There are only two plays which have brought a tear to my een in recent years.
One was last year’s Scottish Youth Theatre production of Now’s the Hour, where youngsters played out and imagined letters they had written to their future selves about the Scottish referendum and their youthful hopes for change.
The other was Gregory Burke’s rollicking production of The Black Watch.
This play about Scottish soldiers in a Basra compound in the Iraq war provides the definitive explanation of the Scottish attitude to warfare.
It explains why as a nation we can be pro-soldier but anti-war; why we understand that very good men can die for very bad reasons.
So impressed was I by the National Theatre of Scotland’s production that, as First Minister in 2007, I supported the play to perform around the world.
Now we are told a head teacher in Kirriemuir has prevented her fifth and sixth year class from studying this outstanding play.
Local parents in the heart of Black Watch country in Angus are understandably up in arms, particularly when the head went to a performance of the Wizard of Oz rather than meeting to discuss their concerns.
Certainly, some of the language in The Black Watch play is choice. After all, it reflects the real-life experience of Scots squaddies.
However, it would be unwise to ban plays on these grounds. It would rule out most of Shakespeare, for a start.
And crucially, we are talking here about fifth and sixth year pupils, ie, young people of the age who were entrusted last year with the vote about the future of their country.
If there is a ban it must be reversed and reversed now. There can be no blackballing of The Black Watch.
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