We can say "Scotland", but not "England".Now, I have every sympathy with English folk who are angry at asymmetrical devolution. The current set-up is indeed a nonsense. The solution is a small-state symmetrical federalism as outlined here.
We can say "Scottish", but not "English".
We can fly the Scottish flag, but not the English one.
But I think that our English friends have missed something. It's perfectly true of course that Gordon Brown has his own reasons for avoiding use of the "E" word. English votes for English Laws, or an English Parliament may well lead to Mr Brown being reduced to selling copies of the Big Issue on Kirkcaldy High Street. Preferably outside Adam Smith's birthplace...
What folk down south don't seem to realise though is that the very avoidance of the "E" word - long before devolution - has been one of the main contributors to the growing desire for independence in Scotland.
Why is it The Football Association down there, but The Scottish Football Association up here?And so on and so on: in charities, government departments, sporting bodies, the professions and the trade unions. No Scottish prime minister or politician has ever stopped English institutions from so identifying themselves. They've simply chosen not to do so.
Similarly, The Rugby Union, but The Scottish Rugby Union.
Or The National Trust, but The National Trust for Scotland
Or, The Law Society, but The Law Society of Scotland?
This presumption of the English norm, as I have dubbed it, is intensely annoying to Scots. Being English is seen to be such a natural state of affairs that it's the exceptions to Englishness that are defined, not Englishness itself.
The two countries seem to be talking past each other and those of us with a foot in both camps find it all too depressing.