Unionists no monopoly on past valour

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Once again we are treated to another insight into the mind of Andrew HN Gray as he views the glories and benefits of the Union through the dark prism of a bygone time of war and our imperial past (Letters, 25 May).

For the most part, it is possible to tolerate – with amusement – the rants of this pantomime unionist, but on this occasion I have to take issue with his ludicrous presumption that none of us in the independence movement have fathers or uncles who fought and died in defence of Britain.

My father served with the Eighth Army right the way through the North Africa campaign, being part of the army trapped at the siege of Tobruk. When that campaign culminated in victory at El Alamein, for its reward, the Eighth Army was immediately dispatched to fight its way up Italy, including the siege at Monte Cassino, being labelled before going by the hideous Lady Astor as “D-Day Dodgers”.

By now it will have been surmised that my father survived the Second World War, as did his marriage survive a five-year separation. My father refused to indulge our childish post-war enthusiasm to hear how we had smashed the “Hun”. He taught us instead that when states and politicians make grave errors that end in war, it’s the ordinary folk on both sides who pay the heaviest price.

He also taught us as children to look forward to the 
future, if possible, without fear. Now that’s a trick that Mr Gray might care to learn.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street

Edinburgh

Once again Andrew HN Gray allows his paranoia about Alex Salmond to run away with him. A mild and thoughtful speech by Mr Salmond recognising the sacrifice of Scottish servicemen in the ghastly 1914-18 conflict is twisted by Mr Gray into a Nationalist political statement, which it was certainly not.

It appears that Mr Gray would like the First Minister of Scotland to forget these Scottish sacrifices, which were directly caused by the failure of diplomacy of the London government, which could have avoided this foolish and unnecessary war.

Mr Gray then goes on to claim that people who believe in an independent Scotland are narrow-minded and wish to rewrite history. This is in the same week when Denis Healey admitted that successive Labour and Tory governments created a pack of lies to conceal the true wealth accruing from North Sea oil.

These governments did not only rewrite history until this week’s revelations, but tried to steal the future of Scotland.

These continuing lies are simply one of the greatest scandals in British politics.

James Duncan

Rattray Grove

Edinburgh