SCGA Insight: Good Global Citizens? Scottish and English Attitudes to Foreign Policy

Author: SCGA
An article from SCGA editorial team. 

Good Global Citizens? Scottish and English Attitudes to Foreign Policy.

December 2023
Dr Claire Duncanson, Dr Timothy Gravelle, Professor Thomas Scotto

To quote from our ‘Insight’ document “Opinion polling on Scottish foreign policy attitudes is rare…” leading to our Fall 2022 survey of representative samples of English and Scottish respondents large enough to allow for cross-national and within-Scotland comparisons of the publics’ foreign policy attitudes, one we understand to be the first of its kind.

The following is taken from the ‘Insight’ document summary:

“As a democratically elected body, the Scottish Government must retain citizen support. Opinion polling on Scottish foreign policy attitudes is rare, and we lack understanding of whether Scottish citizens have foreign policy attitudes that align well with the feminist-influenced perspective of the Scottish Government and whether the positions of those residing in Scotland differ from their English counterparts.

Our analysis of a specialised foreign policy survey commissioned in fall 2022 finds broad support in both Scotland and England for cooperating with other nations, putting provisions to respect gender, human rights, and the environment into trade agreements, and engaging with the world. Intra-Scottish differences along the Unionist- Nationalist divide, particularly on the unilateral use of the military and apologising for the legacy of colonialism are more stark than Scottish-English differences. This suggests that elements of the Scottish Government’s “paradiplomacy” policy fall along the fault line around independence that polarises politics in the nation.”

The full PDF document and Codebook can be downloaded via the links further down this page and, should you be interested in the full dataset behind the responses, all data is accessible at the Harvard Dataverse here.

As well as the full Insight document we also cover this survey In the latest in our series of podcasts, John Edward speaks to Prof. Tom Scotto and Dr Claire Duncanson of the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively, on their work on public attitudes in Scotland.

In the first detailed study of its kind, they have looked at attitudes across nationalist and unionist persuasions to key international issues of today – wellbeing, global justice, colonial legacies, military force and development spending. In particular they have looked at attitudes to the feminist approach to foreign policy supported by the Scottish Government, among others.

The Podcast will be available on your favourite platform – just search for ‘Scottish Council on Global Affairs’ – and is directly hosted at Acast. We’ve embedded the episode here below if you’re looking for an instant playback.

“Opinion polling on Scottish foreign policy attitudes is rare…”

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