Scottish Nationalist Movement – a recent history

“We fight not for glory, nor riches, nor honour, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life.”   It was with these words that the Declaration of Albroth, claimed to be the most impressive manifesto of nationalism produced in medieval Europe, addressed the Pope.  As far back as 1320, half a decade after the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland’s nobles and their followers petitioned the Leader of the Catholic Church to recognize Scotland as independent from the English and to declare Robert the Bruce as King of the Scots. Thirty five years earlier, the male royal line of Scotland had expired and the Scots believed that joining their royal family with that of England posed no great threat to Scotland’s independence.



Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. Essays, UK. (November 2013). A Introduction To The Scottish Nationalism History Essay.

In my part we will firstly discuss about the process of dissociation that Scottish people operated to be “freed” from the British empire and from its influence then we will discuss on the elements that permitted to build up their national identity . We will also try to see if Scotland’s case can be related to the problem of representation that the British colonies suffered from then we will end our analysis on the consequences of that separation.

What was the spark that bring the creation of the sense of nationalism ? ( problems start from the union, their point of view was not taken into consideration) When can we properly speaking talk about a Scottish Empire?

Why the Scots decided to differentiate themselves from the British empire to create their own ?

Nationalism : the term nationalism is generally used to describe two phenomena :

The attitude that the members of a nation have when they care about their national identity, and 2) the actions that the members of a nation take when seeking to achieve or sustain self determination. ( from the Encyclopedia of philosophy)

(Of course if they succeeded in erecting themselves and to be considered as an Empire by the other nations.) (

The year 1921 marked the birth of the Scots National League.

Nationalism was nothing but a step towards Scottish Independence.

The Scottish Party of 1932 became the Scottish National Party only two years later


Of the promotion of a wider “Celtic identity”, Hague says, “An added level of this spectacle is that much of it perceives a wider Celtic relationship between Scotland, Ireland and Wales, all conjoined in an anti-English bloc. Thus, in the construction of Scottishness understood in the United States, Celtic imagery and cultural commodities are to the fore. This is seen in the associations made between Scotland and Ireland in ‘Celtic festivals’ across the United States and in the Hollywood film, Braveheart.

“What is appealing about asserting a strong Celtic Scottishness within this imagination of Scotland? They [the Celts] are the original primordial folk and it is their culture and community that are embedded in Scotland. Deeply and spiritually immersed in, and at one with, the physical territory of Scotland, the purity of the Celts is understood by many in the Scottish American community to have been corrupted by Anglicisation.”


The resolution bizarrely claims the Declaration of Arbroath as the inspiration of the US Declaration of Independence. It goes on, “This resolution honors the major role that Scottish Americans played in the founding of this Nation, such as the fact that almost half the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent, the Governors in 9 of the original 13 states were of Scottish ancestry, Scottish Americans successfully shaped this country in its formative years and guided this Nation through its most troubled times.”

Linking the Arbroath declaration of the late Middle Ages with the Declaration of Independence–a document inspired by the progressive ideas of the Enlightenment–is at best highly dubious. But it encapsulates the right wing’s preoccupation with Scotland. As Hague explains, “Scottish identity in the USA is substantially more than just romantic nonsense. Scottishness in the USA is constructed within a specific political rhetoric…. Tartan Day reasserts the authentic, original America, using as a route to this an assertion of Scottish ethnicity and Scottish tradition…

Scottish Nationalism

(April 1974)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.68, April 1974, pp.7-8.

Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

THE SUCCESS of the Scottish Nationalist Party in the general election has pushed to the fore the question of Scottish nationalism. Few people on the left have illusions in the SNP itself. But some do argue for support for independence for Scotland, albeit for a ‘socialist’ Scotland rather different to that envisaged by the SNP.

The case is usually justified in terms of the support marxists give to the right of nations to self-determination. It is said that Scotland is a nation and therefore must have that right. The argument is often backed up with comparisons between the situation of Scotland and that of Ireland.

Certainly, there are a number of social features which fuel national consciousness in Scotland: the legal and educational systems are separate from those in England and Wales; there are certain separate historical traditions; there are even the remnants of two ‘national’ languages (Gaelic and, at least in a literary form, Lallands, the Scots dialect that developed out of Anglo-Saxon).

But a genuinely marxist approach to the question of national independence does not rest on a mere counting of features that might be said to characterise one nation or another. Its starting point is rather different: the role played by the development of a particular national consciousness historically and in relation to the international class struggle.

