Readers' Letters: It’s right to call Lucknow soldiers ‘heroes’

The complaint about Historic Environment Scotland’s “Heroes of Lucknow” sign adjacent to the India Cross in Edinburgh Castle came from a single member of the public.

British Field Marshal Colin Campbell, Baron Clyde, raised the siege of Lucknow

The sign in no way panders to imperialism and contains no inaccuracies. It commemorates a brave regiment who performed a daring, difficult task in relieving the siege of Lucknow and were afterwards known as the Heroes of Lucknow.

Had they not done so, the same fate would have befallen the city's British and Indian population that befell their compatriots in the treachery and cruel massacre of Cawnpore's civilians following their surrender and acceptance of a safe passage through the rebel lines

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Julian Whybra, Martingale Road, Billericay, Essex


Oliver Mundell resigns from the Shadow Scottish Cabinet because of the “very specific needs of his constituents”. As one of those constituents, I am struggling to identify what these needs could possibly be? The need to travel to a high-Covid area to have a meal or do some shopping? Theneed for people from high-Covid areas to come to Dumfriesshire to do likewise?

Essentially, Mr Mundell seems to be arguing for the right of his constituents to risk their lives and the lives of others. May I remind him that there is an extensive list of permitted essential travel and it is only frivolous and unnecessary journeys that are precluded.

Perhaps Mr Mundell could explain to your readers the point of his melodramatic – and frankly dangerous – gesture.

Jennifer Rhind, Haywood Road, Moffat

Political to core

Willie Watt, chairman of the newly formed Scottish National Investment Bank, hopes it will become a “non-political cornerstone institution” in Scotland, but then Nicola Sturgeon contradicts this by stating that it would invest in “businesses and projects that help Scotland meet its 2045 net-zero target” and “tackle inequality”, which seem like highly political objectives for a bank.

The Scottish Government can’t even set up a bank without making it a political act anymore. Such institutional mission creep is also endemic in NHS Scotland where it is forced to promote a “fair and inclusive economy” – a rather odd objective for a health service to have. I’m no economist, but don’t banks need a modicum of stability to flourish as well? Given the last near-decade of unsettling, pro-indy, agitated flailing this would seem unlikely to happen.

David Bone, Hamilton Street, Girvan, South Ayrshire

Money question

Can someone explain to me the difference between the new Scottish Investment Bank, which invests taxpayers' money in industry, and Scottish Enterprise which, er, invests taxpayers' money in industry? Why do we need do government quangos doing the same thing?

Brian Carson, Belmont Gardens, Edinburgh

Fore sure

I share the frustrations of many other golfers who are currently prohibited by the current restrictions from travelling to their golf courses, albeit isolated in their cars and socially distancing when taking exercise for the good of their physical and mental wellbeing. However, I may have found an exemption.

Simply travel to your club and have a media photocall before you play. After all, it works for the First Minister and her travels to different venues.

Fraser MacGregor, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

In an ideal world

Lesley Riddoch is right, the £16 billion of extra military spending cannot be justified (Perspective, November 23). It tells us a lot about the UK Government's priorities when it is also freezing public sector pay and telling us that it cannot afford to fund school meals for hungry school students during a pandemic. The Scottish and UK Governments have a big job ahead in terms of rebuilding the economy after the pandemic, and, with so many sectors of the economy facing uncertain futures, it is important that it is done properly and that it follows the right values.

The Covid crisis shows how ineffective nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers and other high-tech weaponry is against the biggest threats we face, such as pandemics and climate change. Last week Boris Johnson also announced his “green industrial revolution”. Most of these steps did not go far enough to meet the scale of the climate emergency we are facing, and nor did the funding.

In a post-Covid world, access to healthcare, a living wage and environmental sustainability should be a key part of national security strategy. These causes will not be advanced by the production of even more bombs, missiles and fighter jets. Security does not come from throwing money at the military, it comes from building more equal societies and better services.

Emma Cockburn, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Bell Street, Glasgow


I'm astounded hospital patients in Scotland are still being discharged to care homes without two negative Covid-19 tests. SNP Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman thinks this is fine, under “exceptional” circumstances. I've news for Ms Freeman: every time a vulnerable or elderly person dies as a consequence, it's an exceptional circumstance for them and their bereaved families.

In the first wave of the pandemic, deaths rates in percentage terms in Scottish care homes was significantly higher in Scotland than England. Why isn't the SNP administration learning from its mistakes? My father-in-law is resident in a excellent Scottish care home. But with Ms Freeman responsible for policy making like this, I worry for his safety.

Martin Redfern, Melrose Roxburghshire

No confidence

I am both appalled and angry that Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has reportedly said that it is “entirely right and proper” for doctors to discharge elderly patients from hospitals into care homes without the need for a negative Covid-19 test. What planet has she been living on since the first cases of coronavirus appeared and hundreds of elderly and vulnerable patients were off-loaded by the NHS from hospitals into care homes, with some being known to have the virus and others being untested.

What happened after that was a tsunami of Covid-19 cases within care homes leading to hundreds of avoidable deaths. It brought grief and heartbreak to families and stress for caring staff. Being responsible for the health of people in Scotland and following a different path from other parts of the UK in controlling the virus, Nicola Sturgeon has been asked to institute an immediate inquiry into her government's handling of the virus in care homes, but has indicated a preference to be part of a UK-wide review, no doubt hoping to minimise blame attaching to the Scottish government in carrying out its health responsibilities.

Too many deaths from the virus are still occurring in care homes, as can be seen from the recent 20 deaths in one in Larbert. These deaths must be reduced and it's clear that the public cannot have any confidence in the Health Secretary and the Scottish government to do this.

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Get me out of here

Susan Dalgety (“Planning for indyref2 before we've healed is unbearable”, 21 November) writes "No matter where you sit on the constitutional debate, the prospect of a referendum next year is surely too awful to contemplate". For many of us, getting Scotland out of this increasingly disunited kingdom as soon as possible looks the best way to start the healing process.

David Stevenson, Blacket Place, Edinburgh

Not so smart

The real purpose of smart meters is to manage unreliable electricity from wind turbines, by means of differential pricing according to supply available at the time of demand, or perhaps even to ration by disconnection if insufficient for all, so that rather than the grid responding to need, as now, people will have to organise their lives – on a day-to-day basis – according to power available. In fact, electricity may not even meet basic needs from time to time.

Quite how industry will cope with wind power is uncertain, as an unpredictable electricity supply could mean higher manufacturing costs and unemployment.

The green dream enthusiasts may have some explaining to do in a few years time, for relying on the weather to generate a vital resource in a modern society looking to improve and expand.

Malcolm Parkin, Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross

Go on, you first

Could I suggest one simple way of inspiring confidence in the safety of any new Covid-19 vaccine, before it is administered to the general population? I would like to see Johnson, Hancock, Gove and the rest of the Cabinet vaccinated, live on television, three weeks before everyone else.

I don't mind them jumping the queue!

Patricia Macinnes, Woodlands Street, Milngavie, Glasgow

Who likes Mike?

In the midst of endless tortuous pontification over Covid-19 response policies in Whitehall and Bute House, is it not time the nation paused for a moment to ask itself the important question: Michael McIntyre – why?Remember in the 1990s when Janet Jackson was supposedly one of Britain's biggest selling artists, yet you never, ever met anyone that bought her music?

Mark Boyle, Linn Park Gardens, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

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