British Politics

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 473–491 | Cite as

The rhetoric of Alex Salmond and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum

  • Stuart McAnullaEmail author
  • Andrew Crines
Original Article


This is the first article to examine the rhetoric of Alex Salmond using the Aristotelian modes of persuasion (ethos, pathos, logos) during the 2014 independence referendum. The article examines Salmond’s persuasive style, his political discourses and construction of a specific form of Scottishness between January and September 2014. The article argues that Salmond’s rhetorical style was driven in large part by a concern to reassure voters about the consequences of independence (logos-centred), combined with a positive vision informed by both civic nationalism and anti-Toryism (pathos-centred), which he constructed around his own character and credibility (ethos-centred). We conclude that Salmond’s rhetoric over the course of the referendum campaign can be understood as part of a wider political transformation in which the legitimacy of Westminster decisions over Scotland is subject to regular scrutiny and doubt.


Salmond Darling SNP Scotland Independence Rhetoric 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and International StudiesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Department of PoliticsUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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