AIBU to wonder if there is a difference between Scottish and English viewpoints as a society?

(29 Posts)
tittytittyhanghang Sat 20-Oct-12 15:08:53

Maybe not worded it very well, but all this indepence talk has me thinking about it. I guess before, i just thought that England was the same as Scotland, just a larger population.

ZombTEE Sat 20-Oct-12 15:10:04

hmm

GrimAndHumourless Sat 20-Oct-12 15:11:27

[scratches heid]

Toombs Sat 20-Oct-12 15:12:30

Scotland has a much greater demand for state intervention, both main parties are left of centre and generally the Scots expect the state do do things for them. They also have their own legal system which while similar to the English is not the same. The idea (for example) that 16/17 year olds should be able to vote is historically normal.

deleted203 Sat 20-Oct-12 15:15:07

I'm English and married to a Scot and yep, I think there probably is a difference between Scottish and English viewpoints. I don't really think of myself as 'English' in the same way, or with the same pride, as he definitely thinks of himself as 'Scottish'. As a nation I have found the Scots much more patriotic, much more interested/involved in their nation's traditions and history than the majority of English people. It's nice I think. DH would always think of himself as Scottish rather than British.

I think there are differences, I've lived in both and some things just seem to be looked at from a slightly different viewpoint. For instance, Scotland has I think always been more socialist, and probably more "community" oriented, with more expectation that you are involved in your neighbours lives. And there is a definite tendency amongst Scottish people to be more "chippy" about things, and feel people are being insulting, and a greater tendency amongst the English to come across as more arrogant and patronising. I think both come from a feeling of what "belonging" to your country means - and belonging to England has historically tended to mean being in charge of the empire, where belonging to Scotland has meant feeling you were taken over and subjugated and didn't have much say in it.

That doesn't mean that every Scpttish person or every English person is like that, just that there are trends to be more one way than another, which are stronger in the different countries.

tittytittyhanghang Sat 20-Oct-12 15:22:57

Yes, ive probably not worded it very well. But aspects like what toombs and SWO have mentioned. I guess politics is a big one, I think Scotland is definitely more anti conservative, but does this come around because, as a nation, we aspire for different things? It cant always be down to sour grapes re poll tax grin Not sure what the face is for Zombtee, is a genuine wonder/question.

maybenow Sat 20-Oct-12 15:25:53

Yes, i think there is a difference - All the Scottish parties are further left than their English counterparts.

While generally Scotland is more 'left' we do obviously have Tories (not many though) but they tend to be the older style original Tories, rather than Thatcherites.

We also have a more rural society as a whole. Edinburgh and Glasgow are cosmopolitan but they're tiny compared to English cities.

That thing that all the Westminster politicians obsess talk about - 'Middle England' - it doesn't exist in Scotland.

I think small communities in Scotland are closer to the fact that people need to be able to rely on each other in bad times, and so the ideas of socialism (directly helping out those in need, the community having a value separate from the individuals within it) are closer to their hearts than conservatism (getting rich yourself and assuming that will help others in some vague way)

Yes the "middle class" threads on MN are a bit of a mystery to me - I grew up in what would have to be classed as a middle-class family (home owners, professional job, SAHM, university education) in a nice suburb of Edinburgh. But the definitions of English MNers about what being middle-class is like are a foreign land to me (probably literally...)

maybenow Sat 20-Oct-12 15:31:44

Toombs i think is English - she says "generally the Scots expect the state do do things for them" and this is the kind of rhetoric we hear from Westminster right now.

But, I as a Scot don't think of "the state" as this 'other thing' that does things for me or or anybody else - I think WE ARE the state, as a society we are a collective and we all chip in (pay tax) and pool our money to organise things like schooling and healthcare together... I think we are more inclined to feel our government as a tool of the people rather than as 'our leaders' - a bit like when you elect a treasurer at the PTA to look after the money you've raised.

Toombs Sat 20-Oct-12 15:32:32

The essential question that Scots have to ask themselves is this - Do they want to swap rule from Brussels via Westminster which can stand up and say no or rule from Brussels directly with no opt outs because they had to agree to these terms when negotiating EU membership as an independent state.

