Henry McLeish launches new book on Independence

Professor Michael Keating, Professor of Politics, University of Aberdeen and Director at the SCCC. Picture: Andrew Cowan
Professor Michael Keating, Professor of Politics, University of Aberdeen and Director at the SCCC. Picture: Andrew Cowan
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A new book launched by Henry McLeish will look at the experiences of small independent states in northern Europe and what Scotland can learn from their situations.

Henry McLeish chaired the event for the Scottish Centre on Constitutional change, who’s members Michael Keating and Malcolm Harvey produced the book, which also included contributions from Juliet Swann of the Electoral Reform Society, Robin McAlpine of the Jimmy Reid Foundation and David Torrance, author and journalist.

Looking at the experience of small European states, including the Nordic countries, the Baltic States and Ireland, the Keating and Harvey identify two models. In the market liberal strategy, small states bend to global markets, cut taxes and deregulation. In the social investment model, they see public expenditure and services as a contribution to the productive economy.

Scotland has often looked to the Nordic social democracies for inspiration. Keating and Harvey show that it could imitate their success but this would require a radical overhaul of its way of making policy. The book raises issues that will remain crucial to the future of the nation whatever the outcome of the vote in September.