Ten things we learned about Scottishness

By Steven Brocklehurst
BBC Scotland News

Published
image sourceGetty Images

The BBC has conducted a survey of attitudes to Scottishness. Here is a summary of what it shows:

1. Scottish identity is very strong

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image captionScottish identity was strong among independence supporters

A massive 84% of people said they strongly identified themselves as Scottish, with most (61%) saying they identified "very strongly".

In England, 80% identified themselves strongly as English, with 54% choosing to say their identity was very strong. In Wales, just 62% identified strongly as Welsh.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the people who identified themselves as most strongly Scottish were SNP supporters (95%) and Yes voters in the 2014 independence referendum (92%).

Strong Scottishness was ranged across the generations and social status, with 18-24 year olds only identifying as slightly less strongly Scottish than older groups.

2. British identity is less strong in Scotland

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image captionOlder people and those in the highest social class groups identified most strongly as British

More than half of people surveyed in Scotland said they felt strongly British (59%) but only 26% said they felt "very strongly" British.

The figures for Scotland were lower than England and Wales.

In England, 82% said they identified strongly as British, a higher percentage than those who identified as English. Almost half (46%) said they were "very strongly" British.

The figure for Wales was 79% strongly identifying as British.

Among SNP supporters just 9% said they felt "very strongly" British, whereas Conservative voters in Scotland were 55% "very strongly" British - higher than English Tory supporters (51%).

Older people, especially the over 65s (73%), identified most strongly as British, as did those in the highest social class groups (64%).

People in Central Scotland, Lothians and Glasgow were below average in the strength of their British identity.

3. Scots don't feel very European

image sourceAFP
image captionScotland was one of the few UK areas to vote in favour of remaining in the EU

More than two-thirds (67%) of the Scottish people surveyed said they did not identify strongly as European. In England, the figure was even higher (71%) and Wales was higher still at 77%.

Even among Scots who voted Remain in the EU referendum the majority (54%) said they did not identify strongly as European.

SNP supporters were the most European (44%) but the majority of them (55%) did not identify with it strongly.

Among Conservative voters just 15% said they felt strongly European.

Younger people were most European but even the 18 to 24 age group did not strongly identifying with Europe.

Older people and the lower social groups identified least strongly with Europe.

The Lothians and Glasgow identified with Europe most.

4. Scots think the future is bright (ish)

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image captionScots were more likely to think brighter years were yet to come

More Scots surveyed believe that Scotland's best years are still in the future (36%) than said it was better in the past (29%). More than a quarter (27%) said they were unsure.

In perhaps the most marked contrast between the two countries, more people (49%) in England said the country was better in the past - with just 17% thinking the future will be better.

The Welsh were slightly less optimistic about the future than the Scots, with 33% saying the best days were to come.

Conservative supporters were most sure that Scotland was better in the past (47%) whereas SNP voters were markedly more confident Scotland would be better in the future (64%).

Despite the Brexit vote, Leave supporters were less confident (29%) that Scotland would be better in the future than Remain voters (40%).

Younger people said Scotland would be better in the future (49%) whereas older people thought it was better in the past.

5. Scotland is better than most places

image sourceAndrew McGrath
image captionJust 6% of people thought Scotland was worse than most other countries in the world

Just over half of Scots surveyed (51%) said Scotland was better than most other countries in the world. A further 39% said it was no better or worse.

Just 6% said Scotland was worse than most places.

The figures for England were similar, with 53% saying it was better than most countries.

SNP supporters felt strongest about Scotland being better than most countries (60%), with 19% saying it was the best country in the world.

Younger people (66%) felt most strongly that Scotland was better than most countries.

6. It is difficult to become Scottish if you are not born here

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image captionPeople were asked about what makes a person Scottish

When asked to comment on a list of factors that might make people Scottish, the most popular (89%) was being born in Scotland.

Having two Scottish parents (72%) and growing up in Scotland (71%) were both thought to be strong indicators of being Scottish.

However, most people thought living in Scotland, even for more than 10 years (35%), did not make someone Scottish.

Younger people (55%) were more willing to accept someone who had been in Scotland for more than a decade as Scottish, as were Glaswegians (50%).

7. Local areas are not getting better

image sourceGetty Images
image captionThere was not a great deal of enthusiasm when people were asked about their local area improving

Just 14% of people surveyed thought their local area was getting better.

Almost half (47%) thought it was staying much the same but a third thought things were getting worse.

Young people were most likely to say their local area was getting better (21%), but even they thought things were getting worse (23%).

People in the South of Scotland were the most negative about things in their local area getting worse (45%) with only 6% thinking it was getting better.

8. Scots love their landscape

image sourceJohn Trippick
image captionLandscape was an important factor in people's sense of belonging

From a list of factors that might influence people's sense of belonging, it was the landscape that scored most strongly (74%).

History (62%), cultural traditions (53%) and locally produced food and drinks (52%) also appealed to people's sense of belonging.

Shared religion (19%), local sports teams (31%) and the jobs people do or did in the past (35%) were not strong influences on people's sense of belonging.

9. All levels of government feel remote

image sourcePA
image captionFew people felt the government at Westminster was influenced by people in their area

The survey asked about attitudes to all levels of government.

Very few people in Scotland (11%) felt the UK government was influenced by people in their area.

And only 11% said Westminster reflected their concerns.

The Scottish government fared slightly better, with 25% saying people in their area could influence decisions and 37% saying Holyrood reflected their concerns.

Most people agreed that decisions on schools, the NHS, unemployment benefit, income tax and business taxes should be made by the Scottish government.

10. Nuclear weapons is an explosive issue

image sourceMOD
image captionHMS Vanguard conducted the first operational Trident patrol

More of the Scots surveyed thought decisions about whether nuclear weapons could be based in an area should be made by the Scottish government rather than Westminster.

Britain's nuclear weapons system, Trident, is based on the Clyde in the west of Scotland and is one of the most controversial issues in UK politics.

The SNP is opposed to nuclear weapons and pledged to remove them from an independent Scotland whereas the Conservatives have given the go-ahead for their renewal.

The survey showed almost half (47%) of Scots thought the Scottish government should be able to make the decision on whether they were based in Scotland.

One in three (33%) said the UK government should be responsible for decision about nuclear weapons in Scotland.

And finally - Anyone but England at the World Cup

One in nine Scots (11%) will support whoever England are playing at the World Cup in Russia later this month, according to the survey.

This rose to 17% among SNP supporters.

Scotland did not qualify for the tournament and half of those surveyed (50%) said they were not interested in the World Cup.

The survey said 7% would support England and another 7% would support a different team - 24% were not supporting any team in particular.

The survey was conducted for the BBC by YouGov. The sample size in Scotland was 1,025 adults. The fieldwork took place between 25 and 30 April 2018. Read the results here