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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Nation Speaking Unto Nation: Does the media create cultural distance between England and Scotland?

This paper looks first at the development of a Scottish national press, and its role in facilitating a national conversation in Scotland. It also considers the trend for London based newspapers to 'put a kilt' on their Scottish output, and the implications this has for the UK's ability to hold a national conversation. The paper also looks at the broadcast media, which finds itself in the position of being both an influential promoter of Britishness, as well as having played a key role in building a sense of Scottish identity.

Much of the debate about the future of the Union between England and Scotland has focused on the political and constitutional questions. This interest has intensified since the election of a minority Scottish National Party (SNP) government in Scotland in May 2007 - a party that is committed to achieving independence for Scotland.

However, the Union is more than just politics and government. An important part of it is made up of the cultural links between the two nations, plus Wales and Northern Ireland - the cultural union. It is this relationship that we seek to explore in this paper, using the media as a lens through which to view the health of the cultural union.

This paper looks first at the development of a Scottish national press, and its role in facilitating a national conversation in Scotland. It also considers the trend for London based newspapers to 'put a kilt' on their Scottish output, and the implications this has for the UK's ability to hold a national conversation. The paper also looks at the broadcast media, which finds itself in the position of being both an influential promoter of Britishness, as well as having played a key role in building a sense of Scottish identity.