Scottish identity

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It should be apparent to the Yes side in the independence debate that the argument will not be won on the basis of an appeal to national sentiment alone.

Even a cursory glance at the latest census figures shows that approach is unlikely to pay electoral dividends.

I agree with Allan Massie (Perspective, 13 November) that the whole question of Scottish identity is a complex one.

There are nearly 450,000 voters in Scotland who were born in other parts of the United Kingdom. Add to this the 55,000 people of Polish extraction eligible to vote, and other groups ranging from nearly 30,000 from Pakistan, 16,000 from the United States and 9,000 from Nigeria, and there is an electoral bloc of nearly three-quarters of a million.

It would be madness for the pro-independence side to try and get its vote by some sort of “wha’s like us?” campaign.

It was certainly unwise for Fife councillor David Alexander to describe the Secretary of State for Scotland on a blog as a “supposed Scot”. It is dangerous in terms of heightening ethnic tensions where they do exist.

Equally, it will do nothing to attract those who have perfectly legitimate questions to ask about citizenship, immigration and passports as the referendum campaign progresses.

The forthcoming white paper should outline exactly what the Scottish Government intends on border control and passport documentation.

In the end a Yes vote will simply provide a basis for negotiation with the Westminster government.

But it will still be useful if the Holyrood government makes clear that all those who live here legitimately are equal before the law whether they regard themselves as a Scot or not.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court