The myth of uniquely ’Scottish values’

Regular readers will remember that I wrote a lot about the Scottish independence referendum before the vote. I haven’t written about devolution or the odds of another referendum much since, but a few reports out this week deserve a mention.

One of my contentions has long been that the idea that the Scottish are somehow different from the rest of the UK, and so are naturally inclined to independence, is nonsense. The Social Attitudes Surveys for Scotland and for Britain have borne this out for many years now, and the latest one does just the same.

Take attitudes towards the current levels of tax and spending – 48% of Scots back them, as do 52% of Britons. Not much difference there.

Then there are university fees. The SNP insists that Scots think university should be free. But the Scots don’t agree with the SNP. They agree with the rest of Britain: 64% of Scots and 67% of Britons think that students should pay for degrees.

You can look at the surveys here and find your own conclusions, but mine is pretty simple: there are no unique ‘Scottish values’. The idea that there are is a political construct, not a truth.