THE deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives has been urged to apologise for a “deeply insulting” suggestion that only the United Kingdom resisted the Nazis in World War II.
In a tweet that overlooked the millions of lives lost by the Allies in order to make a point about the Union, Jackson Carlaw declared: “We were one people standing alone.”
The SNP said his remark was offensive as well as historically inaccurate.
Mr Carlaw, the MSP for Eastwood, sparked the furore with a tweet to commemorate VE Day.
He wrote: “73 years ago today Nazi Germany surrendered, bringing an end to the European conflict in WW2. Not one time did people ask whether those defending our small island nation were from Gloucester or Glasgow.
“It didn’t matter. We were one people standing alone.”
His comment immediately attracted criticism from people pointing out the UK was not alone.
When World War II began in 1939, the Allies consisted of the UK, France and Poland and rapidly expanded to include India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.
They were later joined by Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands and Yugoslavia, then ultimately the Soviet Union and the United States.
Resistance groups, including Jewish fighters, also fought the Nazis throughout the war.
An estimated 60m people died on the Allied side, almost half in the USSR, while some 11m died on the Axis side – Germany, Italy and Japan.
SNP MSP Keith Brown, the Scottish Government Veterans Minister, said: “Jackson Carlaw’s crass comments are not only historically inaccurate – many will find them deeply insulting.
“Of course it is right that we mark the bravery of Britain’s servicemen and women – and citizens – in helping to defeat the Nazis, but to casually disregard the sacrifices made by people across occupied Europe, and those from the Soviet Union, the United States and from around the world is both crass and offensive.
“It is also incredibly ignorant to suggest that people could not fight in the British army while also supporting Scottish independence – whether we are talking about 1945 or in 2018.
“If any pro-independence supporter today tried to extract political capital from the Second World War, they would quite rightly be taken to task – and the Tories would no doubt be first in the queue to attack them.
“Of all the moments to make this ill-judged, blundering intervention, Mr Carlaw chooses the week that people across the continent mark Europe Day – which is supposed to symbolize the cooperation and friendship that we have worked so hard to deliver over the last 70 years.
“Ruth Davidson should get her deputy into line – and demand that he withdraw the Tweet and apologise.”
A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Keith Brown’s ability to find offence is quite something. The suggestion that Mr Carlaw is ‘casually disregarding’ anyone in his tweet is just ridiculous.”
Source : HeraldScotland