Madam, – The spat between Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer and Piers Morgan over Winston Churchill shines an interesting light on how we view past “heroes”.
Churchill is rightly remembered for leading Britain through her finest hour, but there is also a much darker side to the man and one that we as a nation need to have a more mature and balanced conversation about.
He was born into a Britain that was washing the map pink, at the cost of washing distant nations blood red.
As soon as he could, Churchill charged off to take his part in “a lot of jolly little wars against barbarous peoples”.
As an MP he demanded a rolling programme of more conquests.
As Colonial Secretary in the 1920s, he unleashed the notorious Black and Tan thugs on Ireland’s Catholic civilians, and when the Kurds rebelled against British rule, he said: “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.”
Of course, it’s easy to dismiss any criticism as being of its time.
However, Churchill was seen as at the most brutal end of the British imperialist spectrum. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was warned by Cabinet colleagues not to appoint him because his views were so antediluvian.
When Mahatma Gandhi launched his campaign of peaceful resistance, Churchill raged that he “ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi”.
In 1943 a famine broke out in Bengal and while British officials begged Churchill to direct food supplies to the region he bluntly refused.
Ultimately, the actions of the great and glorious Churchill who resisted dictatorship overwhelmed the works of the cruel and cramped Churchill.
This was a complex man and his actions must be viewed in a more balanced way and not solely through the prism of the Second World War.
Flat 3, 2 Marchmont Road,
Politician shows he’s very green
Madam, – So Scotland’s youngest MSP, Ross Greer, has chosen to insult the great Winston Churchill, the man who saved us from capitulation to National Socialism and thus saved Western Europe from a long totalitarian night.
Looking up the 240-year-old Greer on Wikipedia, I find that his life since leaving school has been focused on politics.
First he spent a few months studying politics and psychology at Strathclyde, then a couple of years as an Indy campaigner and now two and a half years as an MSP.
What experience of adult life outside politics and in particular of working life does he bring to parliament?
Not much it appears.
Has he developed the maturity to see the different sides of an issue and understand his opponents – essential skills for making the compromises necessary in democratic politics?
If his comments on Churchill are anything to go by, then the answer is no.
Winston Churchill’s record, warts and all, is well known and he should be judged in terms of the age he lived in and by what he achieved.
Ross Greer is sadly typical of Scotland’s out-of-touch political class.
6 Inveralmond Grove,
No easy solution to school weeks
Madam, – Thanks go to Craig Smith for his article (Fife Matters: Scattergun approach to secondary school week just won’t work, Courier, January 28) about proposed changes to the school week at Fife secondaries.
Unfortunately these are being forced on Fife Council owing to cutbacks in funding from the Scottish Government in Holyrood.
The SNP administration, while saying education is their first priority, continue to cut funding to Scottish education.
Logically Mr Smith is right in that we should not have a scattergun approach to school hours.
But I have to applaud Fife Council’s co -administration in allowing schools to act independently.
Here in East Neuk and Landward the schools must agree the school day with bus companies who bring most of the pupils from rural areas to Waid Community Campus.
Secondly, while in Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, pupils can move across town to other schools to do particular subjects, but without adequate public transport it is well nigh impossible for pupils at Anstruther to get the same breadth of subject choice simply because of geography and distance.
Councillor for East Neuk and Landward Fife.
Pool cash row misses the point
Madam, – I am glad your reporter ignored the political posturing of the leader of the SNP group at Perth and Kinross Council (Budget plea to rescue ‘essential’ £25m Perth swimming pool plans, Courier, January 25).
Councillor Dave Doogan’s blatant attempt at publicity by demanding the current Tory/Lib Dem administration give £5 million towards a new Perth leisure pool ignores completely that it would still leave a shortfall of £15m.
The political reality is that the Tory/Lib Dem administration’s majority is such that, after the required debate, their budget will pass.
If there is a shortfall of £28m in the PKC budget, Cllr Doogan would be better trying to get his SNP masters to compromise with the Scottish Green Party to give more money to Scottish councils in their budget and defray some of the more unpalatable proposed cuts.
122 Dunsinane Drive Letham,
Poor being left out in the cold
Madam, – The warm home discount scheme to help those in fuel poverty is not being administered fairly.
Elderly people are paid first and other people entitled to it, such as customers on benefits and low incomes who are on prepayment meters, are paid as late as possible.
This is fundamentally wrong. Those on a prepayment meter have to pay in advance for their fuel and are generally on a low income.
It should be paid before the cold weather.
I applied for my payment on September 19 last year and I am still waiting.
They say they have until the end of March to make the payment but in my view that is unacceptable, particularly for those who pay in advance.
Much more regulation is needed to ensure fuel poverty is tackled by energy companies at source.
And right now they are failing.
117 Simpson Square,
Cycle counter cash query
Madam, – Further to your report, (Councillor claims bike counter is ‘inaccurate’, Courier, January 28) can I ask Councillor Cordell if the counter ever worked as it was meant to by only counting cyclists?
Also, if as he says you do not need a counter to see the increase in numbers of cyclists then why install it?
Surely that money could have been used more effectively.
In closing, can I thank Cllr Cordell for advising about the “real sense of excitement building in the city around cycling” as I must have missed it.
8 Claypotts Terrace,