I WAS surprised and entertained by reactions to a recent news report (not in The Herald) accusing me of Anglophobia.
It criticised my essay, Settlers and Colonists, in a collection of essays by many writers about challenges to Scottish independence.
Those wanting that are often called Anglophobic, just as those wanting Britain out of Nato are called America-haters, and those criticising Israel's war in Palestine are called anti-Semitic. My essay is not Anglophobic, though two or three of my sentences quoted out of context suggested that. Those who want to know what I carefully wrote should buy Unstated (published by Word Power Books) or read it on www.word-power.co.uk.
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2 Marchmont Terrace,
I USED to feel frustrated by people who'd spent a few years at university in this country, or spent summer holidays here, and who thought they were familiar with Scotland ("Author Gray hits back at anti-English claims", The Herald, December 18). I thought of offering a course to be called Seriously Understanding Scotland (SUS) for those who wanted to go deeper. It came to nothing but I understand and appreciate what Alasdair Gray is saying. Of course there is and will be continual multi-cross-cultural contributing.
Despite the lack of Scottish cultural content in the Scottish media and education system over the years, or at least until the last 10 years, there is a sense of connectedness which is absorbed by living in a place, especially when growing up, which cannot be learned later.
There are many able administrators, and as long as the arts have merely to be administered, chiefly through "projects", such people, if experienced, can do a competent job and may well move on and "up" to other appointments. That is not the same as re-discovering and building on traditions which themselves have been much suppressed and hidden, and having the vision to develop them in an international context to take their place in the modern world.
If possible we need to govern our own country, own our own land and manage our own cultural organisations in Scotland, with open-heartedness to others, as has always been our wont.
31 Royal Park Terrace,