News Release

Scottish Referendum: Nationalism or Democracy?


On Thursday, people in Scotland are slated to vote on whether to become an independent country.

DAVID MILLER, d.miller at
Co-editor of Neoliberal Scotland: Class and Society in a Stateless Nation, Miller is professor of sociology at the University of Bath, England, UK.

He said today: “For me the first question is what is the best outcome in terms of the power of the British state in the world. Given its historically negative role (not least in Iraq), anything that challenges its power has my support. In London they are scared that they will be ejected from the UN Security Council and the G8 and that they will lose their ‘independent nuclear deterrent’. All would make a real contribution to global security.

“Most importantly they are scared that their ability to borrow (to be the second most indebted nation on earth after the U.S.) will be compromised by independence as they will not have the oil for the collateral they need.

“But the thing which is driving so many people to consider a vote for yes is the failure of Westminster politics. The lies, the corruption, the growing inequality and the attacks on public services. There is a crisis of credibility throughout the UK. In Scotland the experience of the Scottish Parliament, created in 1999, has been broadly positive. The parliament has devolved responsibility for health, education and a number of other powers. The people of Scotland have seen small but real differences in Scotland as compared with the rest of the UK. Free personal care for the elderly, a halt to private involvement in the National Health Service and free university education are all notably not available south of the border.

“In the end this is not a question of nationalism for most people in Scotland but one of democracy.”