THE torching of a war memorial is really disappointing and embarrassing to Edinburgh and Scotland (Edinburgh war memorial set on fire by vandals in ‘disgusting’ act, Nov 14). But I am afraid that it may have been inevitable. I understand that it also happened in Exeter, I think?

I am afraid that I have not adopted the poppy for some years now. It has become so political that it is now being seen as a symbol of division.

I cannot ignore the fact that a symbol that was initially to commemorate the dead in two world wars has now been extended to include the fallen in ALL wars. While I do accept the legitimacy of the British action in the second war (in particular) and also the first, there are few conflicts beyond that which I consider that Britain has acted appropriately.

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However, those are my personal views on war and it is not the crux of the issue to me. What is the issue is the adoption of the symbol and propagation of it for a few weeks before the event on the media and in the press. We constantly learn of guests on BBC shows being vilified because they have not worn a poppy – even if they are not British. This year it was Paul Mescal. All BBC staff seem now to be contracted to wear the symbol – even if you are gardening down the allotment on Beechgrove! And those who dare wear the white symbol, such as Lorna Slater, are targeted for abuse.

The press and media have allowed this symbol to become one of propaganda, and the deep irony that I cannot ignore is that this was the very reason that I initially wore the badge for many years. The fight against fascism seems to have been won in Germany but lost in Britain.

It is long past the day when the media and press need to tone down the celebrations. I am sure that some years ago the Poppy Appeal also made comments about their concerns on how political it had become.

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So, while I do abhor the nature of what has happened; I can see this only becoming worse in future if the authorities do not recognise that they all must act responsibly. We are very good at looking at other countries and criticising the way that their media lead thinking. We never look in at ourselves.

And a final point ... the action was promptly condemned by Nicola Sturgeon in the strongest terms. However, STV news on reporting the incident mentioned nothing of this, instead choosing to broadcast Douglas Ross speaking on the matter. Maybe that is the best illustration of my point.

John Erskine

DR Jamie Fairbairn writes: “If, as a teacher, you don’t make bairns feel at ease with their language, you’ll hear silence or English, because most bairns will code switch between Scots and English to suit the situation” (Telling off a bairn for the way they speak is damaging to self-esteem, Nov 16).

I grew up being “encouraged” to speak proper English. I spent a lot of my career working with people from many different countries. I could only do this because I speak good, not heavily accented, English. I also learned to speak slower.

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When I came back to Scotland my speed of speech increased, my accent got more Glaswegian and I started to include a greater number Scots words not used outwith Scotland. I suspect I am not alone in adjusting my speech to accommodate the listener.

It is good to accept and encourage the use of Scots, Doric and Gaelic but we should be careful not to do it at the expense of speaking “proper English”. While I am sure some might regard English as the language of the oppressor, it is the language that most foreign visitors will understand and that will allow you to communicate most widely in business. It would be foolish to cut ourselves of from the rest of the world by not to recognising the importance of everyone learning to be completely fluent in it.

Alan Thompson

JOHN Hodgart hes threpit fur threttie eirs fur legislation on the Scots language. This is sair tash on the SNP at atweill hes duin verra littil ti forder Scots.

John speiks o the Scots Wirkin Gruip cheired bi Derrick McClure o twintie eir syne. Puir Derrick bene dargin awaw langir nir thon. In the erest days o the magazine “Lallans”, he wrate “Geyan suin nou, Scotland ull fling aff hir fetters an tak hir richtful pairt as a free nation.” Thon maga hes nou wun til ae hunner ishaes – twa ilk eir – an Scots an Scotland isna yit frie.

READ MORE: Hou can weans become confident individuals when their mither tung is sairly duntit

The nyow heid bummer Wullie Hershaw, the umquyle editar Elaine Morton an Derrick McClure hed out-fessit a buik “Fifty Year o Lallans Prose”. The National wuid dae mair guid gif hit pit forrit thon buik ir propalin MacClure’s skeillie wrytes. Bettir nir prentin giff-gaff anent auld wirds in Suddron.

Iain WD Forde

THE stance of millionaire Keir Starmer on immigration, Brexit, and a second referendum is almost identical to that of the Tories. He sings from the same hymn book. How did a once great party let this happen? So sad, but so destructive to the disunited kingdom.

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus