Scottish party responses to Europe and devolution

Eve Hepburn

in Using Europe: Territorial Party Strategies in a Multi-level System

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780719081385
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703236 | DOI:
Scottish party responses to Europe and devolution

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This chapter begins with an overview of the main political traditions in Scotland, examining how party autonomy goals have been shaped by different ideological discourses. Then, it examines how parties conceptualise the ‘nation’ and Scotland's position within Britain and Europe. Next, it introduces the European dimension, with consideration of party responses to European integration since 1979. It argues that Scottish parties have continuously re-positioned themselves on Europe. In the early 1980s, Labour and the SNP opposed European integration as a Conservative free-market project that would undermine Scottish values. This changed in the late 1980s with a new emphasis on the social and political dimensions of integration. Labour and the Liberal Democrats began to view subsidiarity as intrinsic to Scottish devolution, whilst the SNP re-conceptualised the EU as an alternative arena to the UK for security and trading opportunities.

Keywords: Scotland; Europe; party autonomy; Britain; European integration; Scottish devolution; SNP

Chapter.  18209 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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