political studies

July 2014




978 186057 121 3

Series: Political Studies




Kevin Adamson & Peter Lynch


Voters in Scotland face a fundamental choice about their future at the independence referendum on 18th September 2014 and political parties are key actors in this process.

Though the referendum saw the launch of umbrella campaign groups - Yes Scotland and Better Together - political parties remained central to the campaign. Parties shaped the nature of the referendum in government; parties provided leadership, resources, activists and expertise to the campaign; and were also major producers of political discourse throughout Scotland's contemporary referendum experience.

Though the referendum offers a simple Yes/No choice on the ballot paper, some voters may also use party loyalty as a short-cut guide to understanding the issues and their decision.

This book:

  • analyses the referendum roles and activities of the Conservatives, Scottish Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish  National Party and Scottish Socialist Party during the campaign.

  • places the independence referendum in international context through examining other sovereignty referendums

  • looks at the emergence of new organizations like Radical Independence and National Collective.

Finally, the book adopts the Essex School of discourse analysis to examine the contested nature of political discourse around the        referendum.



1. Political Parties and the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 - Kevin Adamson and Peter Lynch

2. Referendums and Sovereignty - Matt Qvortrup

3. The Scottish National Party and the Independence Referendum - Kevin Adamson and Peter Lynch

4. The Scottish Labour Party and the Independence Referendum - Eric Shaw

5. The Scottish Conservatives and the Independence Referendum - David Torrance

6. The Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Independence Referendum - Malcolm Harvey

7. The Radical Parties and Independence: Another World is Possible? - Paul Gillen

8. Conclusion: Political Parties and the Referendum - Kevin Adamson and Peter Lynch


Kevin Adamson is a lecturer in politics at the University of Stirling. His research interests are currently focused on Scottish and European politics, particularly with regard to citizenship, political ideologies and analysis of political discourse.

Dr Peter Lynch is a Senior Lecturer in the History & Politics  Department at the University of Stirling and is also Director of the Scottish Political Archive. He is author of SNP: The History of the Scottish National Party (Welsh Academic Press, 2002).

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