VE DAY in 1945 was obviously an occasion for major celebration in Britain and throughout Europe. But there is reasonable debate as to what we should make of it now.

The plans for various celebratory events this wek were cancelled as a result of the pandemic. To some extent what we had seems like a reflection Remembrance Day, with recognition of the armed forces and an appeal from Poppy Scotland.

The original VE75 programme included the concept of “a cry for peace”. Perhaps that is more appropriate, to look for a peace agenda.

If we continue to have anniversary recognition of past wars they should include a genuine reflection of how to limit or prevent future conflict.

That is where discussion can become divisive. We live in a world where financial support for UN peacekeeping is less than half a percent of international military expenditure.

The United Nations is dominated by the five permanent members, who account for three-quarters of worldwide arms exports. Within this, Britain has recently regained its position as the second largest exporter. UK sales of arms to repressive regimes trebled over the course of 2019 compared to the previous year.

And when we are aware of health-service shortages, we should ask whether the billions devoted to stockpiling weapons of mass destruction is money well spent?

This is a time when we are inevitably re-assessing the real threats to society, both at home and internationally.

Seventy-five years after the capitulation of Nazi Germany is a time for constructive thought on how to limit war and injustice now as well as remembering the sacrifices of those involved then.

Duncan MacIntyre,


MAY I add my farthing’s-worth to the vast majority that VE Day is certainly worthy of commemoration on this, its 75th anniversary?

On a lesser note I hope your columnist Marianne Taylor regains her senses and perspective (“VE Day is about much more than flags and bunting”, May 4), but I fear she is too young. Had Britain and the Allies failed, then Germany would have treated Britain the same as all its other surrounding countries: the population would mainly be slave workers until they dropped. Writing in German would be the norm for any journalist.

May I also add that I trust VJ Day - Victory over Japan - in August will be equally commemorated. Nationalistic Japan was as cruel and brutal to its neighbours and to the world as was nationalistic Germany.

Many people on May 8, 1945 were not able to be out in the streets. My mother was in labour in Millbrae Nursing Home, Langside, where she and the other expectant mums were under the care of the debonair and very proficient gynaecologist Sir Hector McLennan. Several times in later years she would say that all the young ladies agreed he was the pin-up boy.

I don’t know how many baby girls and baby boys were born that day, or what they aspired to. But a least one became an occasional writer of letters to The Herald.

Graeme Smith,


WHAT a wonderful front page in the Herald yesterday! Such an evocative picture to see us all through. Keep it up.

Archie Burleigh,


THE engaging photograph on your front page and your coverage this week will help me explain to my grandchildren (both in their twenties) the sacrifices made by ordinary people and the horrors we suffered during those years.

Mrs L. Simpson,


Real football fans

WILLIAM Thomson makes many valid points in his letter (May 5) but he highlights the basic problem in Scottish football, apart from the so-called big clubs.

He states in the first paragraph that he is an armchair supporter. This may be due to one of any number of reasons, but Scottish football could do with more real supporters or match attenders if clubs are to survive.

Ivor Matheson,


WE HAVE no idea what state the Scottish game will be in at the end of the Covid crisis, but might I just put in a word for our junior teams?

I gave up on the senior game eight or nine years ago, fed up with the price of tickets, amongst other reasons, and have gradually become an avid supporter of the juniors scene in Glasgow and further beyond.

The crowds may be relatively small but they are nonetheless extremely passionate and knowledgeable. The football itself reminds me why I first became a follower of the beautiful game when I was at school. Let’s support our local juniors when the football season resumes.

D. Hastings, Glasgow.

Sights of summer

I SAW my first builder’s van today. Does that mean it’s the start of summer?

John Dunlop, Ayr.