The spat between Ross Greer MSP and Piers Morgan over Winston Churchill ("Greer defends Churchill tweet", The Herald, January 29) shines an interesting light on how we view past "heroes".

Churchill is rightly remembered for leading Britain through her finest hour, but there is also a much darker side to the man and one that we as a nation need to have a more mature and balanced conversation about.

He was born into a Britain that was washing the map pink, at the cost of washing distant nations blood red. As soon as he could, Churchill charged off to take his part in "a lot of jolly little wars against barbarous peoples".

Read more: Piers Morgan clashes with Ross Greer

As an MP he demanded a rolling programme of more conquests, based on his belief that "the Aryan stock is bound to triumph".

As Colonial Secretary in the 1920s, he unleashed the notorious Black and Tan thugs on Ireland's Catholic civilians, and when the Kurds rebelled against British rule, he said: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes ... it would spread a lively terror."

Ross Greer

Of course, it's easy to dismiss any criticism as being of its time. However, Churchill was seen as at the most brutal end of the British imperialist spectrum. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was warned by Cabinet colleagues not to appoint him because his views were so antediluvian. Even his startled doctor, Lord Moran, said of other races: "Winston thinks only of the colour of their skin."

When Mahatma Gandhi launched his campaign of peaceful resistance, Churchill raged that he "ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back". As the resistance swelled, he announced: "I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion." In 1943 a famine broke out in Bengal and while British officials begged Churchill to direct food supplies to the region he bluntly refused, noting it was their own fault for "breeding like rabbits". At other times, he said the plague was "merrily" culling the population.

Ultimately, the actions of the great and glorious Churchill who resisted dictatorship overwhelmed the works of the cruel and cramped Churchill who tried to impose it on the darker-skinned peoples of the world. This was a complex man and his actions must be viewed in a more balanced way and not solely through the prism of the Second World War.

Alex Orr,

Flat 3, 2 Marchmont Road, Edinburgh.

SO Scotland’s youngest MSP, Ross Greer, a whole 24 years old, has chosen to insult the great Winston Churchill, the man who saved us from capitulation to National Socialism and thus saved Western Europe from a long totalitarian night.

Looking up the obscure Mr Greer on Wikipedia, I find that his life since leaving school has been focused on politics – first a few months studying – surprise, surprise – politics and psychology at Strathclyde, then a couple of years as an independence campaigner and now two and a half years as an MSP.

What experience of adult life outside politics and in particular of working life does he bring to parliament? Not much it appears.

Has he developed the maturity to see the different sides of an issue and understand his opponents – essential skills for making the compromises necessary in democratic politics? If his comments on Churchill are anything to go by, then no.

Winston Churchill’s record warts and all is well known and he should be judged in terms of the age he lived in and by what he achieved. Ross Greer is sadly typical of Scotland’s out of touch political class.

Otto Inglis,

6 Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh.

GREAT figures of history are invariably flawed to some degree, as they are only human. Some like Winston Churchill also lived long lives through periods of great turmoil when social attitudes and understanding were at times struggling to catch up with events.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer rather shows his age as he courts controversy with exaggerated language focused on painting one of our most outstanding political leaders in the worst possible light. Perhaps with the passage of time Mr Greer will learn to be a little more balanced in his judgments of others. In the meantime, while there are advantages in being a young politician, he might want to reflect that the electorate expect their leaders to show a little maturity, whatever their age.

Keith Howell,

White Moss, West Linton, Peeblesshire.

ROSS Greer's rant on Good Morning Britain decrying Churchill as a "white supremacist" displayed not only ignorance and arrogance, but by smirking and sneering, a level of immaturity which shames not only the Green Party, but the "wee pretendy parliament" seeking independence for Scotland. With MSPs not renown for their intellectual bandwidth, I suspect MPs at Westminster are shaking their collective heads in disbelief at the level of competence shown by Scotland's leaders today.

Dr John Sinclair,

7 Bridgegait, Milngavie.