Empire builders

I read with great interest Dr Kenneth Cameron’s fascinating take (Letters, 6 August) that essentially blood-soaked British militarism had sent Scots to their deaths for hundreds of years.

I note the curious dislocation that apparently Scots had no responsibility for these “British” wars. Books such as Michael Fry’s Scottish Empire make amply clear that Scotland was at the forefront of Empire and its expansion.

Scots and Scottish companies sold guns to Japan, opium to the Chinese, in fact turned a not very reputable penny wherever they could. It is sad that so many Scots seem to deny and disown their own history.

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Was the 17th century prior to Union a peaceful age when neighbours baked quiche for each other and gave each other group hugs?

Of course not. It was a paroxysm of internal blood and violence. Before that the Scots made a good living exporting soldiers to Ireland to kill English – hardly a model of good neighbourliness.

Once again we see this strange paradox of nationalism renouncing the history of its own nation. In this, as in so much of the Nationalist case, Scottish history is reduced to a sorry tale of “it wisnae me, a big boy did it and ran away”.

Those of us on the other side of the fence seem far more comfortable than the SNP at embracing the totality of our history – the good, the bad and the ugly, and not reducing it to a sterile tale of invented grievance.

Hugh Andrew

Newington Road


David Fiddimore is quite wrong to equate the two World Wars and to accuse “bishops, priests and church ministers” of somehow being responsible for the carnage of war generally, just because they sincerely sought to bless the combatants as individual human beings.

Everyone agrees that the 
First World War was a ghastly exercise in futility, but there can have been few wars more 
justified than the Second World War.

Anyone who thinks otherwise has only to recollect 
the bestial horrors perpetrated by Nazi Germany, from which occupied Europe had to be liberated at all costs – particularly since Hitler prophesied that the Third Reich would last for 1,000 years.

Not to mention the unprovoked, brutal aggression and cruelty of the Japanese campaign in the Far East.

M D Taylor

Ettrick Terrace