Letter: Scots and English

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The Independent Culture
Sir: David Aaronovitch ("I'm fed up with this myth of superiority spouted by the Scots", 1 September) is right to rehearse the radical tradition in England, and to puncture the conceited claims of blame-the-English Nationalists.

The history of the Union has been one of oppression and exploitation but these have not been carried out by England at the expense of Scotland. The oppressors have been the rich and powerful of both nations, and the exploited are the English and Scottish working classes. The first victims of the money-making machine which became English imperialism were the English and Welsh - the Scots joined them soon afterwards.

After nearly three centuries of shared history, politics, economy and culture, it is undeniable that Scots are British, in the same way that Bavarians are German and Gascons are French. The question is therefore how best to acknowledge Scotland's differences while maintaining its indisputable common British identity. The devolved Scottish Parliament within the Union is a rational way to achieve this end.

The Nationalists' case is based on a fallacious thesis, in that they deny the British side of Scotland's identity. To justify themselves, they are forced into historical and cultural fabrications. The latest of these is that "the Diana stuff" did not happen in Scotland. In fact, in Glasgow this time last year George Square was covered with thousands of bunches of flowers, and in the City Chambers the books of remembrance ran out of space.

Our peoples are too alike to be artificially divided and our island is too small for contrived extra borders.

PETER RUSSELL

Glasgow

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