• referendos cat escocia

    Why Catalans admire the Scots’ autonomy?

    Martin Woollacott points out that for a long time the UK was the most successful multinational state in Europe (Comment, 28 January). This is largely because Scottish national pride has not only been permitted, but nurtured; John Buchan was not alone in seeing Scottish nationalism as perfectly consistent with British patriotism. TM Devine notes in his recent book on the Scottish diaspora that Scots were enthusiastic and successful imperialists. The kilted regiments were the crack troops of the empire, widely admired and imitated. Outside the army, the contribution of Scots in developing British institutions and trading networks was enormous and fully acknowledged. For their part, the Scots gained much from participation in the imperial project.

    Closer to home, minorities who find themselves less well integrated into a larger state look with admiration and envy at such institutions as Scottish and Welsh national football and rugby teams. Catalan friends display similar attitudes to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Scottish nationalism has always been acknowledged and even encouraged within the UK through many institutional arrangements such as these. Think too of the traditional connection of the royal family with Balmoral, where for close on two centuries they have symbolised the integration of Britishness with Scottish national pride. Perhaps, therefore, the current political initiative in Scotland is more accurately described as separatism. We need to distinguish the attitudes of the contemporary SNP from the proud nationalism of Scots like Buchan and his cultural descendants with which we have always been familiar.
    Professor Lesley Milroy
    Deddington, Oxfordshire


    • Surely everything Mark Carney is saying about the implications for Scotland of a shared currency agreement after independence (Report, 30 January) applies just as much to the government based at Westminster at this point, or after a Scottish departure. In all cases, the relevant government hands over certain financial controls to a Bank of England.
    Kevin McGrath
    Harlow, Essex

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