Ending On A High Note

These memes just keep getting more and more apocalyptic.

Jings, it’s been a year, hasn’t it?

It’s been a quiet year in the Wilderness, but there were still some fond memories and popular enough posts. I aim to do better next year, as always. For now, I’ll take a look back on the most popular blog posts of each month from the year that was.

January: The Opposites of Traitors

I think any pretence that the Scottish cohort of Theresa May’s party will be “honest brokers” who will act against their own party & government when those actions are against the interests of Scotland – their own constituents – is long gone. Their job is to thwart and frustrate the SNP and Scottish Independence, nothing more, nothing less. Back before the first referendum, the Establishment could rely on 53 Scottish MPs who they knew would toe the line on voting against independence: the independence movement had only 6. Now, not only is that number severely reduced to 24 – less than half, and well below half of all Scottish MPs – 13 represent the UK Government’s party, the single greatest advertisement for independence money could buy. Previously the Establishment could use the Opposition and Coalition Party MPs as a shield against the unpopular UK Government Party. Now they cannot, and ramped the Ruth Davidson Popularity mythology into overdrive. It’s the final level in the Game of Scottish Independence, and the End Boss has revealed itself at last.

February: The Dark Man of Cheddar

It’s always interesting when anthropology and politics collide, & the Cheddar Man story didn’t disappoint. In this highly charged political environment, it can sometimes be deeply frustrating when both sides of a divide miss the point. Nonetheless, I find solace in the knowledge that new discoveries can still filter through the guff of social media chaff.

March: Some Countries That I Used To Know

This is one of my favourite posts. I love going through history, and this provided an opportunity to look at how the world changed since my birth. How many people in 1984 thought that the U.S.S.R., Yugoslavia. and Czechoslovakia would cease to exist by the 21st Century? That Germany would be reunited? That Poland, Czech, Slovak, Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia would join the EU? South Sudan may remain the youngest internationally recognised independent nation in the world for now, but there’s no telling what the future may bring.

April: The Young Palaeontologist’s Guide to Media Scepticism: Or, How Bad Dinosaur Journalism Destroyed My Trust in the Craft

Nnnnnnnng.

Anyway, I always relish the chance to talk about dinosaurs – half of August on my other blog was dedicated to them – even if it’s to vent frustrations. It’s been a fascinating year for dinosaurs & other prehistoric creatures: dozens of new dinosaurs were named, there were revelations regarding Pterosaur feathers, giants were discovered in Africa, Brazil, Italy, and Poland, and the mystery of Cope’s gigantic vertebrae may finally have been solved. And we can – depressingly – probably rely on the media to continue misreporting them all, outside some honourable exceptions (indy support aside, The National tends to do pretty good on this, if you needed another reason to pick it up!)

May: The English Invasion

It’s no secret I have a lot of friends and relatives who happen to be born in England: therefore it’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of the English Scots for Yes contingent of the Yes Movement. I kind of have to, given so many of them are my friends & relatives! Given the history of the Tin Isles, it doesn’t seem remotely incongruous to me: after all, the English were one of the four founding peoples of the Scottish Nation, and the community of Lothian were referred to as “English” for decades after it became part of Scotland. These isles were once a community of many nations, from the early tribes recorded by Ptolomy, to the post-Roman kingdoms of the early Middle Ages. The idea of a united British Isles is a fantasy concocted to justify imperialism: in truth, the isles have been comfortable with many nations for most of their historical existence. There’s no reason they cannot be so again.

July: Except for Voters In Scotland

“NOT YOU, SCOTLAND. BWAK.”

Because if there’s anything worse than people insisting that Scots shouldn’t get the opportunity to vote on something after circumstances change dramatically, it’s those same people demanding that they vote on something that Scots haven’t changed their mind on, but that they hope England might have. Only a cynic would suppose that it’s because those people lost “won” the indyref, but “lost” the EUref, and so don’t want to re-run a referendum they “won,” but demand support for a re-run of a referendum they “lost.” Only a cynic… or maybe someone who isn’t in a cave. Blindfolded. With wax in their ears.

August: Dreaming for a Blue Sky

It’s a lovely coincidence that I got involved in the worldwide peace movement, and just happened to be writing a blog with “Peace” in the title itself. With all the terrible things going on in the world, we could do with a bit of peace.

September: Brave Hearts and Brave Minds

The late Andy Hillhouse’s depiction of Wallace is probably my favourite of them all.

I’d been working on-and-off with this particular piece for years. The Braveheart Antisyzygy has been something I’ve wrestled with ever since it was released, and with the release of Outlaw King, the coming release of Robert the Bruce, and the ongoing resurgence in Scottish historical fiction in television and cinema, it seemed like as good a time as any. This was also the post which got me into IScot magazine, which I’m immensely grateful towards.

October: The Privilege of Nationalisms

As the campaign for Scottish Independence continues, so too do the arguments. Gandhi’s writings on Indian nationhood have been a revelation to me, and I highly recommend them for any independence supporter of any nation.

November: Desperate to be Proven Wrong

Several prominent independence supporters maintain that Westminster wouldn’t dare threaten the existence of the Scottish Parliament: they’re evil, but they’re not stupid. With the best will in the world, I simply cannot share such an optimistic appraisal of the party that made a Gorg in a yellow mop the UK’s international secretary. But – as I say – I’m very happy to be proven wrong on that count as well.

December: The Country With No Christmas

I might’ve been a bit hard on Presbyterians and Calvinists in this post, but rest assured that the modern-day Presbyterians and Calvinists I know are lovely folk. As an aside, you may think that the Santa depicted here bears an uncanny resemblance to the Wilderness’ grandfather. I couldn’t possibly comment.

So that’s 2018. See you in 2019!

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