Judgment call

The depiction of Marie Stopes in a positive light on the hoardings outside the National Library of Scotland is bound to cause widespread offence to many people, and represents a very grave error of judgment.

That one of the 20th century’s most prominent Nazi ­sympathisers, scientific racists and eugenicists, moreover one who so successfully put her theories into practice, is also a daughter of Edinburgh is certainly not to be forgotten.

However, whether it is to be celebrated or commiserated is a completely separate question. Given her practical and ideological affiliation to some of the worst atrocities of the last century, atrocities which resonate in the memories and lives of so many people still alive today, perhaps we are not far enough away in historical terms to simply see her legacy in a ­dispassionate or a purely ­academic sense.

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If the National Library of Scotland wants to disassociate itself from the scientific racist and eugenicist cause, it would be wise to remove this hoarding and replace it with a depiction of someone of whom all Scots, whatever their ethnicity or ­disability, can be proud.

Michael Calwell

Oxford Street


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