Variant 13 Summer 2001
in response to issue 13
Geoff Mulgan and Ian Christie
The Tainted Word - William Clark
An investigation into the work of the often quoted but little
understood consultancy Demos. This begins with their input into arts
policy and the background to one or two of their key figures. The
organisations which have sprung from Demos are analysed (one looks
like a secret society) and the article ends with further analysis
and comment on the government's adoption and enforcement of policies
based on the very flawed and spurious social analysis which Demos - for a price - provide. It should be read in conjunction
with the Bob Holman interview below.
I am not not-innocent - James Kelman
A powerful work exposing the numerous injustices and perversions
of the criminal justice system. Touching on the cases of the Birmingham
Six and Guildford Four; the Tottenham Three, the Winchester Three,
Cardiff Three and Gloucester Three - the article shows that with these
and other miscarriages of justice the crucial issue of the identity
of the true killers is often ignored. This is a deep and penetrating
work. It sets forth that among the factors at play, Racism and class
prejudice are so often at the root.
Tales of the Great Unwashed - Ian Brotherhood
Stretching stereotypical figures, animal cruelty and industrial-strength
cider to excruciating lengths.
Comic and Zine Review - Mark Pawson
Another round-up of the bewildering, intriguing and enchanting
universe of miscellaneous marginal debris or priceless works of art.
You never can tell.
Concerns About the Nature and Application of the New Terrorism
Act - Various
This is a record from a discussion prompted by the widespread
concerns about the nature and application of the new Terrorism Act.
The implications for human rights and its impact on minority communities.
It argues that Parliament's ratification of the proscription of 21
international organisations making it an offence to further their
activities in any way fundamentally offended individual human rights.
No distinction was drawn between violent and non-violent actions.
The Act was a charter for suppressing both ideas and cultural identities
and compromised the country's respected tradition of offering sanctuary
to political refugees and dissenters.
The Iron Chancellor - Robin Ramsay
A plain-speaking and informative short analysis of the popular
misconceptions which surround the UK's Chancellor, Gordon Brown. Ramsay
throws a great deal of light on the dark corners of Brown's psyche.
Flaws? you bet.
Being Here, Bob Holman Interviewed - William Clark
A former professor of social administration at Bath University,
Holman moved to Glasgow' s Easterhouse to work amongst the people
there. The interview draws on his experience but mainly focuses on
the double-dealing and hidden agendas which infests the administration
of the poor. Inspiring stuff.
As it never was - Peter Kravitz
Kravitz was the editor of the influential Edinburgh Review and
draws on his experience there to present a masterful review of the
last 20 years or so of Scottish literature. This is a circumspect
assessment of what has changed and emerged. It explores the underlying
hidden history of convergence and struggles and how these related
and contributed to wider culture developments.
Remembrances of things past - Louise Crawford
Beginning with very poignant and pertinent observations on the
reception and history of experimental film, this brings its focus
three differing exhibitions from the work of three artists: Tacita
Dean, Matthias Müller and Yann Beauvais.
New Labour's Arms Trade - Phil England
The arms exporting policy of the UK has provided the country with
a record of shame. The article asks whether the Labour Party's
declaration of an "ethical foreign policy" means any real
reform, and whether anything has actually changed with the new government's
policy. Drawing on a wide range of source material, including the
Campaign Against the Arms Trade, this is a straight forward, well
set out exploration of the political twists and turns of a murderous