Hence it was that Marx and Engels themselves could oppose certain national movements, while supporting others. They were ardent supporters of Polish nationalism, because it undermined the most reactionary power in Europe at the time, Tsarist Russia; but they were vehement opponents of the nationalism of the south Slavs because that nationalism allied itself with Russia.

The particular nationalisms that divide the world at present have not existed for all time. They are the byproducts of fairly recent historical developments. Usually, they grew up as a particular bourgeoisie sought to establish its dominance over the economic activities of the territory it inhabited. To do so successfully, it had to replace the various local traditions and dialects that characterised precapitalist society by new traditions and a uniform language and to fight to subordinate the state power to its own ‘national’ interests.

These nationalisms have been progressive insofar, and only insofar, as they have challenged reactionary powers, broken the feudal or imperialist fetters that prevent economic development, freed the mass of the population from an isolated, parochial existence, and prepared the ground for movements that can go beyond bourgeois nationalism.

The Irish republican movement, for instance, has played a progressive role for nearly 200 years by bringing vast numbers of Irish peasants and workers to see a struggle against British imperialism as a precondition for solving the problems that beset them.

But Scottish nationalism has not played any such progressive role since the 17th century when the idea of Scotland, or at least of the Scottish lowlands, as a nation grew up in opposition to Scottish feudalism. The struggles of the Scottish bourgeoisie against the remnants of feudalism took place more or less simultaneously with similar struggles in England, in the 1640s and 1688, with the movements in one country being intimately bound up with movements in the other.

The Act of Union between the two countries did not represent the suppression of the Scottish bourgeoisie by the English but rather an agreement between the two to exploit jointly the British empire. The Scottish bourgeoisie swung behind support for the union after a colonial adventure of their own failed. Indeed, it can be argued that the final bourgeois unification of Scotland was only fully achieved with the aid of English arms when the pre-capitalist society of the highlands was destroyed in the aftermath of 1745. The Scottish bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie led no sort of struggle against British imperialism; instead they mobilised the rest of the population in its support.

The contrast with Irish history could hardly be greater. Dominated and exploited by Britain, the growth of the Irish economy was stunted, the mass of the population were forced into abject poverty, the bourgeoisie could never fully develop, and its attempts to do so led to repeated conflict with the British.

The Scottish economy, on the other hand, entered the industrial revolution at the same time as the economy south of the border, and the Scottish bourgeoisie prospered.

One of the most significant things about Scottish nationalism is that it hardly existed as a movement during the hey-day of British imperialism, from the late 18th century through to the early 20th century. Once the Scottish bourgeoisie had thrown in its lot with the English, the elements of a national tradition became no more than a slight coloration on Scotland’s share of Britain’s imperial adventures.

In certain cases British imperialism itself would carefully nurture such ‘national’ traits as a sub-variety of British chauvinism. Scottish workers were led to identify with Scottish landowners and capitalists on the basis of such shared ‘nationality’ and through them with British capitalism in general. This quite reactionary form of Scottish ‘nationalism’ has by no means disappeared: remember the ‘Save the Argylls’ campaign or the newspaper emphasis on the killing in Ireland of three Scottish soldiers.

While the Irish national consciousness has ted thousands of young men to die in fighting againsf British imperialism, elements of Scottish national consciousness have been manipulated to persuade hundreds of thousands to die for British imperialism.

Against such a background, it is hardly surprising that historically the most progressive elements in the Scottish workers’ movement have rejected notions of cutting the Scottish movement off from parallel movements in England. John Maclean’s adherence to a form of nationalism was the exception rather than the rule. From the ‘National Convention’ of the Jacobins in Edinburgh in 1793 through to the shop stewards’ movement of the First World War, the best militants have seen that success or otherwise of any movement in Scotland depends on the building of close ties with similar movements in England.

Today, when the major undertakings in which Scottish workers are employed operate in both countries, the need for united action is even greater: you just can’t build a ‘Scottish’ Chrysler combine committee or a ‘Scottish’ reform movement in the General and Municipal Workers Union. The struggle to wrest the means of production from the ruling class is of necessity an all-Britain struggle.

The movement for Scottish independence is a fairly recent phenomenon, being born in its modern form in the 1920s. It has developed, not as a movement against British imperialism at the height of its power, but rather as a reaction to the ending of British economic dominance internationally.

