I HAVE written at length that the key to winning independence will be to understand the lenses or frames through which people view the political world, and therefore to understand how best to frame messages to convince and persuade and that arguing just makes people retreat into core values and makes them unreachable.

However, not everyone is convincible and this week we have been served an excellent example of the mindset of No Voters and Brexiters in those north-east fishermen (who voted No and Leave) who now feel sold out by the UK Government.

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Yes, they were told it would happen, and yes, the final deal will also sell them out, but that’s not what’s important here.

They represent a Little Britain mentality in miniature. Single issue voters: they have failed to appreciate the big picture and their importance in it. It’s understandable, the EU means other nation’s fishing boats in Scottish waters. So anyone offering to end that would therefore get their vote. First Gove and the Leave campaign and then the Scottish Tories took advantage of that and leveraged the influence of the boat owners in their local communities to win. The fishermen, unaware of their negotiation power or economic importance in the larger UK picture, didn’t perceive a scenario where those promises would be broken.

Last year at an event in Peterhead with around 350 people, including a pro-Brexit fishing contingent, I pointed out that:

1) Fair enough, EU quotas mean fish being put back in the sea, and it must be annoying to see foreign vessels in Scottish waters, but without European cooperation on fishing quotas their would be precious few fish left.

2) If I were them I would rather have a local interested and passionate (now former) MPs like Eilidh Whiteford representing me in fishing negotiations than a distant disinterested Conservative from Cornwall.

3) I then pointed out that in the Brexit negotiations the political and economic importance of the fishing sector to the UK isn’t strong. This means that if the EU ask for fisheries access in return for some better deal for London’s financial companies then the UK government would sell them out in a heartbeat. One boat owner shouted out “lying bastard”.

I feel sorry for them, their limited lens on the world of economics and politics made them fodder for lying politicians and the final deal can only be better for them if it’s a hard Brexit with no trade deal and that would be worse for everyone else in the country. However, the big picture is that onshore the fish processing industry employs far more people, many of whom are EU migrants and those processors then export the vast majority of their products to the EU (France and Spain in particular) so a hard Brexit could in fact devastate the fishing sector not help it. To quote the great Van Morrison, “sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry”.

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It shows the value of perceptions and world views in politics though. For those of us interested in politics we might be disappointed by how much perceptions rather than facts or policies influence election and referenda results.

Which brings me to the question “how Scottish are you?” It’s an important question and relates to the issue of Scottish branding on food that I wrote about last week. The best source of how to measure the impact of feeling Scottish on independence support comes via Moreno and ScotCEN’s Scottish Social Attitudes 2016 research.

The survey asked people to categorise their nationality in one of the following ways and it can helpfully breakdown the change in support for independence in each category and it’s a little surprising:

1) 24 per cent consider themselves ‘Scottish not British’ and between 2012 and 2016 their support for independence rose by 23 per cent.

2) 28 per cent saw themselves as ‘More Scottish than British’ and independence support surged 33% in that group over the same period.

3) 29 per cent claimed to be ‘Equally Scottish and British’ and 15% more of them switched to supporting independence.

4) And somewhat surprisingly, support for independence even rose by 6 per cent in the groups which felt ‘More British than Scottish’ or ‘British not Scottish’.

That is a double category because in ScotCens own words those last two groups were so small they had to be combined to be statistically relevant and it’s also the only category with a statistically relevant change in self-categorisation with 11 per cent identifying as British dropping to 8 per cent.

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Given the promotion in the media, and on food produce in particular, of Britishness as a reaction to Brexit, it is important that the Scottish Government spend extra money on promoting Scottish branding, culture and tourism. Having been brought up in England with Scottish parents, in 2014 you will have seen me say I was equally British and Scottish but believed in independence for the potential to build a better nation.

Now, particularly after Brexit I have moved over to just feeling Scottish, but funnily enough I don’t feel even remotely foreign to my English relatives back home in Hexham – go figure.

So how is this useful to campaigners? Well, the next time you get into a conversation in real life or online about independence with a No voter, maybe just out of interest, ask them how they would categorise their nationality?

If you find a No voter in groups 1, 2 or 3 you have a higher chance of conversion and given that still only 23 per cent of group 3 (Scottish and British) support independence they are the ones that will decide the next referendum. Given that they are comfortable with dual national identities it’s entirely possible they also relate strongly to being European and that gives us the frame to work with. They are not leaving Britain – Britain is leaving them, just as it left me.