Watching Us, Watching You

NOTICE: THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN REDACTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE DEFENCE OF THE REALM (SCOTLAND) ACT

Watching Us, Watching You

This issue, The Bottle Imp gets political. We’ve got our ear to the ground, but you never know who’s listening …

Politics, skulduggery and spies, enemies both foreign and domestic! Scotland’s writers ███ ██ ████████ ████ ████████████ ██ ████ █████ ██ ████ ████████, on all fronts. ████ ██ ███ ██████ ███ ███ █████ ███████████. ██████████ ██ ███ ██████████ ███ ██████ ██████ ██████ sparking away at the Mandelbaum Gate? And ██ ██████ ████ ███ ████████ █████ ████ ██████ ███████ ████ ███ ███████████ ██ ███ ████. ████ ███ ████ ██ ███, John Cairncross at ██████████ and Alfred Horn at ████████ █████.

Now, of course, when we are awash with words — when missives and images can flash around the globe in an instant, █████ ███ █████████ ████ ████ Balado Bridge — and ███ ██ ███ ██████. But the events of December 25, 1950 — and the report Robert B. Houston, of the US Diplomatic Corps, of a meeting which took place in Arbroath in January or February 1951 — ███ ████ ███████ ████ █████ ███ ██████ ██████ ██ █████ ███ ███ ███ █████ ██ ████. This is how such things were done, in a slower and colder age.

At what point does rational caution descend into paranoia? █████ █ █████████, ████████ ███ ███ ██ ‘Operation Black Star’ — and its purported relationship with the ‘Black Diamonds’ beneath Aberfoyle. ██ ████ ███ ██ ████ █████ ███████? ███ █████ ███ ████. ██ ████ ██████████ ███ ████ █████ ██ ███ █████ ████ █ ████████ █████! ███ ████████ Hannay spoke of ‘the coming of the Black Stone’, but the dates surely place this, at least, outwith the bounds of possibility. ████ █ █████ ██ ██ █ ████ ██ █████████ ███ ███ ███████ ███ ████ █████ ████ ██████ the Island of Sheep, with the aide-de-camp to Admiral Lord Mountbatten. █████ ████ ██████ █ ███████████ ████ ██ ███ ████ ████ ██ █████. ████ █████ ████ ██ █████████ █████ ██ ███ ██████ ███████ ███ ███ ██████ ███ █████████. The State itself — ‘foremost of the beasts of the Earth for Pride’ — cannot be immune, and the sleep of reason produces monsters.

But let’s turn to our own affairs: here, James Robertson lifts The Blanket of the Dark; Penny Fielding gets on the tail of Scotland and the Spy Story; and Scott Hames files a report on Kelman, Suspicion, and the Fantasy of Homeland Security. █████ ███ ████ ███ █████ ██ ██████ █ ███████ █████ ███ ████████ ████? Delving further, Ken MacLeod provides indications analysis As if You Lived in the Near Future of an Undecided Nation; Scott Lyall interrogates Hugh MacDiarmid and the British State; and Donald Smith presents the evidence for and against The English Spy and Other Factions. ███ ███ █████ ████ ███ ████ ███████████ ██████████ ████ ███████ ████ ██████████ ██████! Meanwhile, Alison Grant riddles out the confluences of Inbhir/Inver, and the Scottish Poetry Library sweeps its refurbished premises for bugs in Space for Sound.

We also run the risk of attracting scrutiny by examining Scots Language in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander — a programme which alarmed Whitehall in the run-up to last September’s referendum. Let’s hope we don’t trigger a full-scale panic by placing it alongside a piece called Read All About It! Book Week Scotland, and in close proximity to the Best Scottish Books of 2015. ███ ██████ ████ █████ ███████ ██ ███ ██████ ██ █████ ████████ ██ ██████ ██. Who else?

And, of course, now you’re here, your every click and flip is monitored and recorded; your links and likes are sieved by stochastic algorithms, weighed and weighted, watched and noted. All the better to know you with.

The Unreliable Narrator

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