The older established sections of Scottish industry – like their equivalents south of the border, for example, in North East England – have undergone a decline, producing unemployment rates above the average for Britain as a whole.

Under such conditions, the notion of an independent Scottish parliament has arisen among sections of the Scottish petty bourgeoisie and has enticed many workers: it has seemed like a panacea which will enable Scots to disentangle themselves from the mess of British capitalism without having to fight its main structures.

The discovery of North Sea oil has given new credibility to the panacea: it is claimed that the oil can solve the problems of the people of Scotland without any bitter fight against capitalist interests – a fight which would, after all, divide the ‘people’ of Scotland and the SNP down the middle. All that is needed is for the international oil companies to share a little of their wealth with a Scottish parliament rather than a Westminster one.

But not only SNP supporters suffer from such nationalist delusions. They are also shared by sections of the Labour movement. Insofar as the argument involves more than an opportunist chasing after nationalist votes or official positions in ‘Scottish’ institutions, it amounts to this: the Scottish people are more advanced in political consciousness than their English equivalents, therefore there would be a ‘left’ majority in a Scottish parliament and moves towards socialism would be easier.

The trouble with the argument is that it simply ignores the realities of power under modern capitalism. The ruling class has at its disposal massive economic wealth, which is concentrated on an all-Britain, if not an international, scale. It also exercises effective control over a powerful and centralised state machine. A Scottish parliament as envisaged by its ‘left-wing’ proponents would have no means of breaking either sort of power. For the only force that could break that power would be massive, united working-class action in England, Scotland and Wales simultaneously. But such action cannot be worked for by stressing the elements of national consciousness which distinguish some Scottish workers from their English brothers. And certainly it is not aided by combining with sections of the Scottish petty bourgeoisie in campaigns for Scottish nationalism.

Scottish nationalist agitation, whoever carries it out – whether the SNP, the Communist Party or even the occasional revolutionary – does not strengthen the real force for socialism, a united, class-conscious working class, but fragments and weakens it.

It is precisely for these reasons that the British ruling class, with the Kilbrandon Report, now seems ready to consider some form of ‘devolution’. Discussions about panaceas have the merit for it of distracting attention from real problems.

A Scottish parliament would represent no more than a decorative layer of tartan paint on one part of the state machine of British capitalism. Certainly it would not be able to impede the real workings of the major capitalist institutions. So why should our rulers not accept it? Its marginal inconveniences would be more than compensated for by the way it diverts attention from the real questions.

Revolutionaries do not, of course, defend the present centralised bourgeois state. When a real struggle takes place against British imperialism, as in Ireland, we have to support that struggle, regardless of our disagreements with its political leaders. If a massive movement did develop in Scotland opposed to continued unity with England, we would have to oppose any attempt by the British state to suppress it.

But we ourselves should give no support to encouraging separatist trends in Scotland. There is only one real alternative to the present centralised and bureaucratic capitalist state – a united and determined revolutionary workers’ movement leading to a united workers’ state.


by Josephine E. Squires, Department of Political Science and Justice Studies, Fort Hays State University, Kansas, America.

[Preliminary draft of paper for presentation at the ISA Panel on Indigenous Peoples and Non-State Nations]


We fight not for glory, nor riches, nor honour, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life

It was with these words that the Declaration of Albroth, claimed to be the most impressive manifesto of nationalism produced in mediaeval Europe, addressed the Pope. As far back as 1320, half a decade after the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland’s nobles and their followers petitioned the Leader of the Catholic Church to recognize Scotland as independent from the English and to declare Robert the Bruce as King of the Scots. Thirty five years earlier, the male royal line of Scotland had expired and the Scots believed that joining their royal family with that of England posed no great threat to Scotland’s independence.

They were mistaken. The English, rather than join with Scotland on equal but separate terms, chose to invade their northern neighbor. It was the Scots relationship with the English that gave birth to ardent Scottish nationalism. As a result, for almost four centuries before the formal Act of Union bet ween Scotland and England, relations between the two countries were, at best, distant and , at worst, openly hostile. It might be argued that, fundamentally, today’s Scottish National Movement is more a continuat ion of a struggle which has lasted close to eight hundred years than an expression of rebellion against a less than three hundred year old, undemocratically formed, union based on an agreement between the elites of Scotland and England.

