People in Scotland feel stronger sense of solidarity with most vulnerable than rest of UK

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 19 July 2017 in News

Glasgow Caledonian University researchers found that a far higher proportion of respondents in Scotland supported the rights of local people, those in Europe and outside the European Union than respondents in England and Wales did

Anti-austerity protest - credit: PA

People in Scotland feel a stronger sense of solidarity with vulnerable people than those in the rest of the UK, according to new research from Glasgow Caledonian University.

In a study of how people expressed solidarity, researchers found that a far higher proportion of respondents in Scotland supported the rights of local people, those in Europe and outside the European Union than respondents in England and Wales did.

There was also stronger solidarity expressed in Scotland and Northern Ireland for vulnerable groups such as refugees, the unemployed and the disabled.


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The study found that 28.6 per cent of people in Scotland engaged in solidarity practices with refugees – donating money or time, attending protests, buying or boycotting goods, or being involved in a campaign organisation – compared to 20.8 per cent of those in England. The figure was lower in Wales, with 18.5 per cent of respondents showing solidarity with refugees.

Meanwhile Scots 27.5 per cent of Scots showed solidarity with unemployed people, compared to 18 18 per cent in England and 16.5 per cent in Wales.

In Northern Ireland 30.9 per cent of people showed solidarity with refugees, with 18.7 per cent in support of those out of work.

Respondents across the UK showed the greatest degree of support for disabled people, though the highest levels of solidarity were found in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Meanwhile unemployed people received the lowest level of support, which researchers suggested “may suggest that policy discourses and media narratives which have stigmatised the unemployed may be cutting through to British society”.

Professor Simone Baglioni of the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at GCU said: “Our research provides a unique contribution to the debate on divergence between the constituent nations of the UK by focusing on practices of solidarity and our results do suggest that there is a divergence between these contexts within the UK.

“We have sought to uncover how solidarity, through activism, protest, donations of time and money and organisational membership is practiced in contemporary Britain. What the analysis of our data reveals is that solidarity is not only scarce but unevenly distributed in terms of geography and the vulnerabilities of different groups.”

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