Scottish Independence – why’s nobody singing about it ?

So, the starting gun was officially fired on the race for independence today as the ‘Yes’ crusaders launched their campaign. Amidst all the mudslinging and posturing that has already taken place there has been a deathly silence on the issue amongst musicians.

Both Scottish and British bands have held the idea at arms length, whether deliberately or through ignorance. There is something distinctly depressing about the fact that Runrig and Mel Gibson still remain the most influential cultural figures on the subject. Music is forever trying to hold itself up as the art form that reflects life so why the silence ?

The reasons appear depressing. Perhaps musicians no longer care. Whilst The Specials sung of racism and violence and The Smiths channelled a very British kind of dysphoria now we have Jesse J singing about price tags and Scouting For Girls serenading beautiful girls. In the 80s we even thought that music could feed the world. Whilst there has always been pap in the music industry it appears that we are inundated with the stuff right now.

Is this our fault ? Maybe we no longer care either. Get David Guetta to put a beat over anything and it will get people dancing. In double-dip Britain people more often than not want some Minaj or Gaga escapism to forget about the gloom of austerity as opposed to hard hitting realism.

Independence may not change much for music. London will still be where the fire is and Scottish acts will still have to flock there if they want to get warm. But it will change an awful lot for the people who listen to these bands, who go to their gigs and help fund them in their early days. Politicians love to tell us that this will be the most monumental decision we have had to make since King James brought these isles together. And he had Shakespeare commenting on events then.

Whether for or against it would be good to hear what musicians have to say on the issue. Despite the size of the question, apathy is still a major factor amongst young people and if bands and singers engage with the idea of breaking up Britain hopefully it will encourage them as well. Let’s not let Braveheart be the deciding factor.

At the very least shining the spotlight on the issue will hopefully add to David Cameron’s seethe.

Mark McKinlay

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