The Scottish Spring

On 5 May 2011 Scottish voters gave the Scottish Nationalist Party, the SNP, an outright majority in their parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh, under their leader Alex Salmond. The SNP said in their manifesto that they would hold a referendum towards the end of the parliament which will last five years. What is the meaning of this dramatic turn for Scotland, for Britain as a country, for the United Kingdom as a state, and for the other nations, especially England. What are the forces and energies being stirred and how may the political parties respond. Since it started OurKingdom has covered the shaping constitutional and democratic implications of the UK's national question. Now we welcome 'The Scottish Spring'.

See the short series, Britain after 5 May, for 28 articles of immediate reaction to a pivotal moment for Britain, democratic reform, the party political landscape and the fate of the union. 

Alex Salmond, Rupert Murdoch and the pitfalls of crony capitalism

Up until now, the SNP has been seen as as a decent government, less in thrall to the corporate classes than Cameron's Coalition. But the pact made between Scotland's First Minister and the Murdoch media empire punctures this moral high-ground. Can he reclaim it?

Can the Scottish Nationalists embrace post-nationalism, the only route to independence?

Scotland's governing party looks forward to independence. But what does this mean in our time? A form of post-nationalist nationalism that embraces the world.

What do you do when democracy fails you? The crisis of Scottish Labour

Scottish Labour has finally woken up, roused by a speech from the Shadow Foreign Secretary. The old Labour hymns are dead, he admitted - but when will the party find a new tune?

A Different Pulse of Politics: It’s Time for a Radical SNP Vision for Scotland

With its opponents in disarray the Scottish Nationalist Party has a glorious opportunity to take a fresh approach to governing and unlock a broad movement for self-government in Scotland. This is how it should begin.

After the deluge: the meaning of ‘the public’ and the power of self-determination

The recent Compass initiative on the lack of responsibility of Britain's elites is timely, but we need to have a much wider and more ambitious debate about the meaning of the public. Part of the answer can be found in developing the idea of self-determination -- something already under way in Scotland.

The Conservatives, the Union, Scotland and the British State

The defence of the union in true Tory tradition has begun, with a speech by former Prime Minister John Major: conciliatory on the surface, while aiming at protecting the bastardised British state

The start of a pan-British debate on the union?

Is a serious, pan-British debate starting on the future of the union and the rise of the SNP in Scotland? Yesterday's BBC Newsnight finally showed that the Westminster media bubble is capable of engaging with the national question

UK needs a Convention for a renewed federal union: an argument from Wales

Welsh Assembly Member David Melding argues that ‘Little Britain’, as a truncated union of England and Wales, would be unlikely to survive

The Death of Positive Unionism: 10 reasons why there will be a single Scots referendum vote

To hold two referendums on Scottish independence would be without grounding or precedent, and dangerous for politics in Scotland and the UK. Westminster must drop this idea if they are to set forth a positive vision of the Union

Where is the positive Scottish nationalism?

The Scottish First Minister is claiming that the independence of the country's legal system is under threat, while his critics say he's playing politics. Is the SNP preparing to deploy shameless tactics to win the referendum on Scottish independence?

Festival of Britain 2011: microcosm of a troubled Union

As Scotland faces the prospect of a vote on independence, the Festival of Britain 2011 is underway in central London. Designed to celebrate the anniversary of the 1951 exhibition and capture the spirit of modern Britain, the festival instead reveals a Union in crisis and denial

Can we help our friends in the South? A Scotsman asks his compatriots to be generous

The success of the SNP on 5 May has triggered bad tempered and pained responses south of the border and a sense of loss at even the thought of Britain breaking up. England deserves better, can the Scots help?

The BBC's silence on Scotland and the politics of Little Britain

The SNP majority win in Scotland is of momentous importance to the United Kingdom. Yet the BBC's post-election coverage has been notably silent on Scotland, reflecting a deep crisis of unionism

Conflicting fantasies of Scottish independence - and building a reality

Scottish independence has long been a political fantasy. Before the elections, the SNP allowed for conflicting visions of an independent future. Now, whatever the referendum result, we must listen and engage with each-other's hopes for Scotland

How do we talk about Scotland?

How should we talk about Scotland and the coming referendum on independence? A non-partisan debate is needed that includes all the nations, acknowledges the English question, and exists outside of the Westminster circle. But how will this be achieved?

The emotions of Britishness and being English, a response to David Mitchell

David Mitchell has said that the prospect of Scottish independence makes him worried about his British national identity. Gareth Young responds by asking Mitchell and other Brits who wish to save the Union to imagine a multi-national Britain that embraces hybridity instead of relying on Anglo-centric notions of Britishness

A Beginner’s Guide to Scottish Independence and Britain

Many in England don't understand the country they live in let alone Scotland. Here is a helping hand.

Scotland's opportunity is about more than 'independence'

Something profound and genuinely radical is taking place in Scotland.

To protect the Union, England and the centre-left must start fighting now

Following the SNP's unexpected triumph, full or fiscal independence for Scotland are suddenly real possibilities. Salmond has five years to call a referendum, and the result is critical for the whole UK. Both the Conservatives and Labour will fight to protect the Union, but the centre-left has more to lose

A hundred days of occupation: the "Free Hetherington" at Glasgow University

On February 1st, a building owned by Glasgow University was occupied in protest against attempts to model the university on a business, in solidarity with the wider student movement against the rise in tuition fees and privatisation of higher education. Yesterday, the Free Hetherington celebrated 100 days of occupation

Scotland's perfect storm: a long-term SNP supporter reflects on Salmond's triumph

It's been a long journey since 1970, when the SNP gained its first MP in a general election, to the 5th of May, 2011, when the party won an unprecedented majority in the Scottish Parliament. After the historic result, Ryan Gallagher asks his father, a long-term SNP supporter, what does the future hold?

The SNP won through faith in a Scottish future; now they must make it real

The debate in England over Scottish independence misses the point. It was the SNP's ambition and positivity, not the independence issue, that won them the Parliamentary majority. Now they must be more bold still, and build a path towards a distinctively Scottish future

How the beat of Scottish nationalism is becoming the nation's music

It has taken 40 years for the Nationalists to become the dominant force in Scottish politics. The SNP's victory has changed the story of Scotland and of the UK itself. But a referendum on independence is not enough. We must open a pluralist conversation about the kind of Scotland we want to live in

Scottish independence would open the way for constitutional reform

Scottish independence would spell the end of Great Britain. The UK would live on, but would need to be radically re-defined and re-designed. Constitutional reformers should grasp the opportunity presented by Scotland’s possible departure from the Union would open the doors to large-scale constitutional reform

The Scottish Spring

Scotland emerged from its election completely and utterly changed. A huge historic Nationalist victory and the worst Labour result in seats since 1931. In its own way, the country has undergone its very own Scottish Spring
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