Radical Britain

I understand the despair with conservative Britain that has been driving the movement for independence. But British conservatism only exists because of its shadow, British radicalism, a radicalism that runs throughout British history, and that has inspired the progressive thought and political institutions that we admire elsewhere in the world, and want to emulate here.

Workers rally during on Clydeside, 1920s

The idea of ‘Labour Scotland’

I’ve spoken to many people about the independence referendum in the course of knocking on doors on behalf of the Scottish Labour Party over the past few months, and I and fellow canvassers have noticed two interesting things about how the party is now widely perceived.

Ancient Sound (detail), Paul Klee, 1925

The Rules of Abstraction

The Rules of Abstraction, a BBC4 documentary by the artist and writer Matthew Collings, shown last week and still available at the time of writing, was an accessible introduction to the enigmatic world of abstract art.

View of Edinburgh from the Salisbury Crags

Caledonian Dreaming

Gerry Hassan’s Caledonian Dreaming argues that the ills of Scottish society for which independence is proposed as the cure have as much to do with Scotland’s own failings as the interventions of unwanted British governments.

Photo with commissar profiles defaced by India ink

The Commissar Vanishes

The Commissar Vanishes, David King’s classic visual history of Stalin’s Russia, has been published in Britain for the first time.