On the defensive

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Andrew HN Gray (Letters, 27 March) has kindly taken the time to lecture Scotland on matters military. He says he is unaware of any nuclear power having been attacked. There are a few “nearlies”, such as Cuba in 1962, or ­Vietnam after China had the bomb. (The fear was that “a peasant with bomb in a cart” could take it into central Saigon). Israel is one nuclear power that has suffered direct attacks.

Nuclear may be the glamour boy of defence, but more subtle are chemical and biological agents. Gruinard was left contaminated by anthrax for half a century (Scotland being used as a remote laboratory again) and Winston Churchill had similar weapons installed against possible German invasion in 1940.

One of the big fears at Normandy was the use of such weapons, but Adolf Hitler, having been gassed in the First World War, seems to have been afraid of mass retaliation.

Mr Gray claims the SNP knows nothing about defence. His idea that a destroyer would be used for fishery protection is a bit of overkill, but it could do the job at least as a stop-gap measure.

He sneers about a one-ship Scottish navy. That would still be more defence than the present no-ship UK defences in Scottish waters.

What ignorance he shows when he suggests that Angus Robertson MP probably gained military experience from playing with toy soldiers. He comes from a military family and his mother is German.

One of my local SNP councillors is an ex-Lieutenant Colonel. SNP minister Keith Brown is an ex-marine and Falklands veteran.

Perhaps Mr Gray can tell us what great military expertise he has. Can he march on Remembrance Sunday wearing beret and medals? I can. Seems to me that his defence knowledge hovers around zero for all his spouting.

Thomas R Burgess

St Catherine’s Square

Perth

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