Independence will not abolish Britishness

MIKE Elrick’s fear that citizens of an independent Scotland will be unable to feel both Scottish and British is irrational (Perspective, 10 June).

Identity, a very personal, fluid and multi-faceted entity, often reflects or is influenced by the nature of governmental structures and societal institutions. However, equally, it can also supersede or disregard them. Self-determination for Scotland will not abolish Britishness, which will survive within those Scots who consider it worthy of preservation.

Danes, Swedes, Finns and Norwegians do not share the same government and yet still consider themselves fellow Scandinavians. Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Luxembourg are distinct nation states, but their citizens join in a common embrace of their shared European identity. From Cape Town to Cairo, millions of Africans feel they belong both to their homeland and the mother continent. Post-independence, Scots will not have to choose – as Mike Elrick spuriously alleges – between parts of themselves. You can be Scottish and British. The redistribution of political power, from Whitehall elites to the people of Scotland, will not change that.

David Kelly, Dunblane

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THE desire for autonomous governance has nothing to do with feeling Scottish or British or whatever, rather a mature judgment that the time has come for Scotland to handle its own affairs. Geographically, we are islands composed of four individual cultures and, as such, we should respect and enjoy our differences. Self-government does not mean anything other than one of the countries choosing to develop along its own lines.

Centralisation has meant that for centuries the economic power base has been in London, and that we and Westminster have become increasingly estranged. Time for a change and to prove to the rest of the isles that small does not necessarily mean weak.

Janet Cunningham, Stirling

APPARENTLY Mike Elrick is unaware that geographically Scotland is part of the British Isles and therefore we are both Scottish and British. Independence will not alter that fact any more than it did in Norway where they can be both Norwegian and Scandinavian. Why then is his perspective of independence so fearful and negative in this regard?

Elrick derided those who say they would use the Union Flag after independence, his assumption being that they no longer held a right to British symbolism. Clearly he is unaware that the first Union Flag was introduced in 1606 following the Union of the Crowns of 1603 and was flown then by both English and Scottish ships while they were in competition for markets. That was long before the Act of Union to which he refers. The flag represents the individual kingdoms not parliaments.

Elrick should stop worrying about being forced to choose between being Scottish and British, for the irrefutable fact is that Scots were, are and will be British. My advice to him is to think more positively about our future rather than writing erroneous scare-mongering articles.

J Blair, Bridge of Earn