BettyandDon Sat 20-Oct-12 15:32:49

Scots go about their normal business when it's raining. A lot of English people don't, well, many of those in the SE don't, including my husband! If he does force himself to do something (kids to the park for example) it is a whoopla deal. He doesn't think to bring a towel and dry off the slide for example smile.

I think the Scots psyche is very different but I can't put my finger on what it is. Maybe it's the Bru secret ingredient.

WitchOfEndor Sat 20-Oct-12 15:33:43

I have wondered if there would have been the same response to the Glasgow Airport attempted bombing if it had happened at an English airport. Some of my friends were embarrassed, thinking it enforced stereotypes about Scotland and violence. Some were proud, thinking it showed that we weren't prepared to tolerate that sort of attack.

I wonder if the fear of intervention from business owners and staff held people back from rioting when it all kicked off in England.

I also think that we appear more proud to be Scottish to English people because they do really see us as 'Scottish' rather than belonging to cities like a lot of English people are identified with. A lot of non scots can identify a Glaswegian accent but would struggle to pick out others. English people are more aware of differences between mancunians, Liverpudlians, Londoners etc so they perceive themselves as less united than the Scots, who are all lumped together.

I think that we were a backwater for a very long time and only really came into our own in the 19th century so we are justly proud of how much we managed to do in a relatively short period of time (as anyone who has the "Wha's like us" tea towel will know)

deleted203 Sat 20-Oct-12 15:36:31

lol...I don't think I've read the MN middle classer threads but I've always vaguely thought of myself as English middle class (parents who were teachers, home owners, uni education). And then I realise that being from the North probably negates this. Anything along the lines of baby gym, designer clothes, competitive parenting is definitely not me or anyone I know. I come from a small village where helping out those who need it, doing things in the community, etc are very close to our hearts. Perhaps it's cos my parents were definitely socialists and from Northern steel work towns. (It's hard to be posh when you're from Scunthorpe grin).

deleted203 Sat 20-Oct-12 15:38:37

lol Witch for the 'Wha's like us' tea towel!

We've got a tea towel pinned to the kitchen wall that has the Declaration of Arbroath on it. (We currently live in England).

Toombs - that is an important question. But you have to understand that rule via Westminster is, to many Scots, "foreign rule" so swapping a direct Edinburgh-Brussels link for the current Edinburgh-Westminster-Brussels link has a big appeal. It may not be great, but we'd be doing it for ourselves and not having it done for us by people who really don't represent our point of view anyway.

sowornou - I guess it's more of a Scotland / SoutheEast England dichotomy - plenty of people in the North of England are as different from the south as the Scots are, in their attitudes.

Toombs Sat 20-Oct-12 15:44:16

Yes, but you would have to join on their terms. Currently the UK has an ability to frustrate EU ambitions in this country, an independent Scotland would not. You would have to accept whatever the EU demanded as a price of accession.

tittytittyhanghang Sat 20-Oct-12 15:55:29

I think the Scots psyche is very different but I can't put my finger on what it is. Maybe it's the Bru secret ingredient grin.

Maybe it is a different attitude to things. I will admit i have read a few threads on mn and thought it must be an English/London thing.

deleted203 Sat 20-Oct-12 15:57:51

Yes, there are massive difference in England between North and South, and particularly SE/London areas. These are just a foreign country to me.

TitWillow Sat 20-Oct-12 16:06:51

Toombs the UK may have the power to frustrate EU ambitions, but it does so to further its own interests. The problem is that many in Scotland do not feel that they do so in Scotland's interests. So, it does not particularly feel like an important thing to hold on to.

I'd agree that 'class' doesn't seem to be as much of an issue with Scots.

We also don't have to deal with the horrible placement requesting issues that seem to plague the South. (With one or two small suburbs being an exception.)

There is the 'stereotype' of the angry Scotsman, but in general, I think that Scots may be more polite than their English counterparts although this might be to compensate for some of our accents!

Politically, obviously, we're different. The Tories are a waste of time for us really.

Our job market is different, the way that we buy houses, our approach to education (ie:Highers/ No 11+/Different year groupings.).......

