ONE of the most dispiriting things about independence is rubbing up against people who mistakenly or deliberately imagine that securing self-governance for Scotland is by its nature anti-English.

I can tolerate the current schisms within the Yes movement and the gossamer-thin agendas that motivate some prominent political personalities. Hell, I can even stomach the interventions of Scotland’s self-elected intellectuals who seem to write daily columns in which they imagine they are the smartest guys in the room. They seek nothing in return, except to be ­acknowledged as geniuses.

I can put up with all of that but what I can’t abide is the casual calumny of being thought to be anti-English.

One of life’s most jaundiced agitators, ­Nigel Farage was at it again last week, ­claiming at a GB News recording in ­Aberdeen that the independence movement was anti-English “in a really unpleasant and nasty way”.

The National:

Let me resist the obvious ­explanation that Scotland is engaged in a ­movement to question the institutions and ­constitutional orthodoxies of the UK, not England or its people.

And to remove all doubt let me turn the column over to an unrestrained love of England, especially one of its most ­creative and energetic moments – the ­English pop scene of the mid-1960s.

I have met many thousands of Scots who cannot abide Margaret Thatcher, the House of Lords and the way that Brexit has turned England into an ­inward-looking shadow of its former self.

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I have met hundreds of people who ­cannot abide the barroom bloviator ­Farage, but I have never met a Scot who doesn’t like The Kinks.

I could provide you with a checklist of the Ukip bigots and Tory mountebanks that engineered Brexit, but Steve Marriot and Small Faces are not among them.

Even on the frenzied fringes of the ­independence movement, nobody dislikes Waterloo Sunset.

Decades after it first charted in 1967, Waterloo Sunset still retains its unique romanticism, turning a dirty old river, a train terminal, and chilly nights into a brilliantly evocative story of young love and paradise on earth.

Although there are thousands of pop songs that enjoy some success and then disappear, Waterloo Sunset has stayed with us over decades, forever hopeful and in love with love. What’s more, it came at a time when English pop was at its ­commercial and creative height, when few could resist its powerful allure.

Over the last few weeks, I have ­immersed myself in a truly brilliant book ­Psychedelia And Other Colours by Rob Chapman, which as the title implies ­focuses more on psychedelic pop and how it emerged from the beat and surf music of the 60s. Although it is not the book’s primary purpose, it is also a ­towering c­elebration of English pop at its blistering height.

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What Chapman’s book exposes is a ­contradictory pull within Englishness, at one, a yearning for the past and for a nostalgia that imagines better days gone by, and the other, an ambition that is boundless in creative self-belief.

On the one hand, it delivers the poetry of Philip Larkin and the best of The Beatles, and at its curdled worst, the delusions of Brexit.

The National: The Beatles in 1963

In the mid-60s, English pop had its proverbial great leap forward. Most of the bands that toured in the early days of the decade were cover bands doing lively version of imported blues and soul music – for example The Yardbirds’ homage to Howlin’ Wolf’s Smokestack Lightning; The Beatles’ early cover version of Barrett Strong’s Detroit hit Money (That’s What I Want) and Small Faces’ classic mod opener, James Brown’s Jump Back.

Within a few short years driven by ­ambition and acid, the English pop ­vanguard re-defined popular music by ­creating an entirely new form of music that stretched modernism to breaking point, and looked forward through a ­kaleidoscope to psychedelia.

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Of course, there have been subsequent movements, the discordant pantomime of punk, the brocade of new romanticism and the Blairite hope of Britpop but none come close to the true originality of pop in the mid-60s.

Although it began as a cover band ­explosion in church halls across the UK, it soon took influences from everywhere, including the Far East, barely disguised amidst the sitar, the esoteric kaftans and the estranged guitar sounds, there lurked an unmistakable Englishness.

Pop music’s resources and infrastructure – the labels, the management and the recording studios were almost ­entirely focused on London.

Scotland was the proverbial wasteland by comparison and if we are honest with our pop history, you would not put a Scottish band in the Top Ten of British Pop – it was always led by English romanticism and the creative middle classes.

In January 1963, The Mark Five, a beat band composed of musicians from ­Edinburgh and Dunfermline walked from Edinburgh to London as part of a publicity stunt to protest about the lack of record companies coming to Scotland to see Scottish bands.

It was a ploy to hustle a record deal and it worked, they were met in ­Market ­Harborough by a record company ­executive and offered a contract and went on to release yet another Detroit cover version, this time The Isley Brothers’ ­Tango, but it made next to no impact and they returned north.

As English pop rose to its greatest ­moment Scotland’s talent remained ­landlocked.

The lead singer of the ­Dennistoun Palais, Lulu moved south had a monumental hit with another ­Isley Brothers song, Shout and Glasgow beat band Dean Ford And The Gaylords changed their name to Marmalade and tried to ride the wave of psychedelia, with a cover of The Beatles Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, a vaguely reggae-sounding market-stall song from the White Album.

English pop was poetic in its ­imagery casting childhood experiences as ­imaginary acid trips.

Small Faces’ Itchycoo Park revisits infant play days in a park in Little Ilford but its opening lyrics “Over bridge of sighs/To rest my eyes in shades of green/ Under dreaming spires/To Itchycoo Park, that’s where I’ve been” imply a more visionary trip beyond nostalgia.

I have heard cynical Scots trying to claim the song for the north, imagining it’s about an Aberdeen-Angus bull with ­eczema but dig deeper into the lyrics and it becomes a song of its era anticipating the mind-altering moods of the late 60s.

If there is a moment when you can see English pop changing, it is the release in February 1967 of The Beatles’ double A-side, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane – both songs rich in nostalgia for childhood places in Liverpool and yet ­infused with a magical playfulness that anticipates psychedelia.

Lennon based his song on his ­memories of playing in the gardens of Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army ­children’s home in Liverpool, whilst the flip side, ­McCartney’s Penny Lane reminisces about the surreal life in the ­Liverpool ­suburb of Mossley Hill.

Memory, ­childhood and the inexplicable ­bizarreness of local characters populate the songs and set the tone for the more fully-fledged psychedelic album that ­followed, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

When I am confronted with ­irrational, ill-informed and even aggressive ­comments about Scottish democracy ­being anti-English, rather than engage or try to reason with the unreasonable, I like to leave online conversations with a memorable and deeply English line from a great 1960’s era: “Cor Blimey, Mrs Jones, how’s your Bert’s lumbago?”

I rarely get a reply, which kinda suits me fine.