Island View: Questions of identity

Have the recent referendums on Scottish independence and Britain's exit from the EU brought identity politics back to the fore?
Have the recent referendums on Scottish independence and Britain's exit from the EU brought identity politics back to the fore?

Someone born and brought up on Bute, who has lived and worked here all their lives, could quite reasonably be called a Brandane.

But what about someone from Glasgow, or Birmingham, or Toronto or Damascus, who came to the island as a child or even an adult and has been part of the community ever since?

Or someone who grew up here, attended Rothesay Academy and had friends on the island, but who felt there wasn’t enough to keep them here and moved away after leaving school, only returning for holidays?

None of these are uncommon occurrences.

Then there are the questions of whether islanders feel differently about identity than those on the mainland, whether Scots feel differently from the English, whether Brits feel differently from the French about being European and so on.

But does it even matter which identity people choose to adopt?

Personally I am of the opinion that where someone happens to be born should be of almost no relevance to where they eventually feel they belong, and the final decisions on national and regional identities can only be made by oneself.

The nationality on someone’s passport and the colour of someone’s skin should never act as barriers to travel or to integration.

It’s interesting all the same to consider what it is that makes someone feel like part of something bigger than themselves.

Where I come from in the West Midlands, most of the people I know consider themselves British rather than English, although it is rarely brought up.

I have always wondered whether Scotland, especially since the debate surrounding independence from the UK, feels more strongly about the issue of nationality in general.