Scotland 2014 and Beyond – Coming of Age and Loss of Innocence?

by Klaus Peter Müller (Volume editor)
©2015 Conference proceedings VIII, 457 Pages
Series: Scottish Studies International, Volume 39


This book examines Scotland from a great variety of international and disciplinary perspectives, offering viewpoints from ordinary citizens as well as experts in culture, history, literature, sociology, politics, the law, and the media. The texts investigate the mental processes, dispositions, and activities that have been involved in past and present discussions about Scottish independence, freedom, equality, justice, and the creation of a fair society. Such discussions have been shaped by specific values, ideologies, class or personal interests and objectives as well as by specific ways of telling their stories. These are analysed together with the European, global, and democratic dimensions of Scotland, in order to find answers to the question how coming of age might be achieved today.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Editor
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • The Articles in this Book: Topics, Perspectives, Disciplines: Klaus Peter Müller
  • Scotland 2014 and Beyond – Key Contexts of Innocence and Maturity: Scotland, the UK, the EU, the Global & Digital Worlds: Klaus Peter Müller (Mainz)
  • 1. Scotland
  • 2. Scotland and Britain / England
  • 3. Scotland and Europe
  • 4. Scotland and the Global & Digital Worlds
  • Do We Have Enough Smeddum for Improving Humanity?
  • References
  • I. History and Politics
  • Scotland as Part of the UK: International Law and Medieval History: Dauvit Broun (Glasgow)
  • References
  • The ‘Scotch Accent of Mind’: Historicising the Referendum: Catriona Macdonald (Glasgow)
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • The British People: Description or Denial?: Murray Pittock (Glasgow)
  • References
  • II. The Media
  • ‘Project Fear’ in a Longitudinal Context: Neil Blain (Stirling)
  • Introduction
  • The State of Britishness
  • Scottishness as a Pathological Condition
  • Representing Independence
  • Language and Independence: a Conundrum
  • References
  • The Media and the Referendum: Uncharted Waters, Perilous Seas?: David Hutchison (Glasgow)
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Context
  • 2. The Referendum Debate: International Contexts
  • 3. The Media in Scotland
  • 4. The Referendum Debate Between Partisanship and Diversity
  • 5. Case Study
  • 6. Conclusion
  • References
  • Existential and Utilitarian Nationalism in Scotland: Peter Jones (Edinburgh)
  • References
  • Scotland, Global Gateway Nation: Cinematic Imaginings of Contemporary Scotland: David Martin-Jones (Glasgow)
  • Class: Nation / Nation State, or Nicaragua and Neoliberalism?
  • Multicultural Scotlands
  • Sunshine on Leith: Multiple Gateways to the World, Including the Union
  • Transatlantic Scotland: the Diasporic Gateway
  • References
  • Modern Narratives: Scottish Self-Perceptions at the Time of Devolution: Miriam Schröder (Mainz/Germersheim)
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Modern Narratives
  • 3. Scottish Self-Perceptions and Narratives
  • 3.1 Scotland’s Relationship with England
  • 3.2 The Scottish Enlightenment
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • III. The Law and the Constitution
  • The Emergent Scottish Constitutional Tradition: Scottish, Nordic and Global Influences: William Elliot Bulmer (The Hague)
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Emergence of a Scottish Constitutional Tradition
  • 2. SNP Constitutional Policy
  • 3. The Scottish Dimension
  • IV. Nordic Dimension
  • V. The Global Dimension
  • VI. Analysis and Conclusion
  • References
  • The Independence Referendum, the Contested Constitution, and the Authorship of Constitutional Change: Aileen McHarg (Strathclyde)
  • Introduction
  • The Referendum Process
  • The Contested Constitution
  • Referendums in the British Constitution
  • Britain’s Territorial Constitution
  • A Unitary State
  • A Union State
  • A Quasi-Federal State
  • The Independence Referendum and the Territorial Constitution
  • After the Referendum
  • References
  • IV. Scotland, Scottish Society, and Independence in Literature and Literary Studies
  • “What Scotland had, and now has not”: James Hogg’s The Brownie of Bodsbeck – Regional and National Identities in the Nineteenth Century: Valentina Bold (Glasgow)
  • References
  • Double Vision: Ian Campbell (Edinburgh)
  • References
  • The Failure of Historicism in Scottish Literary Studies: A Case Study Involving the Burns Movement and the Chair of Scottish History and Literature at the University of Glasgow: Gerard Carruthers (Glasgow)
  • References
  • The Discovery of Scotland: Walter Scott and World Literature in the Age of Union: Ian Duncan (Berkeley)
  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • References
  • Listening to the Writers Talk: Coming of Age in Scotland 1922-2012: Margery Palmer McCulloch (Glasgow)
  • References
  • Postcolonial Perspectives on the Scottish Independence Debate: Kirsten Sandrock (Göttingen)
  • 1. Scottish Studies and Postcolonial Criticism
  • 2. Postcolonialism and the Scottish Independence Debate
  • 3. Postcolonial Discourses and the Media
  • References
  • V. Participatory, Ethnic, and Sociological Views on Scotland: Engaged in the Creation of a New Scotland?
  • Beyond the Referendum: A New Deal for Local Democracy in Scotland?: Eberhard Bort (Edinburgh)
  • Introduction
  • Centralisation
  • Out of Step
  • Arrested Devolution
  • Party Perspectives
  • Agenda for Change
  • Beyond the Referendum
  • References
  • Reflections on Nation and Narration from the Perspective of a ‘New Scot’ in Scotland: Bashabi Fraser (Edinburgh)
  • References
  • Why I am Voting Yes: Deirdre Forsyth (Glasgow)
  • Family
  • Culture
  • Issues
  • Trident
  • Immigration
  • The European Union
  • Local Government and Services
  • Renewables
  • Oil
  • Whisky
  • Education
  • Rural Scotland and Land Ownership
  • Conclusion
  • Scotland – New Directions in Welfare?: Gill Scott (Glasgow) & Gerry Mooney (Edinburgh)
  • Social Policy and Social Justice at the Heart of Scottish Politics
  • Nationalism and Welfare – It’s Not Just Scotland
  • Culture and Inequality – Policy Matters
  • Growing Policy Divide Between Scotland and England – But Is It a Chosen Path in Scotland?
  • A Real Need For Change?
  • New Ways of Thinking about Welfare in Scotland
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Devolution Max, Asymmetrical Federalism and the English Question – Scotland as Catalyst for Constitutional Change in Britain: Roland Sturm (Erlangen)
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Constitutional Change in British Politics: Open Questions
  • 3. Devolution Max
  • 4. Asymmetrical Federalism
  • 5. The English Question
  • 6. Independent Scotland: The Future?
  • References
  • Contributors
  • Index

