A misty mountain view

The psychopathology of everyday nationalism

Psychotherapy teaches us that when people are attracted to visions of a perfect future and then become aggressive towards people who do not buy into their fantasy, they are in denial about some aspect of themselves.  So what, therefore, might a psychological understanding of the appeal of Scottish nationalism look like?

This article by psychologist and psychotherapist Jock Encombe, first published in the week leading up to the 2014 Scottish referendum, is just as relevant to the heat and fury of what passes for Scottish political debate in the 2015 UK general election campaign.   As new focus group research indicates that supporters of the SNP regard any discussion of policy as ‘white noise’, Wake Up Scotland is republishing this ‘psychopathology of nationalism’ – and interestingly we discover from our statistics that many of you have beaten us to it. Over to Jock Encombe. (more…)


Andrew Gray – Scots can vote positively: against division

Recently, I returned to Scotland, to my home town of Lanark, where “Braveheart” William Wallace began his campaign against English rule more than 700 years ago. With the referendum on Scotland’s future drawing near, independence campaigners had gathered for an annual march and rally to commemorate Wallace. I was impressed by their energy and enthusiasm. Politicians gave rousing speeches, a pipe band and a fiddler played, marchers waved bright blue saltires emblazoned with “Yes” in big letters. People told me they wanted a fairer society, a government closer to them, money invested in their children’s future rather than wasted on wars (“bairns not bombs”). A local man later described the activists as “bampots” — that wonderful Scottish word for those of questionable sanity. But these were articulate people, using reason and passion to make their case. Among its many achievements, the Yes campaign has convinced many that independence is both sensible and exciting. But it has not convinced me. (more…)

Jean Barr – A Beautiful Question?

The question we are asked to answer is a beautiful one, says AL Kennedy on Radio 4, on the morning before the Referendum. This is because, she says, the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” is a philosophical, moral question.

Yes, perhaps, but usually moral questions are not expected to be answered by ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but to invite sustained reflection and nuanced discourse. Is this what we have had in recent weeks and months? I do not think so. (more…)

Denise Mina – Why I’m Voting No

Denis Mina is a Scottish writer and this is the full text of her BBC R4 Today programme essay on her reasons for voting No

There has been a civic revolution in Scotland. Intense political discussions have taken place in families, town halls, social media and pubs and clubs. 97% of the population have registered to vote. We have an almost fully engaged body politic. I am a no voter and this is why: My family are historical flotsam. We are not policy makers but the people who suffer it. (more…)