Unfortunately, Donald Lewis (Letters, 21 August) seems rather confused by what I was saying when commenting on Andrew Marr’s recent pronouncements at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
I am in full agreement with him that as a private individual he is of course entitled to speak his mind.
However, it should be noted that item 6 of the BBC’s Royal Charter (2006) states: “The BBC shall be independent in all matters concerning the content of its output, the times and manner in which this is supplied, and in the management of its affairs.”
Andrew Marr’s negative comments on the SNP therefore unfortunately exclude him from commenting in a BBC capacity on the independence debate. Had he made similar comments about the Labour or Conservative parties those parties would be making exactly the same point, vociferously.
As someone who has worked both in England and around the world I hope I can bring some insight into Marr’s comments of the SNP as an “anti-English party”.
The examples Mr Lewis gives of this anti-English “hatred” are more than a little woolly and include the fact that an SNP MSP “expressed her sadness” that John Lewis stocked Golden Jubilee memorabilia, hardly an anti-English comment.
Mr Marr is a fantastic journalist and I, for one, regret that his comments have sadly excluded such a talented individual from commenting in an independent capacity on this major debate on Scotland’s future.
I have noted of late in The Scotsman efforts to brand the SNP as anti-English and narrow in its outlook. I would suggest those making these suggestions examine SNP policy rather more closely.
There is no doubt that there will be some members of the SNP who are anti-English; there may well be those in other parties holding similar views.
I would say to those whose sentiments are anti-English that it is not the fault of the English that Scotland is nothing more than an English province. We Scots have had the power to do something about that since the Second World War and have chosen to remain in provincial status.
I suspect that anti-English feelings have more to do with shame at our own supine behaviour, or possibly ignorance at the cause of our provincial status than to any other reason.
R Mill Irving
Gifford, East Lothian
I have recently come to realise how essentially provincial is the thinking of most of the Scottish middle class in respect of the forthcoming referendum on independence.
They produce the usual assortment of negative thought on the subject, including claiming an independent Scotland would be taken over by rabid left-wing socialists and how it would be incapable of resisting invasion by some unnamed enemy.
But the truth is that they are genuine provincials, quite unable to conceive of Scotland as anything other than a province of the declining British state.
For most are prepared to acknowledge that Britain has been in long-term economic and political decline, certainly since 1945 and probably since 2000.
But come what may, they cannot visualise a future for Scotland that is not provincial. In other words, more of the same.
How very sad and depressing that is.
East London Street