Letter: Worries south of the border as Scots vote

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The Independent Online
Sir: To assert, as David Walker does ("Why the Scots need the English", 8 September) that "everything to do with being Scottish is about not being English" is a gross exaggeration.

Scots do not nowadays "keep singing about buts and bens and glens", at least not as often as Mr Walker seems to think.

Many Scots have sought careers in England, but not by any means all of those mentioned by Mr Walker have done so, and it is questionable whether those that did would have said that they had "had to make it in London". David Hume did indeed visit London on several occasions but said that "the little Company, there, that is worth conversing with, are cold and unsociable or are warm'd only by Faction and Cabal", and that "that nation are relapsing fast into the deepest Stupidity, Christianity and Ignorance". But in Paris, "a man that distinguishes himself in Letters, meets immediately with Regard and Attention".

Robert Louis Stevenson did not like late Calvinist Edinburgh, but spent more time in France, America and Samoa than in London.

James Boswell did eventually attempt, unsuccessfully, to make a living at the English Bar. However, his encounters with Dr Johnson occurred during visits to London while he was practising at the Scottish Bar.

Harry Lauder's songs contained a good deal of tartan sentimentality, but neither of him nor of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, nor of many other modern Scots writers could it reasonably be said that "blaming and bemoaning the English is an old and much-loved ritual".


Inverurie, Grampian