State of the Union
Unionism and the Alternatives in the United Kingdom Since 1707
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State of the Union by Iain McLean
Book DescriptionThis is the first survey of Unionism, the ideology of most of the rulers of the United Kingdom for the last 300 years. Because it was taken so much for granted, it has never been properly studied. Now that we stand in the twilight of Unionism, it is possible to see it as it casts its long shadow over British and imperial history since 1707. The book looks at all the crucial moments in the history of Unionism. In 1707, the parliaments and (more important) executives of England and Scotland were united. During the 18th century, although not immediately after 1707, that union blossomed and brought benefits to both parties. It facilitated the first and second British Empires. The Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1800-01 was formally similar but behaviourally quite different. It was probably doomed from the start when George III refused to accept Catholic Emancipation. Nevertheless, no leading British politician heeded the Irish clamour for Home Rule until Gladstone in 1886. That cataclysmic year has determined the shape of British and Irish politics ever since. Having refused to concede Irish Home Rule through the heyday of primordial Unionism from 1886 to 1920, British politicians had to accept Irish independence in 1921, whereupon primordial Unionism fell apart except in Northern Ireland. Twentieth-century Unionism has been instrumental - valuing the Union for its consequences, not because it was intrinsically good. As Unionism was inextricably tied up with the British Empire, it nevertheless remained as a strong but unexamined theme until the end of Empire. The unionist parties (Conservative and Labour) responded to the upsurge of Scottish and Welsh nationalism, and of violence in Northern Ireland, in the light of their mostly unexamined unionism in the 1960s. With the departure from politics of the last Unionists (Enoch Powell and John Major), British politics is now subtly but profoundly different.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199258208
(242mm x 164mm x 22mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 29-Sep-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Iain McLean
Scotland's Choices, Paperback (May 2014)
Scotland's Choices, now fully revised for the critical last few months before the referendum, explains the choice that Scotland will have to make in September 2014. The authors clearly explain the issues and how each of the options would be put into place after the referendum, without any bias or agenda.
Legally Married, Paperback (December 2013)
What does it mean to be legally married today? This book combines insights from history and law from the UK and Scotland with international examples of how marriage law has developed. It shows how assumptions about marriage are contestable on various grounds, separates fact from fiction and explains the claims in terms of their historical context.
What's Wrong with the British Constitution?, Paperback (July 2012)View all books by Iain McLean
A bravura critique of the traditional interpretation of the British constitution. The book demolishes many of the myths surrounding it, but also goes on to suggest a constructive alternative.
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