British academy

Scotland and the United Kingdom

A conference report written by Beth Foley

The issue of Scottish independence is one of the biggest constitutional issues facing the UK at the moment, with far-reaching consequences for all UK citizens.  

In early 2012 the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh organised a pair of conferences to discuss Scotland’s past, present and future relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom. The events brought together academics and policy experts in the fields of constitutional law, politics and government, economics, international relations and history. It provided a platform for a frank and informed discussion on this topic, including complex issues such as tax and spending, the English response and relations with the European Union.  

This report is a record of the views expressed by the speakers and attendees at those events. It aims to provide expert analysis and to encourage rich and informed debate on all aspects of this hugely important topic.  

Download Scotland and the United Kingdom


More information on the conferences and the Scotland and the United Kingdom project

The organisation of the conferences and the production of the report were overseen by the following Steering Committee:

Rev Canon Professor John Richardson FRSE, Programme Convener, Royal ‎Society of Edinburgh (Chair)

Professor Alice Brown CBE FRSE, General Secretary, Royal Society of Edinburgh

Professor Jim Gallagher CB FRSE, Professor of Government, University of ‎Glasgow 

Professor Charlie Jeffery FRSE, Professor of Politics; Co-Director of the Institute ‎of Governance, University of Edinburgh 

Professor Michael J Keating FBA FRSE, Professor of Politics, University of Aberdeen 

Professor Iain McLean FBA FRSE, Professor of Politics, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

‎Professor Neil Walker FBA FRSE, Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations, University of Edinburgh


Related information:

A response to Scotland's Constitutional Future

In March 2012, the British Academy responded to the Scotland Office consultation on facilitating a legal, fair and decisive referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.

Scottish independence: unionists must appeal to the heart, not just the head

Professor Jim Gallagher, Gwilym Gibbon research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and visiting professor of government at Glasgow University, wrote a comment piece for the Guardian on the unionist campaign.