A study from Talk/together found four times as many people in Scotland said the coronavirus crisis had made their local community more united.
Research by ICM also found Scots were twice as likely to agree that “overall, the public's response to the coronavirus crisis has shown the unity of our society more than its divides”, with 51 per cent agreeing compared to 24 per cent disagreeing.
Called “Our Chance to Reconnect”, the study surveyed nearly 160,000 people across all four nations and claims to be the UK’s biggest-ever public conversation about what divides or unites us.
Report co-author Jill Rutter from the /Together coalition said: “We heard from thousands of people across Scotland, from March 2020 through to January this year, who shared their fears, frustrations and hopes for the future.“Despite everything we’ve been through, there is a sense that communities have stayed strong and pulled together – and that new connections have been made.”
Kezia Dugdale, director of the John Smith Centre for Public Service and a member of the /Together steering group claimed the report showed a base on which for Scotland to build.
She said: “There are still stark divisions in our society, and it is in the interest of all politicians and activists to change the tone and reset the language used in our politics.“The report shows the public is demanding a more respectful conversation, and if politicians and activists fail to learn how to disagree better then not only will their own causes suffer, but distrust in our democracy will deepen.”
However, it also warned both Scotland and the UK stand at a “crossroads” and needed to work more together, with 83 per cent wanting different parties to “work together to solve this country’s problems".
Asked what worried them most, 26 per cent across the UK said independence for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and those who do not, while in Scotland the figure was 60 per cent.
Stephen Gethins, professor of practice in international relations at the University of St Andrews and former SNP MP, said: “There can be no space however for abuse and personalised attacks. It undermines our democracy and bluntly undermines the case that the person is seeking to promote.“Over the coming months and years voters in Scotland will continue to be required to make significant decisions over the country’s future and this study shows that people want to see a debate that is respectful and informed.”Bishop Nick Baines, chair of /Together trustees, said: “Despite the immense challenges of this pandemic, people have responded by pulling together, not apart.
"That is quite remarkable, given how divided our society looked as Britain entered 2020.“There are worries, too, about divisions re-emerging in the difficult times to come.
"But we found a clear public appetite for a society in which we are more connected to each other and the community spirit of 2020 is kept alive.”