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showmen Siegfried and Roy used to take their tigers for a walk of an evening. Asked if dogs in the street ever took offence, they laughed but admitted one small dog did indeed keep barking at the big cats. Some further inquiries confirmed it was a Scots terrier. Come September 18, I will imitate that Scottie. Okay tigers, come ahead ? William McIlvanney; THE BIG DEBATE THE BIG DEBATE THE BIG DEBATE THE BIG OPINIONS.

Byline: William McIlvanney

YES MAN William McIlvanney, and Siegfried and Roy with a tiger, left Main picture David McNie One of the popular myths about contemporary Scotland is that it has a desire for a just society more radical than it has the parliamentary power to express. It is a myth I tend to share in.

I've suggested before that a motto for modern Scotland might be – instead of the old, belligerent 'Wha daur meddle wi' me?" – something more gently insistent, like "Wait a minute! that's no' fair."

why of William poet, Massie Dreaming " Politically, Scotland is like a living entity which has been cryogenically frozen and stored within the UK for over 300 years.

– at on Isn't it time to come out of history's deepfreeze and explore for ourselves who we really are? Whatever that reality turns out to be, let's confront it. It's time to grow up and take full responsibility for ourselves.

A Yes vote would do that.

Whichever way Scotland votes in this referendum, there are risks.

A No vote will be a vote for political inertia, an abjuration of change. That old Scottish shibboleth "Better the de'il ye ken" will leave the future handcu$ed to the past, and the key not in our possession for the foreseeable future.

A Yes vote will take us into unknown territory. There will be challenging hazards ahead, the biggest of which may be the fact that we will be reaY=rming our nationhood at a time when events seem to be trying to render that concept less and less relevant.

In his interesting book Who Are We?, Gary Younge quotes from Benjamin Barber's Jihad vs McWorld: "By many measures corporations are more central players in global a$airs than nations.

"We call them multinationals but they are more accurately understood as postnational, transnational or even anti–national. For they abjure the very idea of nations or any other parochialism that limits them in time or place." In illustration of that point, Younge cites the case of Brazil, where in 2002, a left–wing government was elected for the rst time in the country's history.

Within three months, $6billion had been pulled out of the country "and some agencies had given Brazil the highest debt–risk rating in the world ".

An aide to the president said: "We are in government but we are not in power."

That's a bit of a frightener, isn't it? But let's not panic.

Scotland is small enough to be lost in a corner of Brazil and is therefore more easily adaptable as a nation to changing circumstances. It has a political coherence Brazil can only dream of. It has a prolonged history of entrepreneurial experience.

Think of the signicant part it played in that long act of international rapine called the British Empire. And Scotland is already hooked up to a network of nance coming from beyond its borders.

The providers of such nance could presumably adapt to an independent Scotland and still serve their own interests.

And such a change should not be regarded as a retreat into parochialism but rather as a reaffrmation of an international identity, which is something the multinationals wish to ignore.

What they represent is not internationalism. It is inter–non–nationalism. It is a way of forbidding people from having a signicant identity beyond being a potential market.

They see countries as abstractions in a nancial game. The world is their Monopoly board and all the nations just the inert pieces with which they play.

Why not try to use such limited powers as we have to bring one of those inert pieces alive, namely our own country, and give it a political dynamic beyond the sterile preconceptions of the multinational companies? All these reflections mean is that, come the referendum, I will take my cue from anecdote told to my brother by a fellow sportswriter. I had the story second–hand but I'm sure I have the gist of it right.

Once, when Reg Gutteridge was in Las Vegas, no doubt to cover a boxing match, he had occasion to talk to Siegfried and Roy.

They were German showmen who had a dangerous act involving two tigers. To advertise the show, they would sometimes put leashes on the tigers and take them for a walk through part of Las Vegas.

Asked if this didn't invite challenges from every dog they passed, one of the men dismissed the idea. These were tigers, after all. Then he paused and said something dismissed the idea. These were like: "Oh, no. No. Wrong. One dog keep bark, barking at the tigers. Very small dog with square head."

Further inquiries established the dog was a Scots terrier.

So, on September 18 (while being fully aware of the tigerish rapacity of the multinationals but also having a rm belief that Scotland has a lot more to oer than that small dog had), I will imitate the action not of the tiger but of the Scottie: "OK, tigers. Come ahead!" I will vote Yes.

Here, two of Scotland's most respected writers explain why they are on opposite sides of the independence debate. William McIlvanney, novelist and poet, and critic and historian Allan Massie will debate their essays – Dreaming Scotland and Nevertheless, published by the Saltire Society – at the Central Hall in Edinburgh on Wednesday. Here are two extracts, available at www.


YES MAN William McIlvanney, and Siegfried and Roy with a tiger, left Main picture David McNie
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 27, 2014
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