Following the recent posts concerning Tom Gallagher’s book about Nationalism in Scotland and the (predictable) media noise it has generated, it was refreshing yesterday to attend another book launch yesterday which generated more light than noise and heat. Coincidentally, well-known political scientist and authority on ‘stateless nationalism’, Michael Keating, is publishing ‘The Independence of Scotland’ (see http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199545957.do?keyword=keating&sortby=bestMatches) at more or less the same time as the Gallagher tome. Keating was his usual lucid self but of equal value was the response of journalist Iain McWhirter (who is already on record criticising the Gallagher book). Both seemed agreed that the most likely future would involve a Scotland with more autonomy and that there was little prospect of a revived unionism based on Britishness as an overarching identity (a la Gordon Brown). Equally, neither was confident that we would see an independent Scotland any time soon. But for me the most interesting thing to emerge from the discussion was just what form any such ‘independence’ would take anyway. With the SNP (apparently) backing away from many of the commitments which some expected (or at least hoped) would be part of an independent Scotland (a republic, the Euro, de-militarisation, an independent foreign policy and a diplomatic presence on the world’s stage) what do we mean by ‘independence’ for small countries in the contemporary world? The line between independence and enhanced autonomy (or ‘devolution max’) may indeed be a grey one.