Scottish Civic Nationalism

Some ethnic or xenophobic nationalist politicians and media outlets pretend there is only one type of nationalism as part of their fake news agendas. Fortunately, Scotland provides plenty of evidence that nationalism can be both civic and internationalist.

Wikipedia - Civic Nationalism

 “Civic nationalism is a . . . non-xenophobic form of nationalism compatible with values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.”

“Civic nationalism is the form of nationalism where the state derives political legitimacy from the active participation of its citizenry, (see popular sovereignty), to the degree that it represents the “general will”.”


Historian Dr John Davis

“This (Scotland) is for the whole of mankind an inspiring example of a country inhabited by people basing their nationality, on civic rather than ethnic identity. For any country in the world . . . to base its values on those of principle, rather than merely what has gone before . . . this is always a good thing!"


The Economist

“Nationalism is a slippery concept, which is why politicians find it so easy to manipulate. At its best, it unites the country around common values to accomplish things that people could never manage alone. This “civic nationalism” is conciliatory and forward-looking - the nationalism of the Peace Corps, say, or Canada’s inclusive patriotism or German support for the home team as hosts of the 2006 World Cup. Civic nationalism appeals to universal values, such as freedom and equality. It contrasts with “ethnic nationalism”, which is zero-sum, aggressive and nostalgic and which draws on race or history to set the nation apart. In its darkest hour in the first half of the 20th century ethnic nationalism led to war.”


Civic Internationalism

Civic internationalism is a natural extension from a genuinely civic nationalism. It is simply based around civic nationalism’s mutual respect for cultural diversity - and offers an outward facing approach to civic nationalism.

This form of activism recognises that shared concerns and cultures extend over national boundaries and aims to find common ground/ adopt shared approaches that deliver results – constructive change.

British Nationalism Holding Scotland’s Civic Internationalisation Back

“Putting the Great back in Great Britain, making America great again – it makes my skin crawl and yet British nationalists with an astonishing lack of self-awareness claim the Scottish independence movement is somehow linked to that style of thinking when in fact it is the antithesis to fascist nationalism – the solution to the problem they cause.”


Why Scottish Nationalism Differs from Europe’s Xenophobic Movements

“There has hardly been a murmur of public complaint from the SNP, or indeed from those of a nationalist persuasion, that English people resident in Scotland, the country's largest migrant group by far, voted overwhelmingly against independence in 2014 in what became a closer contest than had been expected. That is convincing evidence of the influence of civic nationalism in practice.

Ethnic nationalists would not have been slow to condemn those of non-Scottish birth as the leader of the Parti Quebecois attacked non-French Canadians for the narrow loss of the independence referendum in Que in 1995. What matters in civic nationalism is not the bloodline or national ancestry of voters but whether their home is in Scotland or not.”


Napier University

"Scotland’s inclusive “civic nationalism” with its loosely social democratic values is now viewed as something to aspire to, particularly after its resounding vote 62%-38% to remain in the EU. It stands in stark contrast to the right-wing populism that has produced the Trump presidency and its “America First” nationalism; Marine Le Pen and the other nationalist movements in mainland Europe; and UKIP, which has effectively infected the soul of Tory party."


Securing disunion: Young people's nationalism, identities and (in)securities in the campaign for an independent Scotland

"Nuz's narrative supports research elsewhere that suggests that Scottish multiculturalism has furnished a feeling of safety particularly among Scottish Muslims in comparison to England (Hopkins & Smith, 2008; Hussain & Miller, 2006). The SNP has been actively trying to attract ethnic minority votes though a ‘self-consciously multiculturalist leadership’ (Hussain & Miller, 2006, p. 34). To give an example, Preet is a young Sikh living in Edinburgh who refers to Scotland as more ‘accepting’ than England.

I feel Scotland's more open, like they're more accepting. They're not as judgmental as England … like anyone from the Scottish Parliament and they're just so friendly, like they're accepting of your culture. It's almost as if they want to like infuse all the cultures together so you're like helping, which I think is really good” (Preet, female, 16–18, ‘BritAsian’ Sikh, Edinburgh).

The perception of Scotland as open, inclusive and multicultural yet also holding a distinct national identity echoes multicultural nationalist discourse."


Wikipedia - Scottish Independence

Promotes the idea that the Scottish people form a cohesive nation and national identity and is closely linked to the cause of Scottish home rule and Scottish independence, the ideology of the Scottish National Party, the party forming the Scottish Government. It is often described as a form of civic nationalism rather than ethnic nationalism.


Vivienne Westwood

“Scottish Independence could be a great day for Democracy,” it read. “They already have a more democratic financial system, e.g. no tuition fees, and they care more for people. They just wouldn’t do what we’re doing in England ... In England there is hardly any democracy left. The government does what it wants. That which should belong to people – it gives it all to business.”

"Later, Westwood told reporters: “I hate England . . . I like Scotland because somehow I think they are better than we are. They are more democratic.” She described the Better Together campaign as “frightened and stupid”."



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