The fear of the unknown among older SNP supporters

Panelbase have had two full polls this year, one for the Alba candidate and Kate Forbes supporter, James Kelly, on March 10, and one for The Sunday Times on30 March 2023.

They both helpfully offer gender/age breakdowns.

In the Kelly tables you can see clearly a preference for Kate Forbes over the other leadership candidates, other than among the 16-34 age female group which preferred Yousaf. The 16-34 male group are evenly split between the two.

Why might this be? Is it because in school, college and in university, the young know and are often friends with those coming out as trans and because in their narrower social worlds, the middle-aged and elderly have no experience or understanding of the process. For the latter, fed by bigoted media and opportunistic opposition politicians, the trans group is othered. For the former, they are known, understood, cared for?

In the Sunday Times tables, we see that the strongest support for the SNP is among young women (51%), young men (40%) and is at its weakest among women over 55 (24%).


18 thoughts on “The fear of the unknown among older SNP supporters

    1. I’m not attracted by arguments characterised by such simplification, by ranking of importance and/or by selectively downplaying interacting human factors which impact the lived experiences of others. Not attracted either by being too easily selective when it comes to the reality of human diversity, including but not limited to gender- and/or neuro-diversity.

      ‘Gender is not sex’: in the context of equality and human rights, it is widely recognised (see below) that the ‘reality’ of human existence is quite a bit more complex, more nuanced than the above btl post seems to allow. Taken from the United Nations document referred to later: ‘Everyone has the right to recognition as a person before the law, including persons of diverse gender identities. EACH PERSON’S SELF-DEFINED GENDER IDENTITY IS INTEGRAL TO THEIR PERSONALITY AND IS ONE OF THE MOST BASIC ASPECTS OF SELF- DETERMINATION, DIGNITY AND FREEDOM.’ (with my emphasis)

      What follows is given to justify my (admittedly non-expert) contention that ‘material reality’ for our fellow human beings requires deeper, more thoughtful consideration’

      Source: Council of Europe (2022) THEMATIC REPORT ON LEGAL GENDER RECOGNITION IN EUROPE- First thematic implementation review report on Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

      ‘SEX: refers to the biological characteristics used to define humans as female or male. These sets of biological characteristics are not mutually exclusive.’

      ‘INTERSEX: Persons born with biological sex characteristics that do not fit societal norms or medical definitions of what makes a person male or female. Sometimes, a person’s intersex status is detected at birth, sometimes it only becomes apparent later in life notably during puberty. There are many forms of intersex, it is an umbrella term rather than a category.’

      ‘TRANSGENDER: is an umbrella expression referring to persons who have a gender identity different from predominant social expectations based on the person’s sex assigned at birth.’

      ‘GENDER IDENTITY: is understood to refer to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical, or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.’

      Source: United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commission (2019) BORN FREE AND EQUAL – Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics in International Human Rights Law. Second Edition

      ‘Sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics are not the same. They are each distinct, but intersecting aspects of a person.’ And to repeat: ‘EACH PERSON’S SELF-DEFINED GENDER IDENTITY … IS ONE OF THE MOST BASIC ASPECTS OF SELF- DETERMINATION, DIGNITY AND FREEDOM.’

      ‘Sex characteristics refer to each person’s physical characteristics relating to sex, including genitalia and other reproductive anatomy, chromosomes and hormones, and secondary physical characteristics emerging from puberty. Intersex people are born with physical sex characteristics that DO NOT FIT THE NORMATIVE DEFINITIONS FOR MALE OR FEMALE BODIES. For some intersex people, these are apparent at birth, while for others they emerge later in life, often at puberty. Intersex persons may have any sexual orientation and gender identity.

      ‘Gender identity reflects a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s own gender. Most people have a gender identity, which is part of their overall identity. A person’s gender identity may or may not be aligned with the sex assigned to them at birth. Trans and transgender are both umbrella terms used to describe people with a wide range of gender expressions and identities – including transsexual people, people who cross-dress, people who identify as third gender, people who identify outside of the male/female binary, and others whose appearance and characteristics are perceived as gender atypical and whose sense of their own gender is different to the sex that they were assigned at birth.

      ‘Some transgender people seek surgery or take hormones to bring their body into alignment with their gender identity; others do not. Trans people may have any sexual orientation and sex characteristics..’

      ‘The legal obligations of States to safeguard the human rights of LGBTI people are well established in international human rights law on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international human rights treaties, and customary international law. ALL PEOPLE, IRRESPECTIVE OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY OR SEX CHARACTERISTICS, ARE ENTITLED TO ENJOY THE PROTECTIONS PROVIDED BY INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW, including rights to life, security of person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to be free from discrimination, equality before the law, and the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.’

