What makes a person Scottish, according to Scots

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
September 07, 2016, 11:28 AM GMT+0

Scots believe birthplace and parentage count most – living in Scotland for ten years doesn't make you Scottish

With a close Scottish independence vote just two years ago and the serious prospect of another before the end of the decade, Scottish identity is a more prominent issue than it has been for decades if not centuries. According to the Scottish government, all British citizens born in Scotland and all British citizens habitually resident in Scotland would automatically be considered Scottish in the event of independence, whilst anyone with a Scottish parent or grandparent or who had lived in Scotland for 10 years and had ongoing connection to Scotland would be able to apply for citizenship.

The Scottish public do not entirely agree with this. Our survey finds that most Scots feel that being Scottish is a birthright. Nearly nine out of ten Scots (87%) think that being born in Scotland makes a person Scottish, whilst having two Scottish parents makes a person Scottish as far as 71% of Scots are concerned. This falls to 50% for one parent. Additionally, growing up in Scotland makes you Scottish to 69% of Scots.

However, living in Scotland a long time doesn’t cut it. More than half of Scots (58%) think that living in Scotland for more than 10 years does not make a person Scottish. This figure rises to 70% for those living in Scotland for 5-10 years and 75% for those living in Scotland for less than 5 years. Six in ten (59%) think that a person considering themselves Scottish was not enough to make themselves so.

Which celebrities are really Scottish?

Despite such firm views on Scottishness, they seem to be applied inconsistently when tested on public figures connected to Scotland. Fewer than half of Scots consider Scotland-born chef Gordon Ramsay (44%) and son of a Scotsman singer Rod Stewart (39%) to be Scottish. Author JK Rowling, who was born in England but has lived in Scotland since the early nineties scores higher on 46%.

It would seem that being part of the Conservative party is particularly bad for perceptions of your Scottishness. Despite both politicians having been born in Scotland to Scottish parents and lived their entire lives there, 87% of Scots consider Nicola Sturgeon to be more Scottish than English, compared to just 61% for Ruth Davidson.

New Labour architects Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair perform worst of all. Campbell – who has two Scottish parents - is seen as being Scottish by just 19% of Scots, whilst Blair scores just 10%, despite having been born in Scotland to a father who grew up in Scotland.

Overall, the majority of Scots consider themselves their identity to be more Scottish than British. 28% consider themselves to be “Scottish, not British”, whilst another 28% say they are “more Scottish than British.

A further 29% say that they are “equally Scottish and British”, whilst just 10% believe they are either British or more British than Scottish.

Photo: PA

See the full results here