Letter: Scots and English

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The Independent Culture
Sir: David Aaronovitch judges the character of a nation - Scotland - on the basis of the views of a single individual who seems to have upset him. If I were to be accosted by a ranting bag-lady in King's Cross, or a National Front skinhead in Deptford, I would not assume that they were representative of the English race.

As someone who is mostly Scots, I would never for a moment condone the sort of hubristic xenophobia which asserts that Scots are somehow innately superior to the English, which is not to say that I would reject the notion of independence based on an economic assessment, or even on differences in cultural values.

Nor does that mean such feats as Scots have accomplished in history should be traduced. It isn't simply some maverick Scottish Internet site which identifies the link between the Declaration of Arbroath and American independence - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison acknowledged a debt to Scottish influences in the emergence of their republic.

Mr Aaronovitch tears a strip off the Scots for anti-English emotional prejudices, then launches into a splenetic outburst in which he provides a litany of apparently superior English virtues such as the fact that "most of the Chartists" were English (as it happens, one of the leading Chartists was a Scottish relative of mine).

It's time we all grew up - Scots and English - and learned to respect and even celebrate our differences rather than poison what should be a constructive relationship between the two countries, whether politically separate or not. As for David Aaronovitch, could someone not just give the man a dram and encourage him to calm down?

DAVID BLACK

Roxburghshire

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