A new hope for Scotland?
Lesley Riddoch’s brilliant book Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish (Viewpoints) describes Scotland as a garden:
Scots currently inhabit a large, beautiful garden whose owner is busy but can’t trust anyone else to manage it.
As a result, monocultures run riot, dominant plants stifle diversity, native species grow in the shade, climbers are unsupported, soil is exhausted, seeds are blown elsewhere, weeds run unchecked and litter fills corners.
Passers-by admire the backdrop and spot the potential but puzzle over the general lack of care.
There are a small number of stunning exhibits but all in the garden is not rosy.
Somewhere under the weeds the little white rose of Scotland is still alive – growing, budding but never quite flowering for more than a few precious days.
How can it? A competent gardener is needed to restructure the garden from the grassroots upwards.
But the best candidates are always overlooked – the Scottish people themselves. We could inhabit a well-tended, diverse garden, home to foreign exotica, hardy hybrids and flowering, reproductive and distinctively Scottish plants.
But it would take a collective and united commitment of time and effort.
And we are divided.
Some believe Scotland is already a viable proposition, whilst others think the country has large, sick, hopeless urban populations and dispersed rural communities inhabiting barren (looking) land fit only for grouse moors.
Can both ‘sides’ be right? Is there a single verdict on Scotland upon which a majority can agree?
Yes there is. Scotland is already a distinctive nation. But its identity may not derive from the commonly accepted symbols of nationhood. And that’s a paradox worth exploring.
Riddoch, Lesley (2013-08-26). Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish (Viewpoints) (Kindle Locations 206-218). Luath Press Ltd. Kindle Edition.