Tag Archives: Scottish National

An SNP Government in the Union: The Best of Both Worlds?

Sometimes, some people have a dig at the SNP by stating that support for independence has fallen since they entered office in 2007. This was not part of the plan, but is it the SNP’s fault? One argument made by John Curtice is that the SNP has become a victim of its own success. People may feel that they can enjoy the ‘best of both worlds’ by staying part of the Union and having an SNP Government ‘standing up for Scotland’. Here is one example from the SDMR in May 2008 (p39):

best both worlds

If you don’t fancy going through the 300 pages per year reports, I summarise them in this book like this:

best both worlds Cairney

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Scotland’s Future: A Summary of the White Paper in Slightly Fewer Words Than The White Paper’s Own Summary

Scotland’s Future is an unusual mix of the mundane and the meaningful. On the one hand, it doesn’t tell you much more than you already knew: the current Scottish Government supports independence and has its own ideas about how it should look. On the other, if you take a step back, you remember how unusual it is for a government to treat independence as a policy like any other, setting out a White Paper and using the civil service machinery to help turn its broad aims and manifesto into a whopping policy document. The choice of a White Paper is also interesting in terms of UK history. They are traditionally used as a way to consult. A Green Paper sets out broad aims and asks questions. A White Paper is a stronger statement of intent, set out in detail, and put to the public for its reaction. They know what they want to do, but they are willing to talk to you about it, to make sure they got it right.

I remember noticing this mix of mundane/ meaningful when hearing the White Paper described by a civil servant in an innocuous way (although this is only an impression you would get if you were there – not if you read about it in the Herald). I mostly spaced out when hearing some of the descriptions, only to remember that this is a Scottish Government civil servant describing the details of the policy of independence. So, I managed to catch the most important part: the White Paper is a mixture of 3 things:

(1)   What the Scottish Government wants and can safely say will happen if there is a Yes vote (Scottish independence, as described in the WP);

(2)   What the Scottish Government hopes to secure in negotiation with the UK Government if there is a Yes vote (for example, a currency union);

(3)   What the current Scottish Government would like to see happen if there is a Yes vote (for example, a particular kind of social democratic state and particular policies, or the removal of policies such as the ‘bedroom tax’).

Much has been made about the third type of aim, which can be described as the SNP using the Scottish Government to write its next manifesto (albeit on twitter, where people go to make their most succinct and outrageous claims), but remember that this is a consultation document, not something that binds a Scottish Government led by another party (and remember that the SNP had already written most of this stuff anyway, with the civil service there to minimise mistakes). Even without the hyperbole, it is an unusual document, setting out a policy for something the Scottish Government does not control. One might say that, in a complex world, the idea of a government being in control is silly anyway, but this WP is unusually candid about the things it only hopes to achieve and the often-party-political points it wants to make.

It is in this context that we should view the aims set out in the WP:

Alex Salmond’s preface has that big idea, mixed with pragmatism and values, feel: we will seek independence to pursue our own aims, work with the UK Government to secure them, and hope to build on the idea of Scottish ‘values’ to produce a particular kind of state and set of policies. This is a straightforward rhetorical device setting out his (now pragmatic) hopes and dreams.

The preface is followed by some bullet points which contain more details and mixes the governmental with the party political. This is the approach that has been described as the Scottish Government writing the SNP’s manifesto. Alongside the general desire for decisions about Scotland to be made by ‘those who live and work here’, is a broad statement about economic policy being conducive to business (including small business) and geared more to Scotland than the South East of England (a point used partly to justify a potentially-right-wing-looking drop in corporation tax (and air duty), ‘to counter the gravitational business pull of London’), a detailed account of current policy intentions and some strong criticism of current UK Government policy. The ‘social democratic’ feel is there, with a general commitment not to reform the welfare state in the way currently done by the UK Government, and to protect pensions and the minimum wage (while promoting, and paying its staff, the ‘living wage’).  There is a particular emphasis on childcare to allow women to return to work (prompting some commentary about the relative lack of support for independence by women). There is also a clear dig at the UK Government as a Conservative-led government, with a commitment to abolish the ‘bedroom tax’ (for social housing only?) and return the Scottish part of the Royal Mail to public ownership. The ‘bedroom tax’ is, I think, mentioned 38 times and linked to the ‘poll tax’ twice (it’s a bit like the roundabouts going through Dundee – they have a hypnotic effect and you lose count).

