There is a laudable tendency among contributors to the independence debate to treat our opponents with a degree of civility.
So when Andrew HN Gray (Letters, 19 July) says that the SNP’s defence policy is: “We have no defence because we don’t need one”, we could describe his statement as fallacious or erroneous.
The fact is that it’s a lie and he knows it is.
I have also to say that his description of UK defence policy, “Attack us and you will fry, very soon and permanently”, is quite the most chilling thing I’ve read in the context of the debate for and against nuclear weapons.
However, I think Mr Gray has unwittingly aided the campaign for independence.
In the first place, I believe most neutrals, and quite possibly a few unionists, will be dismayed at his crass attempt to completely misrepresent SNP defence policy and may ask whether, if this epitomises support for the Union, we would want to be a part of it.
Secondly, the crude brutality of Mr Gray’s language does, in fact, capture the horror of nuclear conflict and it’s worth remembering that when states make disastrous errors which lead to war, it’s the foot- soldiers and civilians who will be first to “fry”, not the generals or politicians, with the population around Faslane being the first to go.
Andrew HN Gray asserts that the SNP has a policy of no defence for Scotland.
It does have one, of long standing and periodically updated – which does not include nuclear weapons and which is comparable to those of several European states of a similar size.
It might entertain some to know that there was a Danish political party with a defence policy of telephones at the border with a continuous recording saying: “We surrender.”
That party did not get to apply its policy.
I was once shown around a Danish warship visiting Leith. I was impressed both by its capabilities and by the friendly and democratic attitude of its crew. Officers were addressed by first names but were still in charge.