Scotland politics

Scottish independence: William McIlvanney and Allan Massie set out rival visions

William McIlvanney and Allan Massie Image copyright other
Image caption McIlvanney (left) and Massie will discuss the referendum at an event in Edinburgh later this month

Two prominent Scottish authors have published pamphlets setting out their rival visions of Scotland's future ahead of the independence referendum.

One pamphlet, Dreaming Scotland, was authored by the novelist and poet William McIlvanney and sets out his reasons for voting "Yes".

The other, entitled Nevertheless, makes the case for a "No" vote and was written by Allan Massie.

They have both been published by the Saltire Society.

Massie has written almost 30 books, including 20 novels, and won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year award for his 1989 novel A Question of Loyalties about Vichy France.

Arguing the case for Scotland to remain part of the UK, his pamphlet concludes: "It is, for me, a matter of self-confidence. If you feel the lack of that, you will vote for independence.

'Finest Scottish novelist'

"If you feel confident of Scotland's ability to remain Scottish and prosper in the Union, you will agree that we are indeed Better Together and vote 'No'.

"The Unionist says, I am Scottish. Nevertheless, I am also British and value the Union with England, "our sister and ally", as [Sir Walter] Scott called her."

McIlvanney is also a past winner of the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year award for his 1996 novel The Kiln and has been previously described by Massie as "the finest Scottish novelist of our time".

Setting out his reasons for voting in favour of independence, McIlvanney wrote: "Politically, Scotland's like a living entity which has been cryogenically frozen and stored within the UK for over 300 years.

"Isn't it time to come out of history's deep-freeze and explore for ourselves who we really are? Whatever that reality turns out to be, let's confront it.

"It's time to grow up and take full responsibility for ourselves. A Yes vote would do that."

'Philosophical thought'

The two authors will discuss the referendum together at a special event hosted at the Central Hall in Edinburgh on 30 July.

Saltire Society executive director Jim Tough said much of the debate around the referendum has been focused on practical questions and the economic case for and against.

"We wanted to provide an opportunity for some more philosophical thought to be given to the question," he added.

"Hence, we asked two of Scotland's contemporary writers, each bringing an alternate perspective, to contribute these thoughtfully argued pieces.

"We wanted personal reflections rather than polemics. I think they dig that bit more deeply into what motivates people to vote one way or the other at a more instinctive level.

"Both pamphlets also offer some fascinating insights into the way history has shaped the Scotland we live in today - and who we are as modern Scots."

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