Scottish independence: a faith without sufficient reason

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond: Where’s the substance?

by Nigel Biggar

“Scottish independence is a solution in search of a problem. Rather than the cogent conclusion of a rigorous analysis of particular woes afflicting the Scottish people, it’s an article of faith.

That’s why supporters of a Yes vote in September 18th’s referendum struggle to make a clear profit out of the empirical data, why they are wont to distort history, and why they so often react to criticism by tackling the man and not the ball. It’s also why the latest policies of the separatists — to keep the Queen, the pound, and membership of NATO — are so opportunistic.”

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What’s the Good of the Union?

flagIn recent years the rise of the Scottish National Party has called into question the 300 year-old Union of England and Scotland. Nationalists argue that the Scots would be better off with an independent state, and that the Anglo-Scottish Union has had its day. This might be true: after all, nation-states wax and wane, and none is the Kingdom of God—neither the USSR, nor the USA or UK.

In order to test the truth of the SNP’s claim, the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life held a colloquium at Christ Church on 26 February, in which interested parties from north and south, Left and Right, gathered to consider answers to the question, “What’s the Good of the Union?” Participants included the theologians Nigel Biggar and Iain Torrance, the historians Alvin Jackson and Chris Whatley, the journalists Martin Kettle and John Lloyd, and others. View the complete programme and list of speakers.