BRIAN Quail's letter on the meaning of nationalism (March 10) catches my attention. Half my family are English but not very, and half are Irish but only just.

On my first day at school, having black curly hair, I was sent to “the Jewish room” for Bible studies. I thought this must be right, but how did you know you had got it? Then they heard my name was Flanigan and sent me back.

That Irish name made people ask me, all my single life, what I “saw myself as?”. When I shrugged, they went pink and cross and told me “You need to identify”.

But it always seemed to me that most people were impressively idiosyncratic, with no need of a national identity because they had plenty of their own.

I am a Glasgow person, and as such I got on with people from similar cities, and they are in the north of England. So do my sons, who married women from Durham, Manchester and Leeds. If we must have Scottish independence, could we please move that border south a bit?

I told my children that my folks were English and Irish, but that wherever somebody comes from, you bet they previously went to it.

Nationality is random, transient and unsought. Nothing, in fact, to write home about.

Mrs Moyna Gardner, Glasgow G12.

ALEC Oattes (Letters, March 13) quotes the figures from the House of Commons Library for public spending per head in 2018/19 in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, London and the UK average – respectively £11,590; £11,247; £10,656; £10425 and £9,584 per annum.

But he omits (maybe deliberately?) to give the English regions’ figures outside London – East Midlands & South East both £8,601; East £8,736; South West £8,910; Yorks & Humber £9,123; West Midlands £9,242; North West £9,865; North-East £10,183.

From these I calculate an approximate average, weighted by population, of £9,100 or £2,147 less than Scotland’s. England’s average including London is £9,296.

The average population of these eight English regions is very similar to Scotland’s 5.4 million; and it is overwhelmingly England which has absorbed the several million immigrants since the Blair/Brown government, which may have resulted in initial costs to the public purse, though their later years of productive employment may well offset that as certain studies suggest.

Even allowing for Scotland’s geography and non-privatised Scottish Water, these variations are not insignificant and should be acknowledged. Nor is it surprising from these figures that much of England has voted for change and thinks that Scotland benefits disproportionately from their taxes.

John Birkett, St Andrews.

JOHN Coutts (Letters, March 13) gives readers the benefits of devolution including "free bus travel for the elderly". Really?

There is no such thing as a "free lunch, travel, prescriptions or tuition"; only in the nationalists' Utopia does this mindset exist.

The rest of the UK also has similar travel arrangements for the elderly.

I'm sure the one per cent Gaelic-speaking population in Scotland are grateful they will be able to communicate with learners such as himself. though many of us have no intention of learning Gaelic, Latin or Egyptian hieroglyphics and do not share his enthusiasm for learning a language spoken by so few.

He should also be aware "whatever party happened to win power in London" it was often determined by the Scottish electorate in several General Elections which colour of government sat in Westminster. We did not hear the other UK voters bleat about democratic deficit, it was just democracy at work.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.