In this paper, I trace the history of Scottish – English relations since 1707, the year in which the Act of Union was ratified, identifying different periods over which the intensity of the movement for Scottish independence varied. In doing so, I ha ve two objectives. First, to pinpoint the motivators which have led to the endurance of the Scottish Nationalist Movement and second, to determine which set of conditions have been necessary for the recent success of Scottish Nationalist groups in attai ning a degree of autonomy from the UK parliament at Westminster.

Theoretical Underpinnings

Given its small and poor tract of territory, Scotland, in historic times, was an unusually diverse region. However, the proximity of England, and Scottish disdain for English customs, produced an almost tribal national identity among those who saw themselves as Scottish. The struggle for keeping Scottishness intact in spite of English influences, has endured at least eight hundred years. The first clarification that must be made concerns what is meant by Scottishness.

According to the UN definition of ethnic nation, it is a people who should decide upon their identity, not external observers. The Scots are not composed of a single indigenous nation but rather of many groups, some of which are quite new to Scotland but, nevertheless, identify themselves as Scottish. Using Riggs= definition I shall refer to the Scots as a stateless ethnic nation. By doing this, I am not adhering strictly to the UN requirement, for many Scots regard themselves as civic nationalists, not ethnic nationalists. I will now attempt to justify my position.

John Rex makes a distinction between two aspects of nationalism. The first, which he refers to as descriptive, empirical, or historical Aseeks to describe various nations in terms of their cultures, ideologie s, internal structures, and organizations. The second, he claims, and this is often used by UK unionists, is one that Aconcentrates on nationalist ideologies and often derides them by suggesting that they are in vented as a mean of manipulation of the masses a political elite. It is the first view which I will attempt to Atailor@ to the Scottish case. While I would agree with Gurr, et al, (1994) who claim that collective identities are not transitory phenomena, I would argue that there is a good deal of plasticity in what human identity consists of . Identity may be expressed in an infinite number of ways.

Scottish leaders, nationalist groups, and scholars frequently claim that Scottish nationalism is civic, rather than ethnic. Many Scottish nationalists were not born in Scotland, nor were their ancestors Scottish, they point out. I offer an explanat ion which might satisfy both the ethnic and civic camps. I propose that Scotland=s historic cultural heritage, and, consequently, the feelings of Scots towards their own nationalism, is steeped in pragmatism rat her than in some of the more elaborate and outwardly magnificent traditions of other groups. There is a pride in productivity which meshes well with the fondness of virtues such as thrift. A culture may devote resources to grand and beautiful objects, such as medieval cathedrals, pyramids, and bejewelled ornaments or it can choose more ephemeral and pragmatic ways to express itself. Compared with other cultures, Scotland’s physical monuments are not impressive yet, stories such as those of St. Andrew, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce seem to indicate that Scotland sees itself immortalized in simple legends of perseverance and courage unadorned. If this is true, as I claim it is, then those who claim that groups which promote Scottish independence based on civic nationalism, rather than ethno-cultural nationalism, are failing to observe the complete nature of Scottishness. Expressions of Scottishness, like those of other ethnic groups, include those of music, costume and the telling of legends. Also, though,, I claim they include some which are perhaps not conciously recognized as part of a uniquly Scottish ethnic value system, such as pragmatism, thrift, persistence. These are usually unrecognized as expressions of ethnicity even by the very people into whose history and lives they are incorporated. This part of Scottishness has remained constant throughout centuries. It includes the very qualities and values which have allowed the Scottish nati onal movement to endure and, to a certain extent, succeed in achieving its aims. Based on these reasons, I argue that although Scottish ethnicity is not described along strictly conventional lines, Scottish nationalists are, in fact, ethnonationalists. Gurr’s (1994) classification of the Scots as ethnonationals is correct.

The identity of the Scottish nation has been rather stable, albeit partially unrecognized. However, what distinguishes the Scots from most other ethnic nations is the degree to which they are willing to accept outsiders as new Scots, and, equally im portant, the enthusiasm with which outsiders adopt Scottish identity. As a consequence of this, the demography of the group of people who refer to themselves as Scots is unusually dynamic. Walker Connor (1994) argues that identity is based on a myth of common descent rather than on scientific evidence proving such a relationship. I would argue that, in the case of the Scots, even those Scottish Nationalists who claim no common descent, either real or imagined, are frequently bound tightly to the cause and identify themselves as Scottish. Colley argues that the British defined themselves as a nation by way of contrast with the French Aother.  Using the same premise, I argue that the Scots defined themselves as a nation in Contrast to England. The newest Scots often identify themselves as Scottish specifically in rejection of the English label.

