Sassenach bias

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I wonder what sort of gauge Irvine Inglis uses to assess the “increasing south of England bias” in the BBC’s reporting (Letters, 31 October).

Mr Inglis complains that a recent BBC documentary about the Korean War “was exclusively about English regiments”. The cads! Couldn’t they have included some from our side?

However, my perception of such war programmes is that they show an inordinate quantity of Scottish regiments marching around triumphantly, playing bagpipes – and without having the courtesy to offer the natives earplugs.

Every ship seems to show Scottish soldiers disembarking with tammies or Glengarries clearly visible and many of those in charge seem to have Scottish surnames.

Mr Inglis does score a near-miss when he talks about “the growing enclave mentality of a race which sees itself as having been recently kicked out of an empire”.

That is half the problem with the Scottish situation, isn’t it?

The British Empire was largely a Scots creation (look at Michael Fry’s book, The Scottish Empire) and the truth of the matter is that we Scots have lost an empire and have not yet found a role for ourselves.

Nationalism is not only the last refuge of a scoundrel, to misquote Johnson, but a supreme example of “withdrawing like a snail into its shell”.

If all we have to bother about (and that about sums it up) is a bias that one identifies by counting up of offences of enumeration, one should be glad that it is not something of any real importance.

One also wonders who has the time to waste on such a tedious activity.

Perhaps Mr Inglis should take comfort in one small, personal triumph for the Scots against the nasty Sassenachs. As a card-carrying Scot, he should bear in mind his surname means “English”.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive


Irvine Inglis shouldn’t feel too aggrieved. I don’t know about weather maps, but most maps exaggerate Scotland’s size.

This is because, in the real world, lines of longitude converge at two points, the North and the South Poles, whereas on a map (so that it can be flattened) these lines are portrayed as being parallel (or converging less sharply).

This has the effect of stretching the space between them. The further north and south you go the greater the distortion.

Greenland looks a lot bigger than it is.

You would have to look at a globe to get a true representation of relative sizes.

S D Barber

Holm Dell Avenue