1. SCOTTISH STREET POLITICS: INTRODUCTION

 

DSC_5985SCOTLAND’S political landscape is changing dramatically and causing wider repercussions across the UK, Ireland and Europe. There is now talk of a second referendum on Scottish independence Just 12 months after the historic 2014 referendum. Talk of a second referendum has arisen partly in response to the election of a Conservative government at Westminster and dramatic changes within the Labour Party.

Robbie MacDonald has photographed the colour, culture and drama of Scottish street politics – parades, rallies and other high-profile events which are so different to English life, where political allegiances are rarely displayed in public other than posters, badges and rosettes seen during election campaigns.

These Scottish street politics photographs, taken over three years in Edinburgh and Glasgow, capture grassroots events leading-up to the historic 2014 independence referendum and the 2015 UK general election, in which the pro-independence SNP won 56 of 59 Scottish parliamentary seats at Westminster. The images illustrate the breadth and vibrancy of the Scottish independence scene, which has involved many organisations and thousands of people across Scotland and beyond.

They also show some of the activities of Scottish loyalist and unionist groups, who played a role in retaining Scotland in the UK during the 2014 referendum yet may face tougher challenges ahead.

This seven-page Scottish street politics section is divided into different themes – radical independence groups, music at political events, European supporters of Scottish independence, children and young people, football supporters for independence, and, finally, Glasgow.

Scotland’s biggest city has a strong socialist tradition along with close links to Ireland and Irish politics of all hues – nationalist and loyalist. Glasgow voted ‘Yes’ for Scottish independence yet is home to more loyalist marches than the city of Belfast. Glaswegian politics, like Scottish politics generally,  are evolving in fascinating ways, reflecting Scotland’s unique blend of conflicting and complementary trends, traditions and identities.

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