The second clarification that needs to be made concerns the most accurate way in which to describe Scotland’s political-geography. This is important for, as Gurr (1993) and Riggs (1998) have pointed out, com munal groups may be defined in different ways. Using both Gurr’s and Riggs’ taxonomies, I propose that the Scots may be defined as an ethnic national people within an enclave. However, the movement towards autonomy is supported by many Scots outside the enclave.

My thesis, which is useful for understanding not only the Scottish Movement but , also, similar movements in other parts of the world, is that in order to advance in its struggle for independence, or partial autonomy, a group must possess certain intrinsic motivating factors . These are insufficient, though, to successfully rid itself of what are often seen as oppressive and unfair governments. In addition to possessing group-intrinsic motivations, it is necessary that extrinsic conditions be favourable to the independent survival of the group, or at least perceived to be so. I propose that the struggle for Scottish liberation, or partial autonomy, from English influence has been characterized by constant interaction between what I have chosen to l abel intrinsic motivations and extrinsic influences. My definition of Aintrinsic,@ adhering to that of Webster’s Dictionary, is Ainward; on the inside; internal@ and that of extrinsic is Anot contained within; external; outside.

History of the Scottish Nationalist Movement

From the legendary St. Andrew, to William Wallace , the thirteenth century Scottish equivalent of Robin Hood who emerged as the leader of a guerilla resistance group to English occupation of Scotland, to Robert the Bruce who defeated the English Ki ng Edward II at the Battle of Banockburn, Scottish history is replete with brave and unflinching fighters for the Scottish cause. More recently, Scottish nationalists have, for the most part, employed the word not the sword in attempting to free Scotl and from what many of them perceive as oppression by the Westminster Parliament. It is from the Formal Act of Union between England and Scotland, which was ratified in 1707, that I will begin to trace the history of Scottish nationalism. For it is sin ce that date that Scotland has been formally governed by the England- based Westminster parliament.

As the seventeenth century drew to a close, the Scottish Parliament had two serious problems with which to contend. First, that of the Calvinist movement and second, that of facing an abysmal economic situation resulting from a series of crop failures and subsequent famine. The Kirk, which promoted the idea of Positive Freedom, that is freedom within certain bounded rules of society, was not supportive of nati onalist goals. Its sights were set on promoting the welfare of society as a whole, not on those groups which would split it asunder in the name of self-interested nationalism. After 1707, the Calvinists were among those who accepted the Union, claimi ng that it was no threat to Scotland.

At the end of the 18th. Century, Scotland initiated its Home Rule and also acquired a Scottish Office at Westminster. Clearly, neither the Scots nor other nations living within the enclave of the UK agreed with John Stewart Mil’s statement that experience proves that it is possible for one nationality to merge and be absorbed by another, or by his claim that this would be a boon to the backward and inferior.

Nobody can suppose that it is not more beneficial for a Breton or a Basque of French Navarre to be a member of the French nationality, admitted on equal terms to all the privileges of French citizenship…than to sulk on his own rocks, the half savage relic of a past time….The same applies to the Welshman or the Scottish Highlander as members of the British Nation.

While in 19th Century Ireland, where home rule was seen as a barely tolerable compromise, Scotland, during the same time period, appeared placid and even accepting of its situation. While in both Ireland and Wales there existed an alliance between the peasantry, coping with agricultural depression, emigration, and urbanization , and a radically nationalist intelligencia, In Scotland no such relationship developed. Perhaps this is explained by the fact that agricultural depression was less felt in Scotland and there had been a good deal more industrial growth in Scotland than in either of the other two countries. In the early 1880s , encouraged by the formation of the Irish Land League, Scottish Highlanders stood and fought for their land against evi ction by whom they saw as England- sympathizing Landlords.

In 1886, a Scottish Home Rule Association was formed and in 1888, the Scottish Liberal Association adopted home rule as their banner. But, for all their efforts, Scottish liberals remained relatively conservative and, for the most part, politicians remained deferential to Westminster. Why was it that Scottish party politics seemed to fit so well into the Union template? As the Empire progressed, Scots were recruited, in heavy numbers, to the British bureaucracy. They seemed to have a gift for efficiency in administration and were willing, if not anxious, to travel abroad. Meanwhile the Scots who remained at home enjoyed a higher level of economic well being than either the Irish or the Welsh. The Scots, although by no means in dire economic s traits, could not realistically hope to survive as a sovereign nation, independent from the rest of the UK. These factors, combined with the lack of either desire or necessity of the English or their government to support Scottish autonomy, provided an environment in which extrinsic influences were quite negative towards Scottish nationalism.

