Peter Jones’ article, (Perspective 2 September) reminded me a of a story my father used to tell.
Serving with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, his ship was involved in joint operations with the US Navy in the Mediterranean.
All British sailors were reminded that, if they got into arguments with American servicemen, it was OK to call someone a “stupid b*****d” but never a “stupid American b*****d”.
The reason, of course, being that to introduce nationality into an argument would immediately raise the temperature and could make things explosive.
This is the new element that has been introduced into Scottish politics by the referendum debate and many of the more extreme Yes supporters seem to have confused being pro-Union with being anti-Scottish.
It is perfectly legitimate for a Scot to believe Scotland’s best interests lie within the UK and that being part of a country of 60 million provides stability, security, a strong economy and a better opportunity to make a positive contribution to the world.
As Bill Jamieson said in a recent article, Michael Ignatieff’s concept of the “immorality of separation” has come into play where people feel they are being forced make a choice clouded by their perceived nationality rather than on strictly political priorities.
A recent clip on TV showed a family argument with a husband claiming “I feel British” while his wife said “No, you’re Scottish” –her implication apparently being that if you are a true Scot you should vote for independence.
But there is no contradiction between being a true Scot and believing that to split up the Union is both detrimental to Scotland and the rest of the UK.
I am saddened that Scotland’s First Minister makes light of the intolerance and intimidation of Jim Murphy, on his “100 days, 100 towns” tour. Just when Scotland was bathed in positive light from welcoming people from different nations, cultures and religions during the Commonwealth Games, the same courtesy cannot be extended to our own people, who wish to express a particular point of view, quite legitimately, during this referendum debate.
Stifling of debate, egg throwing, shouting down of opponents and certainly the calling of anyone with a differing point of view a “traitor” or “quisling” is not a Scotland I recognise or one of which I can be proud. This seems a far cry from the aspirations of a more “fair and socially just society”. Rather, it is an affront to democracy and freedom of speech, which has to be our most treasured and valued of freedoms.
So make light of it if you will, Mr Salmond. It tells us a lot about the Scotland you want to create, where he who shouts loudest is the only voice heard.