Klaus Peter Müller

The Articles in this Book: Topics, Perspectives, Disciplines

The texts you’ll find in this collection all evidently deal with what the book’s title suggests, namely Scotland in this important year 2014 and the prospects for future Scottish developments. All articles reflect the authors’ opinions today, and most were written before 18 September, the day of the referendum on Scottish independence. They were initiated by the conference on ‘Scotland 2014: Coming of Age and Loss of Innocence?’ held a year before the referendum at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in its Faculty 06 at Germersheim,1 but have been extensively revised and brought up to date this year.

The book tries to give a rough account of how Scotland and the ideas of independence, freedom, maturity, national identity, and eventually devolution have been dealt with in various media and from different points of view since the Middle Ages. The texts’ intention to provide readers with an insight into what Scotland is like at the moment and what the directions are it is most likely to be moving towards evidently requires an understanding of where the country has come from and what has given it its current shape. The past, the present, and the future thus are intricately connected with each other. The book also presents views on Scotland from many different disciplines, research areas, ideological positions, and intellectual perspectives. It thus is inter-disciplinary and tries to cover most of the important areas of (the Scottish) society today: politics, cultural policy, history, sociology, media and film studies, the law, the economy, philosophy as well as the topics in cultural and literary studies and key aspects of the cognitive sciences.

