THE debate over Scottish independence will not descend into a battle over identity as happened in Quebec, the Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, will tell a conference fringe today.
The Liberal Democrat MP says Canadian contacts have warned UK officials that the contest may end up as a test of Scottishness, in which pro-independence campaigners “infer that true Scots can only vote Yes”.
However, Moore will say that he does not expect such a tactic from his opponents. “There is no evidence that this will work and every chance that it will backfire,” he says.
He points to evidence from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, which suggests that people are content with being both Scottish and British.
“They are comfortable in their own skin, secure in their identities,” says the Scottish Secretary.
“They don’t need to shore up their Scottishness, and they would not enhance it, by breaking away from the United Kingdom,” he will tell delegates.
UK officials say that they are studying the example of the Quebec referenda where, they say, arguments about the economy were drowned out in the final stage of the campaign by a fierce row over loyalty to the French-speaking province.