Dear J K Rowling


Rowling in tears, not regret for advising thousands of young people to delay their democratic rights, but for discovering her genealogy on a television programme

Dear J K Rowling

I wish I didn’t feel compelled to write this open letter because you have done  so much to encourage children to return to the habit of reading books, and read them voraciously. You look almost beatific in that photograph; who would think you harbour a dark side?

Prior to your appearance in the literary world children were glued to computer games and television screens, the craft of reading and learning from books unfashionable. Guys like me despaired of ever getting the daughters back from a daily obsessive diet of Aussie’s soap called Neighbours. Eventually, thankfully, they grew up.

I am certain publishers, literary agents, and booksellers are joyous you exist. For that you have a justified place in history books. I am unsure about the dent millions of books will make on the planet’s forests, but the world of books is a better place for your contribution.

Your work, your infinite success, is in great part a product of the global grip neo-liberal corporations have over economies, taxes, and free expression. Those are the self-same, self-styled ‘libertarians’ that cut you very large cheques, the same you think Scotland could never handle. Perhaps you don’t want them regulated. They hijacked the word libertarian. Its original Latin means something close to free expression. They bastardised it to mean business free of regulation, and they prefer small, ineffectual government prejudiced in their favour, particularly with subsidies and grants – welfare to you and me.

Press and media, the Scottish Labour group in particular, elevate your utterances on Scotland’s ambitions to something akin to the wisdom of a Greek sage, an embarrassing, unctuous deference to a person of infinite wealth and power.

As someone who has helped create fame for others, hollow celebrity and stardom holds little attraction for me. I’m witness to the private behind the public. The two rarely match. Through my writing, and from my efforts in the arts in Scotland, the UK and USA, I guess I have made a good few talented individuals gain successful careers.

Personally, I would prefer the public lose interest in the lives of celebrities because undue reverence and insistent curiousity of them demotes us to second class citizens. I do not wish to be second class just because you presume to provide a superior voice.

You appear to be a nice person. Nice people are considered nice because they are quick and happy to agree with those who defame friends behind their back.

There are matters in life where rebellion is the only answer to right wrongs and secure justice. Some of the scorn independence supporters endure is akin to that women suffered when demanding the vote. We are a fringe group, ludicrous, fools, carrion- a term you likened us which I’ll come to later.

Protest annoys those who hold power. It unsettles. They call it dissent in a pejorative sense. Looking objectively, historically and socially at Scotland’s chronic lack of genuine democracy, civic revolution is the only answer to remedy Scotland’s ills. Westminster will always resist unshackling constraints. But be assured, unlike dissaffected Londoners rioting and looting in the streets, we use the age-old peaceful ballot box. What is there not to admire about that?

By praising Scotland as your adopted home I note you acknowledge you’re an incomer. Pity your modesty is not sufficiently strong an inhibitor that you employ diplomacy. You state your opinion of our political ambitions negatively and disseminate it extensively. It follows that you feel of sufficent high status to be given a wide hearing, and indeed you almost command the airwaves as the main headline news. Humble you ain’t.

Others will tell you what you know already, you are free to hold an opinion, and to donate a million pounds to the No campaign. I for one do not think you above criticism.

For one thing, if, as you do, feel there is some truth in a few medical men claiming uncertainty over retaining their research grants at the advent of autonomy it’s truly contradictory to hand over a million pounds to a degenerate political campaign, as you did, aimed at undermining the democratic process. You could have assuaged those poor medical men’s fears by boosting their funds. Some are incomers bound to worry.

In addition, over a hundred distinguished academics, like the medical ones you cite, made public their confidence in a renewed Scotland and its grant awarding schemes and levels, and like those medical men, and your self, some are incomers.

They can see past slyly worded sentences mined to manufacture consent using ‘might happen’ and ‘could happen’ and ‘perhaps’ as a prefix to assertions of jeopardy and doom.

I would love to live in Spain, not just for its Spanish culture, but for its Roman and Moorish cultures too. I visit the south regularly staying a month or more on work, but as an incomer there I’d be loathe to tell the Catalonians they are misguided trying to seek freedoms for themselves. I’d be condemned for arrogance, and rightly so.

No matter how long one has lived in a country not your own, one never quite acquires the depth of experience of an indigenous citizen, the sense of its history and its people. One can appreciate it as an incomer after some study but never quite be fashioned by it.

That only comes about from nurture. I do not need to own swathes of Spanish land to gain a spirit of place. I can visit it and praise it. Or I can order lots of Porcelanosa tiles for my Edinburgh home, Spanish tile making being of the highest quality.

