Britishness: a Scottish Invention

It was Scots who were the most vocal advocates of a vibrant, imperial, Protestant Great Britain.

The Union of England and Scotland, Peter Paul Reubens, c.1633
The Union of England and Scotland, Peter Paul Reubens, c.1633

Conspicuously absent from the arguments of the ‘No’ campaign in the current pre-Referendum debate over Scottish independence has been any appeal to a shared sense of Britishness. This is perhaps hardly surprising given that recently released data from the 2011 census reveals that two thirds of Scotland’s inhabitants see themselves as Scottish only and fewer than 20 per cent as Scottish and British.

This marked decline in British identity, which is shared to a lesser extent by the population of the rest of the United Kingdom, signals the obsolescence of what was a largely Scottish invention, hammered out in the aftermath of the 16th-century Reformation and the 1707 Act of Union.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.

 

X

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week