Scottish culture, customs and etiquette

It is important not to confuse or assume that Scotland is a part of England as this could cause annoyance. It is considered respectful to refer to Scottish citizens as Scots or Scottish as opposed to British as most citizens of Scotland generally feel more Scottish than British. However some Scots may feel offended by the words “Jock” or being referred to as “Scotch” as opposed to Scottish. The vast majority of Scottish people, despite the stereotypes, are not in any way anti-English. Although most Scots respect and have strong ties with England, Scotland is a very proud nation and many still feel it important to differentiate themselves as having a separate sense of nationality.

The issue of independence is certainly much debated in Scotland. Whilst it is nowhere near as sensitive or divisive as in other parts of the world where such movements exist (such as Northern Ireland), it is best not to argue an extreme position on either side, as this may cause offence. It is also important to remember that supporting Scottish Independence rarely equates to being about Scotland versus England, and is generally motivated by a desire for self governance. Most people in Scotland, regardless of their opinion on independence, feel a close bond with England and the other nations of the British Isles.

Rivalry between various football clubs is a rather more sensitive issue. It’s a bad idea to wear the colours and shirts of football clubs as this may cause offence and/or intimation, or even lead to violence if worn in the wrong place. This is a problem mainly confined to Glasgow’s ‘Old Firm’ (Celtic and Rangers) derby where there are still sectarian tensions. Celtic wear green and white, and Rangers wear blue and white, however orange is also often worn by them, and the clubs are often associated with the religious conflict in Northern Ireland. As such, association with Irish and British flags may cause similar offence, and like wearing football colours will be seen generally as attention seeking. It is also best to not express political views for the same reason.