Great Scot ! I've sparked a debate

LAST week I fuelled an interesting debate. I wrote in my weekly page: “Don't talk to me about Scottish devolution. I wasn't asked whether I wanted Scotland to have its own parliament and I am a British subject as much as any Scot and I never got a vote on the subject.

LAST week I fuelled an interesting debate.

I wrote in my weekly page: “Don't talk to me about Scottish devolution. I wasn't asked whether I wanted Scotland to have its own parliament and I am a British subject as much as any Scot and I never got a vote on the subject.”

This view, however uncontroversial, has solicited a stinging rebuke from a London-based reader of my popular column. In the interests of journalistic integrity I publish it here:

“Dear Mr Marston, Although you begin your somewhat pithy article with the words "don't talk to me about Scottish devolution", I feel compelled to do so because of the startling ignorance and total lack of empathy that you show to the people of Scotland.

The reason that Scottish people feel aggrieved at being labelled "British" is because they have no desire to be associated with the English, Welsh or Northern Irish - we believe that we are our own country and wish to assert our right to independence.

You, as an Englishman, should have no say in how we run our own Parliament, own legal system, our education system and our cultural heritage.

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You are the archetypal heavy-browed, knuckle-dragging, "Ennggeerrllaaanndd" shouting football shirt wearing freak that we wish to get as far away from as possible.

You say you love a good row.

Kind regards

Graham Davidson”

Well Graham, and do call me James,

Scotland and its Westminster representatives, of which there are more per capita than in England, have a say in how the English run their legal system, education system and cultural heritage. English MPs do not enjoy the reverse. This is blatantly unfair.

If it's so wonderful why do so many Scots leave at the earliest opportunity? or, as well all know, has England got more to offer? I note from your address in southern 'Ennggeerrlaannd' that you live here.

If I get the chance to vote in the future on the union I may well support full independence for Scotland, thereby reducing the huge demands the country makes on the English tax payer, and advocate the forced return of the so-called “aggrieved” Scots to their homeland.

I don't know the rules of football but I agree the game does often attract the heavy-browed and knuckle-dragging. Do call me if you agree or disagree.

IT'S been a busy week in the world of an Ipswich celebrity - that's me by the way.

I've managed to fit in work around a number of exciting and demanding social engagements - obviously no sport though.

Indeed, I spent one evening at the theatre.

Sweet Charity, which included performances by a couple of theatrical chums, was an epic - by which I mean it went on a soupcon too long- production of a classic tale. When the curtain finally went up I remember thinking to myself “I wouldn't be surprised if when I eventually walk outside it will be light and Sunday afternoon.”

Anyway the late night was soon forgotten when I was recognised by a lady fan in the foyer.

She came up to me and said: “Are you the lad that writes in the paper?”

“Yes I am madam” I replied.

“Oh you're funny. I enjoy reading what you write.”

Wasn't that nice of her? And much better than the usual comments of “oh look there's that fat lad” or “quick hide or we'll have to talk to him.”

I was rather pleased.

Tracey, my colleague who has the honour of sitting next to me and listening to the constantly flowing creative thoughts leaving my lips in a stream of distracted consciousness, said: “Well my mum thinks you're funny and she hasn't met you either.”

Hello Tracey's mum.

OLD Father Thames is cleaner today than it has been in centuries.

Apparently you can even catch fishes, eels at least, in the great river as it flows through central London.

I wonder if you can fish in the Gipping? Or the Wet Dock?

Does anyone know what's in there to eat? Or is it just old supermarket trolleys, tyres and plastic bottles? Drop me a line if you know.

ISN'T this terrorist thing dreadful. I remember living in London when the IRA were busy with a violent campaign killing people - much the same as these latest lot.

Of course, within a few years the IRA realised they would get far more concessions from the British by going along to Downing Street for canapés and chat.

We hear the message from up high repeating we don't negotiate with terrorists but we have in the past. Maybe we should again? Or maybe not?

But it was most sad of all to see Ipswich railway station patrolled by armed guards.

The overt carrying of weapons was once something rare in the UK, and something that differentiated us from other countries. I fear one of the most obvious results of this latest threat to our lives and our nation, will be that in future guns on the street will become the rule rather than the exception.

I want a car which has this thumping music.

You must have heard these small cars with loud so-called music waiting at traffic lights.

The problem is these rap songs, which to my musically trained ear sound as if there's a few people talking amongst themselves using bad language rather than a discernable melody, don't really attract me. Indeed my little blue Polo only plays Radio 4 and the occasional Carpenters album.

As a journalist friend once said to me - “James, as you well know, if a joke's worth telling it's worth telling twice.”

Always a handy hint, I feel.

TAKING advantage of my seas views (distant) from my Felixstowe salon I have set up some rather powerful binoculars.

They are inherited from my grandfather, military in origin and date from 1944 - though that's all I know. I can see all sorts of ferries and little sailing boats sailing by and also, if I so desired, the gardens of some rather distant neighbours - a friend however, who normally loves a bit of gossip, has now told me this is somewhat frowned upon and not really very British.

I'd better point them toward the azure main and keep them there.

Anyway I'd love to know more about them. They are by a company called Ross and very heavy.

Do you know about old binoculars? Drop me a line do.