Rory Scothorne

Rory Scothorne is a writer and historian based in Edinburgh.

Short Cuts: Labour or the SNP?

Rory Scothorne, 20 June 2024

This time​ ten years ago, Scotland was gearing up for its first, and as yet only, independence referendum. The ‘Yes’ campaign was noisy, lively, inventive – a ‘political carnival’, as Lynn Bennie, James Mitchell and Robert Johns describe it in their new book, Surges in Party Membership: The SNP and Scottish Greens after the Independence Referendum (Routledge,...

Short Cuts: Edinburgh’s Festivalisation

Rory Scothorne, 4 January 2024

The first humans​ settled in Scotland around 14,000 years ago. They must have arrived in summer; nobody in their right mind would choose to live here during the winter. Even as far south as Edinburgh, the sun emerges late only to disappear before 4 p.m., the rain eats umbrellas for breakfast and the Arctic gale is as rough as sandpaper. We don’t have much of a Christmas celebration to...

Labour has traditionally drawn confidence from the idea that Scotland is fundamentally anti-Tory, but this historic sense of entitlement has been haunted by a tribal bitterness about the SNP, which always threatened – and eventually managed – to steal the country from under Labour’s nose. Labour is excused from confronting and embracing Scottish identity by this perceived structural betrayal. Scotland abandoned Labour, and all the party can do is wait tragically in the wings for it to come to its senses. But what if things weren’t quite so inevitable? 

It’s Our Turn: Where the North Begins

Rory Scothorne, 4 August 2022

‘There is a natural and perfectly viable kingdom of the North between the Humber and the Forth-Clyde isthmus,’ the historian Frank Musgrove claimed in 1990. It wasn’t the best moment to use the present tense, even if there had been an upsurge in commentary on the ‘North-South divide’ over the previous decade. Tom Hazeldine suggests that the phrase ‘entered...

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...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences