This morning, Sunday 8th Nov, at approximately 1045hrs, I took the final steps to the Black Watch Monument that overlooks the Fintry area of Dundee. This act of remembrance to the fallen, has become a regular feature in my life for many years – missed only when I have been working overseas.
Under the grey skies, I paid my respects with other service veterans, while socially distancing. We refrained from shaking hands and hugging, but we Will Remember Them in the time-honoured fashion, regardless of the Scottish Government ban on gatherings.
For veterans, ignoring rules and regulations goes against the grain. We are a well-disciplined group with the utmost respect for authority, regardless of political persuasion. The Scot Gov blanket ban on wreath laying ceremonies, carried out by old comrades, was a ban too far, especially as several controlled ceremonies have been permitted by the Government of the United Kingdom.
An individual, who was previously unknown to me, appeared on my television screen last Thursday or Friday evening, telling us that we were not permitted to partake in wreath laying ceremonies under any circumstances. I had to google this person as I had never heard of him. It turns out that he is Graeme Dey, MSP (SNP) for Angus South. He also appears to be the Veterans Minister!
Dey instructed us to carry out our homage to the fallen on our own doorsteps. Just like clapping for Nicola Sturgeon, I guess. I quizzed several of my old comrades and not surprisingly, no one had ever heard of this fellow. During my Google search I came across a message from this sterling fellow, from two days ago:
Big thank you to the SNP Activists who braved the cold and slippery conditions in Carnoustie this morning to distribute our survey forms and also to these who have been working under their own steam to the same end.
Now, call me a bluff old traditionalist, but I am thinking that the above-mentioned activity must have resulted in plenty of close contact between activists and the public. Why are such actions permitted for the anointed few, while the solemn act of remembrance is pushed back to our own doorsteps?
This type of action is indicative of the SNP: a party that lacks empathy or sympathy with our proud Scottish Veterans. This merry band of carpetbaggers love to flex their political muscle. It is the act of the playground bully. They play to a nationalist audience who see themselves in a David and Goliath situation, or perhaps playing out a Braveheart scenario. The Separatists however, in my opinion, have totally misjudged the mood of the people of Scotland.
I admire the NHS and all they stand for. I clapped for them on my doorstep.
I admire the care workers. I clapped for them on my doorstep.
These individuals are indeed in the front line and are well deserving of the plaudits, however – there are varying degrees of “Front-Line Service”.
I have experienced the shock wave of an explosive blast, the scream of an in-bound rocket, and the staccato drum of automatic fire, but I cannot imagine the horror, the mud, the blood and most of all the raw fear, of teenagers far from home with little expectation of survival.
They are the epitome of Front-Line Service, and they are more than worthy of a small, safely managed act of remembrance in our proud country. The Scottish Government has no moral right to prevent these tributes to much braver men and women than them, or indeed, all of us.
This Sunday morning, 8th November at exactly 1100hrs, I saluted as I heard the bugle play The Last Post and The Flowers Of The Forest. I bid farewell, perhaps for the last time, to my old comrades and began the journey home.
We Will Remember Them.
Arthur Keith is the Alliance for Unity Defence and Veterans Spokesman. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurDKeith1
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