British together
in The religion of Orange politics
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This chapter takes as its ethnographic focus the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, examining the Orange Order campaign against a ‘Yes’ vote. The chapter opens with a discussion of the Order’s exclusion from the mainstream ‘Better Together’ campaign, and their decision to set up a rival campaign called ‘British Together’. Analytically, the chapter argues that the Order found itself well outside the mainstream of the Scottish independence debate because it refused to separate (unionist) politics from (Protestant) religion, a move that was mirrored in their insistence that the SNP was not only pro-independence, but pro-Catholic. The chapter goes on to argue that this logic left many Orangemen positioning themselves as latter-day Covenanters, fighting to maintain the heritage of the Protestant Reformation. For other Orangemen, the referendum and their campaign against independence led them to embrace the identity of latter-day loyalists, imagining themselves to be fighting (as in Northern Ireland) to maintain the integrity of the UK against republican enemies. This chapter concludes with an examination of Barth’s Ethnic groups and boundaries. The chapter critiques Barth by showing how Orangemen embrace reification and self-essentialism, suggesting that such actions cannot be dismissed as analytical category errors.

The religion of Orange politics

Protestantism and fraternity in contemporary Scotland

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