Scottish independence: Young ethnic minority Scots concerned about 'division' amid growing nationalism

Two thirds of young Scots plan to vote no over worries, study found

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 17 September 2014 16:14 BST
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Two-thirds of young Scottish voters plan to vote No in tomorrow’s referendum, according to a study that showed many ethnic Scots were concerned about increasing division in society.

It found that the young people were “fiercely proud of being Scottish” but often saw patriotism being compatible with voting against independence.

The biggest issues persuading them towards a No vote were the economy, currency, EU membership and concerns the debate was too subjective, according to the study by the universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

More than 250 people aged between 14 and 20 were interviewed for the study, which concentrated on the views of minority ethnic young Scots, although the views of white voters were also included.

Many respondents were concerned about increasing division within society between Scottish and English national identities.

One secondary school student from an English Muslim background said: “It’s bad enough already that we’re qualified as English and Scottish…

“Let’s just say you want go for a visit to Scotland if you’re English, that’s just going to make your life even worse.

“At the end of the day we’re all human beings, right?

“I personally believe it’s not where you’re from that matters it’s, it’s the type of person you are.”

Yes campaigners have been accused of engaging in bulling and intimidation in the debate
Yes campaigners have been accused of engaging in bulling and intimidation in the debate (Getty Images)

Those from post-Soviet Eastern European backgrounds and had lived through separation, or who had relatives who remembered the division of India and Pakistan were particularly worried.

They told researchers of relatives’ predictions that separation would not bring the benefits hoped for and instead generate division and negativity between Scots of different backgrounds and views.

Another fear was that independence would limit people’s opportunities to work in England and possible increased border controls would make Scotland less attractive to migrant workers.

Researchers found that even No voters felt “politically isolated” from Westminster and favoured greater devolution, as promised by the three main leaders this week.

Those who said they would be voting Yes cited belief in an independent Scotland leading to a fairer and more democratic society and greater control over core issues like immigration and education.

The voting age was lowered to 16 for Thursday’s poll, which has controversially stopped Scottish ex-pats from voting while people from other countries resident in Scotland are allowed.

Politicians on both sides of the debate are continuing their campaign in Scotland today as polls continue to show the result of Thursday's referendum is on a knife-edge.

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