27 APRIL 1951, Page 16

Where is the Border ?

Sia,—You appear to favour some form of home rule for Scotland. If different portions of this tiny island are to have different forms of government, would it not be sounder and more far-seeing (as opposed to being a mere vote-catching enactment) to base the boundaries on ethnological and linguistic lines rather than on geographical and historical lines—the boundaries fixed fortuitously by the sword in former times?

Wales presents no jgroblem, for, thanks to Offa's Dyke, the geographical roughly coincides wiffr-the ethnological and linguistic boundary. But in North Britain the ethnological and linguistical boundary more nearly coincides with that of ancient Northumbria than with the Tweed. Ethno- logically the citizen of Edinburgh (Edwin's burgh) is more closely related to the citizen of York than of Inverness.

The old Northumbria, founded about 540, was only finally disrupted in 1018, by the battle of Carham, when Lothian was ceded to the Northern kingdom, after being Anglo-Saxon for over 450 years. This Lothian then became, in Sir James Ramsay's words, " the main pillar of the State," while its language—English--prevailed in that State. Thus the Forth is a more natural boundary than the Tweed, and it would be, a rare and far-seeing act of statesmanship and would lead in the long run to more real harmony and cohesion in this island to revert to it.

There is not space in a brief letter to cite my authorities, but I have studied what I believe to be the most reliable modern historians on this point, principally Hume Brown, Sir James Ramsay and Sir Frank Stenton.—Yours faithfully,