Different Scotland


The above map of unattributed origin is currently high on the reddit r/scotland thread.

It’s a stunning illustration of how different Scotland is becoming, post-devolution.

Regular readers will know that this is a theme returned to here, now and again.

On May 11th, I wrote:

In the Herald today from William Loneskie of Lauder:

The Labour Party was founded on the principle that working people of all countries have more in common than divides them. The problems of workers in Glasgow are exactly those of workers in Leeds. Mr Stenton claims that Scots think differently from English. Rubbish. We speak the same international language, obey the same laws, do the same type of work, worry about the cost of living crisis in equal measure, watch the same television, take the same type of holidays, and so on.


Loneskie is a regular in the media posting conservative rebuttals of the case for independence. The UK Union Voice loved this tweet in September 2019:

His letter reminds me of another once-regular theme here – are Scots different? While I recognise that we have Tories too, fascists even, I think in behaviour there is something in the form of a stronger, not complete, tendency toward leftist politics and collectivist values here.

See this evidence:

Only BBC UK sees different Scotland look after its veterans as England drifts further into the dark night of endless Tory rule

Scotland IS different as it protects unaccompanied children seeking asylum

Different NHS Scotland and Wales reject England’s hostile environment for vulnerable migrant mothers-to-be

It is a matter of life in Scotland and death in England

Only Guardian and Al Jazeera tell us EU families and ‘Eurochildren’ in Brexiting Britain feel safer in Scotland

Scotland drifting away from nasty place as SNP Government launches funeral benefit for those on low income

Scotland IS a different place as its universities offer guaranteed places to care leavers

Abuse of women and the disabled far higher in England than in Scotland

Less homicide, less knife crime, less domestic violence, safer cities and now much lower alcohol problems: should Scotland’s old stereotypes be sent south?

Racial hate crimes increase by 33% in England & Wales while falling by 10% in Scotland: Who says we’re not different?

Scottish Muslim students far less likely to report abuse or crime?

Terror de-radicalisation referral rate in Scotland less than one third per capita of that in England

Only in Scotland! ‘A review of small country’s approaches to public policy reform in response to economic, demographic and other pressures found that only in Scotland could this ‘golden thread’ be so clearly discerned’

Scientific evidence that Scots tend to be different from the other groups in rUK?

Who said Scots were not more left-wing than those in the rest of the UK?

With 1 in 4 living wage employers already in Scotland, the Scottish Government aims to make this a ‘Living Wage Nation’

8% of the UK population and 28% of living wage employers. More evidence that we are different enough to want to run the whole show?

80 000 lowest paid workers in NHS England still on poverty wages as NHS Scotland follows Scottish Government policy to pay a living wage to all public-sector employees

Scottish care workers to receive Living Wage for ‘sleepover’ hours while English care workers receive only the National Minimum Wage.

Different Scotland in the UN report on ‘Workhouse Britain’

Scottish values making oil and gas firms a tad different too?

Are Scotland’s employers also different – more willing to pay a decent wage?

With 1 in 4 living wage employers already in Scotland, the Scottish Government aims to make this a ‘Living Wage Nation’

8% of the UK population and 28% of living wage employers. More evidence that we are different enough to want to run the whole show?

And this from from January 2020:

From the Scottish Government News site today:

‘Young carers going through the immigration process will be able to apply for the Scottish Government’s Young Carer Grant without fear of it risking their immigration status. The change comes following lengthy discussions between the Scottish and UK Governments to amend Home Office regulations. With a payment of £300 the Young Carer Grant helps improve the quality of life for 16, 17 and 18-year-olds who spend an average of 16 hours caring for someone who receives a disability benefit. The Young Carer Grant was introduced in 2019 with an expected investment of £600,000 from the Scottish Government in 2019/20. Current regulations state that due to Home Office restrictions, young carers who are subject to immigration control are not eligible to receive the grant’


This list all needs a bit of pruning and tidying but maybe later. We’re an untidy people?


