IT’S one thing to re-evaluate history in contemporary context, but Ross Greer, a young politician with limited life experience, angrily shooting from the hip with insulting and unbalanced soundbites serves no purpose other than to denigrate and distort the achievements of a historical figure.

The “crimes” Greer attributes to Winston Churchill may well be considered such by political opportunists seeking to big themselves up, but shouldn’t they be looked at in the round, in historical context and reevaluated by historians, not aspiring politicians?

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Churchill’s mistakes at Gallipoli, his defence of the British empire, the Clydesiders, Black and Tans etc all were considered political necessities by the controlling establishment of the day. There were any number of other emissaries of the political right who’d have done precisely the same, with the implicit approval of the electorate through the ballot box and/or apathy, and propagandised to belief in the “glory” of the British empire.

We now realise there was no “glorious” British empire. Rather, it was a tawdry history of conquest, subjugation and exploitation for political and commercial reasons, ably supported by willing Scots participants for their own “greater good”. Countries that leave the grip of Westminster control generally thrive on their own and don’t ask to come back.

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Sadly, the mentality of the British empire persists, ably demonstrated by the narrow voting majority for Brexit largely predicated on EU immigration, and the arrogance surrounding Theresa May returning to the EU expecting them to renegotiate a deal they have already clearly said they won’t revisit.

The arrogant British empire mentality persists among Brexiters that it’s all the EU’s fault by them being intransigent, whereas the fact is unless there’s a trade deal to remove the need for a hard border in Northern Ireland then the backstop agreement ensures a hard border doesn’t happen; the expressed wish of those on both sides of the border. A no-deal Brexit will necessitate such a hard border, else there’d be a back door to gain tariff-free access to the EU through Northern Ireland; intolerable to the 27 nations of the EU.

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Some balance? Without Churchill’s lonely pre-war stance and forewarnings about German militarisation, Britain would have been even less prepared for the war he foresaw. Second, without him stepping up to lead the nation, even with contemporary re-evaluation, it’s difficult to imagine how Britain would have prevailed against the Nazi onslaught. Third, his vision for a co-operating Europe was ahead of its time, the very EU the British are now removing itself from. Finally, his lead on the European Convention on Human Rights underpins the very freedoms we enjoy now and which the unfettered Tories would at best emasculate, at worst resile from.

Some of Greer’s observations may have some merit. If Churchill deserved some of those labels, then so does every other leading figure in history, right down to Tony Blair for his involvement in the Middle East and the current fascist-like control of Parliament by Theresa May and her Tory cronies. But it’s the future that really matters. Shouldn’t Scots now eschew the inglorious British empire and its dreadful consequences, leave the UK Union and embrace a globally cooperative and outward-looking direction in the interests of our children’s futures and peace?

Jim Taylor

THE venom with which the British establishment has come after Ross Greer for his factual comments about Churchill is sinister. Churchill’s crimes are the crimes

of empire. Today the British ruling class venerate Churchill by putting him on bank notes. The empire is still revered through the “honours” system. Britain lies about its bloody imperial past.

The legitimacy of the whole edifice of Britain as a so-called “force for good” in the world is put at risk by the truth Ross Greer exposes.

The depths of the damage done to the world is truly shocking. The economic historian Angus Maddison demonstrated that India had a 23% share of the world economy in 1700 before it was conquered by the empire. When Britain left, India had 3% of world trade. The reason was that India was governed for the benefit of the British ruling class. Their enrichment was funded by the looting of India.

Famines too were a regular occurrence under British rule. In 1876 weather devastated parts of India. There was, however, net surplus of rice and wheat. The viceroy Lord Lytton insisted nothing stop its export to England. The only relief permitted in areas where starvation had taken hold was hard labour. The death rate of those who undertook the punishment was 94%.

As India starved, Lord Lytton conducted a militarised campaign to collect back taxes accrued during the famine. This money was then used to fund a war in Afghanistan. The 1876 famine claimed 6-10 million lives.

Another famine occurred in Ireland between 1845 and 1849.

This lead to one million deaths and one million refugees. Charles Trevelyan, who was the British Viceroy, thought the Irish lazy, selfish and undeserving any government relief from famine.

The British Government like to quote the Treaty of Utrecht in relation to Gibraltar. They always omit the fact it gave the empire exclusive rights over the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. When Britain was forced to give up the slave trade in 1833 due to rebellions, the slave owners were compensated to the tune of £17 billion in today’s money. The slaves got nothing.

The Labour party too are up to their necks in imperialist blood. In the 1930s they bombed, imprisoned and tortured striking Indian workers. Clement Atlee rearmed Japanese fascist troops to reimpose French colonial rule in Indo-china and collaborated with apartheid South Africa to get Uranium to build the British bomb.

The British empire also has a 200-year history of recruiting, training and arming fanatical violent Islamists to use as proxies for imperial interests. This continues to this day. It’s this legacy of torture, murder, rape, theft and genocide that Ross Greer’s critique of Churchill has helped expose.

Alan Hinnrichs