The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: The making of the UK state. The discussion was initiated by jk1921.Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!
A very stimulating article that makes a serious attempt to understand the development of the UK state. It would be good if this could become a series that brings up to the present day.
Just a couple of minor points: the article again refers to the UK a "nation-state." In some senses this is probably true, but in the strict definition of the term the UK is far from constituting a nation state. There are really four (or three and a half nations?) sharing the same state. In fact, the article does an excellent job of pointing out the numerous difficulties that occurred in the consolidation of the UK, not only were there ethnic, lingusitic and geographic cleavages, but perhaps even more important at times religious ones. These differences, although perhaps less salient today than in early periods, obviously have not been overcome. I still have relatives who refer to Wilhem van Oranje as "King Billy" and seem to remember the Battle of the Boyne like it was yesterday. Of course, in the strictest sense of the term, there are probably no pure nation states (maybe Iceland?), but France is much closer to one than the UK.
Also, the article mentions the attempts of Scotland to form its own commerical policy, but doesn't specifcally mention the Darien scheme--the ill-fated attempt to set-up an independent Scottish colony in Panama, that absorbed up to one fourth of all the circulating money in Scotland. If I remeber my history correctly, it was the failure of the Darien scheme that ensured the Act of Union and opened Scotland up to the penetration of English captial--a kind of seventeeth century bail-out. Although, this was a terrible set-back for any hopes of forming a seperate Scottish state or perhaps even a seperate Scottish national captial, Scotland did recover from this disaster to become a real center of commerce and later industry within the UK. Perhaps it is also worth pointing out the central role of Scottish immigrants in the formation of the bourgeoisie in North America (particularly true in Canada, where Scots played a very central role).
interesting points MH. It is remarkable though that despite its difficulties the UK state has remained remarkably stable for the last several centuries. Compare this to France, where despite forging a more unified nation-state, the state has experienced numerous crises over the same period. Part of this of course has to do with revolutionary threats from the working class and foreign invasions that haven't been such a salient feature of British history, but the comparrison is interesting.