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This chapter examines the book’s theme in the period of the long independence referendum campaign and final vote on 18 September 2014. It also considers subsequent political developments, in particular the 2015 general election and the SNP’s achievement of winning 56 out of 59 Scottish seats. It discusses changes in political behaviour in the Catholic community, the divisions that have crystallised among Protestants, and the political effects of the growth of the ‘No Religion’ category in Scottish life. It examines the continuing significance of Irish influences in west-central Scotland, and the latest report into the question of sectarianism. It argues that the Labour Party, in attempting to revive its fortunes, needs to challenge the prevailing identity politics and the narratives and assumptions around them.
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1. The Herald, 5 February 2015, ‘Scotland has changed and it may be too late for Labour’. Also, I. Macwhirter, Tsunami, Glasgow: Freight Books, 2015.
2. See, for example, J. Curtice et al., Revolution or Evolution? The 2007 Scottish Elections, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009, especially ch. 6; and Mitchell et al., The Scottish National Party, especially ch. 8.
3. ‘The disunited kingdom’, The Spectator, 9 May 2015.
4. See P. Geoghegan, The People’s Referendum, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2014; also Lesley Riddoch, Blossom, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2013. Riddoch, a well-respected journalist and commentator, was a prominent ‘Yes’ campaigner and media performer.
5. J. Pike, Project Fear, London: Biteback Publishing, 2015.
6. Brown also contributed the most substantial written defence of the Union in his My Scotland Our Britain, London: Simon and Schuster, 2014.
7. See report in The Tablet, 14 February 2015.
8. See, for example, Gerry Braiden in The Herald, 28 March 2014; Tom Devine quote in The Herald, 17 March 2014; Tom Gallagher contribution to Daily Telegraph Politics Blog, 29 January 2014.
9. See Daily Record, 27 March 2015.
10. See M. Rosie, ‘Tall Tales: Understanding Religion and Scottish Independence’, Scottish Affairs, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2014), 332–341.
11. See Pike, Project Fear, p. 133; also P. Hennessy, The Kingdom to Come, London: Haus Publishing, 2015, p. 27. Communication from Andrew McFadyen, Al Jazeera Journalist and former Labour Party worker, 10 November 2015. Galloway’s dire warnings can be viewed as an ironic reversal of the ‘Home Rule is Rome Rule’ slogan of Ulster Unionists back in 1912.
12. A. Aughey, ‘Far Away, So Close’, in G. Hassan and J. Mitchell (eds.), After Independence, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2013.
13. L. Colley, Acts of Union and Disunion, London: Profile Books, 2014, p. 10.
14. See Hennessy, Kingdom, p. 73.
15. See C. Kidd, ‘The Defence of the Union: Ironies and Ambiguities’, in Hassan and Mitchell, After Independence.
16. The Herald, 14 January 2015. On her resignation, Johann Lamont complained about the Scottish Labour Party being treated as ‘a branch office’ of London. Murphy’s role in the ‘No’ campaign was a prominent one; he undertook a tour of the country addressing street meetings and was roughly handled in several, mainly former Labour, places.
17. The Herald, 5 November 2014.
18. Irish Post, 9 February 2013.
19. D. Torrance, Salmond: Against the Odds, Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2011, pp. 378, 456 fn. 23. Also see preface to ‘Choosing Scotland’s Future: A National Conversation’ (Scottish Government, 2007).
20. M. Kettle, ‘Once again a generation is rejecting the political order’, The Guardian, 23 October 2014.
21. Geoghegan, People’s Referendum, ch. 2. Connolly settled in Ireland as a young man and attempted to relate the cause of an Irish Republic to his socialist beliefs. He founded the Irish Citizen Army which fought in the 1916 Rebellion. Connolly was executed for his leading part in the Rising. The radical writer and commentator, the late Ian Bell, proclaimed his Nationalism stridently during the campaign and cited Connolly (a distant relative) as his main influence. See Sunday Herald, 15 January 2012.
22. T. Gallagher, ‘The Scottish Church showed little statesmanship or common sense during the referendum’, Spectator Blog, 22 September 2014. See same author’s Divided Scotland: Ethnic Friction and Christian Crisis, Glendaruel: Argyll Publishing, 2013, especially ch. 10.
23. Interview with Dave Scott, 22 September 2015.
24. See commentary by Ruth Dudley Edwards in Belfast Telegraph, 5 October 2015.
25. See coverage of this affair in The Herald, 4 and 5 December 2015.
26. For a critique of Connolly’s subordination of his socialism to a Nationalist creed, see A. Morgan, James Connolly: A Political Biography, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988.
27. George Galloway claimed on his radio show ‘Talksport’ that Reid ‘taught a generation of Scottish Labour activists…the entire IRA songbook’. The show was aired on 25 May 2007. My thanks to Dr. James Greer for this reference.
28. See The Herald, 8 November 2010; for comment on the Green Brigade and the Sands/Wallace display see M. Kelly, ‘Green Brigade can’t rewrite history’, The Scotsman, 5 December 2013.
