Alasdair McKillop – A renewing force

Alasdair McKillop – A renewing force
Scottish Review


Watching the ‘One Love Manchester’ concert on BBC1 last night, it occurred to me that culture is the last remaining realm where our best values can be expressed in a way that inspires a shared sense of spiritual uplift. What government or church could have achieved such simple healing on the same scale?


The political and religious worlds seem increasingly barren: barren of hope and meaning and positive consequence. There will be those for whom their decline must necessarily mean the decline of society but is it not the final liberation from the great mobilising tyrannies of the past that burned the individual at the stake and in the industrial furnace for the sake of a collective ideal?


If liberal democracy means anything, if it has any claim on our loyalty, if it has any power to inspire self-sacrifice, then it’s because it’s the system of government we are freest to ignore. It provides the most freedom for the expression of individual creativity and the most freedom to attend a pop concert safe in the knowledge that doing so will not activate the sickly machinery of repression.


People still find ways to connect: small groups still coalesce to form
bigger groups, just not for the nefarious ends of a higher power. We do so most often in our mutual enjoyment of a rich culture interpreted by individual genius. This is our renewing force, our invigorating force: culture is like the wave that draws into its great reserves before washing over us again with something new.