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Vote highlights differing values in the one state

WHEN Yasmin Alibhai-Brown says she would like the British "nation" to stay as one (DebateNI, September 9), she surely means she would like the 'state' to stay as one.

A state is a politically organised area, over which a central authority has jurisdiction. A nation is a group of people who think of themselves as being held together by a shared culture and common values.

The UK state contains at least three nations. Such a situation would not normally threaten the cohesion of the state.

The danger arises when the values of any particular national group differ markedly from those of the state.

That is what the Scottish referendum is all about; a nation with a set of ideals and values that have become radically different from those of the centralised state.

CLIVE WILKINSON

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