PROFESSOR John Curtice of Strathclyde University has pointed out that claims that the census found 62% of Scots say they are "Scottish not British" are misleading ("Almost two-thirds of population see themselves as 'Scottish only'", The Herald, September 27, and Letters, September 30 and October 1, 2 &3).

Most questions in the census were answered by ticking one box. When it came to national identity the question read: "What do you feel is your national identity? (tick all that apply)"; 78% of respondents ticked only one box. Scottish was above British in the row of boxes to tick.

It is not surprising that many people ticked the first box they thought applied and moved on without bothering with anything else, especially as the census has a lot of questions and most people would just want to get it over and done with.

If it had asked: "Do you consider yourself a) Scottish only b) British only c) Scottish and British or d) Other?" there would have been very different results.

That's apart from feelings of national identity, whether British, Scottish or any other nationality, being a pretty poor reason for anything. It gets dull hearing people say how proud they are to have been born by random chance in whatever is their birthplace, and whichever government governs that place constantly telling everyone they should be proud to have been born there.

Nationalism of any variety on its own is just primitive instinct encouraged by governments to get their people to identify with them; and every country in the world is as much an artificial construct and as much originally created by force as all the rest. I hope the majority of Scots vote Yes, but for better reasons than national identity; reasons like greater democracy.

Duncan McFarlane,

Beanshields, Braidwood, Carluke.