A cognitive perspective is necessary, as one needs to investigate the mental schemata that have consciously or rather unconsciously been employed whenever independence, maturity, identity, and devolution have been ← 1 | 2 → discussed. How, in fact, have they been represented in literature, films, cartoons, the newspapers, on TV, in business or political articles in recent decades as well as in earlier centuries? How dominant is a Scottish perspective in these representations, and how can this perspective actually be defined? Is it really national, or regional, determined by class, wealth, people’s occupation, or in any sense individual? In which ways have the Scottish notions of independence etc. been influenced by England, Europe, globalisation, the enlightenment, antiquity, romanticism, post-colonialism etc.?

One key question in this context is how the concepts and stories of independence, freedom, maturity, identity, and devolution have been narrated. In narratology, mental schemata are of great importance both for the story’s structure, contents, protagonists etc. and for the genre or medium selected. There is instantly a strong cognitive element here. Are the same stories told at the same time in different media, or do the stories change through the medium employed? What changes in the use of genres and media as well as in the kinds of narrations employed can be detected in representations of Scottish independence, freedom, identity, and devolution throughout the centuries? Do the new media and media convergence bring about new narratives or new ways of story-telling? Do they in any way tell different stories?

Two other important problems that must be tackled politically, socially, economically, legally as well as intellectually are also dealt with in this book: a) the prospects for the future of Scottish devolution or independence and b) the question of who or what is in control of the shape Scotland adopts for itself. As far as a) is concerned, it has for a very long time been absolutely evident that England (probably Great Britain generally, which means Scotland, too) has defined itself mostly by means of concepts of the past and has, therefore, neglected the present and especially not sufficiently developed plans and ideas for the future. An extended Scottish devolution and above all Scottish independence would make it absolutely necessary for both Scotland and England to develop new plans for their future and with these new ideas also new definitions of their identities. Yes, we do need new ideas, new ways of thinking about our identities, our societies, and ways of living. What possibilities for future identities are detectable at the moment, and to what extent are they influenced or even predicted by ← 2 | 3 → concepts developed in the past? Do these new possibilities use new forms of narrative and new mental schemata, or are they just variations of what human tradition has provided?

Problem b) is vital and for evident reasons extremely topical at the moment. It concerns basic questions of democracy, people’s participation in decisions about the economy, society, every aspect of how people live, work, and learn, about the execution of power, and the shape of the community they live in. It is quite revealing to find challenging descriptions of the current situation in both Great Britain and the United States in books like Charles H. Ferguson, Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption and the Highjacking of America (New York 2012) as well as Ferdinand Mount, The New Few. A Very British Oligarchy (London 2012). Both see a small elite in power, abusing the economic and political systems for their own profit and dramatically endangering democracy as well as basic humanist values. This is a global phenomenon that must be tackled globally, but also locally. So what is the Scottish position in this context? What are Scottish answers to this problem, and how is the Scottish point of view connected with devolution, independence, and new or old forms of narrative and thinking?

Is this now the time for Scotland to eventually grow up and finally leave Neverland? Has the Union allowed Scotland to abstain from responsibility, and does leaving the Union mean becoming a responsible grown-up? The traditional Scottish love of “another land, a rainbow-land, […] the vague Land of Youth, the shadowy land of Heart’s Desire”2 can now indeed either be left behind or turned into a present day reality. But what are the possibilities for this reality? Fortunately, nobody today will repeat Hugh MacDiarmid’s misguided suggestion of 1936 that Scotland’s independence should at least be “on the same footing […] as one of the autonomous republics of the U.S.S.R.”3 But are today’s suggestions really more intelligent than this one? Answers are urgently needed. That they are not forthcoming from politics has easily understandable, if deplorable reasons, but where are answers to be found? ← 3 | 4 →

