Retired general to receive apology over abuse

Lieutenant General Sir Norman Arthur, left, pictured in 1992. Picture: TSPL

Lieutenant General Sir Norman Arthur, left, pictured in 1992. Picture: TSPL

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SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: The community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham yesterday said she would apologise to a retired general for publishing his contact details online, which resulted in him receiving abusive messages from Nationalists.

Ms Cunningham indicated she would write a letter of apology to Lieutenant General Sir Norman Arthur, after he complained to Scotland’s most senior civil servant about the minister’s actions.

Roseanna Cunningham. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Roseanna Cunningham. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Sir Norman, 83, contacted police after receiving e-mails from independence supporters objecting to a letter he sent to prominent Scots in an attempt to secure financial support for the Better Together campaign.

Some of the e-mails were abusive and one told him to “shut the f*** up”.

On Twitter, Ms Cunningham commented on the retired general’s fund-raising efforts, remarking that the No campaign seemed “extraordinarily anxious, don’t they?”

She also retweeted a picture of his letter without deleting the retired general’s address or e-mail from the letterhead.

Sir Norman expressed concern that his family would be at risk from the “hooligan” element in the independence debate. Yesterday, a spokesman for Ms Cunningham said: “This was a round-robin letter, which had already been widely circulated by others on Twitter.

“However, Ms Cunningham will write to Lt General Arthur to apologise for any inadvertent distress caused.”

One of the recipients of Sir Norman’s letter, which was intended to be sent to those with a connection to Scotland in Who’s Who, was Dennis Canavan, the chairman of Yes Scotland.

Yesterday, Mr Canavan wrote to the leader of the Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, saying: “On checking Who’s Who, I note there is a Lieutenant General Sir Norman Arthur listed, who was born in London and educated at Eton and Sandhurst.

“Surely someone from that background would have been aware of the fact that many people from independent nations have given their lives as allies of the UK in various wars.”

Speaking to The Scotsman, Mr Canavan said he did not know what the “stooshie” over Ms Cunningham retweeting Sir Norman’s details was about, when that information was already published in Who’s Who.

A Better Together spokesman said: “Regardless of a person’s views on the future of our country, it is unacceptable for an SNP minister to have acted in this way. Maybe as a sign of things to come, Dennis Canavan will make a donation in euros.”

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