World sees Scots as part of Britain

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RE: ANDREW Wilson’s column, “Sense of British identity is key to the debate on independence” (Comment, 19 May).

I am a Scot, and proud of my Scottish identity. Sadly, due to circumstances, I have lived outside Scotland for more than three decades. I have lived on four continents and six countries. In every case, when I tell people that I’m Scottish, they don’t know what I’m talking about. When I explain by saying I’m British they respond, “Oh you’re English!” The rest of the world equates Britain with England.

The Union flag loudly proclaims the Englishness of Great Britain. The English St George’s Cross is central, wider than the other crosses and the only complete cross. It breaks the Saltire. It would have been possible to invent a flag where all the crosses were the same proportions and all came to an angle in the centre. But the Union flag proclaims that England is dominant in the UK. It proclaims that Scotland, Wales and Ireland (Northern Ireland now) are conquests of England.

I’m not proud to be British. I’m ashamed to come from a colonialist conqueror that has exploited so many of the peoples of the world, and when those peoples gained independence, created nation states that combined peoples that do not naturally form a political and social union, thus creating ongoing conflict. Sadly the proverbial “Scottish soldier” played a big part in the British subjection of so many.

Bill Steele, via e-mail