Where I live, in the Borders, England is closer than the capital. Crossing the River Tweed at Coldstream you quickly appreciate you have entered a new domain. This is not just because of fluttering Union flags; those can be found on the Scottish side too, though less frequently.

For a start, the look of the place is markedly different. Within a few miles of stepping over this ancient territorial line, the materials buildings are made from changes, as does what is on offer in the first village bakery you reach: pork pies are a staple, rather than the ubiquitous Scottish sausage roll.

I’m more often in Northumberland than, say, Perthshire or Fife, yet while there is a centuries-long history of fraternity across the border, and although the distinctions are small, there’s no mistaking that one shire is in England, the other Scotland.

As soon as I venture further west or south, to the likes of Cumbria and Yorkshire, I can’t avoid the feeling of being in another country. Which, of course, I am.

Long before the Brexit debacle, England fascinated me. In part this is because my mother was from London and spent some of her childhood in rural Herefordshire.

READ MORE: Suella Braverman? It seems UK’s most popular sport is speeding

It is equally, I suspect, because most of the books I read at a formative age were set there: The Wind in the Willows, Black Beauty, Green Dolphin Street, London Belongs to Me, The Railway Children, Tom’s Midnight Garden... Even The Hobbit, seemingly set in a fictional landscape, is firmly rooted in the Midlands, embodying an English rustic idyll.

Now, in an attempt to find out what Scots in general think of their nearest neighbour, a poll has been conducted by Gordon Brown’s think tank Our Scottish Future.

According to figures from FocalData, who polled a little over 1000 people in the middle of May, when asked with whom they have “common bonds”, responders felt more closely bound to people in Liverpool (46%), Newcastle (58%) and Wales (57%) than to those in London (17%).

Did they feel invisible to politicians at Westminster? 54% agreed, and 66% said they thought it wouldn’t matter who they voted for, because that wouldn’t change.

Interestingly, older Scots showed greater affinity with English “northerners” than younger folk, but almost all shared a sense of distance from people living in the city whose attitudes and experiences shape the way all of us live.

The disparity between the generations might, perhaps, be explained by the now out-dated idea that in order to flourish in their careers talented Scots had to head south. The most elderly will remember the Second World War, when Britain was united as never before, while those of a certain vintage are more likely to have holidayed in England in their youth. Today’s youngsters tend to fly over it to go on vacation, unless they’re heading for a hen party in Newcastle.

The Herald: The border at Carter BarThe border at Carter Bar (Image: free)

Despite this demographic disparity, it is illuminating, if not altogether surprising, that there is a widespread sense of alienation from London and what it represents.

In Gordon Brown’s words: “Our poll shows that Scotland’s problem is with Whitehall, Westminster and a London-centric system. Many parts of the rest of the UK also feel detached from a centralised state.”

Little has changed. In the autumn of 1933, troubled by what he recognised as an increasingly broken and divided nation, the novelist and sage J B Priestley set out to explore his homeland.

He was, as a northerner, particularly sensitive to the gulf between the panjandrums setting the agenda in the capital, and those on whom it impacted.

As he wrote in English Journey: “For generations, this blackened North toiled and moiled so that England should be rich and the City of London be a great power in the world.”

Given that much of London’s money had been made from the north, which was now in a woeful state, he reflected: “The City, then, I thought, must accept the responsibility. Either it is bossing us about or it isn’t. If it is, then it must take the blame if there is any blame to be taken. And there seemed to me a great deal of blame to be taken. What had the City done for its old ally, the industrial North? It seemed to have done what the black-moustached glossy gentleman in the old melodramas always did to the innocent village maiden.”

READ MORE: Book review: James Campbell: A Walk Through the Times literary Supplement

We are not currently in the grip of a depression, as in the 1930s, yet there are equally good reasons for the same sense of grievance today as in Priestley’s time. Brexit is only the half of it.

Not for the first time, however, I am out of step. While I agree about the problems of the Westminster government, from which I feel estranged, not to mention patronised, misunderstood and belittled, London itself is a familiar face.

Maybe this is because so much of our history is inextricably linked with it. Yet, despite a long-held fondness for it, I am always glad to catch the train north out of King’s Cross. Deep down, I agree with the novelist V S Pritchett, who believed it is “a hard place, hard as nails”.

Even so, it’s the rest of England that appears truly foreign to me. Going to London is commonplace, whereas a trip to Ludlow is a glimpse of another realm. That’s not a criticism; quite the reverse.

In the depths of Shropshire or the Cotswolds, Wiltshire or Worcestershire, you could almost imagine yourself abroad. The accents are unrecognisable, the landscape unlike anything at home. There are places of staggering natural beauty, historic towns, charming hotels and restaurants to rival anywhere in Spain or France.

There is also, in some corners, an abundance of wealth. In Rutland, one of the smallest English counties, you can almost hear stocks and shares filling bank accounts as if trickling from a tap. It is a rustic Belgravia: somewhere to admire, and move on.

No matter how appealing much of England is, however, I find much more common ground with Wales, whose experience and aspirations strike a chord.

With England, by comparison, general disinterest in Scotland - occasionally expressed as hostility but more often as utter indifference – makes it seem like a place apart.

It might only be a short drive from my doorstep, but it could be another world.