With the outside threat posed by World War I, came greater cooperation between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Between the wars there was some upsurge of Scottish nationalism. However, although the SNP performed quite well in 1935, polling an average of 16%, the invasion of Poland in 1939 ruined all plans for a Scottish Convention on home rule. Although most of Scotland allied with the rest of the British, there were those, including Douglas young, Chairman of the Aberdeen Branch of the SNP, who thought that the allies were likely to loose the war and that the Scots should seek a separate peace.

In 1941, Churchill gave the Scots the opportunity for de facto home rule for the duration of the war. After 1945 the growth of the Scottish Office at Westminster to some degree contained Scotland within the UK.


The Successes and Failures of Nationalist Struggle

When new situations arise and the grip of the dominating power, in this case the UK government, is, relatively speaking, weakened, or supplanted by another source of authority, its ability to impose its structure on subordinated peoples is undermined. Then, nationalist groups are able to assert themselves more successfully.

Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are each separate nations and all governed by the Westminster parliament. While in Northern Ireland majority prefer to keep their ties to the UK, the Welsh and the Scots struggle for some degree of autonomy. Until the 1970s there was a considerable degree o economic dependency of Wales and Scotland on the UK . However, while the Welsh accept that they are still economically unable to sustain a separate state, they too are struggling for autonomy for the Scots , with the discovery of North Sea Oil, became more confident in their ability to exist independently within the EU.

In the early 1990s Scots became increasingly insistent than ever on retaining their identity, and their government, quite separate from that of the UK. Moreover they became more confident of their ability to be economically self sustaining. Research conducted by the Scottish Development Agency (SDA) revealed that , presenting an independent Scottish identity in Europe will, in itself, boost Scottish trade and jobs.@ The SNP was supported in this claim by several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) including Gerhard Schmidt of the German Socialist Party which sits in the same section of the European Parliament as the Scottish Labor Party.

If the Scottish people would vote for independence, and if separation is allowed due to the rules of the constitution of the United Kingdom, its up to them I can=t ima gine that Scotland would be excluded from the European community. Why? There’s no reason for it.

It was statements of support such as this, combined with a widespread belief in the ability of Scotland=s economy to thrive economically, that greatly raised the level of Scottish confidence. Not only were the y supported from within, but they had support from Europe.

In 1997, it was generally expected that Scots would vote in favor of a Scottish parliament. However, even the most hopeful failed to realize how strong their endorsement would be. Voter turnout was exceptionally high, at 60.4% and the percentage of people voting yes to a Scottish parliament was 74.3%.

Scotland at the Turn of the Millennium

On September 11, 1997 decision was made by three quarters of Scotland’s voters to institute their own parliament. The parliament to be inaugurated in the year 2000, will govern Scotland in all matters except security, macro-economics, finance, and relations with the EU, and pensions.

For some Scottish nationalists, this provides a satisfactory solution to their problems with being governed from Westminster while, to others this is seen as a stepping stone towards full independence.

Membership as a sovereign state in the EU. Whichever path is taken, it is evident that the new Scottish Parliament will be formed in ways which are different from the Westminster tradition. In the first place, Scotland’s MP will be selected by a process of proportional representative. Clearly, this system of elections is likely to lead to a multiparty government and also to a coalition between the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. A thing unheard of in recent British politics. Moreover, the Scots have committed themselves to a parliament within which there will be an equal number of male and female representatives.


Scotland’s success in attaining autonomy, perhaps a stepping stone to independence, has come about due to the increasing coincidence of certain intrinsic and extrinsic factors during the past decade or so.

The intrinsic motivational elements of Scottish nationalist groups have become somewhat more cohesive than they had been previously. Scots have been more confident in expressing their ethnicity, especially as it is defined by Walker Connor and understood, in an unconventional sense, as intertwined with the need for practical support for idealistic aspirations. Their insistence on, at least some degree of, autonomy has been kept alive over the centuries, showing persistent intrinsic motivation.

Changes in the Westminster government, regional structural change, world structural change, economic opportunity and increased diversity in terms of social participation, both within Scotland and, overall in the UK, have all combined to form the fertile medium in which Scottish Nationalists attained significant success. I insist that without this combination of factors Scottish nationalists could not have improved their position.