WHAT’S the difference between a nation and a country? Simple, you can rope off any section of land or redraw the world map by creating one or even more areas and declare it a country but it will never be a nation.

A nation is like a tree, taking hundreds and even thousands of years to grow. You cannot build a tree from blocks of wood, and the nation is the same – it must grow, sometimes over centuries, to emerge as a nation.

Countries, on the other hand, have been created overnight and even empires in a few short years, but they will never be nations. They in most cases have had to bully, and suppress, nations within their artificial borders, giving their creation a name and a fancy coloured flag.

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Let’s take some relatively recent examples. The Communist Republic of Yugoslavia was a country, but now is divided up into six different nation states. They were not created overnight but were always there, rising through independence to become sovereign nations once again.

Let’s list them, starting from the top, where little Slovenia borders on Austria, then Croatia, then Bosnia Herzegovina which borders on Montenegro and Kosovo, ending with Macedonia – all formerly in the made-up union of now-defunct Yugoslavia.

We see now how a nation, the Kurds, which has always been there, has just voted for independence to become a national state. They have been denied their freedom by the made-up country of Iraq, which is not a nation but an enforced union of various nations. Other Kurdish areas are occupied by surrounding countries, like Turkey and Iran, whose bullying tactics have always deprived the Kurds of any democratic right of self-determination.

The Spanish bully likewise is depriving the Catalan nation in the same way. These problems should be solved by a strong United Nations. Sadly, that organisation seems to be conspicuous by its silence and lack of action. The same definition applies to the nations of artificial state of Britain, the Celtic nations of (Cymru) Wales, Kernow (Cornwall), Mannin (Isle of Mann) and Alba (Scotland) have always been there, and find themselves under the domination of the artificially formed Anglo/British state. I call it Anglo- or English-controlled as when I visit friends in southern England I have never heard the word “Britain” – rather, “England” is what I hear, even when they mean the whole of the so-called UK.

Yes, England is also a nation, but it sadly thinks that it’s the only one that matters. They seem to forget that their Empire is no more and that so-called Great Britain is trillions in debt and, after Brexit, will disintegrate with Scotland being probably the first to declare independence and, as in Yugoslavia, continue the democratic process of dividing into proper nation states.

An early Scottish radical said: “For a nation to be free it is sufficient that it wills it”.

Iain Ramsay

Greenock

THE euphoria at the Labour Party conference is not surprising because although they did not win the last General Election they improved their position under a barrage of anti-Corbyn rhetoric from all sides – the media and from within the party itself.

However, when it comes to promises of building a society for the benefit of the many and not the few – and that is radical for the UK – expect as much fudge as radicalism in the unlikely event they do win an election anytime soon. They have already fudged on Trident renewal and Brexit, why, therefore expect anything different on proposals for the discontinuance of charitable status for private schools, the reform or abolition of the House of Lords or even on rent controls, re-nationalisation or a more federalised UK?

Peter Gorrie

Edinburgh

Is the UK Government listening to calls from charities and advisers to pause the roll-out of Universal Credit? Despite those calls, we await an announcement as to whether acceleration of the roll-out will go ahead.

This government yet again is demonstrating no conscience as it sinks to new depths of inflicting suffering on the vulnerable.

Catriona C Clark

Falkirk