Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Come clean - are you Scots/English/Welsh, or British?

What is wrong with reinforcing a sense of Scottish identity?

Salmond under fire for 'Scottish' census split

ALEX Salmond has been accused of hijacking the next census for political ends by forcing people to choose whether they are Scottish or British.


Under proposals yet to be approved by Holyrood, the SNP government wants to include a question asking respondents their "ethnic group" and whether they are Scottish, English, Welsh or British. Only one answer is allowed under the rules of the census to be held next year.

But a confidential government memo reveals that Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative MSPs are furious about the attempt to split up British and Scottish as options.

They want the government to adopt a version which combines all the options into a single ethnic group with only "Other" as a choice. They have made it clear that they will force a vote on the census – normally a non-partisan issue – and change its content if ministers do not drop their insistence on separating out identities.

They believe the SNP wanted the census question framed in this way to reinforce a sense of Scottish identity among respondents in support of its independence agenda.

One senior opposition member said: "The trouble is that Scottish is not a separate ethnicity so we will reject any solution that puts it that way. This is clearly an attempt by the Nationalists to hijack the census for their own narrow purposes, effectively politicising it."

The behind-the-scenes row has been revealed in a memorandum – obtained by Scotland on Sunday – written last week for senior ministers by enterprise minister Jim Mather, who is responsible for the census.

In the memo, Mather says Scotland's new official ethnicity classification, for Scottish official statistics and recommended for the 2011 census, was agreed by the Cabinet in May 2008.

A separate question on national "identity" would ask respondents whether they felt Scottish, English, Welsh or British.

Comments pls: what do you say? Does your ethnic identity depend on nationality, national residence or state citizenship? Is Scottish a separate ethnicity?

More news from the SNP

SNP MSP Kenny Gibson said: "In the song there are only ten lords a leaping during Christmas but Gordon Brown has appointed 15. We all know that the London government is effectively run by Lord Mandelson but the number of lords a leaping through Downing Street these days is shocking.

"For a party supposed to represent the people and a party that is supposed to support abolition of the Lords, to use it as the main source of government ministers is a disgrace."


S Pol Haydon said...

I think Nationality is very important, it gives us a sense of pride and when that is taken away one feels like they dont belong. The situation in Ireland is a prime example of this, the North has so many terms for its country men and many feel displaced because of the English imperial grip.

Nationalism is the right of every member state, and as someone from Northern Ireland I consider myself Irish and I am proud of this. It gives me a sense of belonging and pride from a rich history and culture. However many people feel pressured to use this horrible term 'British'. This media tool is a propaganda weapon designed to keep England appearing to have strength among the rest of Europe.

I urge anyone from Wales, Northern IReland or Scotland to drop this term and embrace your heritage and leave the supressive Brit term in the past. We Celtic people come from a beautiful culture and our Nationalism keeps that alive.

James D said...

Well, when they trialled this question in Wales, most people chose Welsh only anyway. I suspect the difference between the Welsh census allowing you to tick as many boxes as you like and the Scottish one only allowing you to tick one will make no difference at all.

Anonymous said...

My identity is Welsh, my nationality is Welsh and my ethnicity is European. I do not recognise British as an ethnic group.
Ethnicity is not a path that I would advise Wales to choose; identity and nationality are better.

alanindyfed said...

I agree

kerdasi amaq said...

but you have to learn to work together to achieve a common goal. Jobs, housing and business opportunities for Welsh nationalists is what it's all about. Politics is secondary. For those who love the English: let the English take care of their own.