Natural and Necessary Unions: Britain, Europe, and the Scottish Question

ISBN : 9780198859710

Dan Robinson
368 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jul 2020
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Natural and Necessary Unions is a history for our time. It shows that the choice between 'union and independence' that shapes current debates about the future of the United Kingdom in the age of Brexit is a false one. Against the countervailing currents of hegemony and fragmentation that range across centuries - from the economic dominance of southern England and the burdens of social democracy to the rise of separatist nationalisms and European integration - unionists struggled to make a union-state that would protect the independence of its citizens and communities from these wider forces. Natural and Necessary Unions tells the story of how the quest for autonomy shaped the history of three communities: Scotland, Ireland, and Northumbria. It charts the different choices these societies made about their relationships within the British Isles and in wider international society, crystallizing in the choice that must be made again between the British and European unions. From these wildly differing experiences, Scotland's devolution emerges as an enviable middle-ground, compared to Ireland's satellite status and the hyper-centralism of England. Drawing on a wealth of evidence from polls to poetry, and a cast of characters ranging from Edmund Burke and Gordon Brown to Gerry Adams and Alex Salmond, Natural and Necessary Unions points the way to a new unionist politics for the twenty-first century.


Preface : Conversations
1 Power and the Pursuit of Liberty: The Geopolitics of Independence
2 A Union for Independence: Scottish Autonomy and the British Idea
3 Claims of Right: Social Democracy and the Bonds of Union
4 Empire against Union: The Worlds of Scottish Nationalism
5 The Battle of the Unions: Europa and Britannia
6 Death by Misadventure: The End of Irish Independence
7 The Bonded Republic: Ireland and the Visions of Europe
8 An English Journey: The Tempting of Northumbria
9 A Well-Constructed Union: The Revival of British Politics

About the author: 

Dan Robinson earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at Peterhouse, Cambridge, before becoming a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. He served as Senior Policy Advisor at the Cabinet Office in Theresa May's government. In both academia and public policy, his work has explored unionism, separatism, and the idea of Europe in the English-speaking world.

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