Media Release: A book to build a future with – big thinking for small nations, book launch

Small Nations in a Big World

The question on the ballot is, in appearance, simple and clear: Should Scotland be an independent country? Yet, while the words may be admirably concise, the deeper meaning and implications are not. – From the introduction to Small Nations in a Big World

Scotland could be made to work as an independent state but this implies not merely a change to its external relations or formal status, but a rebuilding of its institutions internally. We know from the example of other small states that this requires bold decisions and hard choices. – From Small Nations in a Big World

“INDEPENDENCE means that Scotland’s future will be in our own hands”, according to Scotland’s Future, the Scottish Government’s ‘White Paper’ on independence.

Explains a spokesperson: “It is not so simple, according to Michael Keating and Malcolm Harvey. In Small Nations in a Big World: What Scotland Can Learn, they show that, in a globalised world, being formally independent ‘does not mean that a nation is fully in command of its own destiny’.

“Looking at the experience of small European states, including the Nordic countries, the Baltic States and Ireland, the authors 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.”

Notes for editors:

Small Nations in a Big World is a publication from the Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change, which continues its programme on the economic, political, social and security implications of independence or further devolution.

MICHAEL KEATING is Professor of Politics at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Edinburgh and is Director of the Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change. He is a fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Social Science.

He has been writing about Scottish politics for 40 years and is published extensively on nationalism and territorial politics throughout Europe.

MALCOLM HARVEY is a researcher at the University of Aberdeen and the Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change. His research interests include nationalist movements, party systems and constitutional change. He has written online for The Herald and Better Nation, a political website he co-founded.

BOOK LAUNCH: 6.00pm, 20 May 2014, University of Edinburgh, Lecture Theatre 1, 7 Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL. The authors will present the book, then Robin McAlpine, Juliet Swann and David Torrance will open a general discussion chaired by Former First Minister Henry McLeish.

All welcome. Admission free but ticketed. To book to attend, please phone 0131 225 4326, e-mail, or go to

Trade order hotline: please call HarperCollins Book Distribution Centre on 08707 871730

Mail order: please call Luath Direct on 0131 225 4326 [24 hours]

Small Nations in a Big World: What Scotland Can Learn by Michael Keating and Malcolm Harvey, ISBN-13: 978-1-910021-20-0 Paperback £9.99

For information, interviews, review copy requests, competitions and reader offers please contact or 0131 225 4326

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Contact: Laura Nicol
Phone: 01312254326