Scottish Not British

I moved to Scotland a few years ago with my family. We used to live “South of the Border” (a wonderful phrase in itself) in England and chose to move here, following the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, because we had visited the area we now call home, and felt it was time to move to spend more time with our children and to have a different life.

We very much love where we live, it’s remoteness, it’s stark and bleak beauty as well as the fact that living where we live is a little more challenging and not as easy as it was where we moved from. Modern life is so easy and can be quite boring: everything at your fingertips. everything within reach, everything done for you. I wanted to live in a place where you have to stand on your own two feet and where you have to do more for yourself and I found it here. I don’t think my wife agrees but I think we’re happy.

I think it is a very important part of the debate to explain that there is a big difference in the way that the Scottish view the UK, whether in favour of Scottish Independence or not, and the way the English view the UK. (I am purposefully excluding the Welsh and Northern Irish parts of the UK in this article because I simply do not have the experience or knowledge, and the animosity between the Scots and the English is well known about if somewhat uneven in its application by either side.)

In Scotland everything is about Scotland. It is about being Scottish, it is about Scottish food and culture. The Saltire is everywhere. Scotland is quite rightly proud and the Scottish people are proud too.

In England it is more complicated. England and Englishness has been partially subsumed into Britain and Britishness. There are still St George’s Crosses in places but more often than not you will see the Union Flag, and whilst many people in England will describe themselves as English, many others will describe themselves as British.

Both of these statements are not applicable everywhere, and in all areas, but are a generalised feeling I have and is therefore the only opinion I can offer.

Rightly or wrongly the Scottish feel less attached, and some openly opposed, to the idea of being British and being part of the UK, whereas the English tend toward the opposite. I can offer no reasons as to why this is and maybe others can, but there is a distinct difference in the attitudes of both countries’ citizens in how they see themselves and how they would describe themselves.

I am not drawing an opinion on which is right or wrong, I am simply stating the way it is – at least as I see it.

The best example I can give is the TV adverts that Aldi show in Scotland. Here it is all about Scotland and Scottish Produce all with the Saltire on the packaging. In England the same advert would be selling the British nature of the product and if it had a flag at all it would be the Union flag.

Large companies who want to sell lots of things, do their research well, and create their adverts with the required content to sell it to the particular audience in question. They do this for a reason – because they will sell more. They play to their audience.