Arguing for Independence: Evidence, Risks and the Wicked Issues (Viewpoints) Paperback – 20 Sep 2012
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This is a book of profound thought, intelligence and wit. --Scots Independent
Maxwell has done his homework assiduously. The key historical, social science and political sources on the subject have been marshalled with skill and to good effect. But his is by no means an arcane, scholarly tome accessible only to the academic few. The author writes in coherent and lucid prose so even complex economic arguments can be readily understood and absorbed. --The Herald
About the Author
STEPHEN MAXWELL was born in Edinburgh in 1942 to a Scottish medical family. He grew up in Yorkshire and was educated there before winning a scholarship to St John's College Cambridge, where he read Moral Sciences. This was followed by three years at the London School of Economics studying International Politics. Attracted by stirrings of Scottish Nationalism, he joined the London branch of the SNP in 1967. He worked as a research associate for the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and a Lecturer in International Affairs at the University of Sussex. In 1970 he returned to Scotland as Chatham House Research Felow at the University of Edinburgh. He was a frequent contributor to the cultural and political journals from Scottish International Review through Question to Radical Scotland, which fertilised the Scottish debate from the 1970s tot he 1990s. From 1973 to 1978 he was the SNP's National Press Officer and was director of the SNP's 1979 campaign in the Scottish Assembly Referendum. He was an SNP councillor on Lothian Regional Council 1975–78 before serving as SNP Vice Chair, successively for Publicity, Policy and Local Government. From the mid-1980s, he worked in the voluntary sector, initially with Scottish Education and Action for Development (SEAD) and then for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). He retired in 2009. He was the founding cair of a Scottish charitable company which today provides support to enable six hundred vulnerable people to live in the community. He contributed to numerous collections of essays on Scotland's future, most recently The Modern SNP: from Protest to Power (ed Hassan, EUP, 2009), Nation in a State (ed Brown, Ten Book Press, 2007) and A Nation Again (ed Henderson Scott, Luath Press, 2011).
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Top Customer Reviews
For the as-yet uncommitted voter, there are honest arguments here, which respect the reader's intelligence and which are frank about some shortcomings in some of the arguments for independence.
This refrain and variants upon it are repeated with great frequency by the unionist side of the Independence debate. One hopes that this book will go some way towards providing a detailed, well-researched and positive case for Scottish independence that will force its critics into a long-awaited and substantive debate. Something they have so far been loathe to do.
Maxwell provides a coherent, succinct and well balanced argument in favour of Scottish self-determination, and his case is enhanced by its nuance and caution. This is not a pamphlet chock-full of jingoisitic soundbites and utopian fantasy. Indeed, it highlights areas of potential weakness in the nationalist argument and truly challenges the dogmatic thinking sometimes prevalent of some on the Yes campaign. It's intellectual honesty is its great strength.
It should be said that there are some areas that are underdeveloped, notably Maxwell's Cultural Case for Independence. But, given the author's untimely death prior to publication, this seems a harsh criticism. Its study of the economic, social and political arguments in favour of Scottish independence is truly compelling and, to this reader's mind, highly convincing.
This is a book that begs to be read by all Scots with interest in how their country is to be governed in the future.
Just before I left Scotland to study and work in England, Stevie said to me that there was nothing like a spell of living in England to whet your appetite for independence. I actually experienced the opposite. People are just people wherever they are - the land is incidental. Country borders are just a human contrivance and an impediment to freedom. Sure, I recognised the emotional, tribal identification to Scotland within my conditioning, but I rationalised it as an unhealthy attachment that needed to be managed along with my sweet-tooth.
I spent over a year working in Northern Ireland during the peak of the troubles. Although I felt Ireland should never have been divided, I once received the brunt of someone’s deep felt anger, “It was you Scots that came over and pushed us Catholics off our land”. I argued back that “It was you Scots that invaded Pictland and ethnically cleansed the Picts!” A country border is just an arbitrary line in time within people’s minds that creates artificial divides and anger in people’s hearts when it is challenged or encouraged. We should be pulling borders down rather than trying to reinstate old ones. Even devolving to the regions, regional decision-making and dissolving central governments in Scotland, London, Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Moscow; replacing them with dispersed, accountable teams of specialist and trained decision-makers to tackle specific issues is probably a more likely future scenario than remaining 'as is'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At this time of big questions this book by Stephen Maxwell provides and excellent examination of the issues. Read morePublished on 20 May 2014 by firstname.lastname@example.org
I read this to get informed about the Scottish referendum. It was very well balanced and thoroughly researched. Read morePublished on 2 Mar. 2014 by Fiona123
It is as theathor said an argument for independence, It does not unfortunately address for me the critical issues
How will we pay for the infrastructure we... Read more
In this well-written and lucid book, the late Stephen Maxwell presented six cases for Scottish independence: democratic, economic, social, international, cultural and... Read morePublished on 13 Feb. 2014 by William Podmore
A good easy read for those who want to back up their convictions about an independent scotland. Not all plain sailing of course, but it all seems possible according to Maxwell. Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2014 by ANG
A well written realistic look at Scotlands future.
A must read by anyone trying to understand the reasons for independence.
A thorough, no-holds-barred review which I would probably have given 5 stars if I had had time to read it again.Published on 7 Oct. 2013 by Alexander McQuarrie