What makes Scotland a nation?

When asked to express what their national identity is a clear majority of the people of Scotland choose Scottish. It is clear that the people of Scotland as a community see themselves as a nation.

The range of voices recognising that Scotland is a nation is longstanding and reached across the political spectrum. In 1970 the Labour party said that “Scotland is not a region, but a member nation of the United Kingdom”, and even Margaret Thatcher recognised Scotland’s status as a nation in 1993 saying “as a nation, [the Scots] have an undoubted right to national self-determination.”

The status of Scotland as a nation is established through history and reflected in current institutions. Scotland is a recognised political and territorial entity, with its own legal and education systems; and sporting, religious and cultural institutions. 

More fundamentally, that the people of Scotland are a distinct nation, with the right to determine our own form of government, has been recognised in practice repeatedly, in the referendums of 1979, 1997 and 2014.

And Scotland’s status as a nation is recognised in the nature of the Scottish Parliament: a body that makes law and provides a democratically elected, national, political voice on all matters concerning Scotland.