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A row over a tweet shows deep differences of understanding among people in the UK. Those who live in the same society can make very different assumptions and effort can be needed to bridge the gap.
One of the most ingrained, and mistaken, ideas about the 'Yes' side of the Scottish independence referendum is that, as a friend from England wrote to me, "really its all about nationalism, identity and flag-waving."
I've been wary of blogging about Scottish independence, not least because I'm well aware of how many English people are writing about it in a way that implies they know more than the Scots. It seems that the referendum debate is engaging thousands of people in Scotland who were previously seen as apolitical. I don't doubt that they know more about the issues than commentators in London.
On the eve of the European elections, patriotism – or at least politicians' appropriation of that condition – is much in the air. I shall refrain from any temptation to refer to scoundrelly tendencies and consider instead, the gentler, and what I believe to be the more fruitful concept of a 'sense of place.'
For many people these days, much 'religion' has become synonymous with division, bigotry and violence. Sadly, there is plenty of good evidence that this is so. But it is not the whole picture. There are very strong faith traditions that point in exactly the opposite direction.