Debating Scotland: Issues of Independence and Union in the 2014 Referendum

ISBN : 9780198789819

Michael Keating
272 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2017
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On 18 September 2014, Scotland held a referendum on the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? This is a most unusual event in modern democracies and engaged the political class, civil society, and the general public to an unprecedented degree, leading to an 85 per cent turnout in the final vote. This was an occasion to debate not just the narrow constitutional issue but the future of the nation, including the economy, social welfare, defence and security, and Scotland's place in Europe and the world. Debating Scotland comes from a team of researchers who observed the debates from close-up and engaged with both sides, with the media and with the public in analyzing the issues, while remaining neutral on the independence question. The book examines the main issues at stake, how they were presented, and how they evolved over the course of the campaign. The editors and contributing authors explore the ways both independence and union were framed, the economic issues, the currency, welfare, defence and security, the European Union, and how the example of small independent states was used. The volume concludes with an analysis of voter responses, based upon original survey research, which demonstrates how perceptions of risk and uncertainty on the main issues played a key role in the outcome.


1 Michael Keating and Nicola McEwen: The Scottish Independence Debate
2 Patrizio Lecca, Peter McGregor, and Kim Swales: The Economy
3 David Bell and David Eiser: Public Finance and Taxation
4 Coree Brown Swan and Bettina Petersohn: The Currency Issue: Contested Narratives on Currency Union and Independence
5 Nicola McEwen: Welfare: Contesting Communities of Solidarity
6 Michael Keating: The European Question
7 Colin Fleming: Defence and Security
8 Stephen Tierney: The Constitution of an Independent Scotland: Popular Empowerment or Judicial Supremacy?
9 Malcolm Harvey: The Small State Argument
10 Robert Lineira, Ailsa Henderson, and Liam Delaney: Voters' Response to the Campaign: Evidence from the Survey
11 Nicola McEwen and Michael Keating: Beyond the Referendum

About the author: 

Michael Keating is Professor of Politics at the University of Aberdeen, part-time Professor at the University of Edinburgh, and Director of the Centre on Constitutional Change. His previous publications include Rescaling the European State (OUP, 2013), The Independence of Scotland (OUP, 2009), and Devolution and Public Policy (co-edited with Nicola McEwen, Routledge 2006).

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