Mexico, also Spanish speaking, cannot be regarded as a wealthy country, certainly not in comparison with the USA or even the United Kingdom. It has tremendous problems of poverty, an economy largely controlled by the USA for the USA’s economic benefit, as is its border controlled and patrolled. And it suffers a well-established drug fraternity.

Yet with well over 120 million of a population its higher education is free. Absolutely free. Mexico puts us to shame, and it is truly shameful what the Westminster parties  are doing – almost all business parties – trying to privatise the English education system. Is that what you want imported here – every school a Hogwarts without the magic wand? Meddling with a nation’s education system is the province of the political charlatan.

From what you have had to say about your political outlook I discern you think of yourself a humanitarian, a little to the left of civilised ideology. I see you more as an old-fashioned Victorian, in the mould of a 19th century wealthy Tory philanthropist who gives to selected good causes now and again. In that regard, you’re at one with the political party you support, New Labour, and your friend, Gordon Brown, bag man to the crooked banks.

The party you support and the alien government to which it is bonded is hell bent on privatising human endeavour. They detest the “something for nothing society,” as they term it. They want Scotland’s welfare state to become a modest welfare system, to keep control over our democratic structures, to increase subservience, to retain a monopoly over our oil, and dictate our foreign policy. That is what you support.

When you were a struggling single parent I trust the city of Edinburgh helped you with welfare payments, a recipient of income support, as I was unemployed two painful, humiliating years. Understandably, I’m profoundly unhappy you reward Scotland’s care with a rejection of its ambition to protect that care.

You also support weapons of mass destruction stockpiled in Scotland. By telling us to vote ‘No’ you welcome more taxpayer money spent on them. In fact, our special relationship with the USA, the same relationship you have, plans to add more. Can you stomach the thought of a generation of children wiped out in one day?

I read and reread your excuses for backing Westminster’s interests. They amount to this: the intellectual faculties of the Scottish people are too immature, our economy too weak, our resilience too thin to face the complicated, big bad 21st century without intervention of a dominant neighbour state.

Don’t you feel that something of an insult? I do.

The solution our elected administration offers is a kind of federalism that keeps close ties with England, but protects our self-determination with genuine sovereignty. People power. For the life of me I cannot think why you feel that is not a good thing. You have power in abundance. You exercise it over every contract you are asked to sign, book, documentary, film, and merchandise. You have powerful lawyers to stop others cheating you.

We feel manipulated, cheated ad nauseam.

Finally, you talk of insults levelled at you while insulting us with the term ‘supremacist,’ a description derived from evil characters in your books, wizards called ‘Death Eaters.’

You dehumanise us.

You castigate us as if an anonymous mass, the lumpen prolitariat who have no outlet of political expression except through the perfidious internet. If Cameron and Osborne can be condemned for pontificating from Mount Olympus so can you, though you couch your opinion with meaningless good wishes for a happy outcome to the Referendum.

The conquest of happiness is easier to achieve when a people are empowered to the degree they determine their own local and national affairs.

To hold the notion Westminster, after over 300 years of exploiting Scotland and its people, will be our saviour overnight, is akin to the magic fantasy of your children’s novels. I specialise in adult issues and concerns, where people lead stressful lives complicated by events they cannot control – such as governance.

I want good governance for Scotland, for and by the people of Scotland.

You are very welcome to be part of it, but not to demoralise our idealism and our hope. Put simply, I think you have made a fool of yourself. You have done your reputation considerable harm. Then again, being unaccountably wealthy you might answer, you don’t care. You are too rich to feel insulted. You are, after all, one of the elite.

Yours (in a sort of way)

Grouse Beater

This entry was posted in Rowling, Scottish Independence Referendum. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Dear J K Rowling

  1. Nana says:

    Sir. If I wore a cap it would be doffed to you.

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    If I wore a skirt I’d curtsey to you!

  3. mary vasey says:

    Brilliant writing, thank you for putting into beautiful words what I want to say

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    I keep fine tuning it because I think I pulled my punches. I just feel her rationale transparently hypocritical.

  5. Freddy Hugill says:

    Well said boss! Bydand!

  6. Arona Allan says:

    You are pulling your punches as I find myself having to do .Such condescending arrogance leaves one speechless at times. They really must stop looking down there noses at the Scottish people in this way. We are not brain dead. We have looked into this issue in great depth over a considerable time and are now making a educated decision to re-establish control over our own country. Will never buy this woman’s books again..

  7. Grouse Beater says:

    I gradually added sharper remarks because the more I think about her intervention, a settler, the more I get angry.

