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Scotland and the Union 1707-2007$
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Tom Devine

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635412

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635412.001.0001

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The Death of Unionism?

The Death of Unionism?

(p.175) 11 The Death of Unionism?
Scotland and the Union 1707-2007
T.M. Devine
Edinburgh University Press

This chapter demonstrates that the clear ‘death of unionism’ rests on Margaret Thatcher's redefinition of unionism than to the changing attitudes of the Scottish public. Also, the ‘rise of nationalism’ in elections owes more to institutional changes and the Scottish National Party (SNP)'s moderate, internationalist and inclusive redefinition of nationalism than to rising nationalist sentiment among the public. It then explores the trends in voting, trends in constitutional preferences, trends in political culture and values and trends in national identities. The ‘death of traditional nationalism’ should be assigned to the new SNP leadership rather than the voters. The data generally illustrates that the fall in Scottish unionism and the rise in Scottish nationalism have not been driven by changing public sentiment so much as by changing party strategies. There is a possibility that under the pressures of the war on terror, British unionism will be redefined to become more nationalist.

Keywords:   Scottish unionism, Scottish nationalism, Margaret Thatcher, Scottish National Party, voting, political culture, national identities, British unionism

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