Flying the flag to defend the indefensible?

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DANI Garavelli misses the point (“Flying the flag for free speech”, 14 April). You printed a photo of real people planting a saltire that the paper had doctored into the shape of a swastika (The Week, 7 April). Perhaps this is not actionable, but it certainly warrants an unequivocal apology to the people involved.

However, not content with just one lengthy article defending the indefensible, you also carry a pretentiously prolix review of Gavin Bowd’s book Fascist Scotland by Catriona Macdonald, claiming that he “demands that we reflect on the darkest readings of nationhood, identity and the nature of leadership...”.

On the contrary, typical of Bowd’s method is his repetition of the old slur, which was dismissed in a libel case at the time, that it was “not as a victim of ‘tragic hallucinations’ (according to Josef Goebbels) that on 10 May, 1941, Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess made an ill-fated flight to Eaglesham to discuss peace terms with the duke” (of Hamilton).

Bowd contends that “as late as 1939, the Duke of Hamilton argued in the Times for Nazi Germany’s right to Lebensraum”. In fact Hamilton’s ­letter, published on the day the last Polish units surrendered, reads: “We do not grudge Germany Lebensraum (living space), provided that Lebensraum is not made the grave of other nations.”

It may have been a factor in Hess’s crazed decision to fly here, but there is no ­evidence whatever that this consequence was intended.

Hamilton also wrote: “If Hitler is right when he claims that the whole of the German nation is with him in his cruelties and treacheries, both within Germany and without, then this war must be fought to the bitter end.”

David Douglas-Hamilton, Edinburgh

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