20 June 2007

MARR, Andrew - The Battle for Scotland

Penguin 1992

Read May 2007

This book was written in 1992 and is therefore completely out of date. It was finished against the background of John Major winning the 1992 election and slightly improving the Tories performance in Scotland.

The book was written at the beginning of the period of the progressive anti-Tory alliance (absolutely dominant in Scotland) in which matters like constitutional reform, de-centralisation and proportional representation were in vogue. Of course that is history now. New Labour’s victory in 1997 saw, despite Blair reservations, the establishment of the Scottish Parliament – but this in fact represented the high-water mark of Labour’s progressive constitutionalism.

Marr’s book is well written and gives an excellent insight into the period from the campaign for Home Rule at the end of the nineteenth century to the botched devolution movement in the 1970s. For me the book filled a gap in my reading as I was little aware of the role of Scottish nationalism prior to the SNP’s by-election victory in 1967.

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