    Reverse the situation – let’s have Alistair Gray domicile in London and tell them life is better remaining under the control of the US.

    PS: I’ve never bought any of her books – yet I have a library of 2,000 – but I learn the early edition change hands for hundreds of pounds. Her success rests almost entirely in the way Time Warner marketed her work top down, owning film, television, publishing houses, newspapers, magazines and booksellers.

  8. Helena Brown says:

    Well you join the Wee Ginger Dug in my admiration Grouse Beater. That was an excellent remonstration and never a bad word used. I do hope someone points her in your direction. I would love her to read it.

  9. Grouse Beater says:

    I wait to be investigated by the Thought Police or sued.
    I’ve never known a wealthy person to be insulted – they’re too bloody rich!

  10. Wee Jonny says:

    Excellent yet again GB. And not one swear word (thumbs up thingy).

  11. Grouse Beater says:

    “And not one swear word” 🙂

  12. Chris Foster says:

    Reading this now, for the first time, I find it as powerful and pertinent today as it must have been the day it was written. I’d like to think that JKR might have altered her views somewhat, in the light of all the post-referendum/pre-GE shenanigans, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that to date.
    Anyway, it is a brilliant piece which articulates beautifully what I’m sure most of us in the Yes camp feel. Well said.

  13. Grouse Beater says:

    You’d hope it had some effect, but somehow I doubt it.
    Thank you for the kind things you have had to say.

  14. Davy says:

    I love reading, more than anything else after my family, and I throughly enjoyed JK Rowlings Harry Potter novels as an escape from the normal trials of life. But when she decided to stick a million pounds into the NO campaign I decided I would not contribute anymore to her fortune so she could deny my country it’s independence.

    Your letter is beyond words, and fully engages to the level JK Rowling herself could command within her writing.

    I know a vote for the SNP is a vote for my country and thanks to JK Rowlings million a lot more of my fellows Scots now have learned the same.

  15. Grouse Beater says:

    And I live a few doors away from her impregnable fortress!

    Her final words on the Referendum were: “I just hope with all my heart that we never have cause to look back and feel that we made a historically bad mistake.” Hoo haar!

    This is the moment she needs to stand up to be counted.

  16. Oneironaut says:

    I do find it somewhat ironic, given that the titular protagonist of the Harry Potter stories faced ridicule and damnation by the mainstream media for his views.

    You’d think JK would have recognised a similar activity in the real world mainstream media too after devoting so many pages of writing to the phenomenon of biased provocative smear campaigning.

    Our media don’t have moving photographs, and our opponents in this great war of words can’t perform hexes on us. But the methodology of media brainwashing and insidious manipulation of opinions is the same in any setting.

    Just a thought…

  17. Grouse Beater says:

    A good thought. Many thanks.

  18. Ianbeag says:

    Greatly moved by your powerful articulation of your case and your exquisite choice of words – masterly. It would be remiss of JKR not to acknowledge and respond.
    Much appreciated.

  19. Grouse Beater says:

    I think she is keeping her head down and counting money in.

  20. Rab Kay says:

    Sir, thank you.

  21. Smalldrk says:

    Well said sir, a well written piece, truthful and honest. Unfortunately I’m sure it will have fallen on deaf ears. Anyone who did what Rowling did and said what she did, will never admit she was wrong. She will never admit that Scotland has a right to form its own destiny, it just wouldn’t fit in with what they chose to believe about Scotland and her people.

  22. Davy says:

    You need the heart & soul of your country to do that, not just money.

  23. Saor Alba says:

    Does this make her a countess?
    Well done GB. A first class and masterful piece of writing.
    Chapeau mon ami.

  24. Grouse Beater says:


  25. Jacquie Tosh says:

    You would have thought that she, as a person who has made her fortune (quite literally!) by the written word, would have felt the need to write a reply to you. I assume she did not? Is this another sign of the wealthy elite or just common or garden arrogance? Your piece showed thought and care, a good piece of writing, well expressed, polite………pity she didn’t show the same courtesy to you!!

  26. Grouse Beater says:

    I think she has a strict code of not answering criticism. I can understand that. She must receive a lot of hate mail for simply being rich.

    However, by reissuing the same alleged internet abuse now at the general election, the same she received for voting No, republished to shock us against the SNP, she indicates her mind is closed.

    It is example of the shallowness of her reasoning to side with those who claim the party of Scotland’s political expression is not legitimate because it has gotten out of its box. It’s a sort of English public school mentality where you’re expected to follow protocol and tradition slavishly, to obey the top wizard.