9 thoughts on “Different Scotland

  1. Thanks , John, for this exhaustive list of what makes Scotland different from rUK . All these attempts ( with limited powers and resources ) to mitigate the empathy-free UK Government’s dire race-to-the -bottom give a lie to those who question whether the SNP Government has made a difference to the people of Scotland .
    Yes , they could do more – that is the point of Independence !

    Liked by 5 people

  2. An attack line by unionists is that seeking independence is based on Scottish ‘exceptionalism’ – that we consider ourselves better than anyone else. This is, of course, the ‘straw man’ fallacy being deployed.

    They then assert that Scots, in the words of Johan Lamont, are ‘not genetically programmed to run our own affairs’, we are too wee and we are no vey good and, like children, we need to be helped. This, of course is an ‘exceptionalist ‘argument, too, in that implies that unlike c200 countries across the world Scots are uniquely incapable of governing ourselves.

    THE BRITISH are, of course, not exceptional except that they are better than everyone else. That’s why they sing “Rule Britannia” and at any state occasion, we get John of Gaunt’s speech – a piece of fiction written by a playwright – “this England, this jewel set in a silver sea, this sceptr’d isle, etc”. No there is no exceptionalism there, what is being stated is simply A FACT.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s becoming to be case of chalk and cheese. EngGov criminal austerity assault on the poorest whether they work three jobs or for whatever reasons, can’t ‘work’ is the opposite of what the ScotGov are doing, and they are functioning effectively even within the narrow margins of what they are allowed to do in the UK political bubble.

    EngGov cabal are English Nationalists, they use all sorts of ways to divide, they lie, they actually take £billions for themselves and their pals from the public purse, and ‘work’ if we can even call it that, for themselves not the people. They are starting to use the word ‘socialist’ as if it is offensive and a threat, the looney lefty myth seems to be being used again. It’s dangerous and sinister and with their various new restrictions on civil liberties even before they scrap the HRA, it’s really extremely worrying.

    Scotland is more politically astute in general, especially since devolution and then the subject of independence and what the union actually stands for and how it doesn’t work in Scotland’s interests, to say the very least.

    Re the guy saying in the Herod that the SNP have highlighted the ‘worst case scenario about Brexit’, not really, they don’t get the chance. The subject of Brexit has been all but silenced, people do not know a lot about the full effects of brexit, taht is yet to come and it could mean power cuts, in Scotland vbecause who controls the ‘National grid’, not Scotland. There were powers cuts in 2014…totally unexplained, ATM’s were not giving people access to their pensions just before the indy ref.

    The asssault on Scotland’s right to choose is not just psychological it can easily be physical, by way of cutting power, stopping meds getting in and shortages of food etc. Put nothing past the BritNat state, they never play nice. As for visas, or passports to cross the border, I’m fine with that quite frankly! It won’t happen of course but when Scotland rejoins the EU, having been dragged kicking and screaming out of the EU, there will be checks on goods and such things.

    The project fear assault on Scotland has been incessant, the usual rubbish about ‘power cuts and shortages’ is fooling only a few these days, I hope!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This mantra that a worker in England has more to unite them with a worker in Scotland than divides them, and that Scots and English are very similar only holds so much water. The real issue is that the English seem unwilling or incapable of freeing themselves from their ruling class, and as part of the UK neither can Scotland. We cannot save the English from themselves but we can save Scotland from the English ruling class system by dumping it. The Englishg need to make their own journey in that regard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed, you make some good points. Also really if the BritNats want to use that mantra as you say, then why are they so intent on being ‘different’ when it comes to the EU, or to any country in fact.
      As my son said when he was wee at school, ‘mum why do they say we are all different but all the same’ as well?’ As someone with autism, I thought it was a good point he was making. Best comment he made about the head mistress who was so headmistressy, ‘Mrs –, why is your office such an organised chaos?’ She was so offended, ha ha. I was very proud he understood about chaos theory lol!


