Alex Salmond, a talented politician in charge of Scotland's devolved government since 2007, is mounting the biggest challenge to the British union state in its 300-year history. His fast-growing Scottish National Party wants Scotland to cease being the invisible country of Europe and to embrace independence. This book argues that if the Union is demolished, change will remain elusive and Scotland will continue to be run by the close-knit administrative, commercial and religious elites who have dominated the country for centuries. Tom Gallagher contends that the SNP remains fixated by resentment towards England and has no strategy for reviving a struggling economy and the deep-seated social problems which disfigure urban Scotland. He argues that the SNP are not committed to independence, that the SNP is a super-unionist party, that it recoils from popular sovereignty and is an enthusiastic backer of the EU's plans for a post-national Europe based on federalist rule from Brussels, and that it endorses a radical multi-culturalism that devalues individual citizenship and places Scotland at the mercy of globalization. Gallagher's hard-hitting analysis will stir emotions and generate debate, especially his claim that if the SNP triumphs it will reinforce the authoritarian trends which have disfigured Scottish history and contributed to heavy emigration. He passionately believes that moral and practical energies need to be released if Scotland is to renew itself, but fears that as long as the country is seen in romantic and propagandistic terms, this overdue transformation will be stillborn.
Tom Gallagher, a well-known commentator on Scottish politics, is Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and the author of several books including Theft of a Nation: Romania Since Independence, also available from Hurst.