These aims are followed by the case for independence and some broad plans for an independent Scotland. It is this area in which the Scottish Government shows most strength, by presenting Scotland in a positive light, particularly in relation to its economy and its scope for growth through innovation, and by presenting broad aims which reinforce its Nordic-looking (‘social democratic’? progressive? corporatist?) credentials tied strongly to its aims on economic activity. There is a focus on: ‘fostering high levels of trust and reducing income inequality’; promoting more equal employee representation and, in particular, ‘greater female participation on company boards’; reducing corporation tax and air duty (perhaps the non-progressive outliers in this list) and perhaps National Insurance contributions for small business; fostering a corporatist approach to issues such as fair pay; and, removing tax incentives for marriage and a reduction in employment rights. The stand-out element is the commitment to increase ‘female and parental participation in the workforce through a transformational expansion in childcare provision’. 3 and 4 year olds (and ‘vulnerable’ 2 year olds) will be offered the hours equivalent to primary schooling. Early criticism focuses on the idea that this policy is only promised in an independent Scotland, not now. Yet, the plan is based on a five year lead-in, to produce a much larger trained workforce (five years seems ambitious enough to me).

There is also a broad commitment to: maintain Scotland’s key education policies (comprehensive schools, free higher education) but improve on the Scottish Government’s record on major inequalities in attainment (there is a similar mention of health inequalities); re-establish the link between the state pension (but not other social security) and average earnings or inflation if it is higher (a policy abolished by a pre-devolution Conservative Government) and slow down the increase of the pension age when it reaches 66 (partly because Scots live shorter and less expensive lives); and protect social protection: ‘support for people who work; a safety net for people who cannot work; and a climate of social solidarity’. Its justice aims are fairly vague.

This is accompanied by a discussion of shakier ground, which: (a) requires more UK Government cooperation, arguing (why not go for it completely if you go for it?) that ‘The pound is Scotland’s currency just as much as it is the rest of the UK’s’ and that it should form an influential part of a ‘Sterling Area’ (i.e. not just use the pound on the sly); and (b) engages in the difficult-to-control debate about Scotland’s finances and likely future tax rates: ‘As Scotland’s public finances are healthier than those of the UK as a whole, there will no requirement for an independent Scotland to raise the general rate of taxation to fund existing levels of spending’ (compare with recent coverage of the IFS report).

The focus on international affairs is fairly uneventful at times (given that this would be the biggest area of transferred powers), perhaps because the debates have been well aired: the Scottish Government budget for embassies would be lower than it (estimates it) pays for its share of the UK (and used to promote culture and trade); it would negotiate its entry to to the EU on the basis of already meeting most of its conditions, staying out of the Eurozone (OK, that argument is more interesting) and Schengen area; it would meet the ‘good global citizen’ test by giving 0.7% of Gross National Income to international development; and put up more of a fight in EU fishing and agriculture negotiations. It also promises a (less UK, less right wing?) points-based system on immigration and to reintroduce the old student visas system (removed by the UK Government, producing much teeth-gnashing and income reduction in Universities).

Defence and energy are the bigger bones of contention, requiring some degree of cooperation with the UK Government. The Scottish Government promises the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland ‘within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence’ (while aiming to join NATO) and to use some of its £2.5bn budget to build ‘to a total of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel’. It also seeks to maintain a GB-wide energy market to, for example, allow it to continue to export renewable electricity to England.

The Scottish Government describes the transitional arrangements (to begin as a new, elected Scottish Parliament in May 2016) on things like civil service transfers as straightforward, preferring to focus on the need to produce a written constitution, enshrining certain broad principles on equality and the right to healthcare and education (and a specific ban on nuclear weapons), and developed in partnership with a ‘constitutional convention’. Its commitment to ‘subsidiarity’ and the protection of local government appears later in the main document.

If only to reinforce the idea that this is no ordinary White Paper, and that the Scottish Government is engaging in unusually tense party political and yes/ no ground, it has printed a clear dig at the no campaign’s focus on the worst-case scenario: Scotland will still get access to the BBC network, ensuring that ‘the people of Scotland will still have access to all current programming, including EastEnders, Dr Who, and Strictly Come Dancing and to channels like CBeebies’. What other government document can say that?


