EU gives new meaning to the idea of nationalism

7 January 2008

Jon Bright (London, OK): Picked up this Al-Jazeera report from Tartan Hero - "to see ourselves as others see us" he calls it - AJ's take on the rise of support for Scottish independence.


I always love watching international news reports on domestic issues because you get a fresh pair of eyes looking at an old problem. And what comes out, for me, from both Margot MacDonald and Alex Salmond, who were interviewed for the piece, is how important the existence of the EU is in framing the context of the debate on 'independence'. MacDonald made the point that other 'small' nations also exist happily in the EU. Salmond emphasised that Scotland wanted to represent itself in institutions like this. When it is explained again, from first principles, it is the existence of this larger statelike structure that is always lurking in the background in the SNP's desire to break away from the original (albeit far more developed / centralised /powerful) British superstate. Would calls for Scottish independence be conceivable without the EU? If not, what does that say about the existence and future of the significance of the word 'nationalism'? Is the entropy being felt in the UK part of the inevitable destruction needed for the creation of something new - and what might that be?

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