  5. Off topic I know, but congratulations to you John and your blog on now hitting the 800 followers milestone.

    It has been slow progress, but still climbing none the less.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The mythical idea of international support for working people finally bit the dust when Great British Labour supported Brexit.
    We must not allow the future of our country to continue to be framed by England,we are better than that.
    People in Ukraine didn’t initially want independence for their country because of hatred for Russia but because they saw independence from the Russian Union as being the only way to improve their country.
    Putin may have changed the current motivation but not the objective.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. With apologies for the length of this post, back in June 2020, Adam Ramsay wrote a piece for openDemocracy entitled: ‘Why does England vote Tory?’ It’s worth a read (see link below).

    He points to polling data that suggest that on most issues, people in England are nearly as socially liberal as people in Scotland. He adds: ‘This shouldn’t be surprising: across the Western world, most people are broadly socially liberal social democrats.’ (Evidence from the USA may stretch the credibility of his generalisation.)

    Ramsay asks: ‘While people in Scotland and Wales tend to vote for parties which broadly reflect their policy preferences, why do people in England and Northern Ireland consistently vote for parties which don’t? Why do so many English people vote Tory despite disagreeing with the Tories on most major issues of the day, any given day?’

    His conclusions are notable and particularly so given that voters in England dominate the outcome of UK General Elections and therefore dominate many of the big political decisions that impact Scotland whilst still within the Union – and have done so for a very long time. Ramsay contends that the phenomenon began as far back as the founding of the modern Conservative Party by Robert Peel in 1834!

    The answers Ramsay argues lie in certain prevailing and persistent social attitudes dominant in England but which are quite different in Scotland:
    – attitudes to the EU leading to Brexit
    – attitudes to Trident nuclear weapons
    – overwhelming view that the British empire was a good thing
    – support for the monarchy – and also ‘organised’ support for the royal family: ‘During the 2012 Queen’s Jubilee, there were 9,500 street parties in England and Wales, but only 60 in Scotland, mostly organised by the Orange Order’.

    Ramsay concludes that ‘the double helix in the DNA of these issues is SENTIMENTALITY’ (my emphasis) and he goes on: ‘If we want to understand why England votes Tory, this basket of issues seems to point to the answer. Each of them has in common that they are an icon of Anglo-British nationalism. And the Conservatives are seen as the party of Anglo-British nationalism.’

    Reflecting on Labour Party aspirations: “.. as long as the idea of Britishness is tied to the monarch – and therefore the class system – and Empire – and therefore racism – the Tories were always going to win the struggle to represent it.’ He adds: ‘It’s this feeling that makes England Conservative (even if not generally conservative): the Tories are the party of Anglo-British nationalism and Empire, the party of the ruling class. And the underlying message in much of Anglo-British nationalism is that posh people – and the monarchy first of all – ought to be in charge. That is, after all, who ran things when Britain was ‘great’. ‘

    It’s hard not to conclude that Starmer’s Labour Party has accepted much of this analysis given the emphasis it now places on its ‘patriotism’ and the posing at every opportunity with not one but two Union flags!

    Ramsay argues that what’s fascinating about all of this isn’t that it’s true: ‘After all, nationalism is as much the dominant political ideology of our age as capitalism is the dominant economic system. We live in a world of nation states, to which billions of people feel loyal. What’s interesting is that ‘the British’ never talk about it.’ Here he draws a distinction with what happens e.g. in Scotland, France and Germany.

    Ramsay ends hoping for change in England: ‘There can be no better time than this for a long overdue process of national learning about England, Britain and Empire.’ – ‘The alternative is accepting the dominance of an Anglo-British nationalism which will always lead people to vote Tory. And that’s the real trap.’

    Will always vote Tory? Or perhaps an imitation of the same?

    Source https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/why-does-england-vote-tory/


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