THANK goodness Alasdair Gray can laugh at the po-faced sanctimoniousness of those rushing to condemn his alleged "anti-English" remarks.

Perhaps someone with the time and skills could do a survey of other countries which share a common language and – historically – culture (perhaps the Irish Republic or Austria) and let us know what proportion of the top jobs are held by the old "masters"?

Cultural nationalism is not the problem. Are not Sibelius, Smetana, Chopin, Elgar, Yeats and so on revered for their patriotism? Cultural imperialism is the problem. I'll make a modest wager that most of those expressing outrage at the notion we should prefer well-qualified Scots whenever possible (no-one is suggesting other than on merit) for the key cultural posts in our country, will be naysayers in 2014 but happily bellow that we should "send them homeward to think again" at Murrayfield.

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Brace yourselves for double standards and contumely.

David Roche,

1 Alder Grove, Scone.

I DON'T think for one minute that Alasdair Gray is anti-English, or anti-anyone.

I can see what he may be getting at. I sometimes find myself listening to spokespersons, PR folk, directors and CEOs of Scottish companies, charities and national organisations and wondering: given the amount of money we spend on education in Scotland, is there really no-one home-grown we can appoint to these jobs? Do we blindly accept that the talent pool down south being bigger, we're bound to get someone better from there? Or is this all part of the Scottish cringe that leads us to believe our own people cannot possibly be as good as an import?

Of course, we've had some really disastrous home-grown appointments (take a bow, Fred the Shred) but maybe we need to trust ourselves more. We could also do with keeping our home-grown talent at home. Considering how well Scots do furth of Scotland, who knows what they could achieve if given the opportunity to work here.

Jean Nisbet,

0/1, 5 Kennedy Court,

Braidholm Crescent,


WHY appoint English people to posts here when there are Scots who are qualified, experienced and able to do the work equally well, if not better?

Is there any good reason for a Government agency in particular, or any organisation supported by public funds, importing someone from another country, often paying them a resettlement fee in addition to their salary, when the position could be filled by a Scot?

I find that I cannot agree with Colette Douglas Home's criticisms of Alasdair Gray ("Our future is about warm welcomes not closed minds", The Herald, December 18).

Bill Heaney,

39 Round Riding Road,