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There are no English colonists here, just Scottish citizens

As an English-born Scot, I am disgusted by the recent turn of events in Scotland's arts world (Letters, December 21).

James Kelman and Alasdair Gray, whether they realise it or not, are stoking the politics of racial division in Scotland by singling out one ethnic group for complaint.

It appears Mr Kelman and Mr Gray have appointed themselves official guardians of Scottish culture, with the right to make rulings on what it does and does not constitute. They have no more say in this than anyone else in Scotland. Neither their ethnic make-up nor their profession entitles them to any special consideration. People working in the arts in Scotland should be judged on their merits and nothing else. It is inexcusable to bring anyone's race or place of origin into it. At best, this seems like arrogant, cultural snobbery – at worst this could be seen as an ethnic witch hunt.

There are no "English colonists" living in Scotland, just as there are no Asian colonists or Polish colonists. A Scottish citizen is a Scottish citizen. The race or place of birth is irrelevant. Anglo-Scots like myself are as much a part of Scottish life and culture as any other Scot. I don't care whether Mr Kelman thinks we're "fine people". We are not guests in his home requiring his patronising words of approval. It is our home and our Scotland.

If Mr Kelman and Mr Gray really do support independence as they claim to, have they considered just for a moment how juicy a Christmas present they have given the No campaign? The No campaign doesn't want a real debate on independence. It doesn't want to have to defend Westminster-rule over Scotland. It just wants to frighten voters and smear the Yes campaign as being anti-English. Mr Kelman and Mr Gray are making it easy for them to do just that. With friends like these in the Yes camp, who needs enemies?

Angus Coull, 248 High Street, Prestonpans.

It is now time for Alex Salmond to speak out over the issue of his fellow Nationalists' calls on the issue of the English working in the arts in Scotland.

Mr Salmond shared a stage at the launch of the referendum campaign with Kevin Williamson who called for a "social audit". Mr Salmond often quotes Alasdair Gray who spoke of "colonists". Mr Salmond must respond to James Kelman's claims of "imperialist" English. And he must dismiss the calls of Alan Bissett, with whom he also shared the stage at the referendum launch, who says we must nurture the sense of "grievance".

A real leader would be like President Barack Obama who spoke out when his former pastor made anti-American calls during the 2008 election. Mr Salmond is not normally shy of giving his own opinion – his silence on this matter speaks volumes.

M Smythe, 11 Dalry Road, Edinburgh.

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Arts and Entertainment

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