent to encourage. This growing sense of coni dence makes it hard to believe that once there were some afl icted with a feeling of cultural cringe or beset by a mood of aggrieved injury through the supposed neglect of Scottish culture by the wider world.

The question now is, which way forward should

we choose:

Is it, as some would argue, the time to pull away from our neighbours, to leave shared cultural institutions, and to emphasise what divides us?

should we O Or nurture and and enhance the links and con connections we have links and and connections that help us us participate in the wider dev development of contemporary cu culture and contribute to the be better understanding of the hu human condition.

It can be said that the role of of the artist is to create work th that expresses their unique v vision of the world and th then present that work to t the world. For those of us i in the cultural sector who a are dedicated to supporting artists and enabling as m many people as possible to experience their work for themselves, the more channels of communication there the better. Authors want their books to be available to as wide a readership as they can be, performers to attract as big an audience as possible, and so on. This involves connecting, reaching out to one another and sharing human experience. are,

It is clear that we have much to celebrate together

And it is generally agreed that the last 30 years have seen a further remarkable l owering of the arts across Scotland. Rarely have there been so many writers, artists, musicians and others based in or hailing from Scotland whose work has met with critical acclaim and / or commercial success. The depth and breadth of the creative talent is impressive, ranging from Douglas Gordon to David Shrigley, from Alasdair Gray and Carol Ann Duffy to Irvine Welsh and JK Rowling, from James MacMillan to Emeli Sandé, from Billy Connolly to Armando Iannucci, from Tilda Swinton to Lynne Ramsay.

In contrast, those who advocate independence and the associated disruption to the wider cultural communities across the UK, are underestimating the strength and quality of the arts in Scotland. This unwillingness to connect with those around us, actually displays a lack of coni dence, a fear of participating and engaging.

Surely it is time to cast aside such apprehensions; we have no need to withdraw from relationships. We should cherish the connections that have been developed and use them to inspire each other at all levels.