Gloomy view of our neighbours

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I WAS surprised to see that Scotland on Sunday appears to support a gloomy and perhaps distorted view of its English neighbours (Alastair McKay’s review in Spectrum of Graham Swift’s England And Other Stories, 6 July).

Perhaps Mr McKay was trying to be amusing when he suggests, by adding “oh, wait…”, that England is “suffused by emotional reticence, intolerance of difference and suspicion of foreigners”.

As the independence “debate” descends into a public slanging match north of the Border, based on untestable assumptions and the promise of jam tomorrow by both sides, I can’t help but think of Irvine Welsh writing on the English conquest of Scotland many years ago in Trainspotting, where the anti-hero Renton states: “We can’t even pick a decent, vibrant, healthy society to be colonised by.”

Well, he actually says a lot more on the subject, but that’s the printable bit.

Andy Ward, Newcastle upon Tyne