Holy­rood apol­ogy needs ex­tend­ing to un­fairly con­victed strik­ing Scot­tish min­ers

The Scotsman - - Perspective / Letters To The Editor -

Scot­land’s First Min­is­ter has been ap­plauded by all of Scot­land’s politi­cians for the pub­lic apol­ogy she gave in Holy­rood to gay men un­justly con­victed un­der pre­vi­ous laws.

Ni­cola Stur­geon’s state­ment co­in­cided with the pub­li­ca­tion of a bill that, if passed, will au­to­mat­i­cally par­don gay and bi­sex­ual men con­victed un­der his­tor­i­cal laws and which will re­move such con­vic­tions from crim­i­nal records.

In the same spirit of right­ing the wrongs of the past per­haps our First Min­is­ter can turn her at­ten­tion to the cam­paign against the un­just con­vic­tions of Scot­tish min­ers dur­ing the year-long strike from March 1984. In Scot­land there were a dis­pro­por­tion­ately greater num­ber of con­vic­tions and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment have pre­vi­ously been asked to es­tab­lish the truth about whether the ar­rests, con­vic­tions and sack­ings were le­git­i­mate or whether they were mis­car­riages of jus­tice that stain the record of in­no­cent peo­ple to this day.

It should not be for­got­ten that Scot­land’s le­gal es­tab­lish­ment de­clared the min­ers dis­pute le­gal at the Court of Ses­sion, yet that didn’t pre­vent Scot­tish po­lice forces ar­rest­ing min­ers on picket lines and else­where on their whim or for Scot­tish judges is­su­ing fines 10 times greater than the av­er­age at that time for breach of the peace of­fences.

I can un­der­stand the To­ries in West­min­ster want­ing to deny the min­ers and their fam­i­lies a fair hear­ing, but the SNP in Holy­rood should not also turn their backs on the men and women who were rightly known as ‘the salt of the earth’.

Ni­cola Stur­geon reg­u­larly claims that the SNP ‘stand up for Scot­land’.

Now she and her gov­ern­ment have an op­por­tu­nity to stand up for the in­jus­tices done to the work­ing class men and women who were sim­ply try­ing to de­fend their jobs.

As we have seen this week, the pass­ing of time is no im­ped­i­ment or ex­cuse for Scot­land’s politi­cians do­ing noth­ing to ad­dress past in­jus­tices and it is time Scot­tish min­ers and their fam­i­lies get the jus­tice they de­serve.

BRIAN WED­DELL Dol­ph­ingh­stone View,

Pre­ston­pans It was well done and well said by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to apol­o­gise to gay men who were con­victed of his­tor­i­cal ‘of­fences’ which are no longer il­le­gal.

The am­bigu­ous no­tion of a ‘par­don’ was well han­dled and there was com­mend­able cross party sup­port.

That ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity was de­crim­i­nalised in Scot­land al­most 20 years after Eng­land is a shame which owes much to the per­sis­tent big­otry of the church.

Those mi­nor­ity re­li­gious groups who cry ‘re­li­gious free­dom’ as their de­fence for con­tin­ued cam­paign­ing against LGBTI equal­ity are in­creas­ingly on the wrong side of his­tory.

NEIL BAR­BER Ed­in­burgh Sec­u­lar So­ci­ety,

Saughton­hall Drive Ni­cola Stur­geon is to be ap­plauded for apol­o­gis­ing on be­half of the Scot­tish ad­min­is­tra­tion to gay men con­victed of now abol­ished sex of­fences.

Is it also now time for the na­tion­al­ist leader to ad­mit the SNP and the in­de­pen­dence move­ment she heads, was wrong to have been bankrolled in the past by Brian Souter?

Sir Brian funded a high pro­file cam­paign to keep the Sec­tion 28 (or Sec­tion 2A in Scot­land), which many con­sider have been anti-gay leg­is­la­tion.

This fur­ther apol­ogy may help stave off ac­cu­sa­tions that Ms Stur­geon is dis­play­ing dou­ble stan­dards.

MARTIN RED­FERN Wood­croft Road , Ed­in­burgh

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