Filed under Scottish politics

Scotland’s Future: For People Who Live and Work Here With Certain Values

scot future wordcloud

In the Scottish Government White Paper Scotland’s Future (26.11.13), the phrase ‘live and work here’ is asked to do quite a lot of work. It starts off as a simple ‘live here’, to demonstrate the SNP and Scottish Government’s commitment to civic nationalism (the phrase has changed over the years from ‘Scottish people’ to ‘people of Scotland’ to ‘people who live here’). This is about the self determination of a population defined by residence, not ethnicity:

  • ‘We, the people who live here, have the greatest stake in making Scotland a success’ (i)
  • ‘The Scottish Government wants us to have the powers of independence so that people who live here can build a different and better Scotland’ (3)
  • ‘With independence the Scottish Parliament will have all the powers we need in Scotland to make life better for the people who live here’ (28)
  • ‘Driving our ambition is the firm knowledge that Scotland, and all of the people who live here, should be enjoying the benefits of higher levels of sustainable economic growth’ (45)
  • ‘Given the breadth and depth of our economic strengths, Scotland is better placed than most to ensure a secure future for the people who live here’ (57)
  • ‘With independence, decisions on the taxes we pay, the state pension, the delivery of all public services, and policies that affect our economy and society will be taken in Scotland based on the needs and interests of the people who live here’ (59)
  • ‘With independence, decisions on the taxes we pay, the state pension, the delivery of all public services, and policies that affect our economy and society will be taken in Scotland based on the needs and interests of the people who live here’ (60)
  • ‘With independence, Scotland’s Parliament will be able to make sure that Scotland’s wealth works better for the people who live here, and will mean a better quality of life for people in Scotland’ (374)
  • ‘With independence, the Scottish Parliament will have all the powers we need in Scotland to make life better for the people who live here’ (376)
  • ‘Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and one of the purposes of independence is to make sure that wealth works better for the people who live here’ (470)

Then, it is joined by ‘work here’, perhaps as a nod to Swedish style citizenship which is linked closely to working practices, or perhaps to a focus on economic activity, not its tag as a recipient of a disproportionate amount of government spending. So, now, the people who live and work here care most about it and, therefore, will make better decisions in relation to Scotland:

  • ‘it will be better for all of us if decisions about Scotland are taken by the people who care most about Scotland – the people who live and work here’ (Salmond, viii and ix)
  • ‘Decisions about Scotland will be taken by the people who care most about Scotland – those who live and work here’ (xii)
  • ‘Scotland should be independent because the best people to take decisions about Scotland’s future are those of us who live and work here’ (541).
  • ‘The Scottish Government supports independence because we believe it will be better for us all if decisions about Scotland are taken by the people who care most about Scotland – the people who live and work here’ (544).

The people who live and work here should benefit from its wealth:

  • ‘We are a wealthy country and yet the full benefit of our vast wealth is not felt by the people who live and work here’ (24; 377)
  • ‘With independence, we can turn our rich country into a prosperous society, with the many strengths of our economy delivering more for the people who live and work here’ (377)

The people who live and work here have families:

  • ‘We believe independence is the right choice for Scotland because it is better for you and your family if decisions about Scotland are taken by the people who care most about Scotland: the people who live and work here’ (374)

Then we take a different path, linking this living and working here phrase with the aim of subsidiarity:

  • ‘We believe that the people who live and work in Scotland are best placed to make decisions about our future – the essence of self-determination. Therefore we support subsidiarity and local decision making’ (367)
  • ‘The current Scottish Government is clear that the people who live and work in Scotland are best-placed to make decisions about our future. This is the essence of self-determination, and accordingly we are committed to subsidiarity and local decision making in public life. Our commitment to local autonomy and self-determination is central to our approach to local government’ (578).

This focus on more local devolution confuses me a bit because I thought that independence was about Scottishness, Scottish policymaking and living and working in Scotland. The aim for a Scottish-level settlement often seems to rub up roughly against the aim for a level of government (with significant powers) below Scotland. The Scottish Government seems to agree to some extent, because one of the few phrases to be repeated more than ‘live and work here’ is values – some of the time relating to SNP or Scottish Government values, but most of the time to Scottish national values which will presumably be upheld at the national level by the Scottish Government (p3 also states that ‘the people of Scotland will always get governments we vote for’, which suggests that the Scottish level remains most important). The White Paper does not (I think) explain why living and working in Scotland gives you those (largely social democratic) Scottish values, but they seem to exist nonetheless:

  • ‘to build a country that reflects our priorities as a society and our values as a people’ (Salmond, viii);
  • ‘Our national story has been shaped down the generations by values of compassion, equality, an unrivalled commitment to the empowerment of education, and a passion and curiosity for invention that has helped to shape the world around us’ (Salmond, viii)
  • ‘In an independent Scotland we envisage a welfare system based on clear principles and values: support for people who work; a safety net for people who cannot work; and a climate of social solidarity’ (11)
  • ‘An independent Scotland will have national security arrangements that reflect Scotland’s needs, values and the risks and threats we face’ (16);
  • ‘With independence we can make different choices in line with our values and the views of the people of Scotland’ (28);
  • ‘If we transfer decision-making powers from Westminster to Scotland we are more likely to see policies that are in tune with the values of the people of Scotland, that close the gap between rich and poor, and provide greater opportunities for everyone in Scotland regardless of their background’ (40);
  • (if the vote is No) ‘There is no assurance that decisions on the key issues that affect Scotland’s prosperity, security and future will be made in line with the interests and values of the people who live here’ (example: Scottish MPs rejected the bedroom tax);
  • ‘a vision for the type of economy and society that captures Scotland’s distinct values’ (94);
  • ‘building a welfare system, based on clear principles and values that: supports people who work; provides support for people who cannot work; and fosters a climate of social solidarity’ (152);
  • ‘successive Scottish governments have made steady improvements to Scotland’s health and the quality of healthcare, while protecting the NHS as a free, truly public service, consistent with the values of the NHS and the priorities of people in Scotland’ (170);
  • ‘Free education for those able to benefit from it is a core part of Scotland’s educational tradition and the values that underpin our educational system. One of the major achievements of devolved government in Scotland has been to restore this right to Scottish domiciled undergraduate students’ (199);
  • ‘protection of Scotland, our people and our resources. This encompasses the role of defence and security capabilities in ensuring the safety of Scotland’s territory, citizens, institutions, values and systems against factors which could undermine prosperity, wellbeing and freedom’ (209);
  • ‘Scotland and the rest of the UK will have a very close and constructive relationship on many foreign policy issues; it is natural that the values and interests of such close neighbours will often be aligned’ (216);
  • ‘This Government plans that Scotland will be an active and committed participant in the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The EU’s external policies support stability, promote human rights and democracy, seek to spread prosperity, and support the enforcement of the rule of law and good governance, complementing the foreign policy efforts of individual states. Scotland would benefit from this Europe-wide approach which is broadly aligned with Scotland’s values’ (226);
  • ‘As an expression of the values driving our foreign policy, this Government will ensure that other Scottish Government policies do no harm to developing countries, do not undermine international development aims and ideally contribute to international development success’ (231)
  • (Scotland’s defence force will be responsible for) ‘protecting Scotland’s national interests and economic wellbeing, alongside the key values and underlying principles that support Scottish society and our way of life’ (236)
  • ‘With independence, we can ensure that security and intelligence functions are focused on defending our democratic values and securing our fundamental rights and freedoms’ (257)
  • ‘Our justice system provides the foundation for delivering the kind of nation Scotland should be – a thriving and successful European country, reflecting shared values of fairness and opportunity, and promoting prosperity and social cohesion’ (257)
  • ‘Independence will enable Scotland to build a modern, European democracy, founded on a written constitution, enshrining the fundamental rights and values that underpin our society and based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people of Scotland’ (332)
  • ‘As an independent country, we will be able to choose how to spend our money, based on the needs and values of the Scottish people, not on choices made at Westminster’ (426)
  • ‘As NHS Scotland is already under the control of the Scottish Parliament, its values and priorities will continue on independence’ (438)
  • (Social justice) ‘With independence we can make different choices in line with our values and the views of the people of Scotland’(443)
  • ‘Scotland values our diverse ethnic minority communities, the contribution they make and the important role they play in enriching Scotland socially, culturally and economically’ (492)
  • ‘The opportunity of independence will also allow Scotland to adopt a new humane approach to asylum seekers and refugees in line with our values and commitment to upholding internationally recognised human rights’ (493)

Perhaps ironically, what is not clear from the White Paper (I think) is exactly who is eligible to vote. It is not simply about living and working here and holding certain values.


Filed under Scottish politics

Scottish Independence: How and Should You Vote?

Modern Studies Day, University of Stirling, 2013

If you are a Modern Studies student in Scotland, the independence referendum presents an unusual opportunity to take part in the very thing you are studying. You can look into the background of the referendum and the main issues in the debate and then use that information to make a choice. This is rare. The added bonus is that you can vote if you are under 18 (and at least 16). This is also a rare opportunity. In that context, three main questions arise: should you vote; should you be allowed to vote; and, what should you consider when you vote?