The influence of the mass media has increased tremendously, especially in connection with the new media. But what do they offer? The animated cartoon Brave (2012) by the world’s most successful producer of this medium, Pixar, is a typical example and an indicator of what has happened here again and again, namely a rehash of traditional ideas and well-known concepts. There is nothing new but the technology employed, used for very common effects and narratives. While new ideas may not really be expected from the mass industries, there are, however, novel, fresh, stimulating, thought-provoking ideas on the web, of which the most important ones will be discussed in this book. If, however, new concepts and new forms of thinking and narrating are rare or not often enough being presented, perhaps a return to the stupendous tradition of human ideas and knowledge, often simply forgotten, might be very useful now, a tradition to which Scotland, of course, has contributed considerably, and not only during the Scottish Enlightenment.

The book thus intends to describe past and present conceptions of independence, freedom, maturity, national identity, and devolution in large contexts, but will also try to develop ideas about the future of Scotland, Europe, and the democratic world. Scotland will actually repeatedly be presented as an excellent example of today’s possibilities and dangers in human life and in the evolutionary process we are all in, where the objective must be a humane, fair, and equal society.

An all-inclusive discussion of Scotland is, of course, impossible and could not be achieved in many volumes, let alone in this fairly slim book. This collection, however, comprises expert knowledge in the key disciplines mentioned and provides so many points of view, discusses so diverse problems that it can indeed claim to address the most essential questions and deliver very significant answers, thus offering readers an illuminating and relatively comprehensive insight into Scotland today. The intention behind this multi-facetted collection has been to at least move towards a more holistic understanding of Scotland, which evidently has not yet been achieved but must remain an essential objective, as the division of human knowledge into very limited areas of expertise has failed to deliver satisfactory results in a world that seems to become more complex every day.

That is why none of the articles in this book has a narrow perspective, and my own contribution tries to show how current Scottish problems are ← 4 | 5 → not only related to the United Kingdom but to Europe, the global world and includes key issues of contemporary democracy, the economic system, and the digital media. Five sections have been set up in the book which provide key categories and thus a helpful order for readers: I. History and Politics, II. The Media, III. The Law and the Constitution, IV. Scotland, Scottish Society, and Independence in Literature and Literary Studies, and V. Participatory, Ethnic, and Sociological Views on Scotland: Engaged in the Creation of a New Scotland?

Dauvit Broun in the first section instantly shows how strongly these sections, categories, and areas of human knowledge and understanding are linked with each other: he could easily also have been put into the Law section, and he also covers aspects of sections II, IV, and V. He thus again instantly makes us aware of the complexity of the topic we are dealing with, which is plainly the complexity of the modern world. But as an expert of medieval history, he also reveals how the past makes us understand the present much better and how much we need knowledge of the past for competent and intelligent solutions of present problems. One essential point Broun addresses had actually also been the main result of the contribution of the German law expert to the discussions in Germersheim, Martin Nettesheim, professor of law at Tübingen, who repeatedly acknowledged that in the end everything will depend on the negotiations taking place between Scotland and England as well as the EU in the case of Scottish independence. Nettesheim is not included here as he was asked by the EU commission to advise them on legal issues in connection with the Scottish referendum, and he was for this reason not allowed to write a contribution. Which is why Dauvit Broun’s text is even more valuable than it already is anyway, as it gives us in its way what Nettesheim would with regard to this point also have delivered. It is nevertheless regrettable that the EU has not allowed us to have Nettesheim’s additional explanations.

Catriona Macdonald provides the point of view of the expert of modern history and uses Romantic and Enlightenment legacies, in order to show how we can appreciate the current debate much better through the historical perspectives of writers, politicians, and artists, especially painters. Murray Pittock is an expert of Scottish and English literature, culture, and history and discusses key paradoxes in the continued presentation of Great ← 5 | 6 → Britain as a unitary state and in this way addresses essential problems of British, English, and Scottish identities as relevant backdrops to current politics.

