Scotland the Bashful

Chris Baur

Is Scotland a myth? Until the spring of 1979, the question would have seemed plain stupid. Until that moment, Scotland had appeared, to itself as much as to outsiders, a nation about to fulfil itself – a community with a definite sense of identity which was approaching the exciting climax to a remarkable and peaceful quest for greater political self-determination. Scotland’s nationalism – expressed most vividly in the extraordinary ten-year advance of the Scottish National Party under its Home Rule banner, but striking a strong chord, too, in Labour, Conservative and Liberal support for political devolution – seemed to exhibit all the ‘protean strength’ which has fascinated Rosalind Mitchison in the collection she has edited of essays on Northern European nationalism.[*]

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[*] The Roots of Nationalism: Studies in Northern Europe. John Donald, 175 pp., £12, 9 August 1980, 0 85976 058 8.