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Predicting Stateless, Nationalist Regionalist Party Members' Attitudes to Immigration.

Arno van der Zwet

Immigration and the integration of immigrants are policy areas that are increasingly dealt with at the sub-state level. This is often the 'natural' domain in which Stateless, Nationalist and Regionalist Parties (SNRP) operate but SNRPs have been forced to adopt immigration and integration policies which can cause tension in the party membership. SNRPs are 'broad churches', but because of their particular focus on constitutional issues they are often particularly capable of attracting members (and voters) from across the political spectrum who do not hold uniform attitudes towards immigrants and immigration. This paper examines how different variables (socio-demographic characteristics, demands for constitutional change and ideological positioning) impact on the attitudes of SNRPs' members. The paper focusses particularly on how different conceptions of national identity affect attitudes towards immigrants in these parties. National identity is multidimensional and members assess dimensions differently. Such choices have a bearing on attitudes towards immigration. The paper explores these issues in two case studies; the Scottish National Party in the United Kingdom and the Frisian National Party in the Netherlands. The parties differ considerably (size, goals, government potential, etc.) and operate in different contextual circumstances but they are comparable in terms of their civic conceptions of Scottishness and Frisianness and their left of centre ideological commitment. Furthermore, in both cases immigration issues have become highly salient at the state-level. The paper draws from two full party membership studies and is supported with evidence from documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with party elites.



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