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SCOTLAND IS NOT ENGLAND, THEY SAY

By Alexander MacLeodSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / February 5, 1992



LONDON

In addition to speaking with a distinctive burr and having a fondness for tartan dress, Scots can claim to be set apart from the English in a number of ways.

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Their legal system is separate and more akin to that of France than of England. The Presbyterian religion holds sway. Education is administered according to distinctive Scottish patterns, and Scots claim that it sets higher standards than those in England.

Many Scots insist that the 1707 Act of Union, which allowed Scottish representatives to sit in the London Parliament, now operates against their nation's interests. Some say that the basic bargain on which the Act rests - exchanging independence for economic survival - is no longer valid.

They point to high unemployment in Scotland and the London government's alleged failure to support Scottish industry.

Many Englishmen deny that Scotland is discriminated against, pointing to the fact that the Scottish Office - a separate department of state - administers government policy regarding Scotland.

Time is set aside in the London Parliament for "Scottish business," and Scottish members of Parliament have their own "grand committee."

But the idea persists among many Scots that the English take the nation to their north for granted.

The greatest modern Scottish poet, Hugh MacDiarmid, is better known in Russia than he is in England.

Scottish nationalists have another grievance - persistent English references to Queen Elizabeth II. In Scotland the present monarch is technically the first Elizabeth, since the Tudor queen did not reign in Scotland, which had its own royal family.