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


Edited By Klaus Peter Müller

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.
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The ‘Scotch Accent of Mind’: Historicising the Referendum: Catriona Macdonald (Glasgow)


Macdonald addresses how Scots might and how Scots ought to vote in September 2014, given the grand narratives of Scottish history and the historical perspectives of writers, politicians and artists. The essay shows how history offers rationales for both independence and unionism, and sees national characteristics and tradition as malleable concepts in the hands of both interest groups. Romantic and Enlightenment legacies are explored in an attempt to pose questions relating to the conjectural history of Scottish nationhood.1

Alex Salmond referred to the rejection of a single British currency (in the event of a ‘yes’ vote in September) by the Unionist trinity of George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer), Ed Balls (Labour’s Shadow Chancellor) and Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) as “bluff, bluster and bullying”, and predicted that it would backfire spectacularly. (BBC 2014) This immediately brought to my mind Robert Louis Stevenson’s short essay “The Foreigner at Home” (1882) – an extract from which I have borrowed as my title. In it, Stevenson (1882, 534, 541) refers explicitly to the “domineering nature” of John Bull, “imperious to command”, and largely ignorant of the other nations making up the British archipelago. He ends by noting that the Scot stood “consciously apart” from the English, maintaining – as a consequence of history, upbringing, education, law, and landscape a “strong Scotch accent of the mind.”

My point is not to align the literary legacy of Stevenson with one side of the contemporary debate or the other. Despite the...

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