ON THESE pages last Friday, Joyce McMillan offered up a few theories as to why so many people in the arts, from Karine Polwart to Liz Lochhead, support Scottish independence – and why virtually no high-profile artists are openly supporting the Better Together campaign.
The past few days has seen this debate step up a gear. At the weekend, the National Theatre of Scotland unveiled its plans for a Great Don’t Know Show, a touring cabaret night next year to be curated by David Greig and David Maclennan, with arguments for both sides presented in the form of songs, poems and theatrical performance.
Meanwhile, high-profile Yes supporters – among them Elaine C Smith, Alan Bissett, and Tommy Sheppard of the Stand Comedy Club – are preparing a series of events designed to gently win over those who haven’t made up their minds (a “Yestival”, as Bissett quipped, or, as Pat Kane described it, “Project Don’t Know Yet”).
The debate is already passionate – on website Bella Caledonia on Monday, playwright George Gunn dismissed the Great Don’t Know Show as “a manifestation of political ambivalence and cultural cynicism”. Then, after correspondence with Greig, he offered to help out. On Newsnet Scotland, meanwhile, Barry Gordon suggested the real reason union-supporting artists don’t speak up is fear of being ostracised. It’ll be fascinating to see how the conversation continues once it moves on stage.