The Case for Scottish Independence
Ben Jackson, Leslie Mitchell Tutorial Fellow in Modern History and Associate Professor of Modern History, has just published The Case for Scottish Independence: A History of Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
The book tells the story of the rise of nationalist ideas in Scotland, from their beginnings as a fringe movement to their influential position in contemporary Scottish politics and culture. While Scottish nationalism is now a powerful social movement, the goal of Scottish independence only emerged surprisingly recently into public debate.
The origins of Scottish nationalism lie not in the medieval battles for Scottish statehood, the Acts of Union, the Scottish Enlightenment, or any other traditional historical milestone. Instead, an influential separatist Scottish nationalism began to take shape only in the 1970s and achieved its present ideological maturity in the course of the 1980s and 1990s. The nationalism that emerged from this testing period of Scottish history was unusual in that it demanded independence not to defend a threatened ancestral culture but as the most effective way to promote the agenda of the left.
The book is an accessible and engaging account of the political thought of Scottish nationalism that explores how the arguments for Scottish independence were crafted over some fifty years by intellectuals, politicians and activists, and why these ideas had such a seismic impact on Scottish and British politics in the 2014 independence referendum.
Ben Jackson teaches modern British history and the history of political thought. He teaches the first year outline paper British History 1830-1951 and the second year outline papers on British History 1815-1924 and British History Since 1900. He also teaches the first year optional paper Theories of the State, the second year further subject Political Theory and Social Science, and the third year special subject War and Reconstruction: Ideas, Politics and Social Change, 1939-45.