Scotland’s Nordic unionists: From union to union?
Scotland’s Future, The Scottish Government’s guide to independence proposed cooperation with the Nordic Council amongst multiple external relations objectives, a continuation of references by independence supporting elites to the region that stretch decades. Closer cooperation with Norden as pronounced in the paper implies that the Nordic Council serves at least two functions, firstly, a basis for fostering a rejuvenated Council of the British Isles based on the Nordic Council framework (Qvotrup, 2009; Bogdanor, 2009), and secondly, formal political and societal union with the Nordic region (Bailes, Þórhallsson and Johnstone 2013). Both functions permeate from the rejection of Scotland’s current union with rUK, and SNP rhetoric of ‘independence within Europe’ suggesting that senior politicians have no qualms in leaving one union for another.\ud Scholarly references tend to narrow on discourse linking independence to the creation of a Nordic welfare model with little attention to formal regional unification through the Nordic Council. This thesis therefore studies the independence movement’s use of Norden and explores both the context and purpose of Scottish-Nordic articulations. It finds that most political groups sympathetic to independence desire cooperation with Norden but not to the detriment of future relations with rUK in the event of independence. The use of Norden is not solely a desire to replicate Nordic models of welfare as many scholars argue, but rather, Norden invokes a political and societal partner that emphasises the movement’s progressive ambitions. The pursuit of Norden as a union ultimately stems from the collapse of the UK’s welfare union and the damaging effects of a unitary and confined constitutional system, meaning that the political elite favour a societal and political approach to union like that of Norden and for some elites, an actual political and societal union with the region
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