The people in the Media section are all experts in this area, but again provide intriguingly different perspectives, opinions, and insights. Neil Blain discusses the Project Fear connected with the Better Together movement in favour of a No vote in the referendum. He sees the project linked with the intriguing and often disturbing ‘Scottish cringe’, and investigates the roles, functions, and effects of the media in this context, which often present Scotland as a pathological condition. David Hutchison focuses on the response of the media (TV and papers) in Scotland and England to the White Paper, produced by the current Scottish SNP government with the intention of giving the Scottish people a “Guide to an Independent Scotland” and an insight into “Scotland’s Future”.4 Peter Jones is a professional journalist and has, therefore, again a different view on the media in and on Scotland. He distinguishes between an existential and a utilitarian nationalism and investigates the relative proportions of these types of nationalists within the electorate, using results from Scottish social attitudes surveys, revealing intriguing paradoxes as well as confirming general expectations.

David Martin-Jones is a film expert and discusses Scottish film in Scottish, British, and international contexts. The relationship between global and local is prominent, and there is a constant exchange between them, thus a permanent reciprocal giving and receiving of different cultural characteristics, which is why ‘gateway’ is a key word for his description of Scottish film on Scotland. Miriam Schröder describes how common sense knowledge is created and passed on by the narratives that tradition and cultural usage have created and how the print media are involved in this process of constructing, preserving, and changing people’s sense of a national identity. ← 6 | 7 →

The Law section also has two very different experts with variant perspectives on this highly important area of human life. W. Elliot Bulmer now works at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in The Hague and provides an historical overview as well as comparison of Scotland with England and other countries, especially those in northern Europe. He highlights essential differences with the English law system, gives reasons for the importance of a written Scottish constitution based on the sovereignty of the people, and reveals the SNP’s position in this context. Participation of the people, their sovereignty rather than that of parliament, is a key issue in the vital discussions about constitutional reform. Aileen McHarg intriguingly sees “the referendum as a process for authorising constitutional change”, and also highlights the “role of the people as the authors” of this change (225, 226, 230). She speaks about the enormous increase in the number of referenda since 1979, distinguishes three understandings of British territory with their respective positioning of sovereignty, three essential aspects of the referendum, and finds that the referendum discussions help in the process of “articulating what independence is for” (249). Also dealing with human rights, federalism, the legal relevance of the Union, Britishness vs. Englishness etc., she repeatedly raises the key question of who is in charge of Scottish governance, the people or the nation’s representatives, i.e. parliament?

Section IV discusses Scotland, its ideas of independence, identity, freedom, innocence, maturity and so on from the point of view of Literature and Literary Studies. Valentina Bold uses James Hogg (1770?-1835) for her description of “What Scotland Had, and Now Has Not”, pointing out the combinations and mixtures of national and regional perspectives, Hogg’s use of Scottish history as well as of the language of the Bible and of Scots for the creation of a narrative of the nation that offers moral and spiritual models for a new and better governed Scotland. Ian Campbell detects a “Double Vision” in Scottish literature, a characteristic narrative technique that allows readers to see at least twice as much as the fictional characters, and that has often been used for ironic and satirical presentations of human behaviour and situations, with excellent examples in the works of John Galt (1779-1839), James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937), and Lewis Grassic Gibbon (i.e. James Leslie Mitchel, 1901-1935). Gerard Carruthers offers a critical overview of Scottish literary studies. History, ← 7 | 8 → therefore, is important in this text, too, and the Burns movement is taken for a case study of how “over-determined ‘political’ readings of Scottish literature and culture” can be and why they should be replaced by “properly historicised readings” (287).

