Thursday, May 07, 2009

'Breaking Up Britain' - On Sale Now

One of my projects over the past few months has been to contribute a chapter towards a book on how Britain might look like post-independence, with the emergence of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland as distinct political units.

The book, edited by Mark Perryman and titled “Breaking up Britain”, has contributions from all corners of the British Archipelago. The contributors have very different views but agree on one thing – the need to consider post-British Union politics and how the relationships which will exist thereafter might look. My own chapter was on the development of a model of civic nationalism and social democracy in the SNP.

I'll put up more details later, but in the meantime, here's the publishing details and a link which will allow you to buy from the publisher:

May 2009 will be the tenth anniversary of the first elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. This was the beginning of a decade of change - which now includes the restoration of powers to Stormont - that is showing every sign of being an irreversible process. Breaking Up Britain is a unique collection of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish contributors, featuring key political activists from the nationalist parties, commentators and campaigners, academics and journalists. Each writer explores the change that the break-up demands in their own nation, but also discusses its impact upon the whole. This dialog of differences is essential reading for anyone interested in the shape of politics and culture after a Union. Contributors: Arthur Aughey, Gregor Gall, John Harris, Michael Kenny, Peadar Kirby, Inez McCormack, Eoin O'Broin, John Osmond, Mike Parker, Lesley Riddoch, Richard Thomson, Vron Ware, Charlotte Williams, Kevin Williamson, Leanne Wood and Salma Yaqoob.
'This brilliant book helps us understand what Scots, Welsh, Irish and English neighbours, freed from an unhappy Union, might look like.' Billy Bragg

Breaking up Britain: Four nations after a Union - Mark Perryman (editor)

ISBN 978 1905007 967 256 pages £16.99 May 2009

Lawrence and Wishart, 99a Wallis Road, London E9 5LN
tel 020 8533 2506 fax 020 8533 7369


Anonymous said...

Pre-ordered a copy Richard, looking forward to a summer of interesting reading.

I'd be interested to hear your views on the proposed referendum question..

I've asked for contributions on the following blog.

Richard Thomson said...

Hi Wardog,

I think the question as trailed presently is fine. While it would be better to ask directly about independence, since the constitution is reserved, this makes it hard from a legal perspective to do anything other than ask voters to express an opinion on whether or not independence should be negotiated, which in practical terms leads to the same outcome anyway.

I'm open to the idea of a multi-option referendum, although the difficulty lies in being able to define the 'more powers' option. In my view, we'd be better with the more powers option as being the outcome of a 'no' vote, with a 'yes' vote representing a vote for independence negotiations.

I'm wary though of ending up with the 'Lord Home' scenario of unionists saying 'vote 'no' and get something better'. More powers remains the cuddly, fluffy option which due to the lack of detail, offends the least number of people right now. It'll be interesting to see how Calman reports, so that people can then see for themselves how substantial or indeed insubstantial the available option for reform within the union turns out to be.