Nationalism is neither needed or desired

It does rather seem to me that Richard West, in his letter to TheSouthern (November 8), had been intent on making something of a fool of himself – so may I take this opportunity to assist him?

As someone of English parentage born and brought up in the Borders I cannot allow his anti-English rant to go unchallenged. Indeed, anti-Englishness is a serious problem in Scotland, akin to other equally unacceptable forms of hatred and discrimination – racism, antisemitism, Islamaphobia and homophobia among them, as quite rightly highlighted on the front page of TheSouthern earlier this month.

Whereas I would agree with Richard that there is no place for Europhobia, his rampant Anglophobia utterly debases any credibility he has on the issue. Indeed, his use of the term “xenophobe” aptly fits his own nature when it comes to discussing England.

He accuses what he calls “the Anglocentric Tory Right” of spending money on “illegal and unwinnable wars”, and yet it was, in fact, the Scottish-centred Labour Government who took Britain into those wars that he is referring to.

Richard seems all too ready to condemn who he calls “our American cousins”. I have many American friends. I’m only too delighted to regard the Americans as cousins.

His maths is also found wanting. His assertion of a permanent Tory majority in England doesn’t add up. As for it leading to anarchy, may I cite the work of Peter Kropotkin, a work entitled Mutual Aid – a Factor of Evolution and much eulogised over by no lesser academic than Professor Noam Chomsky, and a wonderful argument against nationalism because it supports mutual dependency and co-operation over isolationism and sequestration.

Richard claims to be a fan of the EU, so I feel I must finish by quoting some intriguing views recently put forward by the president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, who had this to say about nationalism: “... nobody has anything to gain from separatism in the world of today which, whether one likes it or not, is globalised.”

He goes on to highlight climate change and the global financial crisis as issues which cannot be adequately dealt with from a nationalistic, isolated position.

Roll on the referendum on separation so that I can give an emphatic “no” to it, then bring on a European one so that I can vote to remain European as well as British, Scottish and English – no nationalism needed or desired.

Richard Raw

Maxton