Cross-border ties with England are in the DNA of many Scots in myriad complex and subtle forms. This research reveals, almost as an afterthought, the way in which the fabric of the societies are woven together on a personal level.
Devolving or transferring powers can happen at the legal stroke of a pen. Transferring affections, history and economic partnerships is much, much harder. Of course many Scots do not feel the emotional pull of a relationship with England, quite the opposite. But very many do. Urban Glasgow kids arguably have as much in common with inner-city London youth “tribes” as they do with folk in the Hebrides.
That is precisely why the SNP has increasingly adopted its softly, softly approach of “keep and change” above a more radical rhetoric of “difference”. Scots considering the independence question want answers on a range of questions – some of them on big issues like membership of the EU or currency. But they also care about what their passport will look like and whether they will still get to watch their favourite programmes. That’s a tough mix of anxieties for pro-independence politicians to assuage.