      ‘United Nations human rights mechanisms have stressed that in order to fulfil international human rights obligations, STATES SHOULD RESPECT THE PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INTEGRITY OF TRANSGENDER PERSONS AND LEGALLY RECOGNIZE THEIR SELF-IDENTIFIED GENDER WITHOUT ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS THAT MAY VIOLATE HUMAN RIGHTS. States should provide for a simple administrative process, allow for recognition of non-binary identities, and give minors access to recognition of their gender identity.’

      My apologies to other TuS readers for the length of this post. Candidly, this contribution on what is in reality a complex – and for some people a hugely important, life-defining – matter required some kind of balancing response especially given so much heat but not enough light coming from recent public discourse.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. I can’t say why that would be, but I offer a different solution. The young are inexperienced in life and have not had a chance to fully formulate their views. Also – as we are seeing in the crime sentencing policy – their brains are still forming (not my opinion but experts). More importantly though, and this is a view I share, is the position in our society of the elderly, a group of people often unfairly discounted as conservative, illiberal, racist, bigoted and biased or at best senile. That’s in the UK in particular, yet in other societies they are viewed as valued and experienced with views worthy of consideration. Indeed in more primitive social groupings they were regarded as elders with wisdom, guarantors of the social order and stability. Why is it that we have ditched this view of our elders and have become enthralled by the views of the young?


    1. Nope can’t back you on this one.
      It is my belief that what we are all as individuals and collectively as a country trying to achieve is equilibrium.
      To reach equilibrium all things must balance, every force has an equal and opposite force.
      Therefore for every knuckle dragger there is the opposite (whatever that is) to cancel each other out.
      By this thesis anyone who introduces any kind of discrimination (in this example racism) has an agenda of their own for or against the argument depending which side they play the card from. So my reaction is to look for the opposing argument, put the two together and move back towards equilibrium.
      There is no moral high ground (a contradiction in terms) in this thesis.
      Simply the acceptance that both arguments exist, neither is better than the other, and neither has the right to force me to accept theirs is the superior state of being. They both must accept the equal existence of their negative or negate their own existence.
      And so we move on towards equilibrium.

      Perhaps I should drink less coffee……


  2. Prof, I think you leave out the elephant in the drawing room. Racism. I have no way to gauge how deeply that affected opposition to Yousaf, but I have no doubt it did. Mostly it was unspoken except for comments such as ‘I just cannot support him. I am not sure why’ but yesterday I blocked a Twitter account with more than 100,000 followers that came right out and said, “Indigenous Scots will not follow a Pakistani migrant.” Other than that Yousaf was born in Scotland and that there is no such thing as an ‘indigenous Scot’ (except of we can find people with Pict heritage), it said what I am convinced a lot of people were thinking but chose not to say out loud. And it may well be that young people are more accustomed to being around racial diversity. I am not sure that is a full explanation on homophobia or racism.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The uk security services, 77 Brigade and GCHQ along side the media have been trying for yrs to paint the Scots people as rascist Anglo phobes, so absolutely not surprised to find such a Twitter account exists. What does surprise me is that anyone with two firing neurons would present it as evidence of rascist opposition to Humza’s election as party leader from the SNP membership or even more ridiculous that Kate Forbes represented a lurch to the right, a narrative originating from our right wing nutter media.


          1. Ignoring the rather childish personal insult, this implies exactly that the opposition to Humza’s election had nothing to do with racism which would only be explained by racism not existing in Scotland: “What does surprise me is that anyone with two firing neurons would present it as evidence of racist [sic] opposition to Humza’s election as party leader…” It is exactly evidence of that although a long way from the first or only evidence of it.


              1. I wasn’t aware that neurons presented under race, colour or creed.
                You opinion on the involvement of racism in the election of Humza is subjective at best, personally I can say that any interaction I had with fellow members was devoid of any mention of his colour or religion, others may have a different story to tell. The racism I did experience was external to the membership and my comment was specific to SNP membership.


                1. Of course, most of the people opposing Yousaf because of race did not come right out and admit it any more than the homophobes supporting Forbes because they share her homophobia did not come right out and say so. They said things like, “But she is so honest about it, so it does not matter.” and “I just cannot support Yousafe, but I am not sure why.”


  3. Late night news…..Just heard DRoss has has told his small followers to vote Lab to get the SNP out…. what a bloody chancer and a cowerd.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.