Impending crisis in Scotland : political discourse in interesting times

Higgins, Michael; Patrona, Marianna, ed. (2018) Impending crisis in Scotland : political discourse in interesting times. In: Crisis Talk in the Media. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam, pp. 177-201. ISBN 9789027200341 (

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This chapter looks at the management of political instability across the political and media spheres before and after the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, and prior to the UK’s vote to exit the European Union. Looking first at a selection of political speeches, the chapter finds those politicians opposed to independence construct constitutional change as impending crisis, whereas speeches from a pro-independence position articulate the pursuit of a new political settlement and crisis aversion at an EU and international level. In a media context, the Scottish newspapers, all of which were opposed to independence, emphasise the threat of upheaval, and extend the crisis frame onto coverage of the economy and the National Health Service. Overall, while explicit references to crisis were comparatively across amongst politicians and media, the chapter suggests the tactical use of a “crisis” frame is an important component of political discourse in times of constitutional uncertainty.