Where: Knight Library Browsing Room
A public lecture by Iain Macwhirter, Edinburgh-based author, political commentator and television presenter
Monday, February 22, 2016
Knight Library Browsing Room
In May 2015, the pro-independence Scottish National Party won a general election landslide in Scotland securing 95% of the parliamentary seats and all but destroying the unionist parties. Yet, less than a year previously, in a referendum on independence, Scots had voted to remain part of the United Kingdom by a significant margin of 55% to 45%. How do we make sense of this contradiction, and how can the United Kingdom remain united when so many Scottish voters support a political party dedicated to breaking it up? I argue that, since 1988, Scots have been engaged in an incremental process of restoring first political and then economic sovereignty (lost in 1707) that came to a head in the extraordinary "festival of politics" as referendum campaign of 2013/14 became known. Because of continued economic dependence on the Bank of England, Scots have settled for becoming "independent in the mind" - but only for the time being.