I WOULD like to clarify the point I was trying to make in my letter of 13 July to which Derrick McLure and Douglas Turner have responded. First, I wish to correct Mr Turner’s erroneous belief that I was making reference to Mr McLure’s correspondence of 12 July in the main body of my letter.
I have always enjoyed reading the latter’s contributions to the Letters pages, and my only quibble with him was his view – shared by many – that Alex Salmond’s waving of the Saltire was evidence of national pride, rather than, in my view, a cynical use of a potent symbol of “nationhood” for political purposes.
I made it clear in my original letter that it was his timing that was suspicious – had he been seen waving it enthusiastically during the match, showing his support for Murray, win or lose, I would have had more respect for him. However, I was amused rather than outraged by his actions, which I’m sure was evident in my original letter.
Mr Turner has also misread my motivation for referring to “major conflicts”. My reference to Culloden was used in a context far removed from the misty-eyed, backward-looking view of those who celebrate our glorious martial past, but was meant, in fact, as a critique of that attitude. My references to the Balkan wars and the Second World War were pertinent to my argument that neighbour can turn on neighbour given certain political and economic circumstances. At no point did I suggest that I saw the “spectre of anti- Englishness” hovering like the ghost of Hamlet’s father behind Mr McLure’s words, as suggested by Mr Turner.
My use of the phrase “white settlers” reflects reality: I have heard it used many times, always by people who display a bitter intolerance which is depressing to witness. To deny the existence of anti-English sentiment is akin to denying the insidious, drip-by-drip poison of prejudice and racism in any context. It is, unfortunately, often the human response to others, especially those who do not share our own values.
I agree with Mr Turner’s statement that we should cherish our shared history with the rest of Great Britain, and, as I indicated in my letter, this is precisely why I abhor the kind of aggressive nationalism shown by those who are less moderate and civilised in their tone than those of whom Derrick McLure – and Allan Massie – rightly approve.
Broughty Ferry, Dundee