I READ that Billy Connolly says he is the least patriotic of men. Well, be that as it may. He will know better than me. For having thought carefully about what it means to be Scottish, I have come to one crystal-clear conclusion. In the last analysis the issue is essentially a question of personal identity.

Happily, I have no doubt about my personal identity. It is first and foremost Scottish. If pressed, I should have to admit that legally I am also British. I am, however, aware that some Scots would say that they are primarily British and only then Scottish. I must respect their sense of identity, though for a host of practical reasons I believe them to be terribly mistaken.

From my knowledge of English friends and acquaintances it is also clear that their sense of identity is very different, both from my own and from that of what I call British Scots. In my experience, the English mostly think of themselves as English first and British at a second thought. Not unlike myself, you may say? But the key difference between their sense of identity and my own is that for them English and British are essentially synonymous terms, not alternative identifies.

Given that the English make up roughly 90 percent of the population of Britain it would be strange if they did not feel such a sense of identity. Confused and overbearing at times we may find it. But the fact is that much of the world agrees with them, including of course most of the British media, not least the BBC.

Bringing this confusion of identities into alignment with a new constitutional structure is obviously the strategic objective of Scottish nationalists of every shade. But persuading the British Scots of their fundamental misconception is a major obstacle to achieving that objective. How is it to be done?

It may take events rather than arguments to educate them.

Peter Craigie

IN reply to WJ Graham’s letter (April 11), debate is always welcome on these matters. With regards to the Bible being akin to a fairy tale, I am aware millions of believers would disagree with me. Richard Dawkins gets death threats from some such people daily.

I have studied the Bible along with numerous other works which differentiate between the Bible and fact. As part of my research I went to Israel. I agree with you that Jesus existed, and that what he represented, however, is most definitely a matter of opinion.

You wrote: “Your reader believes that all wars are caused by religion.” When in fact in my letter of April 3 I wrote: “When are people going to realise that religion is causing a large proportion of trouble in the world, and that it is the cause of most of the wars?” This was to point out that some people’s ideologies/beliefs make them act irrationally by committing atrocities. Islamic terrorism is just one example of this and is in a way a war against innocent individuals.

Anne Smart
Milton of Campsie