No place for religious division in the 21st century

11th April 2003 at 01:00
At a time when there are so many topical issues to debate in education, I cannot understand why you printed Harry Watson's letter on staffroom misperceptions of 30 years ago, nor why you illustrated his letter with a photo of urban vandalism.

However, since Mr Watson's experience of the SNP as allegedly a "Proddy" party is so dated, I hope you will allow me to bring your readers closer to the present.

I stood as a candidate for the SNP in 1999 while teaching in a Roman Catholic secondary in West Lothian. I received encouragement from many colleagues and even discovered some were activists in my own party.

I had no idea as to the religious convictions of my colleagues and frankly I did not care, but not one person cited religious adherence as a reason for supporting or opposing my campaign.

Mr Watson really insults the intelligence of Scotland's Roman Catholics in asserting that they, or any section of society, hold a "natural allegiance" to any party. Votes must be earned.

Given that Peter Kearney, the current spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, stood for the position of SNP vice-convener in 2000, the SNP must have covered a lot of ground over the last 30 years and Harry Watson has clearly a lot of ground to make up in joining the 21st century.

James Forbes

Corstorphine High Street

Edinburgh

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