For some of us, the “controversy” over appointments to Scottish arts organisations has an element of déjà vu. It’s not so long since Gaels were berated for drawing attention to the fact that the presence of one non-Gael (of whatever origin) in a public place, be it pub, church or ceilidh house, ensured that the language of general discourse soon became English.
I’ve seen it happen, in the most Gaelic-speaking of places (which are no longer the most Gaelic-speaking of places). But that’s another story.
One has to ask whether my old friends Alasdair Gray, and elsewhere James Kelman, would have been quite as moderate and thoughtful as they were on the subject of such appointments had they known that one of Scotland’s leading theatre professionals, as actor, writer, director, and particularly as a highly successful producer, was actively head-hunted in the most recent search for an artistic director – and obviously by-passed.
We should, perhaps be asking, not only how such appointments are made, but what is the nature, and relevance, of the body presumably making such appointments, the board of the National Theatre of Scotland.
Pretty much on cue, Paul Scott (Perspective, 26 December) comes riding to the defence of Alasdair Gray for his alleged anti-English remarks.
The only problem is, over the yThere is a very quick and simple answer to all the debate about what constitutes being anti- English. Simply substitute Muslim, Jew, Black, or Pakistani in place of English. Game, set and match, I believe, to the critics of Mr Gray and Mr Scott.
New Cut Rigg