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Scotland and Arbroath 1320 – 2020

700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence

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Edited By Klaus Peter Müller

700 years of people in Scotland, England, Europe, and the world fighting for freedom, sovereignty, independence and justice are investigated in the essential periods and cultures since the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath: the Middle Ages, the Reformation and Early Modern Age, the English Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Cultural, media, political, and social studies, history, the law, art, philosophy, and literature are used for an analysis of the evolution of human rights, democracy, freedom, individual as well as national independence and justice in connection with past and present threats to them. Threats from politics, the economy, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, people's ignorance.

 

With contributions by Alasdair Allan MSP, Christopher J. Berry, Neil Blain, Alexander Broadie FRSE, Dauvit Broun, Mark P. Bruce, Ewen A. Cameron, Robert Crawford, Ian Duncan, Richard J. Finlay, David Forrest, Edouard Gaudot, Marjory Harper, Sarah Longlands, Ben McConville, David McCrone, Aileen McHarg, John Morrison, Klaus Peter Müller, Hugh O’Donnell, Murray Pittock, Anthony Salamone, David R. Sorensen, Silke Stroh, Christopher A. Whatley and Ben Wray.

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Scotland’s Hidden Powers? Politics and the Union in an Uncertain Age (Ewen A. Cameron (Edinburgh))

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Ewen A. Cameron (Edinburgh)

Scotland’s Hidden Powers? Politics and the Union in an Uncertain Age

Abstract: This essay begins with some thoughts from Hugh MacDiarmid and proceeds to discuss Scotland’s place in the Union state that is the United Kingdom, emphasising the centrality of Scotland to the Union. In discussions of British history Scotland tends to have a walk-on part at times of crisis, such as the present moment, but its place in the Union is more fundamental. The essay attempts to make this point through historical contextualisation of recent political shifts.

Keywords: History; Arbroath; Hugh MacDiarmid; Scotland; England; Union; power; faith; SNP; 2014 Referendum; 2016 Referendum; Labour Party; Conservative Party; politics; narrative; EU; Brexit

In 1926 the nationalist poet and controversialist Hugh MacDiarmid concluded his poem, “Gairmscoile”, about the potential of a revived Scots’ vernacular with the lines:

We ha’e faith in Scotland’s hidden poo’ers/The present’s theirs but a’ the past and future’s oors. (Grieve/Aitken 1985, vol. 1, 75)

The keepers of the present subjected here and elsewhere to MacDiarmid’s extraordinary invective were not so much contemporary politicians but those “who posed as men o’ letters here” and had, as MacDiarmid saw it, regressive attitudes to the Scots language, in which MacDiarmid saw huge creative possibilities. (Lyall 2006, 94 f) The quotation is, nevertheless, freighted with political possibilities as MacDiarmid conceived of cultural and political renaissance as part of the same project. He was a member of...

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