Independence after the crash

Spring / Summer 2014

Here is a useful test that watchers of the debate on Scotland’s independence might want to apply to the competing statements of the contending parties: ‘Could you have said that in 2007, or even 1999’? If the answer is ‘yes’, then the statement might not mean much. The global financial crisis, and its corollary in the eurozone, should by rights have transformed the terms of what is now a decades-long debate on the possibility of Scottish independence. But it is not immediately apparent that they have done so. Activists from both camps paint rosy pictures of possible futures within and without the UK. Scotland’s legion of cultural commentators ruminate on the politics of identity, much as they have done for decades. The Radical Independence Campaign and Common Weal excitedly speculate about deliberative democracy and economic justice. All participants have an interest in reducing the salience of the ‘crises of democratic capitalism’ (Streeck, 2011), since none are seriously dedicated to dispensing with it.

Renewal Vol 22 No1/2