I SEE Robert the Bruce is a candidate for demolition as a "racist" king ("Vandals daub Bruce monument", The Herald, June 12). I doubt if race ever entered his head. I have never been a fan of our national hero who, being a baron of his time, had a record of looking after his interests on both sides of the border. As Tom Johnston pointed out in A History of the Working Classes In Scotland, Robert de Brus “played a most despicable, vacillating and traitorous part in the by no means clearly-defined drama of the period.”

After Bannockburn, nothing changed in the misery ordinary folk suffered at the hands of the barons, with their right to "pit and gallows". But, whatever truth Johnston lays bare about Bruce – different from the story book tale – the consequence of his self-interest was to stamp forever on our national life, the idea of Scotland independent from England. Wrecking his statue and memorial doesn’t alter history one jot, or erase him from it as one of the most important figures in our nation’s narrative. Let the man be.

Where does the logic of the demolition crew stop? It cannot be at tearing down mere blocks of stone, which can speak, if they do, only from one spot. Of far greater importance are written works still in wide circulation: books, plays and poems. If statutes are to fall, why are written works, with offensive content ignored, and not ceremoniously burned in great piles? Are Shakespeare, Dickens, Kipling, Burns, and many more, all to be eliminated? If not, why not? It is impossible to hump statues around, but not books, or plays. The only difference in principle between statues and books, is that the latter are far more widespread and thus more influential on human thought and action.

There is a far better way for the Black Lives Matter movement to create the change needed. Demand reparations from the British state, which includes Scotland, for the evil done by the slave trade. Slavery was abolished by a combination of moral pressure and money. The slave owners received compensation for loss of "property" at today’s equivalent of £23 billion. The slaves got nothing.

Adequate reparations is more than a gesture to correct a historical wrong. A large reparations fund should be run by the minorities whose ancestors were exploited. They, better than anyone else, know what needs to be done to build their institutional and societal strengths, and so help create a country where respect and equality are the birth right of everyone. It is surely more productive to pursue reparations that can have a long term practical, beneficial effect for people of colour, than toppling Henry Dundas.

Jim Sillars, Edinburgh EH9.

EVER the opportunist, Nicola Sturgeon says her Government will lead the debate about street names and statues in Scotland. She is an extremely intelligent woman brought up in the west of Scotland, who, like me and many others, will have always been aware that hugely financially successful Glasgow merchants, like those in Bristol and Liverpool, not only traded in cotton, sugar and tobacco but also slaves. It would be cynical of me to suggest that raising the subject now may be because she sees a few more votes from that cause.

However, if she is now to become a paragon of virtue about things in the past, how about removing statues and tributes to Robert the Bruce who gained the Scottish crown by cold-blooded murder? Pigs might fly.

Duncan Sooman, Milngavie.