  27. Mikeyboy says:

    I am so glad I never bought any of her books. I looked at one a few years ago and couldn’t get into it, it was a children’s book and not a particularly good one. Then a couple of years ago someone recommended The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula LeGuin. This IMO is an outstanding example of the genre and was written in 1968. I could not get rid of the feeling that the Potter books are just a dumbed down ripoff of LeGuin’s ideas. It is a sad reflection on our culture that dumbed down stuff is what sells.

  28. Grouse Beater, mate, you are like a literary genius. And that’s her properly tellt!

    Honest tae goodness, I read the first five pages of the first Potter volume, and got absolutely boakish at the sheer inanity of it. Utter cut ‘n’ paste derivate dung!

    [sorry, I’ve had a few drams]

  29. Grouse Beater says:

    Despite it being my namesake, and good Crieff whisky, I hope the dram is not Grouse – the one whisky company that said ‘No’! 🙂

  30. I stick to malts, when I dabble at all. But thanks for the heids up: infamous G appended to my boycott list.

  31. donald says:

    Ha ! I had not read this one till it got bumped . Excellent vintage .

    Your point about respecting the native culture and honoring those who were born from its soil is a sentiment very dear to my heart.

    This letter moved me deeply and sums up so much of my own feelings . Its funny , I am building my house using Spanish tiles too . Partly because I cant afford welsh slate but mainly because it just seems right to use a product of the earth to roof your house . I like the fact that they clip together using the shape of the tiles (im using the flat ones).

    The hypocrisy of Rowling becomes ever more evident as the years go by . She has a house in Tasmania as well which she probably only spends a week or two in a year . Another parasite pricing locals out of the property market . The distortions in her life style reflect those in her books. A later day Dickens really . She makes a mockery of justice by making a pretense of exposing injustice. Birds of a feather stick together .In this case a murder of carrion crows picking over the carcasses of the poor and honest . No wonder Gordon Brown is a friend of hers .

    What upsets me most is that in glorifying her own characters she has taken my family name for one of her main characters . Sickening.

    Rowling , you are a fake and a fraud and you have stolen my families story to pad your own in a dissembling cloak. Bloody typical.

  32. Pingback: Of Tarts and Old Farts | Grouse Beater

  33. Liz McKinlay says:

    This made me weep with anger,frustration, and the greatest respect for you, for articulating so well to people who trample on our wishes and aspirations. They thwart our ambition for our country without care or respect. I salute you for this.

  34. Grouse Beater says:

    And we are asked to respect her as a ‘thoughtful’ No voter.

  35. Ghillie says:

    Well said Grouse Beater!

    Happy St. Andrew’s Day!!

    And look! She’s still at it!

    Sadly JK Rowling does not appear to taken anything on board and somehow does not seem to see the cruelty and abusive this UKOK Government is dishing out to people struggling in the same way she claims to have done in her early days in Edinburgh ( though how could an impoverished single mum afford coffee at The Elephant House?)

    Is JK Rowling blind to the deprivation a couple of miles from her own high hedges. Is she truly this dense? Is this how money and power can corrupt? She seems to have joined ranks with her own deatheaters herself. Sad.

  36. Speach says:

    Ha, still topical, JK’s at it again!!!

    I kind of feel sorry for McGarry, she should have know better though. Also on I side note, I’ve noticed J.K has been deleting the more ‘incriminating’ interactions with Brian Spanner.

    I personally think she knows exactly who he is…

  37. Grouse Beater says:

    Yes, there’s an argument that says somebody other than McGarry should have raised the issue, but if we’re to fashion a fair and just society, hypocrisy exercised by the rich should be just as unacceptable as it is from anybody else. And the rich should never be allowed to be so powerful they are able to silence the rest of us.

  38. Rob says:

    I find Rowling behaves as some kind of English Donald Trump………thinks her wealth gives her an entitlement to have the plebs listen to her ravings.

  39. I like your comments very much !!but hat gets me if it was so good in England what was she doing in SCOTLAND!!!! And all the people that come to Scotland should think if it is so much better in England you should go back !!!

  40. scotsgeoff says:

    Unfortunately (or fortunately) JK will never know what it is like to be on ‘benefits’ (they call them ‘benefits’ for God’s sake) these days. There will be absolutely no comparison to the time when she had to rely on them.

    People are dying in their thousands.

    I repeat, people are dying in their thousands as a direct result of Westminster’s brutal regime.

    Anyone who thinks that status quo is okay will never get any respect from me; rich or otherwise.

  41. Grouse Beater says:

    The rich also get benefits, they’re called government grants, tax deductions, and tax havens. They are likely to assume the term ‘social security’ means a boot camp for errant kids.

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