Rory Scothorne

Rory Scothorne is completing a PhD on the relationship between the Scottish radical left and nationalism.

Short Cuts: Not all Scots

Rory Scothorne, 3 June 2021

InStone Voices, Neal Ascherson wrote that ‘in the two centuries after about 1760 … no country in Europe, and perhaps no country on earth until the European explosion into the interior of North America and Australia, underwent a social and physical mutation so fast and so complete’ as Scotland. The transformation from agrarian to industrial society was even faster than...

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne, 13 August 2020

When​ the radical youth of Paris ripped up the paving stones for ammunition in 1968, they found a utopian slogan for it: ‘Under the pavement, the beach.’ ‘But this is inaccurate,’ Ralph Miliband reflected eight years later. ‘Under the pavement, there are the sewers.’ The Labour Party spent four and a half years looking for a beach under the street. Now...

Scotland’s Dreaming

Rory Scothorne, 21 May 2020

From​ the vantage point of England, the short period since 2015 has seemed to contain decades’ worth of political upheaval. Scotland’s equivalent political time-crunch occurred in the preceding five years. The SNP leveraged its surprise 2011 majority in the Scottish Parliament (it had been in minority government since 2007) into an independence referendum in 2014 that...

‘The subtlest​ of insults to Scotland is, it seems, to return to it,’ Neal Ascherson wrote in the Scottish political review Q in 1975. The historian Christopher Harvie described the emigrant intellectuals who pepper Scottish history as ‘red Scots’: ‘cosmopolitan, self-avowedly “enlightened” and, given a chance, authoritarian, expanding into and...

Pop your own abscess: Definitions of Poverty

Rory Scothorne, 22 February 2018

Two years ago​ a woman from Dewsbury called Claire Skipper, suffering from toothache, went into her garden shed, clamped the offending tooth in a pair of pliers, and pulled. Her tooth broke. There had been no vacancies at her local NHS practice and she couldn’t afford private care or the journey to the nearest emergency clinic in Bradford. A week later, in ‘indescribable’...

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