Nationalism in Practice

Liberal nationalism – Scottish National Party

  • Have been calls for either a separate state or more realistically a limited degree of sovereignty.
  • There is a feeling that the English have plundered Scottish resources for too long – North Sea Oil.
  • Strong evidence of independence in areas such as law and education.
  • Feeling that they would be more dynamic an economy on their own.
  • All these ideas contributed to the nationalist movement in the 60s and 70s.
  • Unsuccessful independence in 1979 but successful in 1998 – what has Scotland really gained? Parliament can legislate on devolved areas (health, social work, education, local government, justice, police, agriculture etc.)
  • There are significant absences such as foreign policy constitution and finance, hence Scotland being allocated a budget.
  • Since 2011 election with SNP becoming largest party (69/129 seats), further calls for independence. Has been promise for a referendum in 2014. However there is plenty of controversy over question and timing of the referendum as well as allowing 16-18 year olds to vote.
  • Example of liberal nationalism seeking self-determination and a superior democracy but what policies do they actually make?
  • Free tuition fees/smaller class sizes/ refurbishing schools/froze council tax/small business bonus/free prescription etc. etc. – 84/94 manifesto commitments. All state involvement – old people and children – socialist values with liberal nationalism e.g. self-determination – improving people’s lives.  Links in with Mazzini.

Socialist nationalism/cultural nationalism - Wales

  • Not as much antagonism against the English as SNP.
  • Believe in more cultural nationalism and its protection – language emphasis. Continue to push for preservation of language but protect the erosion of their culture defensively rather than aggressive expansionist..
  • Therefore the powers of the WA are different but they can enact primary legislation in areas of housing, education and the welsh language following referendum 3rd March 2011.
  • Not a huge call for independence.
  • More socialist – equality.
  • Against the war in Iraq.
  • Want a proper parliament.
  • Inclusion. Fairness. Collectivism.
  • Socialism – mentioned working boys killed in Iraq.
  • Plaid Cymru not as successful as SNP but have 30 seats out of a possible 60.

Northern Ireland

  • Can be split into two areas of Unionism and Republicanism. Both suspicious of British government and seek protection of Irish culture. Stormont did gain control of key areas such as police and criminal law in 2010 though.
  • Unionism – a more defensive form of cultural nationalism than the Welsh and imbued by Protestantism insistence on protection of cultural from both the Brits and Catholics. Unionists are committed to the continuation of the union.
  •  Would like to see separate political institutions but also seek the protection of the British from Irish domination
  • Cameron alleged to have tried to convince the Democratic Unionists to form a coalition. Currently the biggest party with 38/107.
  • Republicanism – more radical ideas and a greater emphasis on socialism with Sinn Fein and the more moderate Social and Democratic Party. Sinn Fein sought to free the working class Catholics from the British exploiters. SDLP have a more liberal approach appealing to a range of supporters. Both can be classed as cultural nationalists but with elements of self-determination as well. Sinn Fein second biggest party with 29 seats.

British Nationalism

  • Emerged and coincided with high levels of immigration, combined with the feeling that UK was in decline. A clear disparity between the classes/regions all lead to disgruntled working class to look for somebody to blame.
  • Don’t believe in war abroad. Believe in state involvement – helping old people, bring back capital punishment.
  • BNP won support at European level with 2 MEPs and a number of councillors in areas of high immigration and relative deprivation.


  • Splitting conservative vote – fears.
  • 13 seats in the EU parliament and 1 million votes at 2010 general elections.
  • Several conservative MPs have held talks with UKIP about switching allegiance or running on a joint ticket.
  • Continued success in recent by-elections, coming second in Eastleigh, Middlesbrough and Rotherham.
  • They are consistently stealing voters from the Conservatives, but also from Labour supporters over their tough stance on immigration.
  • Do not believe in global warming pro nuclear power
  • Tough on crime no reductions on frontline police long jail sentences
  • Anti HRA
  • Emphasis on public sector with improved pensions NHS and greater flexibility of education provision
  • Take 4.5 million of lowest earners out of the tax system
  • Remove smoking ban and hold a referenda on hunting ban
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