seeking better understanding of this island
September 21, 2012 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Any recommendations on articles, books that would help me form deeper insight into UK politics, especially Scotland?

I'm studying here for the year, and while I can follow the generalities well enough, I've realised my understanding is very much London/England-centric. So would definitely appreciate any insightful stuff, be it academic or pop cultural. (i can access any academic paywalled articles for the year)
posted by cendawanita to Law & Government (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Scotland: A New History by Michael Lynch gives a very good historical overview of the shaping of the political landscape of Scotland, but that might not fit your needs very well. Articles I can't recommend, but BBC Scotland, The Herad and The Scotsman (the last two are newspapers) are usually pretty well up on contemporary Scottish politics.
posted by Scottie_Bob at 6:35 PM on September 21, 2012

Try this, for a start: an article by Colin Kidd from earlier this year, when the question of a referendum on Scottish independence flared up again. It analyzes the way that question affects the different UK political parties. From August, this article by Linda Colley touches on similar questions, with less of a focus on political parties.

You could also go back in time a bit and follow events forward, to see how we got to where we are today, especially from devolution 15 years ago. On Scotland and its place within the UK, you could read a couple of things by Tom Nairn: The Break-up of Britain, from the late 70s, and After Britain from 2000, just after devolution had come into effect. Here's a review of the latter by Neal Ascherson, from the time. Obviously some things have changed since then: for example, Donald Dewar, mentioned there as First Minister of the devolved parliament, died suddenly a few months later. More importantly, on a structural level, the idea of Scottish independence within the EU looks rather different now, post-2008, than in the early 2000s. (Neal Ascherson himself is worth following, too: his 2003 book Stone Voices, for example. As a Scottish journalist who worked for British newspapers across central Europe during the Cold War, his understanding of British and Scottish politics is not at all an insular one.)

Log-ins required for the next couple: Colin Kidd again, reviewing a book on unionism in 2006; and Tom Nairn reviewing Kidd's own book on unionism in 2009. (Small world...)

I stayed up all night, on the night of the first elections to the Scottish parliament, and went up Calton Hill at dawn--which, this being Edinburgh in early May, was probably before 5am. It was misty and damp, so you couldn't see a thing of the wonderful view, and the only people up there apart from me and my girlfriend were a glum TV crew sitting in their truck with nothing to film. It was nice, though. On the way home seagulls were fighting for scraps of kebab on the broad empty streets with just the odd black cab roaring around.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 2:04 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Don't have money for repairs to pass inspection...   |   HIV: How likely is it to contract M to F? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.