Values

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An egalitarian society with a strong sense of community

What are Scotland's values? Looking at the headline values expressed by each of the political parties and the established church, the top ones are equality (though in the case of the Conservatives this is "equality of opportunity", which is not what the word "equality" means on its own) and "community". Perhaps what distinguishes the different parties from each other and the church is what headline values or aims they do not mention. Only the Church people mention Justice, Respect and Honesty. Only the Conservatives mention Enterprise, Choice, Responsibility, Localism, Low taxation and "Strong but limited government". Labour lists Solidarity as well as Community, perhaps harking back to "working class solidarity". Only the Lib Dems mention an Open Society and only the Greens speak of a Peaceful World and the Environment.

The importance of the economy

Despite the values mentioned above, Professor John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and perhaps Scotland's leading psephologist, says[1]the issue that above all seems capable of persuading people to vote Yes or No is whether they think independence would be good or bad for Scotland’s economy. Yet it will be noted below that only the Conservatives mention values closely associated with the economy, such as Enterprise and Taxation.

Church of Scotland survey

A survey[2] by the Church of Scotland of 900 people with and without a church connection found the top ten values were identified as 1. Equality 2. Fairness 3. Justice 4. Education 5. Respect 6. Honesty 7. Community 8. Opportunity 9. Compassion 10. Tolerance.

The dominance of values which focused on the relational, rather than the personal, was overwhelming. Tackling poverty was the most frequently expressed value which had any economic content, but it was not until #53 on the list that the term “prosperity” appears, the first indication of a value that is associated with wealth and money. The references to wealth and money were overwhelmingly directed towards rethinking attitudes to money and a need for a redistribution of wealth, rather than aspirations for personal wealth and individual gain. Ahead of any mentions of money or wealth were other values which focused on faith, peace and the environment.

References

  1. What Scotland thinks: YouGov Report Dramatic Swing to Yes 2 September 2014 (retrieved same day)
  2. Church of Scotland Church and Society Council: Imagining Scotland's Future: Community consultations in 2013 page 09. Although the sample was not a balanced demographic, it is claimed to be "not unrepresentative" of the communities visited.
FOR INDEPENDENCE FOR THE UNION

Conservative values

Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a former chief economist at the World Bank who serves on Alex Salmond’s council of economic advisers, warned[1] on August 25 that a No vote could lead to “more unemployment” for Scotland with the prospect of “American-style” inequality.

Green values

The Scottish Green Party is part of a growing global movement committed to a more equal and peaceful world, and to safeguarding the world’s environment[2].

Labour values

Liberal Democrat values

Nationalist values

Differences with England

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP (SNP) says "I think it would be very hard to imagine Scottish politicians of whatever party now supporting the privatisation process of the NHS that's been going on in England. Just look at Scottish and English MPs' different voting records on a range of issues - from the Iraq invasion of 2003 to tuition fees and the bedroom tax. That reflects a different point of coalescence around values in Scotland.[3]"

References

  1. Scotsman Stiglitz attacks No camp Aug 26,2014:
  2. Scottish Green Party website: Policy (retrieved 16 August 2014)
  3. politics.co.uk: How different are Scotland's values to the rest of the UK's? by Alex Stevenson 18 August 2014 (retrieved 19 August)

Conservative values

"We are a patriotic party of the Scottish centre-right which stands for freedom, enterprise, community and equality of opportunity. We are a party of choice, responsibility, localism, low taxation and strong but limited government [1]

Green values

Labour values

"We define our politics by the values and principles of the Labour movement; solidarity, fairness, equality, community and social justice; values that are not remnants of the past but forces for good in the future."[2]

Liberal Democrat values

"The Scottish Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity[3]."

Nationalist values

Differences with England

Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael claims that "there is no more a set of homogeneous Scottish values than there is a set of homogeneous English values"[4]. "My instinct is that general social values would not be very different across the UK in terms of attitudes to welfare, publicly provided healthcare.." says Stephen Tierney, professor of constitutional theory at the University of Edinburgh. Class plays a big part of it. It's true there might be differences between the posh middle classes of London and the south-east and those living in Scotland. But when you take into account the rest of England, it becomes far harder to work out any meaningful differences[5]


References

  1. Scottish Conservatives web site: What we stand for (retrieved 16 August 2014)
  2. Scottish Labour party web site: United with Labour (retrieved 16 August 2014)
  3. Preamble to the Constitution of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
  4. politics.co.uk: How different are Scotland's values to the rest of the UK's? by Alex Stevenson 18 August 2014 (retrieved 19 August)
  5. Stevenson, supra