Ian Duncan discusses Scottish literature in the context of world literature and in this way shows again how representative Scotland has been for developments in Europe and the entire world. Walter Scott’s novels combine national with worldwide literary traditions, are regarded as “acts of translation that deliver us to the flow of history”, and reveal world history “as a dimension of multiple, alternative, hypothetical and potential histories” (315). Margery Palmer McCulloch focuses on Scotland’s internationalism by revealing the modernist qualities of Scottish writers from the end of World War One onwards, discussing new developments since the 1960s, and ending with views of contemporary authors. All have dealt in different ways with the key question of self-determination for Scotland, where the interwar period was “an essential step in Scotland’s coming of age – culturally and politically.” (330) Kirsten Sandrock adopts another international perspective for her discussion of how the Scottish independence debate is reflected in literature, the postcolonial one. She describes the use and misuse of postcolonial thinking in the debates about Scottish independence, and claims that there is a need for a critical turn in colonial and postcolonial studies in Scotland which would lead to a better understanding of this country.

Section V is in itself as diverse as the others as far as the authors’ positions, perspectives, approaches, and opinions are concerned, but all texts have strong elements of Participatory, Ethnic, and Sociological Views on Scotland, and they are all about the Creation of a New Scotland, which, of course, is also a key component in the texts in the other sections. Indeed, all texts think about Scotland’s future, which is quite remarkable and an essential characteristic of this collection, even those going far back into the past, and this prospective view becomes very prominent again here, which is why this section concludes the book. Eberhard Bort makes this already evident in his text’s title and discusses the possibilities of increasing local democracy in Scotland, an undertaking that faces strong opposition from many people in power in the economy as well as in politics, where even the current Scottish government is not really in favour of giving more ← 8 | 9 → power to local communities and the people living there. He makes intriguing comparisons with the situation on the Continent, describes current endeavours to improve the situation and points out intriguing possibilities. Bashabi Fraser expresses the point of view of an immigrant to Scotland and thus of an ethnic minority, the South Asian community, and she wants to address questions of social justice and inclusion recently raised by Scottish writers in relation to the Scottish government’s agenda for an independent Scotland.

Deirdre Forsyth uses her experience in working for the Scottish government, as a chair of social security appeals tribunals, a Board’s advocate to ‘The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board’, as area manager for Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay with the Argyll and Bute Council as well as Chair of the Board of Directors of ScotWest as a sound basis for her opinions on the referendum and the main issues connected with it as well as with Scotland’s future. Gill Scott and Gerry Mooney are sociologists investigating how devolution and the independence debate have enhanced people’s awareness of the kind of welfare state that could develop in Scotland. Describing the links between constitutional and welfare issues, the differences between the English and Scottish welfare systems, key shortcomings as well as advantages in Scotland, Scott and Mooney detect at least a new space created for progressive thinking and creative activities for the improvement of the systems. Roland Sturm provides a German sociologist’s perspective on Scotland 2014 and discusses maximum devolution, federalism, and the constitutional, political, and social changes that are to be expected.

The list of contributors provides basic information on the authors and their homepages for more details. The index is limited to topics and names of real importance in the texts, not just mentioned there in passing or in the bibliographies. ← 9 | 10 → ← 10 | 11 →

1Cf. http://www.fb06.uni-mainz.de/anglistik/conference_2013.php.

2Fiona Macleod, The Winged Destiny: Studies in the Spiritual History of the Gael, London 1927, 198.

3MacDiarmid, Lucky Poet, London 1972, 145.

4https://www.scotreferendum.com/reports/scotlands-future-your-guide-to-an-independent-scotland/ and https://www.scotreferendum.com/reports-white-papers/, also available as a PDF at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/resource/0043/00439021.pdf. Cf. also its short description at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/9348.


VIII, 457
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (March)
Unabhängigkeitsreferendum Schottland Schottische Identität Schottische Literatur Schottischer Nationalismus
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. VIII, 457 pp.

Biographical notes

Klaus Peter Müller (Volume editor)

Klaus Peter Müller is Chair of English at Mainz University, focusing on British and media studies, translation studies, especially literary and media translation, investigating the links between these fields, narration, our understanding of reality and history, and the cognitive sciences.


Title: Scotland 2014 and Beyond – Coming of Age and Loss of Innocence?
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