WITH a “perhaps” your correspondent David McEwan Hill dismisses the claim that the majority of English people resident in Scotland voted “No thanks” in the independence referendum (Letters, December 31). According to a report in March 2015, some 72.1 per cent of voters from England, Wales and Northern Ireland backed the Union. When it would have taken only 192,000 extra Yes votes to see Scotland become a sovereign state, the voting behaviour of the 500,000 English nationals living here merits more than a hey ho.
Asked at a fringe meeting of the SNP Conference in Aberdeen why the independence campaign failed, Angus Robertson identified two groups which were impervious to the arguments. The first was pensioners. This demographic can remember a country that no longer exists and were the most susceptible to Labour’s “Project Fear” threats about loss of pensions, bus passes, the pound, the NHS etc. Around three-quarters voted for the Union.
The second reason he gave was English residents who were not convinced it was in their best interests to vote for the break-up of the UK. Such views are likely to persist since doubtlessly many are consciously or subconsciously British Nationalists or English Nationalists. Conversely others abhor nationalism in all its forms since in England it is associated politically with the right-wing ethnic supremacy of the National Front and the BNP.
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These are generalities, but square with my experience of canvassing around 2000 people on pavements and doorsteps throughout East Lothian. Time and again the question “How do you think you’ll vote in the referendum?” was answered with “I’m English.”
There are additional problems. A disproportionate number of English folk who call Scotland home are retirees and/or higher earners – the two groups least amenable to the indy cause. Secondly, as social policies diverge and economic opportunities increase post-Brexit, Scotland will attract greater migration from England.
All this matters because we would have won our independence, narrowly, had the poll been only open to Scots born and living in Scotland. Before howls of blood and soil nationalism crescendo, can I declare that our inclusive form of civic nationalism must prevail. Yet the question remains: what can native Scots do if a tenth of the population cannot be persuaded to stop blocking a nation’s demand for independence?
This is the elephant in the room, though fortunately it is only part of the story. English comrades made a massive contribution to the Yes campaign. My favourite example is a mother and son who almost camped outside the Musselburgh job centre to issue claimants with voter registration forms. I helped another campaigner disrupt George Galloway’s demagoguery when he kicked off his “Just say Naw” tour in Edinburgh. Our most successful SNP fundraisers in East Lothian have been an English couple. Such skilled and generous people have been active throughout the movement for many years. I apologise to them if this letter offends. I also urge them to continue convincing their countrymen of the case for Scottish self-determination, as their influence could not be more potent.
Councillor Fraser McAllister
SHOULD indyref 2 come to represent the only way for Scotland remaining in the EU single market, might it not be possible to resolve questions over nationality, domicile, residency and the various permutations in the negotiating period after any future vote on independence?
LORNA Campbell, analysing the voting patterns of the independence and the EU referendums, wonders at the apparently inconsistent way our English immigrants voted (Letters, December 31).
The answer to her difficulty is that the English for the most part have always regarded English and British as synonymous terms. English to them means British and in this they are in agreement with most of the world and of course the BBC.
It is only in Scotland that you find people who think it is possible to be both Scottish and British and by extension they like to think it is also possible to be both British and English. But in this they are of course deluding themselves.
That is the real problem we need to address. But perhaps only time and events will do what argument has failed to achieve.
THIS is the first time I have ever written a letter to a newspaper. Momentous! It is to express my reaction to Lorna Campbell’s letter in Saturday’s issue of the National. I am most grateful to her for putting into print my beliefs and hopes in a way in which I could not have hoped to do. My thanks to her. I will cut out her text and retain it as an insurance against the possibility, nay probability, of failing mental faculties in the not too distant future; I will be 86 in June but hope to read Nicola’s announcement of indy2’s date in your paper by the end of the year. I would dearly love to vote in it too! That’s probably to much to hope for.
Thank you for the National.
IAIN WD Forde, in his letter to the National on December 30, rails against the numbers of “Incunners” and “Suddron tuins”, referring to them as “Pollutioun”. I’m English, one of the folk that he finds so detestable that he has left his home in Embro (Edinburgh?) and settled in Scotlandwell, presumably a Scottish enclave that abides no incomers. I must confess that I had to work quite hard to understand his letter, written as it was in his adopted version of Scotch language, but then so did my “guidwyfe”, a lass born and bred on a farm outside Aboyne and very fluent in the Doric.
I doubt that I am alone in struggling to read the letter, so the normal purpose of writing, that is to convey information, is diminished. It would appear that he is speaking only to those he considers are true Scots, that is those who can understand written Scotch. Perhaps I should address him in Chaucerian English, to establish my credentials as a Southern-born pollutant, but that would be far from the truth. I came to Scotland from Newcastle 54 years ago with the Forestry Commission and felt as if I’d come home. I’ve lived here ever since, espoused the culture and been accepted by all those with whom I’ve associated.
Scotland needs incomers to offset an ageing and diminishing population. This has always been the case in modern times, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, where I live. In my experience, by far the majority of Scots are open-minded and take as they find. There certainly is a small proportion of “White settlers” who refuse to adapt, but please don’t judge all by their standards. Where you’re born doesn’t dictate who you are.
MR Frank made some fair points in his letter (December 31) and then let these down by pursuing an illogical and inept line of diaspora-based voting. 2014 presented a much fairer approach than that used in the disastrous 2016 EU vote that excluded EU citizens.
Yes2 as a group has a clear and unequivocal view on this – voting on independence should be open to anybody living in Scotland as their full-time residence no matter where they were born, their citizenship lies or their future intent to be in Scotland permanently.
A discussion on English, Scottish or whatever is divisive. Yes it is likely that a larger percentage of non-Scottish-born people voted No, but we also know those in the 60+ category voted 77 per cent No. We would not advocate excluding the 60+, category and as such we believe we should be aiming to be more inclusive and persuade those who couldn’t see their way to Yes in 2014.