Should You Vote?


Should you be allowed to vote?

The debate about voting from 16, rather than 18, does not cause fights to break out in pubs or supermarkets, or even come up very often in polite conversation – but it can often seem like a polarised discussion. The issue became party political in Scotland (briefly) because the vote-at-16 proposal came primarily from the SNP Government, prompting some to wonder aloud if the measure was being used to boost the Yes-to-independence vote. However, the evidence seems to suggest that 16-18 year olds are no more likely to vote for independence than (many) older people; the under 18 population looks likely to produce a No vote (you can track these polls on the website run by John Curtice – What Scotland Thinks). Further, this move has since been proposed by other major figures, such as UK Labour’s leader Ed Miliband (calling for 16 year olds to have the vote in UK General Elections).

The handy thing about this kind of polarised discussion is that it is based on (albeit well-reasoned) simple assertion on both sides. Some of the arguments are set out in a Democratic Audit post – and I summarise them below*:

On the one side is the argument that people are not knowledgeable or mature enough to make important decisions at that age.

On the other side is the argument that voting is a fundamental human right.

On this basis, the debate revolves around making these claims consistent with this sort of evidence:

  • The age of maturity. People can make other major decisions (such as join the army) and do important things (such as pay tax) when they are 16, so giving them the right and responsibility to vote is consistent with their other rights and responsibilities. However, in many cases, under-18s need parental permission to make major life choices (although in Scotland you can marry at 16) and tend not to pay meaningful amounts of tax at that age. Further, 18 seems like the major symbol of maturity in this regard – voting at 18 may be the ‘international norm’, and recent decisions by the UK and Scottish Governments (such as raising the smoking age to 18, the same as the buying-alcohol and buying-fireworks age) suggest that they see 18 as the dawn of maturity. The choice of 18 may be both an arbitrary and consistent position supported by the majority of the public.
  • Many people are disengaged from politics. So, lowering the voting age may encourage a sense of citizenship at an earlier age. It may also encourage younger people to seek a political career, which might help reduce the average age of elected representatives. Or, in the absence of a fundamental shift in culture/ attitudes, in which voting and other political participation feels like a civic duty, it will just exacerbate low voting rates and low participation in politics. Much of the argument may relate to the symbolism of extending the franchise. Social groups given the vote for the first time (such as women, social classes and ethnic minorities) may have given it great symbolic value and felt compelled to use it wisely as a result – but would this feeling apply to young people in the same way? Can we identify the same demand for representation based on a widespread perception of injustice?

If I were you, I’d use this discussion to be quite chippy. When I voted, I’d feel like I was sticking it to someone making half-baked claims about my maturity. Ironically, it’s not a mature approach to life, but you can’t have everything. The half-handy thing for you is that you only have to worry about this issue when you study it, not when you engage in politics. Like anyone else, you can now vote even if you have no knowledge of Scottish politics and/ or no maturity whatsoever. The only major difference with over-18s is that, legally, they may vote after getting quite drunk in the pub and/or buying sparklers for the walk home.

What should you consider when you vote?

Let’s say you want to make a mature, well informed, decision. How would you decide? What should you consider? We can identify a range of issues, from the philosophical to the self-interested to the psychological.

The philosophical questions

What does independence mean? In the olden days, independence used to refer to the autonomy to direct all domestic affairs within a well-defined territory**, ***. Now, we are much less certain about where domestic affairs end and international affairs begin. For example, an independent Scotland would be subject to a wide range of binding international commitments, particularly if it was part of the European Union (examples include migration, agriculture, fishing, environmental policy, and rates of many taxes – all determined largely at the EU level). If it kept the pound, or joined the Euro, it would rely on a central bank (almost certainly outside of Scotland) to direct monetary policies (such as setting interest rates).  In an age of ‘globalisation’, it would also be unable to simply ‘direct all domestic affairs’ since national governments rely upon other governments to produce collective, international, policy solutions. They might even make domestic policy with one eye on their neighbours, since it is difficult to contain policy effects within one’s borders (think, for example, about the effect of independence on HE tuition fees – what would happen?). They are also influenced by major transnational corporations which tend to prioritise minimal government regulations and corporation taxes when they seek to invest in countries. These complications are currently a big feature of the independence debate (and we tend not to focus on the, often messier, complications to further devolution, largely because we don’t have to worry about that just now). People sometimes argue that we shouldn’t bother with independence (or ‘indy lite’), since we’ll just be keeping the Queen, the pound, the BBC and inheriting international commitments. Other people argue that it’s OK to vote for independence because we’ll be keeping the Queen, the pound, the BBC and inheriting international commitments.

