Supporters of Scottish independence have known for years that the civic “nationalism” espoused by the Yes movement bears no relation to the so-called “blood and soil” varieties found in many other countries. Every racist or ethnic-nationalist organisation in Britain – the BNP, the EDL/SDL, the National Front and so on – was stridently No.
But a YouGov poll released today puts numbers on it for the first time.
Asking a series of questions about what qualified a person to be “Scottish”, the poll’s results found absolutely conclusively that Yes voters were significantly more inclusive about nationality than No voters.
The poll’s questions do over-simplify the situation somewhat. Someone who’s lived in Scotland for 10 years might well consider themselves Scottish, and be very welcome to do so, but they also might not.
(I, for example, was born in Scotland to two Scottish parents and grew up there, but I’ve now spent slightly over half of my life in England. As far as I’m concerned I’m still Scottish, and anyone in England who TOLD me I was English because I’d lived here a certain amount of time would get short shrift. It’s my choice, just as it is for people born elsewhere who now live in Scotland, which I suspect is why the numbers in the second half of the poll aren’t higher.)
Nevertheless, the gulf is clear. By margins ranging from 30% to 75%, Yes voters are more prepared to welcome an outsider in as a Scot than No voters are. By a distance, it’s the Unionists who care most where you were born or who your parents were.
(Just as the SNP Scottish Government gave EU citizens a vote in the indyref, while the Conservative/Unionist UK government denied them a vote in the EU referendum.)
Trivial matters like facts won’t, of course, stop Unionists from portraying Yes voters as a bunch of xenophobic bigots and Nazis. Several surveys (and all the actual case evidence) proving that Yes supporters were far more likely to face physical and verbal intimidation and abuse than their No counterparts didn’t change the media narrative and nor will this.
But it’s nice to have some empirical data to point to at last.