Following my defeat as Tory candidate in a seat won back for my party in this election, I was permitted in 1997 by the chairman of the BMA council to second his vote of congratulation on Evan Harris's (Evan was also on the BMA Council) election as a Liberal Democrat MP. I have seen this honourable man stand for his beliefs (not all of which I share) since that time. He has twice been re-elected and was only narrowly defeated by a fellow Conservative last week.
Dr Harris eschewed party office during his partner's terminal illness but did not court public sympathy, simply getting on with his political life again following his personal disaster.
James MacMillan CBE (a successful composer of music) describes (Letters, 10 May) with an offensive tone typical of the sectarian language that has divided an otherwise tolerant Scotland, the people of Oxford's representative as "nauseating" and "Doctor Death" (the author's quotation marks misleading readers into a belief that the original quote had been about humans).
"Scotland's Shame" is not simply its supposed anti-Catholicism attacked by Dr MacMillan in the past under that title; it is the sectarianism that pervades its establishment as demonstrated by this Commander of the British Empire rejoicing in the demise of one who has challenged the intolerance of his own sectarian side.
Perhaps James MacMillan's music should be banned from public performance in Scotland, especially in football grounds. I hope that my Conservative colleagues in the Scottish Parliament will support an appropriate anti-sectarian motion brought forward by the Liberal Democrats.
DR ANDY ASHWORTH