Do I feel Scottish and/ or British? People often argue that the independence vote is not about national identity, partly because a reference to nationhood is portrayed, by many, as some sort of reflection of bigotry. One might be invited to picture a large, dirty-bearded, ginger man in a kilt telling the English to get out of their country (let’s call this ‘ethnic nationalism’).  A more subtle strategy is to brand people as ‘nationalist’ to mean parochial and extremist. The more acceptable form of nationalism is ‘civic’. It suggests that, if a clear nation exists, it should share a boundary with the state; if we feel that we live in the Scottish nation, we should have a Scottish Government to represent us. This is where national identify comes in – surveys have suggested for some time that Scots’ primary identity is Scottish rather than British (however, you ask the question – click on the table in this post).**** However, surveys also suggest that most people favour devolution (current or further devolution) over independence. They may feel Scottish and British, seeking some kind of governing autonomy and inclusion within a wider Union.

The self-interested question: would independence benefit me?

A lot of the debate surrounds the idea that independence will save or cost people money. I have seen reports that it will either make everyone at least £500 better or worse off (the Scottish Daily Mail, 26.3.12, wins the prize for hyperbole – ‘Breaking up Britain will cost every Scot £20,000’). I have heard one ridiculous suggestion that it will cost everyone £1 each. Each and every calculation seems a bit shifty to me, but they are based on things like: Scotland’s future share of North Sea oil revenue; its share of UK Government debts and assets; and, the effect of independence on economic behaviour (such as foreign investment in Scottish business, Scottish trade with other countries, and the Scottish Government’s credit rating). John Curtice’s research suggests that this economic question is often at the forefront of peoples’ minds when they think of independence. However, given that we don’t know the economic effect of independence, people are basing their preferences on their perception of an uncertain future. It presents one of those classic causality problems: perhaps you are more likely to vote for independence if you think you will benefit; or perhaps you are more likely to think you will benefit if you plan to vote for independence.

The psychological question: how should I deal with the uncertainty?

Much of the debate is driven by various attempts to worry or assure people about the uncertainty of Scottish independence. Questions include:

  • How would Scotland be a part of the European Union and a member of international organisations?
  • What would an independent Scotland look like? For example, might it become a high-tax-high-spending social democratic state (something we associated with some of the Nordic countries)? Or would it simply inherit the culture and institutions of the UK?
  • Could an independent Scotland have survived the economic crisis?
  • What currency would Scotland adopt?
  • How would independence affect Scotland’s security (from its defence, to its supply of energy and other resources)?

To a large extent, this uncertainty is a better resource for people arguing for the maintenance of the Union as a ‘security blanket’ (have a look at that term again – it’s loaded with double meaning, isn’t it?). However, we can also see the potential to exploit the uncertain future of the UK. This is key feature of the debate on the ‘bedroom tax’ and other welfare reforms – people may argue that only an independent Scotland would have the powers to maintain the welfare state as a ‘security blanket’.

So what can we conclude?

I reckon that, if you have read this far, you have already paid more attention, and given the issue more serious thought, than most people. If so, I wouldn’t worry about being mature enough to make the right decision.


*Please note that, if you were using this kind of material to produce coursework, you would give more credit to the individual authors, not just list the website.

** I lifted that phrase from a book I helped write. You shouldn’t do that – we frown upon that sort of thing when marking your essays.

***in fact, just to be safe, don’t use this blog post as a model for any sort of assessable writing. Especially all that ‘some people think’ nonsense – that’s just annoying.

**** ah, you might say, but what is Scottish? Do you have to be born and / or raised in Scotland? What if one or both of your parents or grandparents are Scottish? Is it enough to simply live in Scotland to be Scottish? All I can offer is a hopefully-dull, pragmatic answer: the issue of Scottish independence may not have arisen without these self-identified perceptions of Scottishness (even though there are other reasons to want more local government – for example, it might be more flexible and responsive to local demands, or you might – and maybe 7% of people living in Scotland would describe themselves as English). However, a shift away from ethnic to civic nationalism is reflected in the referendum rules: if you live in Scotland, and are registered to vote, you can vote. You do not need to have been born or raised in Scotland. Instead, by living in Scotland, you have a stake in its governing arrangements. Then I’ll offer you this post from Jo Shaw.

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