Interesting to see the various gatherings here in Scotland over the past few days. Diageo’s workforce and surrounding community created an extraordinary demonstration to try and save jobs in Kilmarnock. I feel for them – what else can they do?
Meanwhile the great Gathering took place at Holyrood Park. And there is a gathering discussion about the Scottish diaspora and how it might become a continuing part of Scottish life. I’m all for that. After all, the Irish diaspora has been a ‘big thing’ in Ireland – who could forget former President Mary Robinson who put a lighted candle in the window for the diaspora – many of whom left Ireland only because Ireland had nothing to offer them. Connecting with the diaspora is clearly a ‘good thing’. Except of course that the Irish diaspora in America became politicised – many became what the late and great Conor Cruise O’Brien called the ‘sneaking regarders’ of violence. One of the building blocks of the settlement was the work done by people like John Hume and Senator Edward Kennedy to wean Irish-America away from its willingness to support politically-motivated violence in Ireland.
For the rest, I’m aware of two speed issues today. The first, after a weekend of tragedy, is the beguiling beauty and innocence of Scottish roads. The faithful Passat and I – and everybody else – should take extra care. The second of course is the vexed question of broadband speeds. Blogstead’s asthmatic but reliable connection comes from the exchange in Kinrossie – which is 7 km away. The very people who might most quickly adopt tele-conferencing instead of travelling long distances to meetings are inhibited by slow broadband speeds. We need a campaign. But yesterday I did manage a Skype session from our office in Perth with my American ‘coaching bishop’ in California – both sound and pictures.
Yes from a grand-daughter of the diaspora – my grandmother and her family left Alyth when she was 14. Their house (or one like it) still stands in row of former millworker cottages. The women worked the power looms and their father was a slater (roofer). When the mills closed and moved to the larger towns – they left for the “new” country – living in a sod house in Kansas and eating mostly onions the first winter – later moved to Oregon where life was much better and her children became successful and one grandchild became an Episcopal priest.
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