Ever hear of any Scottish tennis players? It's no wonder so many Scots want independence

Joyce McMillan ("Remind me who I am again . . . ", 5 July) drowns her problem in a flood of eloquent verbosity. For the problem is hers, not the nationalists', as the following episode shows.

Miles Maclagan, a Scottish tennis player, had three match points against Boris Becker in the first round of the Wimbledon men's singles. He had had to put up with a ceaseless barrage of noise in support of Becker, but during those last three points the spectators were guilty of what a very experienced Herald columnist called "outrageous behaviour", applauding Maclagan's mistakes and "hysterically cheering his opponent". He asked whether they would "still have been cheering Becker in an encounter with [Tim] Henman" and said that he switched the TV off "in a fit of unaccustomed rage at the height of a Wimbledon victory".

The story doesn't stop there. That evening on the TV programme Today at Wimbledon a big white title, "The Brits", flashed up on the screen, and to the usual verbal fanfare we had Henman, Greg Rusedski (Canadian) and various other English players, but no Maclagan! Every person I have spoken to about it was angry.

So come on, Joyce. How can you insist on being "British" when a huge English crowd, representative of the Middle England social and power structure, neither supports nor respects a gutsy Scot, preferring a German player, and when the BBC does not see him as a "Brit"? This is no small matter. No wonder there are now three parties supporting Scottish independence in the Scottish Parliament: the SNP, the Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party. And they will grow.

Andrew Lockhart Walker
Clackmannanshire

This article first appeared in the 12 July 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Were chimps the first socialists?