29. D. Morrow, ‘Learning from Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland?’—Address at Northern Ireland Assembly in Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series, 7 October 2015. This address was based on the research findings of the Advisory Group of which Dr. Morrow was Chair.
30. See N. Bonney, ‘Religion and the Scottish Independence Referendum’, Political Quarterly, Vol. 84, No. 4 (2013), 478–485. Bonney died in 2014. Otton contributes regularly to online debates in the Scottish press. For a recent example of a critical assessment of the control of education in the Republic of Ireland, see D. Ferriter, ‘Sectarian schools system an affront to Republic’s ideals’, Irish Times, 28 November 2015.
31. See Kettell, ‘The Militant Strain’.
32. The Catholic Church may simply have arrived at the view that the SNP will wield power for the foreseeable future and that it would thus be wise to be close to it.
33. This undated letter was sent from Grand Orange Lodge HQ in Glasgow—my thanks to Mark Dingwall, Orange Order member. James G. MacLean, an Order official, has confirmed that advice was indeed given out widely to back Labour. Interview with J.G. MacLean, 5 October 2015.
34. James MacLean believes that probably a majority of Orange members were voting Labour by the 1990s. Interview, 5 October 2015.
35. ‘Scottish Independence: Orange Order’s No vote plan’, The Scotsman, 23 April 2013.
36. See Massie, ‘The disunited kingdom’.
37. Interview with J. G. McLean, 5 October 2015. Claims that Orange Order members were defecting were also made in pro-Yes websites such as ‘Bella Caledonia’ in the run-up to the vote.
38. Kidd, ‘The Defence of the Union’.
39. See A. McKillop, ‘The SNP avoids the dirtier complexities of Scottish identity’, Scottish Review, 11 September 2012.
40. Note should also be taken of the growth of the Ulster-Scots movement in Northern Ireland over the past 20–30 years around language and cultural objectives, and the recognition given to Ulster-Scots as a minority language and culture in its own right in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. See discussion in Edna Longley, ‘Multi-culturalism and Northern Ireland’, in E. Longley and D. Kiberd, Multi- Culturalism: the View from the Two Irelands, Cork: Cork University Press, 2001.
41. P. Geoghegan, ‘Unionists in the North faced with a Scottish Problem’, Irish Times, 9 September 2014.
42. Private communication.
43. See M. Rosie and E. Hepburn, ‘“The Essence of the Union…”: Unionism, Nationalism and Identity On These Disconnected Islands’, Scottish Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 2 (2015), 141–162; F. Bechhofer and D. McCrone, ‘The End of Being British?’, Scottish Affairs, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2014), 309–322.
44. Although, see arguments in M. Breeze et al., ‘“Everybody’s Scottish at the end of the day”: Nationalism and Social Justice Amongst Young Yes Voters’, Scottish Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 4 (2015), 419–431.
45. See The Orange Torch, November 2014.
46. For Scotland, see Andrew McFadyen’s piece ‘Defenders of the Union’ on his website: http://andrewmcfadyen.net/Also e-mail communication to author by Andrew McFadyen, 10 November 2015.
47. Interview with J.G. McLean, 5 October 2015.
48. See Hennessy, Kingdom to Come, p. 85 regarding the fears of Labour MP Tommy McAvoy and Tam Dalyell.
49. See, for example, Paul Hutcheon’s report in Sunday Herald, 14 September 2014.
50. Geoghegan, People’s Referendum, p. 36. See also letters in Orange Torch, November 2014.
51. Interview with J.G. Maclean, 5 October 2015.
52. Sunday Herald, 28 December 2014.
53. W.S. Franklin et al., Follow We Will, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2013.
54. G. Walker, ‘From Darlings to Pariahs: Rangers and Scottish National Pride’, in A. Bissett and A. McKillop (eds.), Born Under a Union Flag: Rangers and Scottish Independence, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2014.
55. Financial Times, 18 January 2015. See also, in relation to the fans’ choice of songs and support for the Union, O.D. Edwards, ‘Ireland: the Elephant in the Room’, in O.D. Edwards and J. Maxwell (eds.), Why Not? Labour and Scottish Independence, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2014.
56. See various chapters in Bissett and McKillop (eds.), Born Under a Union Flag.
57. See A. Truman, ‘Scapegoats in Scotland’s Blame Game’, in R. Esplin and G. Walker (eds.), Rangers: Triumphs, Troubles, Traditions, Ayr: Fort Publishing, 2010.
58. Interview with Dave Scott, 22 September 2015.
59. The Herald, 7 June 2013. For an investigation into the flag controversy in Northern Ireland, see P. Nolan et al., The Flag Dispute: Anatomy of a Protest, Belfast: Queen’s University, 2014.
60. BBC Scotland News, 31 August 2015.
61. M. Rosie, ‘The Sectarian Iceberg?’, Scottish Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 3 (2015), 328–350. See also commentary by leading historian of religion, Callum Brown in The Herald, 27 September 2013.
62. See Bonney, ‘Religion and the Scottish Independence Referendum’.
63. Walker, ‘The Religious Factor’.
64. ‘Who do we think we are?’, The Scotsman, 27 September 2013.
