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A brief note on usage. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
A brief note on usage.

Some nameless* Nat has objected** to my describing Scotland, with precision, as the least populous of the home nations, which it is, confusing that description, whether deliberately or not, with my having asserted that the Kinrick of Scots is the least populated of the four, which it is not.

Scotland, with a population density of eight-and-sixty souls to the km2 – that at least is what the ONS says – is just at half the population density of Northern Ireland. It oughtn’t to want a psephologist with a First in PPE to comprehend the consequences. I am perfectly willing to credit that a Hawick farmer or a Daviot publican understands the issues of the morrow better than a poor body living without hope in Govanhill, and that despite the problems of rural communication and rural broadband in much of Scotland. Yet it remains true that the parish is aye parochial, and civic involvement flourishes best in well-managed cities (which, I admit, are not a feature of modern Scotland since, oh, the Great War). And it is surely obvious also that a land in which the population pattern is largely of isolated crofts, distant mains, too few villages, and huge, decaying cities is almost destined to be gerrymandered (as indeed it has been) to hell – and to being a formula for the democratic deficit, tribal politics, low-information voters, secular sectarianism, and all the rest of the ugly things which the ‘Yes’ campaign has so unapologetically brought to the fore in the past few months. Demographics – including population density – is too often destiny. The civic instinct – and all civility – rests ultimately, as does civilisation, upon the civitas, as open and democratic politics requires a polis and a demos. That’s not easy when these have been wantonly destroyed – by Scots, home politicians, that parcel of rogues, not by Westminster – over generations. A country the population density of which has been atomised in this way is prey to terrible consequences.

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* Typical. Like the midge, they’re aye venomous and vectors of disease.

** Over on Tumblr.

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