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Alex Salmond's Scottish National Party is currently mounting Scotland's biggest challenge to the British union since the conception of the nation. Nevertheless, as Tom Gallagher makes clear, if the Union were demolished, widespread change would still remain elusive. Close-knit administrative, commercial, and religious elites continue to run Scotland with no strategy for reviving its economy and reforming its urban centers. Gallagher contends that the SNP is not committed to independence. Rather, it exists as a ...
Alex Salmond's Scottish National Party is currently mounting Scotland's biggest challenge to the British union since the conception of the nation. Nevertheless, as Tom Gallagher makes clear, if the Union were demolished, widespread change would still remain elusive. Close-knit administrative, commercial, and religious elites continue to run Scotland with no strategy for reviving its economy and reforming its urban centers. Gallagher contends that the SNP is not committed to independence. Rather, it exists as a super-unionist party recoiling from popular sovereignty, seeking instead the federalist rule of a postnational Europe.
Gallagher also points to the SNP's endorsement of a radical multiculturalism that devalues individual citizenship and places Scotland at the losing end of globalization. His hard-hitting analysis is beyond provocative, especially in its claim that if the SNP triumphs, the party will reinforce the very authoritarian trends that have disfigured Scottish history and encouraged emigration for decades.
5. Devolution Under Labour
6. Finally Governing Scotland: 2007-09
7. The Great Seduction: How to make Separatism Palatable
8. Preparing for Separation in a Cold Climate
9. Dancing the Patriotic Jig in a Broken Society
Epilogue: Pressure on the Union Mounts
Tom Gallagher, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University, has written a brilliant study of the Scottish National Party. He observes that the SNP is ‘a party driven in large measure by negativity and resentment’, against England and the English, and that it is ‘dominated by … lawyers, spin doctors, full-time politicians and quangocrats’. Scotland faces a shortfall in energy supplies, but the SNP has pledged to block any new nuclear plants and has no plan to develop other energy sources. Even Alex Salmond’s own Council of Economic Advisers warned that his energy policy could cost Scotland dear. The SNP government has funded Muslim schools, despite their poor record in producing pupils at ease in British society. The SNP has attacked pro-integration Muslims. In 2008, it gave the Scottish Islamic Foundation £419,000, while giving more moderate Muslim groups nothing. The SIF wants Islamic schools where children are taught the Koran, girls wear the hijab, and boys and girls are segregated. Its chief executive wants ‘a restored caliphate’ and defends Sharia law: he is an SNP candidate for Glasgow Central. The SNP allies itself with Catalonia’s ‘pro-independence’ government, which shares its ‘victim ideology’. This SNP ally “is not afraid to put out the red carpet for Islamist groups. It distinguished itself in January 2009 by banning the commemoration marking the holocaust of Jews across much of Europe.” Gallagher criticises the SNP’s embrace of identity politics: “Unifying narratives underlying a sense of Britishness have ceased to be reproduced. Instead politicians have embraced the false gods of free market capitalism and divisive multiculturalism across the public sector …” Gallagher observes, “a party with the Conservatives’ long tradition of being a defender of the British state now contains a minority of members ready to embrace insular positions that could result in its complete unravelling and Britain being replaced by a series of territorial units that would count for far less than they do now in Europe and the wider world.” In 2007, Salmond said, “we are pledging a light-touch regulation.” In February 2008, he said, “the Scottish banks are among the most stable financial institutions in the world.” Then followed almost at once the failures of the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Halifax Bank of Scotland, when the British Treasury spent £38 billion bailing them out. Gallagher observes that the SNP is the most pro-EU political party in Britain. The SNP even wants Scotland to join the euro. But, as he notes, “there is no attempt to explain how Scotland can safeguard its right to self-government in a European Union dominated by unelected entities which are acquiring increasing powers from national members. A stream of directives pour from Brussels which regulate life down to the most minute level. The European Parliament is a talking-shop absorbed with its own perks and privileges.” Gallagher sums up, “The party is committed to membership of a continental federation where powerful cartels are intent on turning national Parliaments into conveyor belts for a uniform raft of policies. … But in the EU, especially if it enters the Monetary Union and embraces the euro, Scotland would risk a sharp diminution of its economic independence.”Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.