Identity question

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It IS to be regretted that respected former politicians now try to make capital for the No campaign out of the sacrifices made by Scottish soldiers during the First World War and, in the process, distort the facts.

Those who fought did so primarily out of a sense of a duty and to protect their loved ones. There was never any question of them being asked to fight for the Union. If you read the press during that period or look at remarks by the likes of Lord Kitchener, it is obvious our soldiers were being asked to fight primarily for England and the Empire.

The recruitment poster appearing in the Times on 5 August, 1914, is a case in point. There is no mention of the Union and it was a time when England and Britain were considered to be one and the same. This notion is also clearly reflected in much of the poetry and songs of the period. After all, Rupert Brooke does not talk of some corner of a foreign field that is forever Britain.

Fortunately, we live in more enlightened times and, happily, there are fewer occasions when the BBC or ITV have to apologise for saying England when they mean Britain or for showing a Union Flag when they report on an English football team.

One of the many questions that voters have to consider in the forthcoming referendum is whether they feel that Scotland’s separate identity is sufficiently respected and safeguarded under the current political framework or whether they need to go one step further to protect that identity.

Ian C Garden

Rocheid Park

Edinburgh