So who have we elected to Westminster?

Last month Scotland sent 59 MPs to London, 46 of them for the very first time.

Ever since May 7 The Herald has been trying to figure out what kind of people now represent us.

What have we found out? Well, that the education of the now dominant SNP group was as comprehensive as their victory - no party in the Commons has such a low level of privately educated members.

We have also learned that that half of all MPs went to one of Scotland's four ancient universities.

And that heavy industry - already gone from Scotland in all but name - has also disappeared from the green benches.

After all, the last of the old and long endangered breed of Labour MPs who actually had sweat on their brows has either retired or been defeated.

The big political swing has also delivered record numbers of open gays and women in UK parliament.

These biographical details are important. They tell us a lot about how equal a society we are - and how typical or atypical - our elected member are of the people they are supposed to represent.

But such details only tell part of that story.

I wanted to learn a bit more about the backgrounds and attitudes of our 59 MPs, nationalist and unionist.

So I set up an anonymous internet survey with 10 simple but sometimes cheeky questions for them.

Only 20 responded, a third of the total.

The results, therefore, by no means represent a scientific sample, or an official reflection of the views of the Scottish parliamentary contingent or its dominant SNP group.

But they do, I think, help to get under the skin of what, despite its one-party flavour, is a rather diverse group of people.

Please remember, we don't know the identity of the 20 who took part in our survey.

Here, in the order in which they were asked, are my questions and the answers of MPs.

Question 1. Do you think Scotland will be an independent country within a decade?

Yes: 19 No: One.


The MPs who filled in our survey were pretty confident that the UK will cease to exist in 10 years, despite the result of last year's referendum. Of course, for Scotland to be independent so soon, another vote would probably have to be scheduled either this UK parliamentary term - or early in the next. That sounds a lot nearer than the "once in a generation" opportunity we were told we had in 2014.

Question 2. Do you think the UK will have a nuclear deterrent in 10 years?

Yes 7. No 11. Skipped question: 2


This is tough. Anti-Trident MPs now dominate the Scottish bloc at Westminster - Labour's Ian Murray shares the SNP view on this issue. But far from all of those who completed the survey expected Britain to do without the bomb in a decade. Although, the questions didn't ask if the UK would keep Trident or another, perhaps less expensive, delivery system.

Question 3. Should the Scottish Government raise income tax to ease the pain of Westminster austerity?

Yes 7. No 6. Not sure 5. Skipped question 2.


This was the trickiest and nastiest question in the survey. The SNP hasn't made up its mind on the issue yet and nor, the survey, suggests h ave some of its MPs. But should the party be of one mind on tax now? MPs may want to wait and see just how bad the numbers in next month's summer budget and beyond. But watch this space.

Question 4. Do you believe in God?

Yes 7. No 7. Not sure 5, Skipped question 1.


Just how religious are MPs? Well, our small sample is pretty evenly divided between believers, non-believers and the uncertain. Will this have any bearing on some of the big moral and ethical issues likely to come up in public life over the next decade or so? Perhaps. We can't assume that religious people - or atheists - vote as some kind of bloc; past experience suggests they do not.The next question might give some indication, however, of views on a big ethical question that may need an answer soon, assisted suicide.

Question 5. Are you comfortable with legalising assisted suicide?

Yes 5. No 7. Not sure 5. Skipped question 3.


Last month Holyrood rejected another bill on assisted dying with politicians admitting they were deeply anguished by the issue they were being asked to resolve. The 20 who completed the Herald survey appears to be equally unsure about such potential legislation.

Question 6. Have you ever taken cannabis?

Yes 9. No 8. Skipped question: 3.


Lots of people have strong views on whether this drug should be legalised - or at least decriminalised.

So it seems reasonable to see if politicians, who will have to decide this, have actually experienced its effects. Just under half of those who took party in The Herald survey had.

Remember, this is not a scientifically representative sample, so we can't conclude that that half of all MPs have consumed cannabis.

But the findings do tally with other surveys that a lot of Scots have used the drug.

Question 7. Which languages can you speak?


Scotland's MPs - unlike their colleagues in Holyrood - are routinely going to have to take part in huge decisions on foreign policy. So how "international" or "internationalist" are they in their mindset?

This is a very hard question to answer. How do you judge or rank international outlook? Well, I have gone for a crude question on languages.

My not entirely fair premise: if you can't talk to foreigners in their own language, then you can't really claim to understand them.

Just 18 MPs answered this question, nine said they only spoke English. Four spoke Scots, three French, one Spanish and two German.

Again, our sample is not representative of the Scottish parliamentary group, which may include more linguists or individuals with substantial overseas experience. Or not. We don't know.

I didn't ask how well MPs spoke their respective languages.

Question 8. What is your favourite football team?


The Old Firm may have dominated Scottish football for decades. But they haven't made much headway among our MPs, at least the 17 who answered questions on the country's favourite sport.

Eight of the 17 admitted they don't follow football at all.

One supports Celtic; none Rangers. But the Edinburgh clubs of Hearts and Hibs managed to boast two MPs each. It is not clear whether celebrity Hearts fan Alex Salmond was one of thos to fill in The Herald survey.

This sample is almost certainly way too small to be meaningful but the most popular option among MPs was "another Scottish club" outside the big five of Aberdeen, Celtic, Rangers, Hibs and Hearts.

I should explain we had to be less specific on things like languages and favourite football teams because answers to such questions could inadvertently identity MPs who took part in our survey.

Question 9.  In an ideal world, would you prefer a republic or a monarchy?

Republic 16. Monarchy 1. Skipped question 3.


The SNP may have embraced the royal family in recent years but at least some of its members, our survey suggests, don't buy in to the ideology. Again, it has to be stressed that we don't know whether sample is representative.

Question 10. What is your favourite TV soap opera?


Are Scotland's politicians tuning in to keep up with the latest events in Eastenders or Corrie? Not hugely, our survey suggests. Only 17 MPs answered this question, 10 of them saying they did not watch soaps. Of those that did, by far the favour was Coronation Street, with four fans. Eastenders, River City and Hollyoaks had one each. And nobody watched Emmerdale. One MP, Deidre Brock, knows more than most about soaps: the actor appeared in a couple of episodes of Home and Away in her native Australia.

What do you think? Take our survey here.