NEAL Ascherson, Caroline Lucas, and Lesley Riddoch will be among the writers, activists, and politicians gathering in Scotland later this year for a conference on the “Break-up of Britain”.

Held as a “salute to Tom Nairn”, the late nationalist thinker whose seminal work of the same title was published in 1977, the Edinburgh conference will debate a range of issues related to “Britain’s ailing democracy”.

The conference will also call for a new democratic settlement in the UK “that includes the right of Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and England to determine their own constitutional futures”.

READ MORE: What can the Scottish independence movement learn from the late Tom Nairn?

Politicians including Lucas, SNP president Michael Russell and Labour MP Clive Lewis will attend alongside journalists like Riddoch, Ascherson, and Fintan O’Toole, and academics such as Dr Kojo Koram, a law lecturer at the University of London and the author of Uncommon Wealth: Britain and the Aftermath of Empire.

The event will take place at the Assembly Rooms on Edinburgh’s George Street on November 18.

Organisers said the conference will look to address aspects of Nairn’s thinking as well as “challenge the emerging authoritarian consensus at Westminster”.

openDemocracy founder Anthony Barnett, a long-time friend of Nairn (below) and one of the conference organisers, said: “What should those of us who want to see an independent Scotland become a full member of the European Union do now?

The National: Tom Nairn 1 SA : Scottish political thinker/writer Tom Nairn at his home in Livingston...Picture by Stewart Attwood.                   .All images © Stewart Attwood Photography 2016. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is

“Three approaches are needed simultaneously: make common cause with democrats across the UK; campaign as Europeans for the EU to welcome Scotland back; and convince English democrats that they need not fear their own nationality.

“On November 18, in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, we will initiate a UK-wide debate on these and other themes.”

Barnett added: “Tom Nairn recognised that Scotland’s liberty in part depends on what the English decide. The road to independence needs to be taken with English, Welsh, Irish and European support against the British state. How do we achieve this? Let the answer begin on November 18.”

Riddoch, a National columnist who has just published her latest book Thrive: The Freedom To Flourish, appealed to pro-democracy activists from across the UK and Ireland to attend.

READ MORE: The impact of Tom Nairn is too great to let him slip quietly away

She said: “The Break-up of Britain conference is a politically ambitious attempt to connect everyone across these islands who believe the days of Westminster sovereignty are over – and that's a lot of people.

“It includes independence supporters in Scotland and Wales, but also folk in England who back the right to self-determination amongst other nations in the UK as well as their own; Irish people on both sides of the border exploring the possible conditions for reunification; and English activists who want to transform their country from being the most centralised in Europe.

“Can all these different interests find common cause? We intend to find out because the British status quo is archaic and untenable – as the late and celebrated writer Tom Nairn pointed out half a century ago.”

The National:

Lucas (above), the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, urged progressives in England to embrace constitutional change. “We need to radically rethink how we do politics right across these islands,” she said.

“Too often, that conversation is left to people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But we English are trapped by the stifling Westminster system too.

"Our politics is badly warped by the delusions of imperial grandeur so often implicit in ideas of Britishness. I'm excited to be coming to Edinburgh in November to talk about these questions with some great thinkers from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and across Europe."

Nairn, who the conference will honour, passed away in January 2023 aged 90

Tickets for the conference, which will run from 9am to 7pm on November 18, are on sale on the conference’s website here. Concessions are available.

Donations to support the conference can be made on the event's Go Fund Me page or via the website.

Conference partners and sponsors include openDemocracy, the Scottish Independence Foundation, Compass, Bella Caledonia, Verso, Democratic Left Scotland, Europe for Scotland, the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust, and The Byline Times.