Saturday saw the start of the Six Nations Rugby Union Championship and, for me, the best and the worst of national identities.
I listened to all of the anthems with equal respect and reverence and had there been a singing competition the Welsh would have won it, hands down.
Perhaps that was, for me, the finest demonstration of national identity that afternoon.
It was fellow Scots who showed the other side of the coin and they were not represented, that day, on either of the fields of play.
I have long been dismayed at a tendency amongst some in Scotland to demonstrate biased support for any team playing against England.
We welcome visitors from across the world and we have a reputation for warmth and hospitality.
Why should we be any less friendly towards our nearest neighbours from the only country with which we share a land border and so much to be proud of, from 300 years of comradeship?
This issue is not about the forthcoming referendum on Scotland’s relationship with the remainder of the United Kingdom.
In fact, the strangest aspect of it is that many of those who offend the English profess to be supporters of the status quo, while most who favour independence seek only an amicable settlement.
As we place our “works of Burns” back on our bookshelves for another year and the same is done in countries across the world, let us endeavour, in the words of Robert Burns, “to see ourselves as others see us”.
WILLIAM D NICOL
Great Stuart Street
As a supporter of the Scottish rugby team for the past 73 years, I am very concerned that many in the team didn’t appear to know the words of Flower of Scotland, whereas the Irish team sang their anthem with great gusto, thereby setting the scene for a victory.
However, it must be acknowledged that Flower of Scotland is perhaps not the best song to sing to express our national identity.
Singing about proud Edward and his army is fine when we are playing the English team but completely irrelevant when we play Italy, France Ireland and Wales.
Scotland needs a new song which is rooted in our new identity.
Whether we vote Yes or Better Together such a song will unite us and stir us up, proud to be Scots, but with a vision of the world which celebrates all our achievements over the centuries, not just a battle fought long ago against our neighbours.