AS OTHERS SEE IT: Sassenach retreat

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WE ARE enchanted to read - at least, those of us whose heart beats for the liberation struggles of proud nations - that the noble tribe of Scots has moved a pace nearer to the goal it has been seeking for centuries: getting rid of the Sassenachs, their English oppressors. But this time the impulse came from the lands south of the Tweed: the Labour Party has recently starting demanding "devolution" for the Scots, a hybrid between secession and their present state of subjection under the royal British yoke. This reveals plainly that the Sassenach is finally running out of steam, if he is allowing the last fragment of empire to slither out of its chains. All the same, the reverberations from the North are too loud to overlook; in Edinburgh alone, 150,000 people went on the street. Inimitably Scottish was the retort of a demonstrator who was asked by an Economist reporter why devolution did not go far enough for him: "Too expensive!"

The Hamburg daily, `Die Zeit', 20 January (but the 150,000 Edinburgh protesters were, in fact, Hogmanay revellers).