65. Interview with Dave Scott, 22 September 2015.
66. See A. Need and N.D. De Graaf, ‘“Losing my religion”: a dynamic analysis of leaving the church in the Netherlands’, European Sociological Review, Vol. 12, No. 1 (1996), 87–99; and H. Knippenberg, ‘Secularisation in the Netherlands in its historical and geographical dimensions’, GeoJournal, Vol. 45, No. 3 (1998), 209–220. My thanks to Dr. Chris Raymond for alerting me to these works.
67. It was discovered after the Referendum that most ‘Yes’ voters belonged to the 25–39 age group. See The Herald, 24 September 2014. For statistics regarding religion and the SNP, see Mitchell et al., The SNP, ch. 4. Some 43 % of SNP members in 2007–2008 were of ‘No Religion’ and this figure seems highly likely to have increased.
68. Daily Record, 27 March 2015.
69. M. Rosie, ‘Tall Tales’.
70. See discussion in A. Schneider, ‘Age and Variations in the Attitude towards Scottish Independence’, Scottish Affairs, Vol. 23, No. 1 (2014), 55–78.
71. Interview with Harry Reid, 18 December 2015. Harry also stressed the disjunction there often is between the people in the pews and the official spokespersons of the Church.
72. See Alasdair McKillop’s review of Linda Colley’s book ‘Acts of Union and Disunion’ in the Scottish Review of Books blog, 20 January 2014.
73. See Rosie and Hepburn, ‘“The Essence…”’; Linda Colley, Britons. Forging the Nation 1707–1837, London: Pimlico, 1994.
74. Rosie and Hepburn, ‘“The Essence…”’
75. See Breeze et al., ‘“Everybody’s Scottish”’. Those interviewed in this article focus entirely on Scotland and do not consider the rest of the UK.
76. Well-publicised incidents of this kind involved the author J.K. Rowling and the Olympian cyclist Chris Hoy.
77. Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism, Tackling Sectarianism and its Consequences in Scotland, Scottish Government, 2015. For articles discussing the findings of this report and of the others commissioned, see the special issue of the journal Scottish Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 3 (2015).
78. The Herald, 7 January 2013.
79. Morrow, ‘Learning from tackling sectarianism in Scotland?’
81. Emphasis in original. The written submissions on the Bill were published on the committee’s web pages.
82. Executive summary of report published by the Scottish government in December 2013.
83. This was suggested as a possibility by Dave Scott—interview 22 September 2015. However, critics of NBM would accuse them of effectively keeping the schools off their own agenda.
84. The Herald, 6 June 2015.
85. Executive Summary of ‘Tackling Sectarianism’ final report, 2015; Morrow, ‘Learning from tackling sectarianism in Scotland?’
86. Executive Summary, ‘Tackling Sectarianism’.
87. The Herald, 18 November 2015.
88. See J. Mitchell, ‘Sea Change in Scotland’, Parliamentary Affairs, Vol. 68, Special Issue (2015), 88–100.
89. See Iain Macwhirter, ‘Dugdale’s chance to take Labour into new territory’, The Herald, 29 October 2015. The new UK Labour leader from September 2015, Jeremy Corbyn, expressed his willingness to respect the autonomy of the Scottish party.
90. The Commission was the outcome of ‘The Vow’ made by the three pro-Union parties (Labour, Conservative, and Liberal-Democrat) that measures would immediately be taken in the event of a ‘No’ vote to enhance the powers of the Scottish Parliament: see Pike, Project Fear, ch. 9. Research has indicated that ‘The Vow’ did not sway the result: see The Herald, 26 March 2015. It had been clear for some months before the vote that there would be a push for new powers in the event of a ‘No’ outcome. See the intervention by Gordon Brown and Menzies Campbell, The Herald, 11 March 2014.
91. See former Conservative Scottish Secretary Lord Lang’s objections in the House of Lords to the Scotland Bill, Scotsman, 25 November 2015.
92. D. Torrance, Britain ReBooted, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2014; Colley, Acts of Union; D. Marquand, ‘United States of Britain?’ Prospect, June 2014; The Herald, 26 June 2014 for Fraser’s intervention in favour of federalism.
93. J. Gallagher, ‘The English Question’, Prospect, December 2014; Ben Jackson, ‘The Break Up of Britain? The Left and Scottish Nationalism’, Renewal, Vol. 22, No. 1 (2014), 15–23.
94. Scotsman, 5 February 2015. Brown’s last speech to the House of Commons repeated the charges of the previous one: he attacked those who threatened the Union with their ‘me too, me first, me now, me above all, me whatever’ manifestos. See The Herald, 27 March 2015.
95. Nicola Sturgeon has indicated that a Scottish vote to stay in, if overridden by an English vote to leave, would be grounds for another independence Referendum. For a broader discussion, see T. Devine, ‘Is this the end of the Union as we know it?’ The Conversation, 12 May 2015.
96. See G. Walker, ‘Scotland’s Sectarianism Problem: Irish Answers?’ Political Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 2 (2012), 374–383.
- ‘Indyref’, Identity Politics, and the Union in Question
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Chapter 3