The first ISHR seminar of the new semester will be on Thursday 26 January, when our own Dr Malcolm Petrie will present ‘Serfdom in Wishaw, Hayek in Kirkcaldy: The thought-world of Scottish nationalism, c.1942-c.1975.’
Studies of the rise in support for the Scottish National Party during the 1960s and 1970s have focussed chiefly on the political consequences of socio-economic developments. This paper, in contrast, examines perceptions of the relationship between government and the people, tracing the evolution, and eventual demise, of a libertarian rhetoric that viewed individual freedom and national autonomy as indivisible. Deployed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War by the Unionists as a means of constructing an anti-socialist coalition capable of accommodating Liberals and even nationalists, by the 1960s the mantle of individualism had been assumed by the SNP. Crucial to nationalist success was the emergence of a series of issues, most notably the debate surrounding British membership of the Common Market, which raised questions of sovereignty, representation, and democracy, and encouraged a belief that the Westminster parliament no longer reflected public opinion. This sense of political frustration and alienation, while common across Britain, was essential to the politics of the SNP, a party long convinced that government had grown too powerful, authoritarian and remote, and that only independence could free Scotland from the bureaucratic excesses of an ever-expanding central state.
The seminar will be held in the New Seminar Room, St John’s House, 71 South Street, St Andrews at 5.30pm. Drinks and nibbles will be served from 5.15pm.