Saturday, 8 March 2014

I've lost that blogging feeling

The Fight between Carnival and Lent - Pieter Bruegel the Elder

In honour of the season, here is one of my favourite Breugel's. "The Battle between Carnival and Lent." From the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. For it's significance you will need to read to the end.

You might have noticed that there was no blog from me last weekend.

In fact, I wrote a fair bit of a draft about the Ukraine, essentially suggesting that the post putsch regime in Kiev was not exactly the Liberal Democratic happy clappy bunch it was being portrayed in much of the media. That that while Russian military intervention was to be deplored, so was the idea that democratically elected governments could be unconstitutionally overthrown just because they were unpopular or even corrupt. And that countries generally could only be truly called democracies if all concerned accepted that any freely elected government had a legitimacy even if a critical part of its support came from an ethnic minority community. That either has to be accepted or the only logical alternative, an agreed fragmentation of the state, equally conceded.

At least a significant part of Ukrainian Nationalism seems to accept neither proposition. That while, to aspire to be part of the EU,  they say (or at least they claim to say) that they wish to be a democracy, only a Ukrainian Nationalist administration, oriented away from Moscow, would ever, to them, be an acceptable outcome of that democracy.It shouldn't be up to the Russians alone to point out to them that they cannot have their cake and eat it in that regard.

And, finally, I was going to point out the parallel with a certain trend in more domestic nationalism. Certainly, Scotland has the right to self determination, but whatever way it chooses to exercise that right will be a valid exercise of that right. Arguing otherwise is in fact arguing against self determination, instead suggesting not self determination but rather the unilateral determination by one side alone. Even if it proves to be the minority side.

Anyway, I didn't get the blog done as I kind of wandered off into the research undergrowth of the shifting boundaries of eastern Galicia, best illustrated by the fact that Lviv/Lvov/Lemberg has been, in peacetime alone, in four different countries in the last hundred years. By the time I might have engaged in slash and burn editing on Monday to get the thing finished, that day's papers had been ahead of me in suggesting the Ukrainian situation was already appearing less black and white.

So, like the the onetime Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, my blog has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

But I'd enjoyed the exercise at the time. For at least it was a departure from finding something new to say about the Scottish Referendum in isolation from events in the wider world.

Where we increasingly all find it difficult to find something new to say. The polls aren't moving and neither are the Nats moving  from their apparent belief that they don't need to, or possibly can't, do anything to shift them.

We've now seen an advance of their new poster campaign and it must be said that it looks like a desire just to go to a core vote strategy.

Collegamento permanente dell'immagine integrata

The "Scotland's Wealth" line will no doubt appeal to those who already believe in "Scotland's Wealth" (and that it is being stolen by the English) but the rest will I suspect regard it as no more credible than a suggestion that the accompanying photograph represents "Scotland's Weather".

That the campaign poster was leaked on twitter by someone on the inside of the Yes campaign to express their own annoyance at the bland message is of, I suppose, minor significance. As is the emergence of the occasional nationalist press or online comment along the lines of "Why we might (sic) lose" or indeed "No would not mean No". Their message is fraying at the margins.

But majority nationalist opinion is taking on a sort of sad recognition that, no matter how they got to this point, they are where they are. That the best they might now achieve is respectability but that even that is a still a cause worth pursuing. Most certainly, that while their project might be terminally ill, nothing is to be gained by prematurely commencing a post-mortem. Not least since it remains the only project they've got.

So we'll stumble on. With them occasionally hailing a rogue poll or the patently self-interested intervention of the likes of Willie Walsh as a "gamechanger", while we demonstrate public exasperation yet private glee over whatever next intellectual house on sand they ask Scotland to stand back and admire. In the world of real voters however both sides continue to gather more and more voter identification information pointing only to one decisive result. And fewer and fewer voters to be moved either way.

Good news for my side but not such good news in respect of finding material for my blog.

Maybe I should just go back to blogging about Art.

Which brings me back to the Breugel.

Pure dead brilliant.


  1. As an image, it's not very good. Your eyes read from left to right. The children are moving from right to left. If they had been moving from left to right it would create a feeling of purpose and drive. It's so poor almost feels that they are running away from something out of view.


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