SCOTT SIMON, Host:
And I speak with a Scotsman whose name and words are known throughout the world. We reached Alexander McCall Smith. Mr. Smith, of course, is the prolific novelist. He joins us from the studios of the CBC in Toronto. Mr. Smith, thanks for being with us.
ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH: Delighted.
SIMON: I know you have strong feelings for Scotland. Do you have strong feelings on nationalism, independence, identity, any of that?
MCCALL SMITH: Not particularly strong feelings, but certainly it's an issue in which everybody in Scotland will have some sort of opinion.
SIMON: Do we sometimes make too much of this from a distance? I guess the latest opinion polls show that about one in four people in Scotland favor independence for Scotland.
MCCALL SMITH: So, I think, one has to make a distinction between a vote for the Scottish National Party, as an alternative to the ruling Labor Party on the one hand, and a genuine desire to go the whole haul(ph) and have an independent Scotland.
SIMON: Mr. Smith, has the identity of what it means to be a Scot changed because of immigration patterns? I asked because just in the past year, it seems to me I've seen movies about African immigrants in Glasgow and Indian families who have been living for decades in Edinburgh.
MCCALL SMITH: What we have seen there has been a fairly major flow of immigrants in Scotland from Eastern European countries particularly Poland. I think that Scotland has become a bit more pluralist as a result. What the impact of that will be electorally eventually in terms of Scottish political culture, I'm not too sure. I think it may add to Scottish confidence in assertions that Scotland can run its own affairs.
SIMON: Does the issue of North Sea oil complicate any of this?
MCCALL SMITH: If it weren't for the oil, then I think the case of the Scottish National Party would be considerably weaker.
SIMON: Alexander McCall Smith, speaking with us from Toronto. His most recent book is "The Right Attitude to Rain." Don't delay. There will be another one coming along very soon. Thank you, Mr. Smith.
MCCALL SMITH: Thank you very much indeed, Scott.
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