Scotland's contested identity

The Documentary Podcast

By BBC World Service

Scotland's contested identity

Thursday, 18 March

For over three hundred years the union of England and Scotland has held firm through war and poverty but in recent years some people north of the border have asked for a divorce. Elections in May to Scotland’s devolved parliament could return a majority for the ruling Scottish National Party which is seeking a mandate for a second referendum on seceding from the UK. Only seven years ago those wanting independence failed to win a poll on the issue but since then Brexit and the handling of the Covid pandemic have radicalised some voters, especially the young. For Assignment, Lucy Ash visits several communities in Scotland to hear their new arguments for and against the union, and to learn about the differing interpretations of Scottish history, identity and political culture that underpin them. From the east coast city of Dundee which voted so decisively for independence in the last referendum that it was dubbed the “Yes City” she travels to Stirling, the so-called Gateway to the Highlands. Finally, she flies to the isles of Orkney, which have vowed to become independent themselves if the rest of the country does secede from the UK – a sign that the centrifugal forces at work all over Europe could well apply to Scotland itself. Producer: Mike Gallagher Editor: Bridget Harney (Demonstrator, with a Saltire bodysuit and flag, at a Pro-Scottish Independence rally in Glasgow, 05 February 2021. The Scottish National Party has adopted the Saltire as its symbol but Unionists say they have just as much ownership of the country’s blue and white flag, also known as the St Andrew’s Cross. Credit: Reuters)
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