Toombs - the feeling that the UK could be at the mercy of EU ambitions if Westminster do not protect our interests is much like the feeling that Scots have that they are already at the mercy of a larger political system which views them as a small and not-that-important part of the whole. The dfference is that we already feel we don't have an opt-out on lots of political issues where the majority view in Westminster does not match what Scots would choose, so the idea of swapping "EU ambitions" for "English ambitions" doesn't seem that scary. I don't see that our situation gets any worse than it currently is - OK we can't be utterly independent of a larger organisation if we are part of Europe, but we aren't now anyway.

And I'm not at all clear what terrible EU ambitions it is that Westminster is protecting us from - the rhetoric always seems more about UK nationalism than about what is so awful about the EU. Their fault seems to be that they try to tell Westminster what to do in the first place, not about the details of what they tell Westminster to do.

EverythingInMjiniature Sat 20-Oct-12 17:35:01

I'm probably the only person in the country who thinks this, but recently I have been thinking of parallels between Scotland and London.

Both areas are stereotyped heavily by the rest of the UK.
Both are much more left leaning than the rest of the UK (Labour won 38 seats in London, compared to 25 for the Tories in 2010) - obviously not as left as the Scots, but much more closely aligned politically with those north of the border than the rest of the south east. If you exclude the boroughs in Kent, Essex, Surrey etc, London is almost universally Labour/Libdem
Both have issues that affect just the city/country and are not experienced elsewhere.
Similar size populations (5m in Scotland, 7m in London).

No real point, just some musings, but I find it interesting as a lot of discussions talk about rule from London, Scots not choosing government etc, whereas you could make this point about any geographical area which contains a lot of political 'safe' seats.

I think there is a difference between the Scots and English mentality, and it arises from our histories, For me, Scotland is far less hierarchical than England. For example, in Medieval times, land was granted by the King to the Dukes, and by them to minor landowners, there were vassals, serfs etc. In Scotland, there was the Clan system, the land was collectively owned and defended. (Even today the concept of freehold and leasehold does not exist.) In religion, the Church of England has bishops, archbishops, vicars, deacons, sextons etc. and is headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Church of Scotland has ministers, supported by Elders from their congregations, and head by the Moderator of the Assembly of the Church of Scotland, an elected post held for four years only.

IMO, this heritage of a flatter hierarchy is the basis for the more socialist cast to Scotland. As maybenow suggested, we do not see the state as separate from us, we see ourselves as collectively being the state.

Similarly, I think it may underpin out perceived 'chippyness'. In a flatter hierarchy, there is far less deference, because everyone is at the same level; so when someone tries to lord it over you (note: no Lords historically in Scotland, just clan Chiefs who had obligations to clan members as well as power) it is unjustified, and the person is deserving of being put in their place.

MissAnnersley Sat 20-Oct-12 18:07:45

I think it is a really interesting idea OP. It does go some way to explain why I often feel like I live on a different planet to a lot of MNers!
I don't recognise the class definitions and divides, or the angst over schools, reading groups and reading schemes.
I do think Scotland is more of a socialist society and I am extremely glad of that. Perhaps there are tons of Thatcherites just waiting to come out of the closet but somehow I doubt it.

WilsonFrickett Sat 20-Oct-12 18:25:11

The further north you get the more similar the two races become IMO.

As PP have said, this notion of 'Middle England' just isn't something Scots would recognise. We only have 3/4 'big' cities for our 6 million population too - which means most people live in towns or in rural areas. I think this is part of what other posters have described as 'stronger communities' - people here really do know their community, they grow up in towns and the ties stay strong. The whole 2 hour commute to the city thing is practically unheard of, people really do tend to go to their local school (except in central Edinburgh and more affluent parts of Glasgow) so that helps build strong community ties.

When I read the OP I hmm but it's an interesting question. I know we're different, but it's hard to really pin down how or why.

BegoniaBampot Sat 20-Oct-12 18:38:18

This is a silly admission. But in my more naive and passionate youth (many years ago) I felt that Scotland had more in common with the USSR than it did England. I always wanted to visit the soviet union but never England (apart from Cornwall as I had a think about the whole Arthurian legend).

Scotland just has or had a much more socialist outlook.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now