Peter A Russell appears to be saying it is alright for Scotland to suffer from Tory governments for which we didn't vote but if English electors vote again for the Tories in 2015, it would be selfish of Scots to choose independence.

He says Scottish MPs could save England from its democratic choice and ensure a Labour Government (Letters, February 7).

In effect, we give up our chance to determine our own political priorities and values so that we might occasionally influence who is in charge at Westminster.

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This, of course, makes the assumption that a Labour Government is going to be much different from the present Westminster Coalition. The Blair/Brown record was hardly a good example – constant wars, increased inequality with an growing number of ultra rich, Trident renewal, uncontrolled financial institutions, tuition fees, marketisation of the health service, increased privatisation, costly PFI. It is a long list.

The best thing we can do for England is to offer a different model with a commitment to public services, social justice and a better democracy. We can only hope they take notice.

Isobel Lindsay,

9 Knocklea Place, Biggar.

Peter A Russell's letter seems rather illogical to me. He says Scotland should remain in the UK to rescue the English, Welsh and Northern Irish from a Tory Government. Does he remember the bad old days, before devolution, when Scotland repeatedly rejected Thatcherism but was landed with it just the same?

Equally, what right does Scotland have to protect the English from the Conservatives if that is their wish as expressed in the ballot box?

What Mr Russell appears to be saying is the Labour Party's needs and wishes must be paramount in the constitutional arrangements of the UK. If that is what he wants, I for one disagree.

I say, let the other countries of these islands have the government they wish and vote for while we Scots do the same.

David C Purdie,

12 Mayburn Vale,



I was somewhat bemused to read the letter from Peter A Russell. It is simply ludicrous to try to make the Scots feel guilty for whichever government is in place post-referendum; a government which will have been democratically elected by our neighbours in the residual parts of the UK.

For years, Scotland has been saddled with governments for which it has not voted and the irony of bewailing "the immense damage which the Coalition Government is inflicting" while claiming we are better together, defies reason in my view.

David Hay,

458 Clarkston Road, Glasgow.

I must agree with Graham Mathewson (Letters, February 7) and share his disappointment at the views of the Rev John Harris (Letters, February 6). Regarding the use of both the National Anthem and the Union flag, the misuse through perceived ownership has been only laid at the door of English match supporters.

The Union flag was originally a royal flag and has been in use in various forms since the Union of the Crowns long before the Treaty of Union.

As regards the anthem, I accept it could be better and should perhaps now be revised with additional reference to the UK as a whole. It had, after all, been written in London in a hurried act of loyalty to George II when news came of the Jacobite victory at Prestonpans.

If there is a fault it must be shared with the Scottish sporting supporters who chose not to wrap themselves in the Union flag or sing the National Anthem at events where Scotland plays against an English team or indeed a foreign team.

The Union flag is as much a Scottish flag as an English one. It is not the flag which is important but what it stands for.

We must not look at the world through tartan-tinted spectacles because all we will see is ourselves.

I agree with Mr Harris that there is a lot of arrogance and insularity around the matter of identity within the UK but it works both ways. If in doubt, perhaps Mr Harris would be happier if Scottish and English supporters bring to matches a club/team flag rather than a national one.

He could encourage us to remember the quote from the Old Testament, Book of Numbers 2-2:

"And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron saying: Everyman of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard with the ensign of their father's house."

Bill Brown,

46 Breadie Drive,


The time has come for the realities of independence to be aired, not what happened 300 years ago.

The world today bears no relation to these events, although I would acknowledge these events placed us in the position we find ourselves in today.

The things that matter in the debate are EU entry; retention of the pound or adoption of the euro; immigration policy; passports; driving licences; social security and so on – all things that are meaningful to the electorate, not matters that pertained aeons ago.

J Russell,

5 Ben Alder Drive,

Hawkhead Estate,