PLEASE forgive me if I sound Anglophobic but I’m not really. I have grandchildren who are English, and several English acquaintances whom I regard as friends. They are not the problem. It’s “England Ltd” that’s the problem, as seen in the antics of the Tory party in trying to negate the separate countries of the Union and have just the one country, which they will call the “United Kingdom”. That is entirely inaccurate since the present “Union of Governments” was formed in 1707 and replaced the Union of the Crowns of 1603, which had formed the United Kingdom – ie, two countries with one monarch or crown.

Worse still is that this is being fitted up with all the accoutrements of the English way of doing things. We are getting the Union Jack on almost everything and, in many cases, this is backed up with the “Red Tractor” sign, which is the English mark of quality and not the Scottish quality mark. The mere fact that any item had the Saltire on it designated it as Scottish and a quality product. We’ve never needed tractors. The Scottish flag has always been enough.

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It therefore seems that not only are they going to make it one big country, but they’re going to turn it into Greater England. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. So, if it obeys English rules, keeps to English standards and displays their flag on its produce then it’s probably English. (Say what you like, but the Union Jack has been hijacked as the English flag rather than a Union flag. In any ceremony in England, it’s not the St George’s Cross that you see on the flagpoles. It’s the Union Jack!)

Therefore Ruth Watson is quite correct to say “It’s not about flags – it’s about fighting for our reputation” (The National, Jan 24). But I would go further and say it’s about fighting for our identity. If they can tell us whisky is English, then they can start telling us that everything else that the Scots have invented is actually English.

There’s only one way to counteract it. Leave it on the shelves in their shops. Personally, I still use Aldi: first because it’s cheap and the quality is still good; second because very little has the Union Jack on it, and most of the Scottish goods do have the Saltire on them.

Charlie Kerr

SAINSBURY’S often have Scottish veg in bags with Union flags but if you look it is often grown by Scottish producers.

I’ve often thought I could ask them to scan the bag, then give them the empty bag and I’ll take the produce!

I’ve also noticed a lack of Scottish meat, but lots of British (from where?) and Irish meat left on the shelf. Apart from supporting our farmers producing quality food, it also saves on food miles. Why buy spuds from further south when we grow them here!

Ann Thewliss

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DIANA Gabaldon’s research is indeed defective if she thinks it is only since the recent rise of the SNP that we have turned against the form “Scotch”; but I’m afraid Mr Ni Holmes (Letters, Jan 26) is mistaken too in dismissing the word as a corruption of “Scots”. As he will see if he consults the online Dictionary of the Scots Language, “Scotch” is a reduction of “Scottish”, and was in common use until the 18th century. From the quotes in the DSL, it appears that controversy over which was the most correct form among “Scottish” “Scotch” and “Scots” has been endemic for more than 200 years.

The late AJ (Jack) Aitken, one of the greatest figures in the history of Scots language studies, put the case in an article that the supersession of “Scotch” by “Scots” and rejection of the former as undesirable was simply due to a perception that “Scots” sounded more refined: to be blunt, that our present preference for “Scots” has not arisen, as Mr Holmes thinks, from a desire to reclaim our history, but rather from a process of gentrification!

Derrick McClure