Counting the Union dividend

I support the Union between England and Scotland.

I would hate to have to cross a border to go to England and vice versa, and have allegiance to both countries.

I am against anything that raises barriers and divides people. Nationalism is a corrosive force – 20th century history should tell us that. We should be moving towards the brotherhood of man rather than emphasising our differences.

Decisions about people’s lives should be devolved to an administrative level that makes economic and political sense – e. g. Kelso’s traffic plan on the one hand and control of North Sea fish stocks on the other.

Authority should be given to multinational institutions to deal with situations such as Syria, but the nation state has no particular virtue – it could be argued that the idea has done more harm than good throughout its history. It raises barriers and heightens emotions.

I have no quarrel with the idea of Scottish culture – kilts, bagpipes, Highland dancing – or literature – Robert Burns, Hugh MacDiarmid, Liz Lochead – but I prefer the example of Seamus Heaney, who translated Beowulf into English and expressed his admiration for William Wordsworth.

Culture ought to cross boundaries, not emphasise them.

We should be celebrating the Union’s positive benefits such as the huge contribution made by Scotsmen to the intellectual, literary and scientific worlds – Hume, Adam Smith, Hutton, James Watt, Lord Kelvin and Joseph Lister. Britain gave them a wider canvas to work on.

As many Scots emigrated to England to find work as went to the colonies – and Scotsmen and women made a vital contribution to the peopling of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and to the governing and development of India. Scottish soldiers played a hugely-important role in the First and Second World Wars.

When my daughter was celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh, she greeted a fellow reveller and wished her a Happy New Year – but met with the riposte: “F**k off, you’re English!”

That’s why I fear the campaign for independence. We are better together.

William Simpson

Tweedsyde Park

Kelso