In the run up to the referendum on Scottish independence this year BBC Radio 4 commissioned Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, to deliver this series of talks on the history of the United Kingdom. It examines the forces that have pulled the people and nations of the UK together and pushed them apart.
I cannot recommend this series highly enough to anyone who is interested in understanding the historical background to modern debates about devolution, independence, constitutional reform and how we govern ourselves. While you may not agree with some of Professor Colley’s conclusions — although I think she makes tremendous sense — what I think it does do brilliantly is establish an authentic historical context for considering such questions in a way that exposes the huge amount of myth making and false assumptions that so often accompany these debates.
The series is split into several episodes, all of which should remain available for at least a year, but there are three omnibus editions which you can find here: Episode One – Episode Two – Episode Three