‘Are Scotland’s expectations still oil-fired?’ | J. Maxwell- New Statesman

‘Are Scotland’s expectations still oil-fired?’ | J. Maxwell- New Statesman

In his introduction to The Red Paper on Scotland, published in 1975, Gordon Brown – then student rector of Edinburgh University – acknowledged how radically developments in the North Sea had altered the Scottish political landscape: “Modern Scottish nationalism is less an assertion of Scotland’s permanence as a nation than a response to Scotland’s uneven development – in particular to the gap between people’s experiences as part of an increasingly demoralised Great Britain and their (oil-fired) expectations at a Scottish-level.”

By the time he had become Chancellor of the Exchequer two decades later, Brown’s analysis of nationalism had reversed. In a pamphlet, New Scotland, New Britain, written ahead of the first Scottish parliamentary elections, he dismissed “the cause of separation” as little more than a “misguided retreat from … modern forces of change”.

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